Who is more at fault: the woman who deprives her husband of physical intimacy, or the husband who deprives his wife of emotional intimacy? This one’s a no-brainer, guys. It’s you — the husband. You’re the leader of the home. You set the example. You create the environment and set the tone. You show your family how to walk with Christ through your servant-leadership. And your initiative in this regard will go a long way in eliciting the response of others. In other words, this issue usually comes down to a matter of leadership.
So what’s your first step in this? I think the Lord’s words in the 6th chapter of Luke provide a clue. My paraphrase goes like this:
‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your wife’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your wife, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? Don’t be a hypocrite. You must first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your wife’s eye.’
The bottom line, guys, is this: If a husband isn’t willing to serve his wife by making it a priority to be intimate and tender with her outside the bedroom, how can he possibly expect his wife to readily respond to his desires inside the bedroom?
In Proverbs 31:29-31, the husband grants his wife her proper prestige with these words:
‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.’
Men, we’ll not only draw prestige from the success of our marriage relationship, but we must also be sure to build up the prestige of our wife. Of course, this begins in the home.
‘Building up’ begins with words, but must be verified and reinforced with actions. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3, ‘Husbands’be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as’heirs with you.’ Acknowledging that your wife is your fellow heir establishes that she’s entitled to the same honor and respect as you. By contrast, you have no right to rob her of what you ought to give, and what God promised she’d have. Oneness isn’t merely a feeling; it’s built on actions.
Moreover, building up the prestige of our wives doesn’t end in the home. What begins there must be carried out into the community. Here again, actions speak louder than words.
Gentlemen, can we justify placing our wives anywhere but in the highest place of prestige in our lives? We must set ourselves to the task of building up our wives’both inside and outside our homes.
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.