The Bible reminds us that our wife is a physical, emotional and physical being, created that way by God. It only makes sense that we should love her at all three levels of her being. In Part 1, we discussed making love on a spiritual level – be sure and read that Part.
What about at the emotional level?
The largest and most recent survey of married women (Wilcox & Nock) revealed the answer to this simple question: What makes a married woman happy? The overwhelming #1 answer was – “The emotional engagement of my husband”.
Sadly, most of us husbands don’t really know what that means. So, here is my attempt to skim the surface of a very long and comprehensive answer.
Your wife wants time with you. Not just in the same room watching tv, but real time with you. Time to connect, to talk about what is going on in her life and in yours, and time to dream/plan together for what’s up ahead. This is time w/o cellphone or children interruptions or business calls. Movies are great, double dates are fun – but there is no substitute for time alone with just the two of you. Remember dating each other, talking, laughing, just being together? Do that again…..and more often.
Even if we make the time, there is something inside most men that resists talking to our wives on a level below surface level. Not sure why that is, but most of us have a hard time sharing our heart with our most significant companion and helper. What are we thinking about, a little afraid of, worried about or need prayer for? We seem to be much more open to share these things with other people before allowing our wife a glimpse into our heart. But, that is exactly what she desires. Are you man enough to ask her this question – “Honey, how can I be a better husband”? And then have the courage to simply listen to her heart, respond with kindness and humility to whatever comes our of her mouth, and then deliberately doing the things she may suggest……… game changer……
Jesus gives us a “new commandment” in John 13:34 to love one another “as He has loved us”. This is not a holy suggestion. Jesus’ life and death serves as our ultimate example. Paul tells in later in Philippians what that looked like –
Philippians 2 tells us that we should have the “same attitude” that Jesus had when he came from heaven to earth. We should “humble ourselves” and “take on the form of a servant. even unto death”.
Our wives want us to lay aside our natural selfishness and the comforts we feel we deserve – roll up our sleeves and get involved in our marriage, in raising our kids, and in planning and running our home. I Corinthians 7:33 tells us that our number one priority each day (after our walk with God) should be “to please our wife”. Is that what occupies our mind when we wake up each day? Do we plan our day around how to “please” her, how to lighten her load, or how to serve her or lay down our life for her “like” Jesus did for us?
No, it does matter how she responds or performs or whether she reciprocates. God commands us to love her “like Christ” loves us – which is unconditionally, and regardless of her response.
Loving our wife emotionally means loving her at her level – a heart level. It means having the courage to be vulnerable, and to humble ourselves. It means obeying God’s 11th commandment, and laying down our life to serve her and make her world a better place – every day.
Fall short? absolutely. Impossible? you bet.
God knows the only way we can possibly love like Jesus is to be surrendered to God like Jesus was (See John 15:5). We cannot, and will not, love our wives this way without His direct involvement.
So, the way to your wife’s heart is by surrendering your heart to the One Who created marriage in the first place, admitting we stink at it, and asking Him to love her through us.
(It will also mean a lot to your wife to apologize and ask her forgiveness for falling way short in this area and asking her to pray for you as you try to live life more surrendered to Christ and more focused on pleasing her).
Phil. 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Let Him love her through you,