Clarifying Male Sacrifice

Steve Arterburn

Guys, let’s get practical about sacrificial thinking. If we’re to love and serve our wives in the manner God desires, we must understand at least the following three things going on:

 

First, sacrificial thinking isn’t giving your wife everything she wants. It’s making sure her essence is expressed and honored equally alongside yours, in the same way the white stripe is expressed equally with the red on a candy cane.

Second, sacrificial thinking is more than taking her thoughts into consideration. It’s taking those thoughts and putting them into play with as much emphasis and care as you give your own thoughts’even if some of her thought processes may not make sense to you as a guy. If you don’t act upon them, there’ll be no oneness. She’ll feel trampled and disregarded, no matter how often you say, ‘But darling, I listened to you. I just felt my way was better.’

Third, you must develop your own style of carrying out this sacrificial thinking’a style that’s customized to the character and needs of your particular marital situation. You may not always agree with my answers. That’s fine. Answers aren’t nearly as important as the way of coming to them. Your wife is different from you wife’s best friend, and you’re different from me. Therefore, the answers may be different. But, men, the use of the servant mind-set must always be consistent among all of us if we wish to love our wives as ourselves.

Parental Teamwork

Steve Arterburn

Men, as the father in the home, you shoulder a great responsibility in raising your children. How will you and your wife go about it? What standards will you choose? How will you discipline? What values will you teach and demonstrate?

 

These questions are crucial; and whether it’s intentional or merely by default, they’re all communicated to your children. Intentionality is the key; and it’s a huge help when you and your wife are on the same page.

You and your wife can provide two basic elements in your home that are invaluable to helping your children become the individuals God wants them to be. One is consistency. There are few things worse than one parent operating off one set of values while the other confuses, and ultimately, sabotages those principles with a competing set of values. Parents must strive to agree on core values’living them and passing them on in a unified front to their kids.

The second important concept in raising kids is teamwork. Guys, surrender your individual rights and the blatant exertion of authority and be your wife’s teammate. Help her. Share duties. Pitch in. And never undermine your wife’s position by making yourself appear more important in the eyes of your children.

Instead, help your children learn to honor their mother and to appreciate the value of a woman. This bedrock principle will have a tremendous impact on your kids’ future.

Romance

Steve Arterburn

Men tend to be less romantically inclined than women. In itself, that’s fine. However, we shouldn’t let that tendency cause us to fall short when it comes to stoking the fires of our marriage.

It’s easy to think, ‘Okay, now I’ve got a wife. What’s next on the agenda?’ But men, that’s a big mistake. Romance lies at the heart of the female essence. Most wives are incurable romantics, and it’s highly unlikely that your wife’s an exception.

Bring her flowers on your anniversary, or sometimes for no particular reason at all. Take her to eat at your old haunts; drive by your old homes and apartments; skip a Monday night football game to take her to dinner; walk together at dusk holding hands; and give the gift of your time generously.

Romance tends to become less a priority after marriage. To make matters worse, many of us tend to confuse sex for romantic intimacy. One married woman put it like this:

‘I love the romantic intimacy of a hug and extra attention, but any little hug and kiss I give’seems to suggest that I want to make love. How exasperating! I just want him to know that I love him, and I just want the same response back without feeling that I have to jump into bed. I just want him to hold me and talk to me; I just want to be near him.’

Men, being mindful and responsive to your wives’ need for romance is one of the most practical and powerful ways to love and honor her.