What Your Husband Wishes You Knew About Being His Wife

March 26, 2010 Bob Lepine

Session Transcript

Bob Lepine: We still have some women who are trickling in, and there are still some seats around the back and on some of the edges over here, so we’re going to let them come in and trickle, but we’re going to go ahead and get started. I want to make sure we have plenty of time to plow through the subject this afternoon and some time left over, hopefully, for some interaction—either questions or you may have some comments by the time it’s over because I may have left some things out on this subject. I’ll just turn the microphone over to you and let you fill us in, okay?

So let’s start with a word of prayer. Can we do that?

Father, thank you for this time together with these dear women. Thank You for the gift that You have given us of marriage and how You use that in our lives to grow us more and more to the image of Christ. Help us understand You and help us understand one another better in this time. I pray that You might do by Your Spirit what You promised to do, and that is to, if there are bruised reeds in here, bring comfort. If there are women in here who need to be admonished, I pray that You would admonish them gently. And if there are women who need to be corrected, I pray that You would, again, be kind in Your comforting of them, and I pray it in Your name, amen.

Alright, what I’m going to try to do this afternoon is fill you in as best I can, as a representative of the other half of the race. (laughter) I’m going to try to do my best to fill you in on what I think most guys would want me to say to you, most of your husbands would want me to say to you to help you better understand how men think and how different we think than the way you think.

How many of you have been married for less than a year? Anybody here married less than a year? Okay, we have a few hands. Did it take you long to figure out that he thinks differently than you think?

It’s an interesting phenomenon, when we’re dating we go, “The thing that I love so much about this other person is how alike we are.” Right? Then we get married and we go, “What happened to you? How did you turn into this person?”

It’s surprising. In fact, I have to tell you, my wife who is here with me . . . Would you mind standing up and just waving to the ladies? Here’s my wife, Mary Ann. For those of you who know and have been praying, her kidney stone has not yet passed. (groans) Yes, so you can continue to pray for her. If in the middle of the session she is on the ground writhing, I will pause to pray for her. (laughter). No, she’s doing okay, but you could pray that God would remove that thorn in her flesh and restore her.

But Mary Ann read Shaunti Feldhahn’s helpful little book For Women Only about five or six years ago, I think. We’d been married 20-plus years at the time, and there was still stuff in there that she’d go, “Really? Is this true?” I’ll just tell you, I think Shaunti’s book is very helpful. It’s not biblical, but it’s not unbiblical. You know what I mean? She’s not, it’s not chapter and verse.

In fact, I should say, a lot of what we’re going to talk about this afternoon, we’ll talk about the Scriptures, but most of the things I’m going to share with you are more observational than Scriptural. It’s more common revelation, or general revelation than special revelation. You understand the difference?

You can look at the sky and know there’s a God. That’s general revelation. Well, it’s general revelation to look and see that there are differences between men and women. It’s special revelation to look at the Scriptures and see how and why some of that is.

We’re going to be looking at some of what the Scriptures have to say today, but then I’m also going to give you some observations I’ve made about men and women and marriage and what guys would like for you to know.

So let’s set a context for this by looking at what God has revealed in His Word. I’m going to give you an overview of the Bible in about three minutes, okay? (laughter) Seriously.

The big story of the Bible is this: God creates; man corrupts. God redeems; and there is a consummation to come. That’s it. That’s the story of Scripture. God creates; man corrupts. There is a process by which redemption is accomplished and revealed, and then there is a consummation yet to come. That’s the story of the Bible.

Now, here’s what you need to know: God creates in Genesis 1 and 2; man corrupts in Genesis 3; redemption starts in Genesis 3, verse 15, and continues all the way through Scripture until you get to Revelation 21 and 22, which is the consummation. If you want to do a fun study sometime, read Genesis 1 and 2 and Revelation 21 and 22 together and see how what happens in the new heaven and the new earth is a restoration of what was intended at the beginning of creation. God’s plan has not been thwarted, it has been interrupted. That what He set out with in Genesis 1 and 2, He will accomplish at the end of the age in the new heaven and the new earth. He’s just cleaning up the mess right now, the mess that we made.

So I want to look at this beginning creation point because it does help us understand a little bit about God’s intent and design for male and female and in the marriage relationship.

Genesis 1:27 says this—you don’t need to turn here, it’s very simple. It just says: “And so God created him, male and female; in the image of God He created them, male and female” (paraphrased). And what we see there is that God’s original intent for creation was that His glory would be reflected in two people, two different people reflecting together His image.

Now, each one of us in this room is an image-bearer of God. Right? The image of God is stamped on your soul, but when a man and a woman come together in a marriage relationship, there is something reflected about the character and nature of God that is not reflected in an individual image of a God bearer. In fact, when it says, “in the image of God He created him,” there is a “we” there in the creation. There is a plurality. There is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together. Three distinct Persons yet one in essence. Creating two distinct persons who He brings together and makes what? One. So in our oneness in marriage, we reflect something of the Trinitarian nature of God that you would not see if you just looked at individuals for the image of God marked in them. There’s a special point.

In fact, I would suggest this to you: When we think of creation, we usually think there are six days of creation, and at the end of the six days, God rests. Well, that’s true. That’s the big story of creation. But if you read Genesis 1, in the account of creation, Genesis 2 comes back in and picks up in the middle of that sixth day and elaborates a little bit.

So, for example, you see God creating light and darkness, and then you see Him creating the firmament, and then there are plants, and then there are fish, and then there are birds, and then there are people on the sixth day.

Then in Genesis 2, Moses comes back around and says, “Now, let me unpack a little bit about what happened on that sixth day,” because God did not create the man and the woman at the same time, did He? You know the account—Genesis chapter 2. This is fascinating. At the end of each day of creation, what did God say about what He had just created? (Audience responds: “It is good.”) It’s good. When He got to the end of the whole thing, He said . . . (Audience responds: “It’s very good.”) It’s very good. You get to Genesis 2:18, there is a shocking statement: God says, “It is not good.”

Now, He has been creating everything. Everything He has created is good. For Him to look at something and say, “It’s not good,” sin hasn’t messed anything up yet. So what He’s saying when He’s saying, “It is not good,” is really, “I’m not done yet.”

I would suggest to you that creation is not completed until the man and the woman had been created and then brought together and this new oneness is created in marriage. The end of creation is the wedding. The last thing God creates is a married couple. He’s created the man; He’s created the woman, but He’s not done until He brings them together and creates one out of two, a one-flesh creation. That’s the pinnacle of God’s creation, and it’s also, once He’s done, the first place that the enemy goes to attack.

Let me suggest to you today the pattern has not changed. The first place the enemy wants to undermine and attack in your life is in your marriage. Why? Because, in a unique way, you reflect the Trinitarian nature of God. He does not like that reflection, so he’ll marshal his forces to try to keep you from representing the oneness of God in your marriage.

Do you see that? Do you see how critical this is to the plan of God, how essential it is to creation, and how, what the enemy says when he comes in in Genesis 3 and says, “I’m going to see if I can disrupt this relationship because I know as soon as I can disrupt this relationship, then next thing that will happen is this relationship is going to go south real quick”?

You know the account. Eve was in the garden. She’s been told that there is this one tree in the middle of the garden that both the man and the woman had been told not to eat of this tree. The serpent comes in. He tempts her with, “Has God really said . . . ?” By the way, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, when she gives him what God has said, she adds to God’s Word. Have you ever noticed that? She said, “Well, God said we shouldn’t even touch it.”

Eve is the first legalist. ( laughter) Really. She is adding something to God’s Word and taking it up a notch. Satan knows as soon as he’s got her doing that, he’s got her. And so he says, “Oh, you won’t die. In fact, you’ll live. You’ll be as smart as God. God just doesn’t want you to be in control of your own life. Don’t you want to be in control of your own life?”

“When the woman saw that the fruit looked good to the eyes . . .” (Genesis 3:6). It was the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life to make one wise unto salvation. She took it, and she ate it, and she gave it to the man who was—where? With her.

You notice—who does God come looking for at the end of this? “Adam, where are you?” Eve was tempted and fell. Adam was passive, and in his passivity, what Adam should have been doing was, “Sweetheart, do not listen to that snake. What are you doing? No, no, honey, no. Snake, get out of here!” He should have gone and gotten the ax, gone after the snake, and told his wife to go back and be quiet. Right? (laughter).

So God comes to hold Adam accountable for what has just happened to the human race, but notice this: They both start to feel guilt—which they’ve never felt before—so they hide themselves. They start to feel shame—which they’ve never felt before—so those who were naked and unashamed now start to hide themselves with fig leaves from one another.

And then the next thing they do when God comes and says, “What happened here?” Adam says, “Well, she did it.” And not only that, but “God, it was the woman You gave me. I think You sent a defective model,” is what he’s saying. (laughter)

So God turns to the woman, and He says, “What happened here?” And she says, “Well, it was the snake.” So there’s this blame shifting going on. There’s no accountability. There’s no repentance. There’s no confession. There is just blaming. There is just pointing the finger elsewhere.

God graciously in the middle of that performs the first sacrifice of animals to provide animals skins for the man and the woman and gives them a promise that the seed that comes from the woman, “That snake may bruise your heel, but that seed will crush his head” (see Genesis 3:15). Hallelujah! That is Christ who is prefigured in Genesis chapter 3, and the rest of the story is pointing to Him and the cross both before and after before we reach the consummation.

So there’s something so profound going on in the garden. I want to make sure that you’re aware of that, but I also want to make sure, I want to go back to Adam before the Fall. Actually, I don’t like to call it “the Fall” because it sounds too passive. Before the Rebellion, because that’s what it was.

Before the Rebellion, Adam was in the garden, and God gave him an assignment to name the animals. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at Genesis 2 this carefully, but He says to Adam, “It’s not good for man to be alone. I’m going to make a helper suitable for him.” He doesn’t say that to Adam. He says that to Himself. Then He goes to Adam and He says, “I’ve got a job for you. I’m going to bring the animals by, and I’m going to have you name them.”

So Adam says, “Okay, whatever You say, Lord.”

So the animals come by, and God, in show-and-tell time, points out to Adam that what He’s bringing by, there are two of each kind that are kind of alike, but not exactly. So Adam goes, “Buck and doe; rooster and hen.” He’s naming all of the animals, and Adam may not have been the smartest . . . well, I guess he was the smartest guy in the world, but he’s also the dumbest guy in the world, so we’ll go with that. (laughter)

Pretty soon it dawns on Adam as he’s petting his Golden Retriever, who’s got another Golden Retriever laying right next to him, he’s going, “Where’s mine? Where is mine?” And God says, “Exactly. I wanted you to realize, Adam, that you needed someone. I gave you this whole exercise so that before I give you the gift, you recognize the need. You value what I’m going to give to you.”

Adam realized he had the need only after this animal-naming exercise. So God causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep, the Bible says, and that’s, by the way, why men snore and sleep as deeply as we do. It’s the vestiges of the garden still in us. (laughter) He falls into a deep sleep. He takes a rib from the side; He creates the woman. He creates Adam out of the dust of the ground. He creates woman out of the bone of Adam’s side, and then He wakes Adam up. He looks, after just naming all of the animals, and he looks at Eve, and he says, “This is now bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. There’s one like me. She’s different, but she’s like me.”

And then Adam names her. “She shall be called Isha. She shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of the side of man” (see Genesis 2:23). He thinks he’s pretty clever—a play on words—he’s Ish; she’s Isha. He goes, “I know a good name for her. We’ll call her Isha for she is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.”

The next thing that happens is God immediately gets them married. “For this cause a man leaves father and mother, cleaves to his wife, and the two become one flesh, and they were both naked and not ashamed” (see Genesis 2:24-25).

The reason He immediately got them married is when you’ve got two naked people in the garden, you want to get them married or sin is going to happen right there. (laughter) So He gets that done.

Now, listen, I believe that God intended for that husband/wife, man/woman relationship as I said to reflect His glory. So why doesn’t it? Well, we have to go to Genesis 3 to see that when things got corrupted between us and God and things got corrupted between one another, conflict has entered the picture that was not there before. Why is there conflict in a marriage relationship? What causes the conflict to come?

If we were as husband and wife in perfect unity, in perfect alignment, if we were as Philippians chapter 2 says, “Of the same mind, having the same love, intent on one purpose,” (see verses 1-2) if we were that, would we have conflict? No, because we would be in agreement, which is what God wants us to get to in marriage. But we have conflict because—here’s why we have conflict. James 4, verse 1 (don’t turn there, just look this up later), James asks this question: “Why is there conflict and fighting among you?” He says, “Here’s why: Because your members, that is, inside you there’s a war going on.” Here’s what it says: “You want and you cannot have, so you murder” (verse 2).

You go, “Now, wait a second. I’ve never murdered anybody.”

Jesus said, “If you look on someone with anger, you’ve murdered them in your heart.”

Okay. Now how many murderers have we got in the room? (laughter) Oh, we’ve got a room full of murderers. And why do you murder? Because you want, and you don’t get what you want, and that creates conflict.

So you take a man and a woman who both want what they want, you put them together and say, “Now, work it out.” As long as they want what they want and aren’t getting what they want, they murder each other. And Satan delights because the picture of unity and agreement and alignment is broken, and the image of God is marred in the world, so he’s as happy as a clam when that happens.

What we’re going to talk about here is some of the ways that that conflict happens that are fueled by our differences. God made us different to complement one another. Sometimes our differences annoy one another. We’re going to look at some of what we’ve observed as differences and see how that leads to conflict and how it leads to marring the image of God.

I’m going to try and give you a list of about ten things that I think are true for most men. Now, when I say this, you may say, “Well, that doesn’t sound like my husband.”

Okay, there may be some of these that don’t apply to your husband. This is for most men, but I think I will see some nodding heads around the room. In fact, I may ask you to nod if you’ve observed this being true about your husband. Okay? If it doesn’t fit, that’s fine. You can ignore it, and we’ll get to the next one on the list.

Here’s the first thing that your husband may not even realize, but it’s true because the Bible says it’s true: Your husband needs you to be a helper. He needs you to be a helper. God said to Adam, “It’s not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable” (Genesis 2:18, ESV)

Now some of you may at some point in your life recoiled at that term—somebody coming along and calling you a helper. That just sounds second class, demeaning, and not very exalted. Right? To call somebody a helper. If you’re in school and there’s a teacher and the teacher’s helper, well, the teacher’s the important one. The helper just gets the paste out when it’s time for paste stuff, right? (laughter) You think to yourself, “I don’t want to be a helper. I want to be somebody. Helper doesn’t sound like anybody.”

That same word, “I will make a helper suitable for him,” is found in other places in the Bible, like, “God is our help in time of need” (see Psalm 46:1). Like Jesus saying, “It’s good that I go away. Here’s why it’s good: Because if I go, I will send to you another Helper” (see John 16:7). Who’s He talking about? (Audience responds: “Holy Spirit”) The Holy Spirit. When He says, “Another Helper,” who’s the first one? (Audience responds: “He is”) Jesus. Father, Son, Holy Ghost identify themselves to us as our Helpers. Is that a demeaning term? No. Is it an exalted term? Yes.

So why do we not like that term “helper”? Because we’ve got pride and because pride wants us to be something better than that—better than God. That’s why Eve ate the fruit because the snake said, “When you eat it, you won’t have to depend on God anymore.”

God calls you a helper. You go, “I’d like something a little more noble than that, God.”

Well here’s the thing: He calls you a helper, but the implication is: You’re married to a guy who needs help. (laughter) The very fact that you’re called a helper means your husband needs help whether he knows it or not.

The great theologian, Rocky Balboa . . . ( laughter) Some of you can go back to 1976, best picture was Rocky I. How many of you saw Rocky I? (Singing: dun, da, da, dun, da, da, dun, dun, da) All right. Here’s the great moment of theology that happens in Rocky I: Rocky has been trying, he’s kind of sweet on Adrianne, right? She’s shy and works at the pet shop. Rocky goes by; he’s kind of clumsy and awkward. It’s just so cute to see them trying to like each other, and they can’t. Right? But Adrianne’s brother Paulie is trying to protect his little sister, and he knows Rocky’s on the prowl, so he has this man-to-man talk with him at one point.

He says, “Hey Rocky, what is it you see in my sister?”

Rocky says, “Aw, I don’t know.” (laughter and applause) Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you. I’ll have a dinner show tonight at six, and one at ten. Okay?

He says, “I don’t know, uh, I got gaps. She got gaps. Together we got no gaps.” (laughter)

You know what theologian Balboa was saying there? Here’s what he was saying: “I need help, and she fills in where I need help, and together we got no gaps.” Isn’t that a beautiful picture?

One Saturday morning I was in our closet, and I was looking at Mary Ann’s side of the closet, and I was looking at my side of the closet. Her side looked much better than my side, and I thought, “I need to make my side look better.” So I decided I was going to arrange and clean my side of the closet.

Now, I’m not really wired for arranging and cleaning closets or much of anything else for that matter. What I do when I see something that needs to be arrange, I can typically rearrange the piles so that they are in different places, but they are still piles. (laughter) Have I got it right? Yes, she’s nodding up there.

Well, I was in the middle of pile rearrangement in the closet when Mary Ann walks in and says, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m cleaning the closet.” And she kindly and graciously said, “No, you’re not.”  But then she said, “Here, let me help.” I was so grateful. I was so grateful that God gave me somebody who’s better at closets than I am.

Now, you know what? That’s a simple little kind of a silly illustration, but God knew your gaps, and He knew your husband’s gaps. He said, “I’m going to put the two of you together, and some of that gap filling is going to take some sand paper because there are rough edges to get it working, and you’re going to have to press it sometimes, and you’re going to have to rub some stuff off the surface to get it to fit, but when it fits, it’s a beautiful thing.”

There may be gaps in your husband’s life in the area of finances or parenting or taking care of the house or the car or leading the family spiritually, and God said, “Ladies, the man needs help. I gave you to him to be a helper.”

Now, what we need as men is a helper. Here’s what we don’t need:

  • We don’t need somebody to scold us.
  • We don’t need somebody to shame us.
  • We don’t need someone to gripe about us to others.
  • We don’t need somebody to try to control us or insist that your way is the right way, if it’s just your preference.
  • We don’t need you . . . you’re not helping us when you nag us. You’re not helping us when you scold us.

 

It is good for you to come and help fill in the gaps, and there’s a way to do that that is helpful, but there’s also a way to do it that will create isolation and it will drive us apart.

So when you see the gaps, and you think, “There’s a way I could help,” we’ll talk about the way to do it. We need somebody who can come and say, “Sweetheart, how can I help? Can I help here? Can I serve you here?” Don’t do it in a way that sounds condescending, not one of these (large sigh), “Can I help?” Okay? We don’t need that. But something that is, “Sweetheart, how can I help? Is there a way I could help you? Is there a way I could serve you?” We need it. Be that for us. Okay?

Here’s the second thing we need: We need your perspective on things. We don’t always know we need your perspective on things, but we do. We don’t see 360 as men. You have intuition about things, a sense of things that we need. Now, as I said, we don’t always realize it. Sometimes we men think we see things clearly even when we don’t. Right? But how you provide your perspective is crucial.

You need to know that we need it. Somewhere deep back in the recesses of our mind, we know we need it. How you provide it with respect and humility is crucial. When you offer your perspective, when you present your insights, when you say things like, “You know, I could be wrong about this, but . . .” Just that statement of humility opens us up to hear whatever perspective you’re about to share with us. As opposed to saying, “Have you ever thought about it this way?” Which does not open us up to hear you.

If in offering your perspective we are demeaned or disrespected, it shuts us down. But if you come along as a helper and say, “Can I share something? I may be wrong about this, I’m not sure, but have you thought . . .What do you think about this? Let me bounce this off of you. Let me ask your opinion about something.” When you do that and share your perspective, it helps us. We need your perspective, but we don’t need it to be hard or harsh or judgmental or critical.

When our daughter Amy was 15 years old, she came home from youth group, and she’d just learned at youth group that there was a group from the church going on a mission’s trip to Honduras. And Amy said, “There’s a group going this summer to Honduras on a mission’s trip. I’d like to go. Can I go?”

I’ll never forget. She was standing right in front of me, speaking to me, and Mary Ann was standing right behind her going . . . So here I have my sweet 15-year-old daughter saying, “Can I go, Daddy?” And my wife is going (shaking head—no) . . . and I’m supposed to answer the question. (laughter) Who do you want to make mad? Really, that’s the question.

Now I was wise enough at that point in our marriage that I said what I’d learned to say whenever the kids would come and ask a question. “Your mother and I need to talk about this, and I’ll get back with you.” Okay? So we were wise enough.

So Mary Ann and I a while later had an opportunity to talk, so I said, “So you don’t think Amy ought to go?”

“No. She’s 15 years old. What if something happens? She can go next year or the year after that. She’s too young. It’s too early. What if she got sick? I don’t even know if there are hospitals in Honduras.” She was worried about all that stuff.

I said, “Well, honestly, when Amy asked, my first instinct was, ‘I think it sounds like a great experience.’ I think the Lord could use that profoundly in her life.” I said, “But here, let’s do this: You take some time to pray about it; I’ll take some time to pray about it; we’ll talk about it again. We’ll see if either of us have a different perspective after a time of prayer.”

So we took some time and prayed about it. A couple of days later, we got back together, and I said, “Are you thinking anything different?”

“No. Nothing different. No go.” (laughter)

I said, “Well, I’m not thinking of anything different either.” I said, “I’m still thinking she ought to go.” I said, “But here’s what I’m really thinking: I’m thinking, who do you want to make the decision, you or me?”

That’s a pretty key question, right? Who do you want to make the decision? Who do you want to bear the weight of this decision?

Here was Mary Ann going, as she often does, “I want you to make the decision as long as you decide exactly what I want you to do.” (laughter) Can you ladies relate to this? “Dear, I want you to be the decision maker, just make the right decision.”

Yeah—we got a “Yes, Lord,” going on right over here! (laughter)

So here’s what I said: “I’ll decide to let Amy go, and if something happens to her on the trip, are you going to punish me?”

She said, “It would be hard not to.”

I appreciated the honesty, really. I did. And I said, “Well, if I’m going to make the decision, and you want me to make the decision, you’ve got to be ready to trust the Lord that even if I make the wrong decision, He’s in control.”

We prayed. I went to Amy, and I said, “Yeah, you can go.”

“Great!” She said, “My friends at church have been praying you’d let me go.”

I thought, “Listen, you let your parents make these decisions. Do not enlist your friends in prayer over stuff like this.” (laughter)

Amy went on that mission’s trip. I prayed for her every day,  “Oh, Lord God of heaven and earth, protect this girl. Let nothing happen to her. Make it all good.” Right?

She came back from the mission’s trip, and God had used it in her life. In fact, when Amy graduated from college, the next year of her life she spent teaching English as a second language in Vietnam with a heart for missions. The seed had been sown there; it was incubated through the perspective class that some of you know about that talks about the perspectives on the world religious movement, Christian movement. God used it to give her a heart for the world. Mary Ann has looked back and said, “I’m glad you made the decision you made.”

Now here’s the point: I needed her perspective because I’m an optimist. She likes to say I’m an optimist. She’s a realist. Right? I’m an optimist, and so I will often say, “Yeah, sounds good,” without having thought it all the way through. I needed to have that time with her to have her say things that I went, “I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a good point. I need to consider that in this.” I needed her perspective, even though I wound up making the decision I made.

There have been times when she has shared her perspective with me on things, remembered things I’d forgotten where I’d say, “Oh, that changes it. I hadn’t considered that. Thank you.” And I’ve changed my mind. I’ve changed my course.

We need your perspective, but it’s got to be delivered in a way that is helpful and humble. Okay? That’s the second thing.

Here’s the third thing: No matter how confident we may appear, we guys are insecure, and we have self doubt. Okay? You’ve just got to know, we know we’re supposed to look confident, and there are some things where we feel pretty confident and pretty secure, but don’t let that fool you into thinking we’re confident and secure about all the assignments we face or all the things we’re asked to do.

When I’m asked to do something like this, to come and speak, I don’t get very nervous. I’m fairly confident. I’ve done this a lot. I’m comfortable doing it. It’s worked out most of the times I’ve done it. So I’m usually comfortable.

Mary Ann will say, “Are you nervous about this afternoon?”

I’ll go, “No, I’m okay. I’m pretty confident about that.”

Now, if there’s a home improvement project, I will try to look confident because I think I’m supposed to look confident and because if I’m pulling stuff out of the box and going, “I have no idea what I’m doing,” I’m just afraid that Mary Ann’s going to A: think I’m not much of a man if I can’t figure out how to put a ceiling fan up. And B: she’s going to be there hovering around me the whole time, double checking my work, and I don’t want that. (laughter)

So I will appear confident in some of these things, but it’s really just a show. It’s a pretense because I think I’m supposed to appear confident.

There are some things that as men we feel like we’ve got to do them well to qualify as men. Like, knowing directions is one of those things. We feel like we’ve got to go, “I know where we are. I know where we’re going.” Guys, it’s wired into the man code that we just feel like we’re supposed to know these things, and to admit that we don’t somehow is like admitting, “I’m not a real man, honey.”

I mean, you’ve just got to know for a guy to say, “I’m lost,” is like saying, “Buy me a dress.” Okay? “And get me some pumps while you’re at it because we might as well complete the whole deal.” (laughter)

We were traveling a number of years ago to Indianapolis from Little Rock. You go to Nashville, and then you turn north. It’s pretty simple. You go to Nashville, you turn north, and you’re there. Okay? So we took I-40 over to Nashville, we turned north on 65. It takes you up through Louisville, and then into Indianapolis. You don’t need a map for that. You know, 40 east; 65 north. It’s pretty easy.

And everything had gone flawlessly until I got off at about 9 o’clock at night just south of Louisville to use a bathroom. It was not one of these easy on/easy off exit places, so I used the bathroom. We had to loop back around, and I got back on the highway. Pretty soon I’m going, “Huh? I do not think this is the highway. The signs says ‘Paducah,’ and Paducah is not between here and Indianapolis. Huh?”

It was 9 at night. The family was tired, and not only that, but the first turn around spot on the highway was 16 miles down the street—16 of the longest, coldest miles I’ve ever been on. (laughter)

Now, you just have to know, I tell you that because I pride myself on being pretty good with a pretty good sense of direction, and I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction, don’t I, sweetheart? Thank you very much. (laughter) Mary Ann did a fine job that night of saying, “You know, that could happen to anybody.” Rather than, “Well, if you’d gotten out a map. . .” or, “I thought we were headed in the wrong direction.” No, it was, “That could have happened to anybody.”

Now, the kids in the backstreet were going, “Dad!” (laughter)

There are things we think we’re supposed to be confident about, and you just need to know that underneath it there is some insecurity. So be kind to us. Be kind. All right?

Here’s the fourth thing: If we’re not winning at whatever we’re doing, we’re going to quit and find something we can do where we can win. That’s a board game, that’s a job, that’s anything in life that if we don’t feel like we’re winning, we’re going to quit doing it and find something where we can win.

There’s this little TV commercial, it’s a cute.  I think the Scientologists put it on. I could be wrong. Don’t hold me to it. But it’s this cute, little TV commercial where this mom’s got her little son dressed up in a football uniform that’s too big for him. She says, “All right, tiger, come tackle me.” He comes running up to tackle her, and he bounces right off and falls down.

And she goes, “Let’s try baseball.” And so he’s out throwing, and he hits the milk man with the baseball.

Then she says, “How about tennis or soccer?”

And he’s just no good at anything until the very end when you see this boy’s choir, and the same little kid steps forward and he sings a solo. And the mom’s in the audience beaming, and the song’s, “Thank you, Mom, for being my biggest fan.”

Sweet little commercial, but the point is, that little kid isn’t going to keep playing football if he keeps bouncing off mom. He’s not going to keep playing tennis if he’s having to run from the ball. He’ll find something he’s good at, and then he’ll lock in on that.

Boys are more like this than girls are. Girls don’t have to be good as long as there are other girls they can be friends with who are equally bad at it. (laughter) Right? If you can just sit around and talk while you’re bad at it, that’s okay. You’ll have this knitting circle, right, and none of you are any good at knitting, and you make pot holders and that stuff, and that’s fine. You don’t care because you just have fun talking. Right? So you can’t wait for knitting class. A guy would go crazy! (laughter) If we’re not good at it, we’re not going to keep doing it.

Now guys, a lot of guys, one of the reasons they like their job and they become workaholics is because people at work validate what they do. The boss comes up and goes, “Man, that was great. You did great. That presentation was great. You made that sale. Way to go! Hey, did you guys all hear what Jeff did? Huh! Way to go, Jeff!”

A guy will go back to work for that tomorrow, and when he gets home . . . I don’t need to say any more, do I? The kids aren’t coming up and saying, “Hey, Dad, man, you rock as a dad. Wow! What you shared at dinner tonight, when you shared that wisdom, that was so wise, Dad! Wow!” (laughter)

And so a lot of men—follow me on this—a lot of men look at marriage and family and go, “I’m just going to quit doing that because I’m only going to do stuff I’m going to win at. I’ll go play golf on Saturday because I’m good at that. Sticking around the house and helping with chores—I’m not good at that. Trying to help with the kids—my wife’s told me I’m not good at that. So I’ll just have a hobby instead, something I’m good at.”  You just need to know this.

Part of this leads to what I’m going to say as number five. You just need to know that we . . . and, look, I’m not saying we’re right about this. You understand, this is all broken people in the fall that I’m talking about. I’m not saying, “Well, guys, you need to coddle them because they’re . . . only make them do things they’re good at.”

I’m not saying that at all, but here’s what I am saying: Every man needs his wife to be a cheerleader, his number one fan and cheerleader.

Robin McCelty, who is a pastor’s wife in Nashville, speaks at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences, and she was a cheerleader in high school. By her own admission, she was a cheerleader for a team that was a pretty bad team. The team did not win many games, and she said, “There were a lot of fourth quarters in those basketball games where we were out cheering our hearts out for what is obviously going to be a losing effort. When the game is over, we gather around the guys, and we affirm them as our team. ‘Nice try, guys. Way to go! You played your hearts out, out there. You’ll win next time.’” She said, “That’s what we did as cheerleaders.”

Then she turns to the women at our conferences and says, “Ladies, when you put on your wedding dress, it was a cheerleader outfit that you were putting on.”

It’s a profound picture because if men aren’t going to quit what they’re not good at, what they need is someone who will come along and cheer them on even when things aren’t going well, even when it’s the fourth quarter.

That doesn’t mean you lie. That doesn’t mean you call something true that’s not true. You don’t go to your husband and say, “Oh, I thought you did it really well,” when he didn’t. But you can still cheer him on in a losing effort. Say, “You’ll get it next time. That’s all right. You can do this.”

Dennis Rainey, if he were here, would tell you that it was Barbara’s believing in him and affirming him that unleashed him to run a ministry and to do everything he’s done.

And I would tell you that every time I get done speaking any place, I’ll have people come up and say, “That was so helpful. Thanks.” That’s so nice, that’s fine, but I go straight to Mary Ann and say, “How did I do? How did I do?”

Mary Ann is great at offering helpful, constructive criticism which I want and need, but she’s also great at saying, “You did great.” I don’t care what the rest of you think at all. (laughter) When she says, “You did great,” I just go, “Yeah! Yeah! Ugh! I’m a man!” (laughter and applause)

I’m just telling you, ladies, there’s power that you have in going to your husband and saying, “Sweetheart, that was awesome!” He just goes, “It was?”

One other quick story.  There was one Saturday we had a broken bicycle out in the garage, and Mary Ann said, “Can you fix that bicycle?”

I said, “I don’t know, I’ll go look at it.”

It took me about two hours out in the garage working on this bicycle. I’m not mechanically oriented or inclined. It was probably a five-minute repair, but it took me about two hours. I was taking stuff apart and putting it all back together. I was sitting out there. I was sweating, kind of going, “I hope this thing works when I get it all put back together.”

I got it put back together, and I was just going, “All right. It works. Cool.”

Mary Ann walked out, and she said, “How did you know to do that? How did you know how to fix it?”

Here’s my wife admiring me! Ladies, that’s big! When you admire your husband, when he knows you admire him . . .

When she and I were dating, we went to a retreat together. We were leaders in an organization called Young Life. We had a leadership retreat that we went off to for a weekend. I’ll never forget being in the audience, listening. There was a couple that came to speak to us, a man and a woman. She spoke, and then he spoke.

I’ll never forget sitting in the audience, listening to the man speak after his wife had spoken. She was a pretty good speaker, and he, frankly, wasn’t so hot. I was starting to lose interest in what he was saying, wasn’t following it very well, and so I’m kind of looking around. I look over at his wife, who’s right there in the front row. She is listening to him and nodding and paying attention. I thought to myself, “Man, you’re a decent communicator. You know he’s not that good, don’t you?” (laughter) That’s what I thought, right? That was my first thought.

Here’s my second thought, “Boy, if I ever get married, I sure hope my wife is just sitting up there nodding and just going, ‘Wow! That’s so good!’”

We need a cheerleader. We need to know you’re on our team. We need to know you love us and you’re going to stay with us no matter what. We need to know that you want to be a part of the solution if there’s a problem, that you’re cheering us on, that you’re not there to point out what’s wrong, but you want to be a part of the solution. “How can I help?” We’re back to that.

And we need to know this. Listen, I’m going to start meddling here. We need to know that you’re not trying to use our relationship as a way to control or manipulate us. What do I mean by that? I mean that I have observed in wives a withdrawal of affection and approval as a way to try to correct a spouse’s behavior.

“I’m going to just withdraw my affection or my approval until you start acting the way I want you to act.”

Okay. What that is, is Genesis 3 happening in your marriage. When God spoke to the woman, He said, “Your pain in childbirth will be greatly increased; your desire will be for your husband, but he must rule over you” (see verse 16).

That word “your desire will be for your husband,” doesn’t mean you’re going to want him, and he’s all hot. It means you want to be in charge, but he must rule over you.

Well, I’ll unpack this more later because we’re going to have to get to this.

Number six. . .did I skip one? Oh, I’ve already given you six? You thought that was six? That’s five. Okay, you guys get together and work this out later, all right? (laughter) We’ll just call this, “number next” (laughter). I said five. We’re not going to solve this here, trust me. This is number next. Here we go. (laughter) We need you . . . how am I doing, honey? Am I okay? All right, thanks. (laughter)

We need you to give us grace and still love us when we make mistakes and fail.

In other words, we need you to do for us what God does for you. We need you to give us grace and still love us when we make mistakes and fail because you married somebody who is going to make plenty of mistakes, already has, and he’s going to make more. If your response to his mistakes is to be critical, harsh, judgmental, it will shut him down. If you respond with grace, he will see Christ in you; he will be drawn to the Christ in you; he will grow more into Christ-likeness himself as he sees you modeling grace.

That doesn’t mean that you don’t tell the truth. You are to speak the truth in love.

Let me explain what happens. When a husband messes up, and he knows it, when you shame him and scold him and show him how displeased you are, and you get tight-lipped, there’s a chill in the room, and you turn cold towards him, here’s what happens: Your husband thinks, “Well, I’m not going to try that again. I just won’t do that because if I’ve got to run the risk of trying and failing and getting that, I’d rather not try.”

So if you want your husband to quit trying, just do that. Be critical. Be harsh. Don’t give him grace. But if you want him to try again and get better, then give him some grace and forgive him.

Now some of you maybe think, “But if I don’t show him my displeasure, he won’t know he did anything wrong.” (laughter)

Okay, let me suggest three things related to that: First one is, Proverbs says, “It is a man’s glory to overlook an offense” (see 19:11).

There are some times when your husband will do something and, frankly, you just need to overlook it. You don’t need to correct everything.

Secondly, Galatians 6:1 is a great verse to tell you that any time you do need to correct, and there are times when it is appropriate for you to go to your husband and to say, “Sweetheart, can I share something with you, something that’s been on my heart that I just think might be helpful? I’m not here to be critical, but to be helpful.” Galatians 6 says, “Brothers, if you see somebody who is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual go and restore such a one with a spirit of meekness, taking care that you don’t fall into sin yourself” (paraphrased).

That’s what it says, so, Brothers—or I’ll say “Sisters” here—if you see your husband caught in a sin, you who are spiritual—that means you’ve got to be in the right spiritual frame of mind before you go and do any correcting. Most of you correct before you get spiritually focused.

So you’ve got to get in the right frame of mind. You’ve got to go to the Lord, “Lord, are there any logs in my eye that I don’t see? Lord, search my heart, know me, try me, see what’s going on. Help me, any blind spots? Anything I need to do?” You need to be prayed up, “When’s the right time to do this?”

Then you go, you who are spiritual, go to restore. What are you going to do? You’re going to try to gently restore your husband, not to shame him, not to tear him down, but to restore him, to put him back where he ought to be, to take what was broken and fix it.

Restore such a one with what kind of a spirit? A spirit of meekness or gentleness. That’s what the Scriptures call you to—meekness or gentleness. Knowing that in that interaction, it will be easy for you to fall into sin with your tongue, with your attitude,  or with your spirit even while you’re trying to restore your husband.

It’s appropriate to go, and your husband needs to hear it from you. But there’s got to be grace; there’s got to be humility in the midst of all of this.

Number next (laughter): We would rather be respected as men than loved.

Shaunti Feldhan says that in her book For Men Only. She polled many men, I forget, thousands of men, and she asked this question. She said she was stunned by that response, that a man would rather be respected than loved.

Here’s why she was stunned: Because a woman would rather be loved than respected. You know, “As long as you love me, everything will . . .” Well, for a guy, respect is the lifeblood for the male psyche, and as long as you respect us, that’s so vital to us.

It’s why I believe in Ephesians chapter 5, in that passage on marriage, the very last verse, “The wife must respect her husband” (verse 33, NIV).

If you go, “Well, I don’t agree with that.” Well, here’s the command of the Lord, wives: “See to it that you respect your husbands.”

Some of you go, “There are things about my husband that just make it hard for me to respect him.” Frankly, I don’t know your husbands, and I don’t know the situations, but it’s very possible for me to imagine that in this room there are women who have got husbands who, if I met them, I wouldn’t have a lot of respect for. But I’ll never forget what Elisabeth Elliot shared one time. It was a great illustration.

If I were wearing this shirt, and I put a pen in this pocket, and if that pen had leaked ink so that there was a big purple stain right here on that shirt, and you walked up to see me, where would your eyes go? Right to the stain. Right there. It would be hard for you not to take your eyes off that spot, and you would draw the conclusion that I was a messy or not a very well groomed, kind of a slobbish person because of the stain on my shirt.

Elisabeth Elliot said, “What percentage of the shirt has a stain on it?” Oh, three or four percent right there. “What’s the condition of the rest of the shirt?” It’s clean, in good shape.

She said, “But we just can’t help sometimes focusing on the stain. It’s all we can think about—that stain. And we define you by that stain.”

So ladies, some of what you need to do is look a little broader at your husband and say, “Lord, show me, help me to make the list of things that are respectable and worthy in him so I can affirm him in those things.”

You ought to ask God, over a 30-day period, to make the longest list you can, and from time to time go to your husband and say, “I appreciate so much that you go to work every day without complaining to provide for us. Thank you. There are a lot of men who don’t do that, and you do. Thank you.”

“I appreciate the fact that you take care of getting the car fixed when something goes wrong with it. There are a lot of men who just say to their wives, ‘You take care of it.’ And you take care of that.”

Find those clean parts of the shirt and respect your husband.

Now, again, there’s a fear that if you admire and praise and show respect for the clean part of the shirt, then we’ll ignore the stain. “Well, she thinks I’m all that because she just talks about the good in me.”

Let me just share something with you: In John 16, Jesus said, “When the [Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment” (verse 8, ESV). Okay, what is the Holy Spirit’s job? “To convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.” Is there anywhere in the Scriptures, anywhere that you’re aware of, where it says, “When a wife comes to her husband, she should convict him concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment”? I don’t believe you’ll find that verse. (laughter)

It is God’s job to fix the stains. It’s your job to respect your husband.

Some of you are going, “Well, I wish God would hurry up on the job because, frankly, it’s not working so well. It’s been a long time, and the stain is still there.”

Well, the stain may still be there because God’s using the stain to work on you, because God’s using the stain to see how your contentment is. (audience, “Ouch.”)

It was the apostle Paul who said, “I’ve learned the secret of being content in all things. I’ve gone without food. I’ve been in a prison. I’ve been cold at night with no cloak to put around me. The secret of being content in all things is, I have learned, that in Christ I can do all things” (see Philippians 4:13).

God’s keeping the stain to say, “Let’s see how your contentment is working.”

I’m not presuming that I know the mind of God in your situation, but I’m suggesting that sometimes God is slow to work on one another because He’s doing a work in each other’s lives.

If a man is not feeling respected at home, I’m sorry to tell you, he will take the longing of his soul to be respected, and he will look for a place where it will happen.

Now, listen, I’m not excusing a husband who goes off looking for it from another woman, or, frankly, the man who neglects his family because he’s getting it from his job, is just making an idol out of his job. That’s no excuse, and I’m not excusing that. I am saying the hunger in the heart of a man is such that if he gives in to his flesh, he’ll go try to find respect somewhere else. If he’s not getting it from his wife who he longs to get it from, he’ll look for it somewhere else—a hobby, a club, or a business.

He’ll be more vulnerable to the lure of a woman who does admire or respect him. If you’re not doing it, then some woman at work is going, “You are so smart.” You just have to know, that is catnip for a husband who is at home going, “She thinks I’m stupid. She thinks I’m smart. Boy, she looks prettier all the time.”

Which brings me to number eight—or whatever. You knew I was going to get to this. Sex is one of the most powerful ways to encourage and affirm and minister to your husband. All right? I’ve got to go there! Your husbands called me and said, “If you do this workshop and don’t bring up sex . . . (laughter) do not send them home!” That’s what they said.

Now, disclaimer at the front end of this: We got a “Yes, Lord” up here! (laughter) We get disclaimers from, we get letters from women today. I would say 20 to 30 percent of the women in the culture who are talking to us about it or are saying to us, the stereotype is that the man wants sex, and the woman is less interested. “In our house,” the women would say, “it’s flipped around.”

Some of you would say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me and my marriage because I have more of an appetite than my husband does. Whenever you guys bring this up, and you talk about men wanting sex and all of this, it just makes me feel terrible because my husband . . . something’s wrong.”

Okay? Well, I can’t dissect for you everything that’s wrong. I can tell you in a sexually saturated culture like today, some of his sexual energy may be drained off by pornography or other things. Some men are just working so hard at work that they don’t have anything left for sex. There is for some men who get to an age where there is a decline in testosterone, or there are other medical things that may be going on. I mean, all of that can happen, but for the most part, God made us as sexual beings, and He wants us both to be interested in and to desire and to enjoy the sexual relationship.

I have to share with you a verse that some of you need to hear and need to know that this is in the Bible, and it’s talking to you. It is 1 Corinthians 7, verses 3 and 4. Here’s what it says: “The wife’s body is not her own, but it belongs to her husband. The husband’s body is not his own, it belongs to his wife. Therefore, stop depriving one another” (paraphrased). A biblical command: “Stop depriving one another except for a season of fasting and prayer” (see verse 5).

Now I’m guessing, I don’t know, but I’m guessing that there aren’t many couples who have said, “You know, let’s just take a season of fasting and prayer and do this.” If depriving is going on at your house, I’m guessing that . . . In some cases it may be the husband depriving the wife, in some cases. In more cases, it’s the wife depriving the husband, and you could list for me a litany of reasons: “I’m too tired. I’m too this. He’s too that. He’s too what.” I mean, you can go through the whole list of why the depriving is happening. I would say to you, “Stop it. Stop depriving your husband.”

You go, “But I . . . It’s not . . . But you don’t. . .” We can go back through all of the reasons why, and Paul would say to you, and I would say to you, “Work on those things, but don’t deprive one another.”

Here’s part of the reason why: We talk about a man needing respect and affirmation. Probably the most powerful way you affirm your husband and show respect to him is when you respond to him sexually.

I’ve said to Mary Ann, “You can affirm me all day long. You can say, ‘You’re smart; you’re handsome; you’re this . . . How did you do that? That’s great.’ And at night, if I say, ‘So, are you interested?’ and she goes, ‘Oh, not tonight,’ and I go, ‘Well, why were you lying to me all day?’” (laughter) Because in our minds, if we’re all that, you should be dying to get in bed with us. We cannot figure out why you’re not if we’re all that nice stuff you’ve been saying about us. And even if you haven’t been saying all that nice stuff about us, we still think we’re still pretty hot. And we can’t figure out why you don’t. (laughter)

Ladies, when your husband initiates, respond to him. Now look, you go, “But what if I’ve had . . .” There are times when you may respond to your husband by saying, “Sweetheart, as much as I want to engage with you tonight and really make this something special, I don’t have it in me tonight. Could we plan for tomorrow night? I’ll get some rest and be ready for you.”

Most guys will say, “Yeah. Yeah. That will be all right.”

But don’t say, “All right, let’s just get it over with. Okay?”

That does not affirm our masculinity at the core of our being. No guy hears that from his wife and goes, “I’m a man.” No. We don’t.

Have you read in Proverbs 7 about the luring adulterous and how she waits on the corner and how she says to the man, “I’ve sprinkled my bed with aloe, and it’s smelling sweet. Do you want to come over?” (see verses 16-18).

Now, listen, we read that and go, “That woman is shameful.” I would say, “Ladies, read that and go, ‘How about if I did that with my husband?’” What she’s doing to lure the man out of his marriage, if a woman was doing it, the husband would walk by and say, “I’ve got something better than you at home, sweetie.”

It takes work. It takes effort. It takes energy. When we were dating, we thought, “That’s going to be the easy thing.” I mean, that’s going to be no problem. Now we get married, and we go, “This is harder than we thought!”

But the Bible says (laughter) We have a “Lord, have mercy!” up here on that one. Yes, sister. I understand. I understand. (laughter)

But ladies, hear me on this, regular sexual engagement with your husband is a marital discipline. Are there days you don’t want to do the dishes? Yes. Do you do them? Why? Because you do them. Are there days you don’t want to do the wash, and you do it? You say, “No, I don’t.” Well, after a while the wash piles up and stinks. Okay?

Are there days you might not want to have sex? I would say, “Do it.” Make it a marital discipline. Get together. Get with your husband. Your husband may have said . . . You say, “Well, how frequently?” And he goes, “Well, where’s the Guinness Book of World Records? Let’s look, okay?” (laughter)

For most couples, two/three times a week is probably going to be a typical marital discipline. In fact, there were some denominations that said that two times a week is what’s prescribed except on vacation, and then it should be three times a week. (laughter) This was in some of their stuff!

I don’t know what the rhythm or cycle is for you, but I will tell you a couple of times a month isn’t it. (laughter) I’m serious. Twice a month sex is not enough. Make it a marital discipline and get in the game.

Number . . . we’re out of time. I think we’re going to have to just cut it off right there. I’ll quickly go through the rest. Number nine, or whatever: We need you to stop trying to control us, and we need you to stop trying to control things that are beyond your control. We need you to deal with your control issues is what I’m saying.

Okay, you come by it honestly. That’s what I was saying about Genesis 3: “Her desire will be for her husband.” I believe that hard-wired into a woman is great need for safety and security. She responds to that need for safety and security by saying, “I must be in control of everything in my environment at all times in order to be safe and secure, including my husband. I must be in control of him in order to be safe and secure.”

I’m here to tell you that A: you can’t control him; B: you can’t control everything in your environment.  You need to deal with your control issues and surrender to the One who has promised to never leave you or forsake you, to protect you and be your guide. You say, “But bad things happen if I do that.”

“All things work together for good for those who love God and are called into His . . .” (see Romans 8:28).

I can’t promise you won’t suffer. I can promise you that God will take you through suffering. And I can promise you that if you try to control your environment, you will be frustrated and angry, and the people around you will not want to hang around you. So get with your control issues.

And number ten . . . oh, by the way, write down a verse: 1 Peter 3:6. After this whole section on a wife winning her husband with a gentle and quiet spirit: “You are Sarah’s children—you are her children—if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

Ladies, you want to be Sarah’s daughters? Do good and don’t fear what’s frightening.

All right, here’s the last thing: Make it your goal to fulfill the “one anothers” of the Bible in your relationship with your husband. The next time you’re reading through the Bible and you come across a thing that says, “one another,” you underline that, and you ask the question: “Am I being like that with my husband?”

For so many years I read the “one anothers” in the Bible. I would read a passage that talks about, “Do this for one another; do that for one another,” and I would think, “Well, that’s how I should treat people at church.” I never thought, “How about my wife?” Someday I’m going to write a book about this, but let me just read to you.

Here are some of the “one another’s”:

Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another.” Are you devoted to your husband, hopelessly devoted to him?

“Honor each other” (Romans 12:2).

“Serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

“Love each other” (Romans 13:9).

“Forgive each other” (Colossians 3:13).

“Speak the truth to one another” (Zechariah 8:16).

“Live in harmony with each other” (Romans 12:16).

“Do not pass judgment on one another” (Romans 14:13).

“Comfort one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

“Agree with one another” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

“Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

“Be kind to each other” (Ephesians 4:32).

“Encourage each other” (Hebrews 10:25).

“Spur one another on to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).


“Don’t slander one another” (James 4:11).

“Be humble toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5).

I could go on from there, but you get the picture, right? Now, some of you are going, “Well, it says ‘one another,’ so he’s supposed to be that to me too, right?”

Okay, I’ll tell you what. Here’s my promise to you: When I go to a men’s conference, and I have this talk with men, I’ll tell them to be that to you. But I’m not at a men’s conference. I’m at a woman’s conference. I’m talking to you. You do what God calls you to do, and let God work out the rest.

Just about every man I know would delight to be married to a woman who’s doing that stuff. Men I know would go, “To be married to the woman you just described there? Doing all that? Yeah!”

Hey, last thing, and we’re done. The danger of a message like this is, I give you all of this stuff to do, you read over the list, and you go, “Okay, I need to start doing this. I need to start doing that. I need to start doing this.” If you want to fail, go from this place and make a resolution to try to do some of this stuff on your own. If you want to fail, as soon as you do that, Satan goes, “I got one!”

Here’s what you need to do: You need to go from this place and say, “Lord, I need to receive from You grace and mercy in my life so I can be a channel of it to my husband in the ways that we’ve talked about here.”

When you go and draw from the Lord the strength and grace, then start to see how that can flow through some of these areas. It is not the case of you trying to buckle up your bootstraps and go out there and live this out. It’s the case of you receiving from the Lord and then being a channel of His grace because, frankly, when God said, “I’m going to send another Helper,” and He calls you a helper, what He really wants to do is He wants to work through you to get to your husband. The question is: Are you His vessel, or are you still in the garden hanging onto the fruit saying, “I’d rather try it my way”?

Be open and let the Spirit of God work through you to love your husband.

Father, thanks for the time with these ladies. Thanks for the good, candid conversation we’ve been able to have. Make these women a blessing to their husbands. That’s what they want, I know. That’s what You want, so Lord, make it happen. When they go home, I pray that their husbands a week from now would go, “What did they talk to you about at that conference?” And these women can just smile and say, “They talked about Jesus.” Amen. God bless you, ladies

Leslie: The message you just heard was presented at Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman ’10 conference in Chattanooga. You can hear any of the messages delivered there and more by visiting www.truewoman.com. There you’ll find even more ways to connect from books and resources for yourself, your friends, or your life group to on-demand multi-media to ongoing conversations you can be a part of.

True Woman ‘10 is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, helping you become God’s true woman.