Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: For a husband, affirmation is powerful.

Bob Lepine: A lot of guys, one of the reasons they like their jobs and become workaholics is because people at work validate what they do. The boss comes up and says, “Man, that was great. You did great. That presentation was great. You made that sale. Way to go!” A guy will go back to work for that tomorrow, but when he gets home . . . I don’t need to say any more, do I?

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, June 8.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yesterday we heard Part One of a message from Bob Lepine. He spoke on “What Your Husband Wishes You Knew About Being His Wife.” He took us back to the creation story to evaluate why men and women are different. He showed us what it means for a wife to be a helper to her husband.

Today, Bob will show wives some practical ways to be a true helper at home. And whether you’re married or single, I think you’re going to hear some really helpful reminders on today’s program.

Bob Lepine is the co-host of the radio program FamilyLife Today. He also serves as the emcee at the True Woman conferences, including the upcoming conferences in Indianapolis and Ft. Worth.

He delivered this message at the True Woman conference this past March. It will be helpful for you to know that his wife, Mary Ann, was there in the audience, because he occasionally addresses her. As we pick up with this message, Bob is listing some crucial things that wives can provide their husbands.

Bob: We need your perspective on things. We don’t always know that 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 missions trip to Honduras. She said, “There’s a group going this summer to Honduras on a missions 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 shaking her head. So here I have my sweet 15-year-old daughter saying, “Can I go, Daddy?” and my wife is shaking her head no . . . and I’m supposed to answer the question! 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. 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. 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 has 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 anything different either. I’m still thinking she ought to go. But here’s what I’m really 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 saying, 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’ve 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. 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 said, “Yes, 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 missions 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 missions 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 a perspectives class that some of you know about that talks about the perspectives on world religions and the 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, 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 hear her say things that made me realize, “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. 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 say, “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) 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 well to qualify as men. Like, knowing directions is one of those things. We feel like we’ve got to say, “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 that 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. 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 thinking, “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 road—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 having 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 back seat 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, alright?

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 true of a board game, a job, anything in life—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 . . . I think the Scientologists put it on. I could be wrong; don’t hold me to that.

But it’s this cute little commercial where this mom’s got her little son dressed up in a football uniform that’s too big for him. She says, “Alright, Tiger, come tackle me.” He comes running up to tackle her, and he bounces right off and falls down.

And she says, “Let’s try baseball.” So he’s out throwing, and he hits the milkman 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 boys’ choir, and the same little kid steps forward and sings a solo. And the mom’s in the audience beaming, and the song is, “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 kind of 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, one of the reasons a lot of guys like their job and become workaholics is because people at work validate what they do. The boss comes up and says, “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. But 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.]

So a lot of men—follow me on this—a lot of men look at marriage and family and say, “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 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 pretty bad. They didn’t win many games.

She says, “There were a lot of fourth quarters in those basketball games where we were cheering our hearts out for what was obviously going to be a losing effort. When the game was over, we gathered around the guys and affirmed them as our team. ‘Nice try, Guys. Way to go! You played your hearts out, out there. You’ll win next time.’ 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’s 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 that 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 alright. 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 anyplace, 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! Uh! 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 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, “Alright, 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, but he, frankly, wasn’t so hot. I was starting to lose interest in what he was saying.

I wasn’t following it very well, 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 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.”

Nancy: Every husband needs a cheerleader. Bob Lepine has been showing wives how important this is. It’s a good reminder for all of us—married or single—about the power of our words. I hope you’ll take an opportunity today to speak words that build up your mate as well as others around you.

Bob’s message is called “What Your Husband Wishes You Knew About Being His Wife.” He delivered that talk during one of the breakout sessions at the True Woman conference earlier this year. Many wives left that session eager to get home and encourage their husbands in some fresh ways.

That sense of being refreshed by God’s Word, His truth, and His people is what the True Woman conference is about. At a True Woman conference, your Bible will stay open, and you’ll study it with speakers who speak carefully and who are committed to living out what they teach.

If you live in the Midwest, I hope you’ll make plans to join us in Indianapolis, September 23-25. Or if you’re in the South or Southwest, you can come to True Woman in Ft. Worth, October 14-16.

I hope you’ll make plans now. And don’t come alone. When you sign up your group by June 25, each member could enjoy substantial savings. You’ll also receive one free registration for every ten women that join your group. Call us for more information at 800-569-5959, or visit us online at

Bob Lepine reminds us how important it is for a man to be shown respect.

Bob: 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, a business. He’ll be more vulnerable to the lure of a woman who does admire or respect him.

Nancy: Did you know that you can help your husband avoid temptation? Bob Lepine will give us a man’s perspective on that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.