Our fragile male egos can easily present a barrier to oneness and intimacy with our wives. One woman made this candid comment that makes my point: ‘Most things in our marriage are his plans and desires.[He never shows me any of his deep feelings, and I can’t say that I’ve ever felt one with him. He once said, ‘If I let you in and show you my feelings, I’d be vulnerable to becoming hurt.”
A husband’s refusal to be emotionally vulnerable is a sure sign that his fragile male ego is presenting an obstacle to marital health.
Another sure sign that the fragile male ego is at work is when a woman’s gifts and talents are perceived by her husband as a threat to his competency. This is an issue I’ve seen come up time and again in marital counseling.
My point, men, is that an overly sensitive male ego undercuts our ability to be vulnerable and humble’two necessary characteristics for strong and growing marriages.
One of the church’s great theologians was fond of referring to marriage as ‘the school of character.’ That’s because marriage, by its very design, will teach us things like vulnerability and humility’that is, if we’ll only commit ourselves to becoming attentive and teachable students.
The lessons we need to learn aren’t always easy. Yet they’re profoundly rewarding.
Men, no one in your home should be better and quicker at submitting to what Scripture teaches than you. In a recent marriage class several women were asked, ‘What’s the one thing that impresses you most about your husband?’ One woman responded, ‘[My husband] is much quicker to submit to the teaching of Scripture than I am. He’s quick to fix anything in his life that he feels doesn’t line up with Scripture. He has always been submissive to God’s ways, and this makes me trust him and feel one with him.’
This woman’s husband leads by example. What could possibly be more fitting or effective? And did you pick up on the security this woman feels because her husband is receptive and responsive to God’s word? Guys, this woman’s not the exception; she’s the norm. When you submit to Scripture, it fortifies your wife’s trust and respect for you. And note the irony here: even though Scripture exposes your flaws, your wife’s trust and respect grows’as does her willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt when needed. So long, that is, as you’re submitting to God.
On the other hand, your failure to submit to Scripture invites disorder, confusion, and fear into your home. It puts a formidable stumbling block in your pathway to oneness’not only with your wife, but with all members of your family. To put is plainly, men, God is not pleased with spiritual leaders who harbor sin.
Guys, when you’re romancing your wife, it must be on her terms in order to be effective. You have to do what she considers fun, what she considers romantic. That’s what shows your wife that you’ve listened to her, learned her, and you’re attentive to her desires and needs. This demonstrates love.
But there’s another’often overlooked’side of romantic expression: doing things for her that she hates doing herself. For instance, I know a woman who absolutely hates washing silverware after meals. Her husband knows this about her, and often steps in to wash silverware for her’even if he doesn’t have time to wash the sink full of dishes.
So why is doing for your wife what she hates doing romantic to her? Once again, it shows that you’ve taken the time to know her, and that you have the desire to serve her. In other words, it shows her your relationship’s an intimate one.
One woman named Cheryl shared this story: ‘Sometimes I don’t want to do the mundane things like grocery shopping alone. It’s not one of Rod’s favorite things either. But he goes with me if I ask, and he makes it fun just because we’re together. And there’s been more than one classical concert he’s suffered through with me.’
Do you sense that Cheryl feels romance in her marriage? I certainly do.