When Esther started dating Robert, she felt there was something different about him. He was quiet and stoic, and never got excited about too much of anything except when it came to his favorite West Texas football team. When they were playing, he became a different person, full of energy and expression. But other than those games, very little sound or passion came from Robert.
One day Robert took Esther out on a ski boat. He had flowers and wine. And after dinner he held her hand, and while processing said three words she’d never hear again, ‘I love you.’ Esther said yes to a life of quiet devotion.
Don’t get me wrong: Robert was a good man. He was faithful, hardworking, and generous with his wife. He cared for her when she was sick and listened intently when she told him of things that happened to her. But until the day he died, he’d only said, ‘I love you’ one time’the night he proposed to her.
Robert’s an extreme case of a man’s difficulty in expressing himself. But Esther and Robert’s story isn’t that far out when we consider the number of men who struggle to communicate with the women in their lives.
Do you choose to express you feelings by working hard, remaining faithful, and being a good father and husband? Your wife may appreciate these efforts. But remember: she still longs to hear you verbalize not only your love but also what you think about and feel.
When I first began reading the Gospels in the New Testament I was struck by several things: Jesus didn’t heal everybody; He was willing to say ‘No’ in a way that would be considered rude today; and He often fled from the masses ‘ he withdrew to rest.
The popular image of Jesus as a passive guy who couldn’t say ‘No’ and who catered to everyone’s beck and call is wrong. He argued, used strong language, said ‘No,’ and walked away. When it came to taking time for Himself, He provided an example we’d be wise to follow.
Men have responded pretty well to the current mindset in our culture that suggests men need to be more involved at home. You probably do housework, change diapers, shop for groceries, play with the kids, date your wife, and help with homework. But having adopted this mindset, many men feel guilty about taking time off for themselves. I don’t mean a ski trip to Colorado. I’m talking more about just taking a few hours here and there to regroup.
Often husbands will stay with the kids while their wives get together with the girls, but they don’t plan similar events for themselves. Do you think your wife needs a break and you don’t? That’s a big mistake.
Friend, if ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,’ it’ll also make him an increasingly dull husband and father. Take care not to let this happen to you.
When you were courting your wife, she was worthy of speaking to yous on any topic at every level, wasn’t she? Think back to those heady days of dating. You couldn’t drink in enough conversation from the young woman you knew you were going to marry. You loved hearing every thought, every hope, and all her deepest dreams. You were learning her, and it was a thrilling, rewarding experience. Every opinion was a lovely thread in the tapestry she wove around your heart. But that was then; this is now. Somehow, somewhere, and at some nebulous point in time, things changed’
No guy would ever envision tuning out his lover before the wedding day. But in marriages all across the fruited plain, countless men snuff out the voices of their wives seeking to express themselves.
What this does to marital oneness isn’t pretty. Snuffing out your wife’s voice is a sin against her. It’s also a sin against God, because it discards and hinders His purposes for her voice in His kingdom.
Relationships, like people, go through stages of development. Therefore, I’d no sooner suggest that you recreate the first months of dating than I would for you to try becoming a teenager again. I’m simply suggesting that, somewhere along the way, most of us have lost sight of something wonderful’something worthy of being reclaimed: an eager excitement to learn our wives. Men, our wives are precious jewels ‘ don’t overlook and fail to appreciate them!