For about the last year, I've had the privilege of teaching women about a very important subject. It is a subject that you husbands will appreciate and applaud, I'm sure. I have been teaching wives about the importance of speaking love to their husbands the way most husbands want to be loved. Yep, I'm talking about sex. I've been helping women find ways to overcome their insecurities and dedicate themselves to loving their husbands with heart, mind, and more specifically... their BODY.
What I haven't had the opportunity to do is speak to the husbands on the subject of how to intentionally love their wives. I feel like I've been teaching half the class and completely ignoring the other half! Because a women's ability to love her husband physically is so connected with how loved she feels in return. Now, don't get me wrong; I teach that as wives, we have to "love" our husbands regardless of how well they love us in return. But let's be honest: that resolve and dedication only go so far. Eventually they burn out. Unless you keep them fueled. I want to give you a woman's perspective on how you can do that for your wife.
We have all heard it said that women want more romance. And romance is nice. But when it comes right down to it, we want more than that; romance is really just part of the package. In fact, I surveyed a group of women to find out what the top three things were that they needed from their men to make them feel loved and out of 16 different answers, only ONCE was "romance" mentioned. What is romance, anyway? Remove our picture of "romance" created by the latest trendy movie or novel; those are at best unrealistic. Romance in a marriage is made of the little things...the things more adeptly defined by the women who answered and said they wanted the occasional gift, the display of thoughtfulness, the adoring words. Romance can involve special evenings or events, but it can also be the card left on her dresser or the message you leave on her voicemail. Yes, I think "romance" could be re-defined as thoughtfulness.
We want to know you're thinking of us.
Because we're thinking of you ALL.THE.TIME.
The most common answer I got from women when I asked them what they needed from their husbands was (try not to be shocked) TIME. We want you to spend TIME with us. Without the computer, without the phone, without the television. We want your undivided attention. We want you to enjoy spending time with us, talking to us, sharing with us. I know some men panic at the thought of having to have a one-on-one, honest conversation with their wife. What will we talk about? What if she wants me to talk and not just listen? What if...? Guys, I promise it will be worth the time and effort. Think of it as an investment with an amazing return. When you intentionally spend time listening to and interacting with your wife, her love-meter will be off the charts. And when she feels that good about you, she will be so much more eager to show you.
Some of the other answers I got from my survey were: affirmation, support/help, affection, adoration, honor, patience, faithfulness... It was a surprisingly long list. But as I looked over the answers, I just kept coming back to one thought: Women want to be TREASURED. We want you to think of us and treat us as if we really are the best thing that ever walked into your life. We want to be treated as you would a priceless jewel -- carefully, lovingly, tenderly. We want you to be proud of us and boast about us. And we need to be reminded often (and in many ways) that we are your treasure. Do you know that for many of us, our self-image and self-confidence are deeply rooted in how our husbands treat us and in how they portray us to others? In fact, the way you treat your wife will often reinforce -- for the good or bad -- her image of how God loves her! I'm guessing you didn't realize you had that much influence in her life. Pretty amazing, isn't it?
In Ephesians 5, Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. That is, He gave Himself up for her. Verses 28 and 29 say:"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church." He feeds and cares for it. I would daresay that to "feed" your wife has nothing at all to do with actual food. Instead, feed her confidence. Feed her sense of self-worth. Feed her soul. Speak words to her that build her up. Give her affection (without demanding something in return). Show her that you adore her. Lead her in Godliness. Put some wind in her wings and watch her soar!
If you and your wife struggle with your physical relationship, if you feel like your wife isn't willing to meet your needs in the bedroom, I challenge you to take a look at how well you are "loving" her. Are you treating her like a priceless gem? Are you making it a point to treasure her each and every day? If not, make a commitment to find out what speaks the loudest to her and then do it. Again and again. As she feels more loved by you, she will be willing (eager, even!) to reciprocate. And as that cycle continues, it will only get better.
One of my favorite songs of all time is
recorded by Harry Connick, Jr. It is called "The Recipe For Love," and
it starts out like this: "A little bit of me and a whole lot of you..." When each partner in a marriage lives by that rule, they really do create the perfect recipe for love, and like Harry says, "It doesn't need sugar, 'cause it's already sweet. It doesn't need an oven, 'cause it's got a lotta heat." That being said, it's time to get off your computer. Go send your wife a text to say that you love her. Or write her a note. Or if you're lucky enough to be with her right now, go look her in the eyes and tell her how much of a treasure she is. Give her the right ingredients, and I promise you will end up with a love like no other.