We always talk of women not resenting the role that God has given them, and to be submissive to her husband. However, in saying that we men must also practice what we preach, it is the man’s responsibility to find out what makes the woman tick, and to cherish her so much that he will make the adjustments necessary for her emotional well being.
Ephesians 5:23 – By listening to the Father, Jesus Christ was instructed as to how best to care for His Bride, and we as husbands, if we are truly listening to Christ, will be instructed as to how best to care for our wives, and give our lives for them. This doesn’t mean doing everything they want, Jesus didn’t do that for us, but it does mean being so in tune with God that we will always be thinking of what is best, regardless of what it costs us. It is a high calling, indeed, and can only be accomplished by grace. No wonder the world cannot stand for this type of “role playing” because they cannot stand up to the standard of Christ. With God’s help we can learn to serve our wives as Christ served the church.
Don’t resent the fact that this learning will be a process; you don’t just decide you want to and try to do it you have to learn it. We don’t automatically know all there is to know about how to do this, because each person is different, and each situation is different, and your personal chemistry between each other in each situation is different, and your shared experience will also be different. It is not simply a cookie cutter thing, you will get some basic ideas but you will have to keep developing the skill. You must want it and realize it is worth because it doesn’t happen automatically just because you want it to.
Now it will go much better if you do want it to, but even then you will take missteps and make mistakes because she doesn’t know what she wants in a particular situation either, she may have not experienced this before and you two together may not have been there before. You cannot be harsh with them, you cannot grow bitter against them, you cannot just say, “well what is it that you want, what will make you happy” in some loud voice because the likely answer may be a loud “I don’t know”. Men it is your job to help her find out, and the bible teaches that you aren’t to resent your role.
Think about Jesus and how His bride often acts: not even as nice as your wife. His bride doesn’t want to cooperate all that well and He doesn’t yell at her and say, “well what is it that you want”. He is patent kind peaceful and ready to find out and to give what it takes provided it is in our best interest and He is so close to the Father He knows exactly what that is. So men you job is to get close to God so you don’t foul this thing up too bad, and to not be bitter that you have to learn what makes your bride bloom in every situation.
Guys, still think you are doing all you can and that it is all her fault? Still think we men have the good part and have it easy, ladies? Well I know many if not most men don’t do these things and they just fall back on submission and let it go from there, but they will be losing out on a better marriage and may wind up with a bitter marriage. They will also be losing rewards in heaven for it, and ladies, if you put up with it you will be earning them. Why not both man and wife know their role and relish the opportunity to love one another in the power and grace of God?
There is no universal secret of being content in marriage, beyond the principles we have seen here in the Bible; love Jesus first and then love as Jesus loves. We must take these to heart, and then apply them in our lives as situations appear. In other words, we have to take what the Bible says and then learn it, which means we learn to live it. To learn something means more than saying, “Yeah, I see that, I know what it says, I believe it.” To learn means to make choices, to practice over and over. If you are to know in experience you must undergo the learning process.
You don’t just decide on it, or claim it, or speak it out, or meditate on it, or repeat the verse over and over on your refrigerator. Without concrete action attached to that, it is like using the cookie cutter without putting the cookies in the oven, without really engaging your heart. That isn’t renewing your mind that is just wasting your time. You cannot use a cookie cutter like that because those cookies grow stale; only fresh baked cookies from the warm oven of your heart will satisfy your partners inner desires. It is all about discovery and development.
1 Peter 3:7 – if you don’t live with you wife in an understanding way, all you prayers for her to “get better” won’t mean a thing, and it hinders everything else in your prayer life. Obviously this role development and learning process is very important, and we cannot allow ourselves to become bitter about it. To become like Jesus in His role as husband to the bride, we must be learning to love Jesus and learning to love our wives, increasingly, no matter how good we are currently doing, the standard of Christ is higher. By grace you can be doing it. It isn’t a matter of getting there it is a matter of going there. Now that you understand your role, man, go to it…