Understanding Your Wife’s Heart: Part 11

New Life Ministries

How a Woman Thinks

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7, NIV)

It’s Not About You

Another translation says to ‘live with your wives in an understanding way.’ One of ways to be ‘understanding’ is to remember that when your wife is upset, it’s not about you. It’s so easy for us as men to react to our wife’s emotions as if they are an indictment on us.

Somewhere deep inside we feel like it is our job to make our wife happy, and when they aren’t we feel powerless. We feel like a failure. It makes us uncomfortable ‘ we hate not knowing what to do.

So what do we do? Instead of focusing on the hurt our wife is experiencing, we often try to get rid of our uncomfortable feelings by stopping our wife’s emotions. One way we try to bring emotions to an end is by ‘fixing the problem.’ Of course, your wife does not want to be treated like a problem that needs to be fixed.

A second way we try to make these tense situations end is to shame our wife into feeling bad about feeling bad. ‘If you wouldn’t get so emotional maybe we could work on our marriage.’

Using the analogy of a tennis match, when we try to cut off our wife’s emotions by ‘fixing it’ or shaming her, we have just ended a point with an overhead smash. An overhead smash is a great way to end a rally in tennis, but not a very good way to honor your wife.

Empathize with Her

When your wife is upset, she doesn’t want you to fix it’she wants to be heard. She wants you to empathize.

One of a woman’s greatest needs is for intimacy and emotional connection. At a time of great stress, if you turn her away, she gets the message that you are not really there for her. She begins to feel like she is not safe with you.

Consider this diagnostic question: the last time your wife went through an emotional time, who did she turn to? Who did she call on the phone? Who did she go see? Often a woman will share her hurt with a female friend who will listen and empathize with her.

With her friends, she is not afraid to cry and show real emotions. She knows she will still be heard. While it makes sense that a woman would turn to friends in a time of need, it does raise the question, ‘Why is it so hard for many men to provide this emotional connection for their wives?’

Besides feeling uncomfortable and wanting the emotions to end, many men often desire to ‘win’ in the discussion. We often want our wife to know we were right.

Men typically believe that empathizing with their wife is the same thing as saying she is justified in what she believes or the way she feels. So if I don’t agree with my wife’s conclusions, I find it difficult to validate her emotions. I feel two-faced, like I am saying I agree with her when I don’t.

Let’s say she is upset about a joke someone made about her clothes. You believe it was an innocent comment made in jest; she believes it was an intentional insult. Most men would be hesitant to validate her feelings for fear that she would believe they agreed with her conclusion about the comment.

As men, we need to separate these two ideas. We can disagree with our wife’s conclusion or feelings but still understand that those feelings are real and hurtful. In the moment, it’s enough to say, ‘I know it hurts when you feel like you have been attacked.’ There’ll be time later to talk about the reality behind the pain.

If we really want to bring about transformation, the best way to do that is to support our wives emotionally until they come to a place where we can prayerfully work together and see things the way God would want us to.

She needs us to empathize with her and let her know that we understand ‘ and also to tell her what we are thinking and feeling, even if it includes that we are uncomfortable with her feelings.

Selflessly Loving Her Will Make You Happy

The paradox of marriage is the paradox of the gospel’when we lose our life for others we find it again. If you put your wife first in every situation, including honoring her emotions, then God promises you will find a deeper joy than you could otherwise ever know.


Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:25-28, NIV)

He who loves his wife loves himself. Why? Because you were made to love God and others, and when you do this you are doing exactly what God made you to do. The most ‘selfish’ thing you can do as a husband is to sacrificially lay down your life for your wife. This will bring you the greatest joy.

The beauty of God’s plan is that your sacrificial love will also help to make her holy.

Your wife is not always right and you are not always wrong’it will usually be a combination of both. Emotions can be a righteous reaction to circumstances or a manipulative attempt at control’and everything in between.

What God wants is for us as men to be less worried about who is right or wrong and how we can win, and more worried about how we can help our wife become everything He wants her to be.

The Big Idea is this: Your wife’s heart is a treasure, and God has entrusted it to you. When a woman is not OK, she wants her husband to recognize it, then pursue her and listen to her heart. She wants us to honor her emotions.

Treat your wife with dignity and respect. Listen to her heart. Serve her and lead her to a greater love for Christ and for you. This is what marriage is all about.

After attending Every Man’s Battle, we strongly encourage you to attend our marriage program at our New Life Weekend
This weekend will help your marriage to heal from the wounds of
impurity and will especially help your wife with questions that she
still may have.


Understanding Your Wife’s Heart: Part 5

New Life Ministries

Your wife can be your ‘comrade in arms’ if she understands the battle for sexual purity and the road you have chosen for sexual integrity. Because male sexual impurity can be unsettling, even shocking, to women, we’ve included this section of interviews with women regarding Every Man’s Battle to give you awareness of how to relate better to your wife and communicate with her in your struggle to be and stay free. Be aware there’s a natural tug-of-war in the hearts of women between pity and disgust, between mercy and judgment.

The Wife’s Role of Modeling Godliness and Holiness

Question: Do you believe that God has given you, as a wife, a responsibility to be a role model of godliness and holiness to your husband? We received some interesting comments to this question.

Some women don’t feel modeling godliness for their husbands is their role at all. Cathy said, ‘My responsibility is to love him, and that will manifest itself in godliness. But I feel the role model responsibility is primarily his, since he’s the leader of our home.’

We don’t disagree with Cathy’s last statement, but we want to point out that since you’re one flesh with your husband, you have a right, even a duty to play such a role as well.

Question: If a wife acts as a role model, how should it look in every day life?

Heather said, ‘My first responsibility as a role model is to be pure and true sexually to my husband, as I expect him to be.’

Wendy said, ‘I don’t try to get Mark to do things that we both know are wrong, like watching sensual movies,’ she said. ‘I don’t do things that would be a stumbling block to him, like leaving Victoria’s Secret catalogs lying around open.’

Many women feel that they care more about godliness than their husbands do. (As men, this is to our shame.) Andrea said, ‘Lately, through the preaching of several men and a worship conference a year ago, I met God in a new way and have changed more in the past year than ever before. God has given me a deep desire to purify my life and my home. It’s been frustrating at times, though, because there have been many things I’ve wanted to change, but I’ve met resistance from my husband. He’s a wonderful Christian, but in talking with my sister recently, we’ve concluded there’s a tendency among men to brush off women’s attempts to purify our homes. For example, I’m no longer comfortable with certain movies. I don’t like to watch them, nor do I like my children to watch them. But rather than come across as a holier-than-thou person, God has helped me to keep my mouth shut after voicing my concerns and instead pray about the situation and to pray for my husband.’

Cathy added, ‘I’ve never felt I cared more about holiness than my husband, but I think I put more energy into it. Maybe it comes more easily to a woman; I don’t know. If he seems to be struggling in a certain area, if I confront him or try to be a leader, it has much less effect than when I pray and fast for him.’

Men, after attending Every Man’s Battle, we strongly encourage you to attend our marriage program at our New Life Weekend
This weekend will help your marriage to heal from the wounds of
impurity and will especially help your wife with questions that she
still may have.


Understanding Your Wife’s Heart: Part 6

New Life Ministries

Your wife can be your ‘comrade in arms’ if she understands the battle for sexual purity and the road you have chosen for sexual integrity. Because male sexual impurity can be unsettling, even shocking, to women, we’ve included this section of interviews with women regarding Every Man’s Battle to give you awareness of how to relate better to your wife and communicate with her in your struggle to be and stay free. Be aware there’s a natural tug-of-war in the hearts of women between pity and disgust, between mercy and judgment.

The Wife’s Role of Cherishing

Cherishing appears in many ways.
One of the simplest we heard was from Frances, who said, ‘I’m always thrilled to see my hubby, even when he’s far across the church.’

Deena said, ‘I’m trying very hard to speak only good things of him and to build him up. I’m trying not to cut him down even when joking, being sure to consider his feelings as much as my own these days.’

Brenda said, ‘Cherishing often manifests itself in simple, daily things more than big romantic things. Things like doing my jobs at home and cutting finances when necessary. It should also show in my obvious desire to be with Fred all the time.’

These daily acts create feelings of cherishing and tenderness, but comparison can tear out a man’s heart. Guys compare the neighborhoods they live in, the cars they drive, the people they socialize with, and the families they come from. Many men struggle with this to some degree, but most will never reveal this side of themselves to their wives, even when asked. They feel trapped by their fate.

It isn’t what part of town we live in that decides our fate in the end. Generally, that’s something we can’t control. What we can control is how much hope we give to our spouse. What a husband needs is someone to look deeply into his eyes to remind him that his wife loves him and God loves him.

When Ellen told her husband that she is content to live on the income he has provided without complaint or comparison, he was fulfilled. To Ellen, that essence is priceless. ‘My goal in life, next to loving and obeying God, has been to love and learn about my husband and to help him be fulfilled and to enjoy living life together.’

If Brenda compared Fred to some of her high-school peers, she would find that he’s doing quite well. If she financially compared him to the folks at church, she would probably find her family somewhere in the middle. If she compared him to his Stanford peers, he’d probably rank as a scraggly, underachieving dog. But that’s how comparison works. It’s relative and, therefore, unreliable.

Who cares anyway? ‘The essential thing I owe Fred is faithfulness and trustworthiness,’ she said. ‘No one else in his life has proven completely true in these areas. I’m absolutely committed that although we may differ sometimes, I’ll always be faithful to him. I will stay his one and only.’

Brenda respects what she’s found and treats the weak spots tenderly. When she’s cherishing him like this, it becomes easy for Fred to cherish her in return.

After attending Every Man’s Battle, we strongly encourage you to attend our marriage program at our New Life Weekend
This weekend will help your marriage to heal from the wounds of
impurity and will especially help your wife with questions that she
still may have.