Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God’s Beautiful Design for Women, Day 47

Episode Resources

Take the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.

Leslie Basham: Robert Wolgemuth says you’re always communicating something.

Robert Wolgemuth: There is no such thing as no communication.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, for Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

Over the last month Nancy’s been taking us through a series called "God’s Beautiful Design for Women: Living Out Titus 2:1–5." One of the important themes that has come through in this study is the value of making our husbands feel loved and respected.

Here’s some of what we’ve heard:

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Ladies, what we’re talking about here—about loving your husbands—is not just some romantic notion. It’s also not an option; it is a command! I don’t see any exceptions here. And if you don’t love him, you can learn to love him. In fact, you must learn to love him.

Remember that this kind of love is not primarily an emotion, though emotions will be involved, but it’s a love you can fuel, you can cultivate, you can develop. As you start to choose to do loving actions toward him, you’ll find that your heart will follow.

Expect your love to be tested. If your husband were always lovable, there would be no reason for Scripture to exhort you to learn to love your husband. Am I right? So it assumes here that there are times when he’s not lovable and there are things about him that are not lovable.

So expect the love to be tested, and that’s when you go to Christ and you say, “Lord, I can’t love this man, but You can, through me.”

Leslie: As a wife of a year-and-a-half, Nancy has had the opportunity to learn how to live out what she’s been teaching.

One of the recording sessions for this series fell on the birthday of Nancy’s husband, Robert. A little later, after that birthday celebration, Nancy interviewed Robert on how we as wives can live out what we’ve been learning from Titus 2. What makes a husband know he is loved by his wife? Here’s Nancy and Robert. 

Nancy: Honey, as we’re looking at Titus 2, we’re talking about wives loving their husbands. This is something I’m learning—something I never had experience in until fifteen months ago. You’ve been a great teacher, because you love so well and in so many beautiful, specific, practical ways. I’ve talked about some of those.

I think it would be helpful for some of our listeners to hear from you as a husband—you as a man—what makes a man feel loved by his wife. What makes him feel that he has that kind of friend and companion that Titus 2 talks about?

Robert: Wow. Let me start with a really important truth: There is no such thing as no communication. You are always communicating with the people whom you’re with. Now, about seven percent of what you communicate is in words—spoken words or written words.

And so, if you want to communicate (because we’re always communicating) where you leave no doubt, you say it or you write it. Now, Nancy is an amazing note-writer. I have tucked away in places of my briefcase (I probably will never find until I change that briefcase out for a new one) little notes—in little special hidden pockets, that I will find eventually (probably), that tell me how much Nancy loves me. That is clear, straight-forward communication. She leaves no room for doubt. She repeats the phrase (I’m not even going to tell you what it is) in almost every note—she says that, she writes that.

She’s also really wonderful at communicating verbally. That’s all part of that little seven percent bracket. And you know how gifted Nancy is at oral communication. Now, the wonderful thing about that is that Nancy did not grow up aspiring to platforms and microphones.

In fact, the concept of that scared her to death. But, the Lord called her to this, and what God calls us to, He empowers us for—right? The definition of a gift (Galatians 5:22) is something you receive that you didn’t ask for or that you don’t deserve.

So this gift of communication was, in fact, a gift. This is an introverted woman. Crowds normally drain her energy rather than inspire her and energize her. So what Nancy’s doing in teaching—whether it’s at a True Woman conference or when she’s recording these programs—steps way out of her comfort zone. But the Lord has taught her how to do that so well!

In our marriage, she verbalizes—or she puts in writing—words. So one of the ways that she communicates her love for me is through written and spoken words. In fact, the rooms that are our studies are in our home. Nancy’s is on the second floor, mine is on the main floor.

So we’re pretty far apart, but a sneeze can be heard around the world. We’re both really robust sneeze-ers! (laughter) Another gift! And when I hear Nancy sneeze, I text her, “I love you!” We don’t do, “God bless you”—although God does bless us. I text, “I love you!”

And if I sneeze, Nancy texts, “I love you!” I’m a double sneezer (some of you are triple sneezers—and you know who you are). She’ll put, “I love you—squared.” You say, “That is not a big deal.” And you’re right, it’s not a big deal . . . except that if I were to sneeze and Nancy’s upstairs (unless she’s on the phone), I’m waiting for that text to come through, because those words mean something to me. 

So Nancy is so gifted at communicating. She’s also a wonderful writer, as you know. She’ll write notes to me that I will save forever (they’ll be tucked next to me in my casket—if I pre-decease her).

So that’s one way to communicate love to your husband. Put it in writing; verbalize it! Then there’s another way of communicating, and it’s said this is about twenty-three percent. Words, written and spoken, are about seven percent of the total communication thing (we’re always communicating). 

About twenty-three percent is nonverbal communication—like body language, like tone of voice. I can tell Nancy that I love her through gritted teeth, and she’ll hear that part—not the words, right?

If you have a dog, inflection is how you get your dog’s attention. You could tell your dog to go play in the street, but if your voice is up, he’ll think that’s terrific. “Let’s go do that!” So your inflection . . . your body language . . .

You fold your arms across your chest and you say something. The way you’re standing is communicating very clearly. Sometimes it affirms the words that you’re speaking, and sometimes it contradicts the words that you’re speaking. So . . . body language.

Nancy loves the fireplace, and I love that she loves the fireplace. We’ll sit and talk. We have a lot of catching up to do—a lifetime of catching up to do. We never run out of stuff to talk about, but the setting of our conversation, that twenty-three percent (the body language, the inflection) is a very important part of communication.

You know, what’s interesting about that, touch is a very important thing to a woman. It is to a man, too, but men are stimulated by what they see. You know that. Women are stimulated—primarily—by touching.

So,something that we both do for each other is, often when we have these sweet conversations, we’re touching. I believe that was Jesus was a touch-er. You read in the gospels, “And He touched them.”

What’s so interesting about this is when God said to Adam, “Don’t eat the fruit,” that was a direction; that was clear and precise. When Eve repeated what apparently Adam had told her God said to him (look this up) she says, “And God said, ‘Don’t even touch it!’”

You look back and God did not say that to Adam. But to a woman, this is real. This is as real as taking the fruit and eating it. So teach your husband to be a toucher—by being a toucher. Now you say, “My husband, he would think this is a waste of time. He’s not a toucher.” Oh, yes he is.

Nancy knows that I’m a huge Chicago Cubs baseball fan. In fact, one of the things that we didn’t read in our vows—that was actually there—was, “And I will become a Cubs fan.” (laughter) And so you watch a baseball game or a football game or a soccer match or a basketball game. 

And when somebody does something heroic—you know, a three-point shot at the end of the game, or a grand slam homerun—and what do those guys do when they see each other? The guy goes into the dugout . . . C’mon, what do they do? Every single man touches every single man.

“Well,” you might say, “they’re slapping each other!” Uh-uh. That’s a really critical thing! Be careful not to miss the power of communicating your love to your husband by touching him. And I’m not necessarily talking about sexual touching—although that’s important—but just touching.

When you walk past each other in the kitchen . . . Nancy—I’m going to say almost never—misses a chance when we’re passing each other. When one of is unloading the dishwasher and the other one passes, to just touch. That’s part of that twenty-three percent of communication.

Then, you see, there’s thirty percent left. It’s something else. For example, let’s say that Italian sausage gives me heartburn. And so I say to Nancy, “We haven’t even really known each other that long, but I just want you to know that that kind of food just really gets to me.”

So the next night I walk in the kitchen, and I look over and she’s cooking Italian sausage. What is she doing? She’s communicating to me! It’s not words, it’s not touching—that’s something else. What she’s saying to me is, “It doesn’t really matter to me what you like. I’m going to cook this anyway because there was some in the refrigerator.”

Gifts. Those would qualify as “something else.” One time Nancy and I at a conference got room service breakfast. It was wonderful. Nancy ordered scrambled eggs. If you’ve ever gotten room service scrambled eggs, you know that—along with your eggs—is this little bottle. Do you have any idea what I’m talking about? Say it louder. “Tabasco sauce!”

Now, you say, “Wow! You just pulled that out of your pocket.” Well, guess what? Nancy knows that I’m on my way to go on a trip. I put this blazer on this morning, and look what I found in the pocket.

Nancy had never tasted Tabasco sauce. The first time we got this room service, she opened this thing up and put some on her tongue. And let’s say, that was the last time she’ll ever taste Tabasco sauce. Let’s just say that. (laughter)

But we were there for a whole conference, and we like the scrambled eggs, so we got a collection of these guys, these little Tabasco bottles. And I said, “This is perfect, because you are so hot!” And she’s even said that back to me.

And so—because there’s no such thing as no communication—when I reach into my pocket, like I did just now, and here’s this little bump here, this is my wife shouting to me how much she loves me!

And, there’s something, really, to this other seventy percent of communication that’s play. Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s play; it’s playful. You’re at the grocery store (and every grocery store in the world now has a card section), and you just glance through some of those cards and find something that’s cute or fun that will make him laugh.

In fact, early in our dating, I was in a conversation with seven of Nancy’s closest friends. It was a Skype call. They were in the Dominican Republic, and I was in Orlando. They wanted to know who this man was.

So on a ninety-minute Skype call, I’m getting the “third degree.” I really had no defense. I’m on a big screen TV on the fireplace, exposed to these women who want to know who this guy is. So we got through it; we did okay.

But something I said toward the end of our conversation was, “If the Lord puts us together, I want to bring Nancy joy! I want to bring her joy.” Not that she doesn’t have joy or hasn’t had joy, but her assignment in life has been very serious—right?

I wanted to be a person who brought joy to her. In fact, one of the great joys that I’ve had is after Nancy speaks at a conference, in the past, she would go back to her hotel room or, if she was at home to her home, to no one. I don’t have these—but I could—little pom-poms in the closet that I pull out—and just do nothing but cheer! You say, “Well, that’s not that big a deal.” Oh, yes it is! Or to make her smile.

We have ongoing jokes. You know, if you’ve been married for a while, you’ve got little “shorthand” stuff. Something that reminds you of a line in a movie, or something that made you laugh at one point. Pull that stuff out. Have fun with that! Bring your husband joy. Make him laugh, make him smile.

Yesterday morning, my heart went fully aerobic for about three minutes. I thought maybe I would not survive this. I had stepped away from my study. Nancy was upstairs (I thought maybe studying, herself). I walked back into my office (it’s dark—the sun was not up yet), and I glanced and she is sitting in my chair!

I almost fell on the floor. I mean, I way overreacted! It scared me to death! She did this . . . see, her compassion was not on display! (laughter)

Nancy: I wish we had a video. I actually could hardly breathe for a minute or so. I couldn’t even get a sound out, because it was so funny watching him! I thought he was going to run through the plate glass window.

Robert: See?

Nancy: I didn’t intend to scare you, honey. I just meant to be there when you came back.

Robert: I know, but it turned into such a funny moment. Such a funny moment . . .

Nancy: You had to be there.

Robert: Never stop communicating what you want to communicate to your husband. And be careful that you don’t communicate what you don’t want to communicate. It isn’t just words, and it isn’t just presents . . . it’s all that other stuff.

It’s leaving notes; it’s having a fun thing like Tabasco sauce that reminds you of how you love each other, and how, if you had a chance to do this all over again, you’d pick him again! Because the older we get, the more competitive a man feels about his life and his career and about his body.

Men compete and compare. That’s what they do. They’re out to win. After a while, your husband doesn’t look like he did when you married him, and he can’t hit a golf ball like he did when he was twenty-five. And sometimes that deeply impacts how he feels about himself.

Guess what? You have the singular opportunity—of anyone on the face of the earth—to encourage him. It’s interesting, in the legal world a wife cannot take the stand against (criticizing) her husband. Why? Because she knows everything. And that’s where it needs to stay . . . in the vault.

So I feel so safe. When we were dating, and we’d text each other goodnight, I’d say, “May the Lord put His Arms (capital “A”) around you. Someday I’ll be able to put my arms (small “a”) around you.” It's the whole idea of safe.

In fact, tonight when I land in Orlando, I’ll text one word to Nancy (when the wheels touch down). It’s “safe.” “I’m safe.” One of the greatest opportunities in my life is to help Nancy to feel safe, and I want her to help me feel safe.

You know, the temptations . . . I can’t even think of words to use. Back in the old days, we all lived on farms. we had very little exposure to other folks and other temptations. It’s a little different today. So my assurance that, “I only have eyes for you . . .” (singing). That’s another fun thing we’ve done—with romantic songs. 

Nancy had no reason to love romance songs . . . but I know all of 'em! (laughter) I’ll do, a lot, what I just did just now—sing a line. In fact, she gave me a plaque the other day. I walked into my study (she wasn’t sitting on my chair, so I wasn’t shocked), but there was a big wooden plaque.

And on that plaque was (he sings), “How sweet it is to be loved by you!” And Nancy didn’t even didn’t know . . . She saw it in a store and thought, That’s a cool line.

Nancy: I didn’t know it was a song. (laughter)

Robert: So I sang it to her. That’s another way of communicating. It’s not necessarily spoken words, right?—and it’s not holding—but it’s singing a song. The Scripture admonishes us to make joyful noises. So even if you can’t carry a tune, sing to your husband. Sing him a song. Make his day!

Leslie: We’ve been hearing from Robert Wolgemuth—and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth—about ways wives can show respect and love to their husbands. Nancy writes about the importance of showing that kind of love in her new book Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

In Titus 2, older women are told to teach younger women how to love their husbands. Nancy will explore that powerful phrase with you when you read this book. You’ll understand how to better love your husband, and how to encourage other women to love their husbands, too.

During our current series on Titus 2, we’ve been offering to send you the hardback version of Adorned when you make a donation of any amount. Tomorrow is the final day we’ll be making that offer. So call right away with your gift and ask for the book Adorned.

The number is 1–800–569–5959. You can also donate online and get the book. The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one book per household during this series for your donation of any size.

Tomorrow we’ll hear Robert and Nancy offer final thoughts on Titus 2, as this major series draws to a close.

Nancy: My husband loves that I’m writing a book on how to love your husband! (laughter) And I’m so thankful for older women. I didn’t start this thing 'til I was fifty-seven (the “loving your husband” part)—and I’m so thankful that I’ve had older women in this church who have modeled to me what that looks like. 

Women who are the encouragers to me as I’m just learning this in life. I know a lot about this in my head—“Teach them to love their husbands, to love their children.” You’d think, by the way, that those things would come naturally, but apparently, they don’t. What comes naturally for me is to love myself.

And so, Paul is saying, we need models of how to live selfless lives, and we need people who will step into each others' lives and help them do this. Help pass these skills on to the next generation—teach them to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, to be pure, to be working at home, to be kind and to be submissive to their own husbands” (from Titus 2:4–5).

We could unpack each of those. I love the outcome here: “So that the word of God will not be reviled” (Titus 2:5b). If we don’t live this way, if we don’t pass these tools, these resources, this lifestyle, onto the next generation, then people will look at Christians—and they will scorn God’s Word!

Leslie: Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants your marriage to be marked by love. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion