By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
As we plopped down on the couch after a long day, the look on his face told me everything. I put my phone down to give him my undivided attention. Recently my husband switched jobs, and as much as he enjoys his new role, it came with a little more stress than he expected. The adjustment has been hard on all of us, but after a grueling week, all he wanted to do was chill out and watch tv to decompress.
As we began flipping through the guide to find a show, I asked him what he needed from me. I truly wanted to know what I could do to help as we were both running a thousand different directions between work, sporting events, and school activities. We had both reached utter burnout, and while we may have wanted to watch something to zone out, I knew I needed to pause and take a moment to listen to his heart. So, I took the remote and asked again, "What do you need from me?" After a while of pondering the question, a half-smile came across his face, and his answer was this - "Love. Respect. And an occasional back rub." Such a simple but genuine answer.
As we returned to our regular scheduled time of zoning out on the couch to watch Alone (a documentary about ten men that see if they could survive alone in the wilderness), those three things landed heavily on my heart. Then I began to wonder if I actually give that to him on a regular or daily basis.
Being lost in thought, I was drawn quickly back when one of the men on the show began talking about how much he missed his wife and children, adding that he didn't really like being alone. Hmmm. Our husbands may be wired differently and may even have a natural instinct that kicks in during survival situations, but they weren't meant to survive alone. When God made man, He also created a "helper" (aka us) because He knew it wasn't good for them to be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
If we really want to uncover what our husbands need, let's first start by going to their Creator. What does God say our husbands need? Maybe it does have a little something to do with love, respect, and a back rub.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Proverbs 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Song of Solomon 4:9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart, with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.
Ladies, do you see the underlying theme? Our actions of love and respect speak volumes to our husbands. They desperately need us to first submit to Christ with our whole hearts, then submit our hearts to them. We can do that by praying and supplication. There is power in our prayers, and when we invite God into our hearts asking him to reveal what our husbands truly need, we become the wives God calls us to be.
1. Love Him by Letting Him Lead
Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Submit. That word has gotten a bad rap recently. However, before you roll your eyes and step away, let me draw you back in with this – you and your husband were both called to submit. Submit first and foremost to the Lord. A husband can only lead well if his heart aligns with Jesus. That doesn't mean that he can't lead if it isn't. It just means he won't lead well if it isn't.
This is where you, the faithful and devoted wife, come in. By your submission to Christ and your fervent prayers, you invite God to be head of your marriage, so your husband can lead the marriage. As a leader, your husband takes on quite the role. It is a huge responsibility. He is called to love you and your family as Christ did the church. And if you remember, Christ died for the church. So, in essence, your husband is called to walk in a humble way leading by putting you and your family's needs before his own, willing to sacrifice his life for you in the literal and figurative sense.
Your husband has a huge burden to carry if you truly think about it. This is why he needs you! He can't do it alone, nor was he meant to. Our role is to support them by walking alongside them with encouraging words and actions. Letting them know they are not only capable but called to lead with love. (I Corinthians 11:3) We can show our appreciation of his God-given leadership by actually letting him lead.
Your husband will gauge his success by reading and measuring your happiness. When you are unhappy, it sends up a red flag. If the trend of unhappiness continues, he will wave the flag of surrender in many cases, giving up and losing hope. This is why we must listen to our husband's cries for help and choose our words wisely. Give him thanks and praise when he leads well and pray for him when he falls short and feels lost. In the end, your dear husband desperately seeks your approval and needs it to be able to lead. When you shower him with words of encouragement and offer to listen to his heart, you give him the confidence to be the man God is calling him to be!
2. Respect His Role as Protector and Provider
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Men are called to be the primary providers (Timothy 5:8), claiming they deny their faith if they don't provide. They are also called to protect their families. (1 Peter 3:7) God may have created us equally but formed our bodies differently. While we may be able to also provide for our families, we have a different skill set that is used to complement our husbands. Our husbands are uniquely equipped to physically protect and financially provide. So, we must let them do just that!
We live in a society that is downplaying and outright lying about what it means to be a man, much less a man of God. We need to let our husbands know we value and need their protection and provision and that we love the way God designed them to be strong and courageous. By acknowledging their efforts, we build trust. They need to be reminded that they are good enough and "fit" to provide and protect. They need to hear that we believe in them, especially when the world loudly declares otherwise. When we speak gently and lovingly with a sincere heart, our men feel empowered to do just about anything!
Proverbs 31:10 lays out pretty clearly how to be a wife of noble character. Ladies, we need to recognize the power we hold in helping create our husbands to be Godly men. Where God equips our men with outer strength, God equips us with an inner strength that shows poise, integrity, and diligence, among many other beautiful qualities. By embracing our femineity, we show our husbands they need us for that inner strength. When a wife walks with grace and a husband walks in humility, both serving the Lord and their families, it sends a message to a very lost and confused world that men and women were created and designed differently for a reason and a beautiful purpose.
3. Pursue Him Passionately
Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Remember that back rub my husband added for the things he needed? Yep. There really is something about physical touch that we all need. From a mother's warm hug to leaning in on a friend in times of need. God gave us this sense of comfort as a gift. Knowing that He can meet all our needs, God still gave us the gift of a special kind of physical affection only to be enjoyed in the confines of a marriage. When we say our vows, we pledge to give our husbands our hearts, minds, and bodies. He pledges to do the same. This is the most sacred human covenant as two have been joined together as one flesh, under God.
The truth is – your husband needs you, all of you. He desires your body. God created Him that way as He created man in His own image. God's constant pursuit of our hearts makes our husbands in constant pursuit of ours. To your husband, sex is a vital part of becoming one flesh and feeling deeply connected to you.
Unfortunately, we live in a sinful and lust-filled society that has twisted the beauty found in marital sex. These broken views are causing many men to stumble and fall. We need to guard our husbands' hearts and minds as they can easily become susceptible to falling into the worldly trap. Think of it this way. Eve (we) gave Adam (man) the apple, which brought about these types of sins, so now we live in a world where our men are tempted with bad fruit - all the time. We must offer our husbands what is pure, innocent, and good. We must offer them good fruit found in the confines of a marital bed.
While sex must be a mutual decision, we must know that we invite sin into our marriage without it (or by withholding it). So, let's begin to view sex differently. Instead of seeing it as an obligation, see it as a beautiful way to grow closer to your husband. And that it is indeed good.
A Prayer for Your Husband
Thank you for my husband. Please lead and guide him in all that he does. Give him the confidence to lead and make choices that align with Your will. Put a layer of protection around his heart and mind. Give him the courage to be the husband, father, and friend you are calling him to be. Bless our marriage and help us grow closer together while drawing all the more closer to You.
3 Things Every Husband Is Called To by Alicia Searl
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Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.