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?
The current trend in our society is that more and more wives and mothers are reentering the workplace. Different families have different needs. And many have decided this is what best serves them.
Yet at the same time, some families are bucking this societal trend. They’ve decided it’s not in their family’s best interest to have mom working outside the home. And while this is a great decision for many families, it’s not a decision that comes free from difficulties.
Anytime you buck a societal trend, there’s a price to pay. For mothers who stay home to raise their children, one price they pay is a drop in social status. This is sad because stay-at-home moms work so hard and sacrifice so much. Current characterizations of stay-at-home moms tend to be patronizing at best, and at worst, downright derogatory.
As a result, guys, the choice to stay home with the kids can be hard on your wife’s self-esteem’even if it’s a decision she believes in and is thrilled about.
So if you and your wife have chosen to buck the trend, I encourage you to ask yourself the following three questions:
- What can I do to lighten her load?
- How can I encourage her and affirm the great value of what she’s doing?
- What practical steps can I take to make staying home with our children less physically and emotionally draining on my wife?
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.