Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Your Marriage: The Gospel on Display, Day 4

Leslie Basham: Here’s Andrea Griffith.

Andrea Griffith: Women, we are the heart of the home. And our attitude is catching! Our kids catch it; our husbands catch it, so we want to make sure it’s joyful and fun and life-giving in our homes.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Thursday, July 6, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: All this week, Trent and Andrea Griffith have been walking us through Ephesians 5 and unpacking the instructions that we find there for husbands and wives.

Trent and Andrea have been dear friends of mine for many years. Trent currently serves as the pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Granger, Indiana, real close to our Revive Our Hearts’ headquarters in southwest Michigan.

Andrea has been our guest a number of times before on Revive Our Hearts sharing her powerful testimony.

Now, earlier in the series, Trent used a large green potted plant to illustrate the way that a husband is to nourish and cherish his wife. Husbands are called to care for their marriages, not unlike the way a gardener will water and care for a plant.

Andrea’s going to return to this theme today. Imagine a large green plant on the stage. As Andrea describes ways that wives can critique and cut down their husbands, imagine her snipping leaves off the plant. She starts with small handheld pruning shears, and then moves to larger clippers. Let’s listen.

Andrea: So when we’re dating, we are looking to see if we can find the right one that’s for us—the one we’re going to marry. We look at this one and we say, “Aww—he’s so tall, and he has such nice hair. But, I really think this one is the right one for me! He just has all the qualities that I’ve been looking for in a man.”

And when we’re dating, it’s just so easy to pour on that respect and pour on that admiration and tell him how big his biceps are. But then we get married and we start saying, “I think I see a brown leaf right here. When we were dating, you spent so much time with me, now you never even notice that I’m in the room.” We don’t like that, so we go to work fixing that and changing it.

And then we say, “We used to talk so much. You remember our first date? We spent six hours at the Starbucks just talking. And now . . . I can’t even get two words out of you!”

We’re married, and we’re just noticing all these weaknesses and differences and failures. We think, Well, obviously, God wants me to help this man! Right? That’s why He brought me into his life!

And so we go to work, and we say, “You’re so mean! You never help with the kids! You’re always playing golf or watching golf, or playing football or watching football on TV. You’re never kind! You’re so selfish! Why don’t you lead me? Why don’t you lead the kids? MEET. MY. NEEDS!” 

And then, we start looking at this guy over here and we say, “Why can’t you be a little more like him?” And guess what, ladies? That is on us!

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

Which one do you want? You are the one making the man. Are you pouring respect? Or are you just seeing all the faults? It’s on us.

Trent Griffith: Let’s get real practical here. What are some ways that a husband feels respect? We’ll put them in five words, all starting with the letter “A.” The first one is this:

He needs your acceptance.

That means, ladies, you have to accept him the way he is, and trust God to change him into what he’s supposed to be.

Ladies, we know that God has built into you a nurturing heart, and you see needs, and you want to meet them. But listen, ladies, if you try to change your husband, it will actually have the opposite effect. It will drive him away from you. You need to accept him the way that he is, and then trust God to change him into what he needs to be.

Andrea: I remember one morning I was up just having my time with the Lord, and I found this verse—Psalm 90:14. It says, “Satisfy us in the morning early with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

I love this verse. This has become one of my mainstay verses, because there is no way that I can do the next five things that we’re going to tell you to do—and there’s no way that you can do the next five things that we’re going to tell you to do—unless we are going to God to get all the fullness that we need! That we are being satisfied with His steadfast love.

So instead of looking to my husband to meet my needs and picking him apart when he doesn’t, I can look to God to meet my needs, to have His love satisfy my heart, so that I’m able to give acceptance, so I’m able to give respect. It’s the only way any of us can do it, because we’re broken, and we’re fallen, and we’re selfish . . . and we do that [pointing to the plant].

That same morning, when God gave me that verse, I was telling the Lord all the ways I was disappointed in Trent. I was like, “I need this, and I wish he was doing that . . .” I just had my list. And the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart. He said, “Andrea, do you even notice what he does do for you?” And I thought, Uhh, no, because I’m so busy noticing what he’s not doing.

So I just started making a list. Like, I literally put lists in the back of my journals of just qualities and characteristics and things, and ways that I see strengths in my husband and in my kids. I didn’t even realize this, but what started to happen over time is I started noticing him for who he was, who God already created him to be, and respecting and admiring that instead of being so focused on what I wanted him to be and what image I wanted to create him in. And it was just all because the Lord said, “You be filled up with Me, and then you’re able to accept this person in your life.”

Trent: The second thing is your assistance.

Your husband needs your assistance, and he feels respected when you assist him. This is built in, again, to the heart of every man. I know none of you ladies are married to a perfect man. There was only one woman on the planet that ever had that privilege, and do you know that she was married to a man that still needed help?

In Genesis chapter 2 we read about this man: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.’”

The perfect man needed help. Think about your husband and how much help he needs. Where does he get that?

You may read that, ladies, and you may think, Is that all I am, is a helper? I mean, it sounds like Hamburger Helper. That’s not a compliment! Or "Daddy’s little helper. Can you hand me the hammer?" 

That’s not what it’s talking about. Do you know, in Scripture, if you were to do a word study of that word help, if it’s not referring to a wife being the helper to her husband, do you know who it’s referring to? It’s referring God being the Helper to His people!

If God was not afraid or ashamed to label Himself as a helper, why are you resisting that label for yourself? It is an honor to help, to complement, to fill in the gaps when a man needs help.

There are all kinds of ways, and so many men feel like the one that God has given them to help them is helping everybody else, and he’s number thirty-seven on your to-do list! So if he’s going to feel respected, he has to be the number one priority in your list of responsibilities to help.

We know that there are young kids, and we know that there are career opportunities, and we know that the church needs help, but the number one person that you are to help is your husband!

Andrea: And that’s hard, because we have a million things pulling at us all the time. So for me, I just had to go to Trent and ask the question again: “How can I help you? What would you like me to do for you that I’m not doing? What does that look like for you?” Because I was running around, trying to make his favorite meal, iron his clothes—all this stuff. That’s not what he really wanted me to do.

I’ll never forget his answer to me. He just said, “Andrea, if you could just be happy. If when I come home, the house is happy—that you’re emotionally stable. I just want you to keep you. If you can keep you, I’m a happy man.”

And so I said, “Alright. That’s a lot easier than I thought what you were wanting from me!” (laughter)

So, again, ask your husband. It may not be the same answer that my husband has, but ask him, because, women, we are the heart of the home. And what our attitude is, is catching! Our kids catch it, our husbands catch it, so we want to make sure that it’s joyful and fun and life-giving in our homes.

Trent: Your husband needs your admiration

I have a friend, a pastor in the Detroit area. He was a college football player. He made hall of fame status at Ball State. Dave is married to Anne. And he told Anne one day (he was actually telling a group of women while Anne was listening) that when he would score touchdowns the crowd would cheer. When he would run out of the tunnel, the crowd would cheer. He would spend hours in front of this crowd, and they would cheer and applaud. He was honored and admired, and he’d sign autographs.

And then, he would walk into his house, and all he would hear was, “Booooo! Booooo!” coming from his wife. And that’s not the place where he wanted to spend time anymore. It’s easier to spend time where you’re admired and respected. So often, there’s a cheerleader in there somewhere, but you’re blinded by all the needs in his life. He needs to know that you admire him.

Inside the heart of your husband, ladies, is a ten-year-old little boy that’s always asking the question, “Do you believe in me? Do you think I can do it? I don’t think I can! Does anybody believe that I can do this?” If you can answer that question in the affirmative, it will cheer him on. He’ll feel your admiration, and he’ll feel respected.

Andrea: I love that I have two boys because you see that in boys. Their hearts are still soft, and they’re kind of unzipped. But as they grow up, and they become men and husbands, they kind of zip themselves up, and you can’t really see that vulnerable heart. So you don’t really know it’s there, but it is. If we can go to work speaking those words of life, it just makes all the difference.

I have a friend who is so great at this. Her husband’s very funny, and so she’ll say to me all the time, “I just love being married to a funny man. I just love that about him!” She says that in his presence, just building him up.

We were speaking at a marriage conference, and I had a lady come up to me. She just wouldn’t even take a breath—just saying all the negative things about her husband. She just went on and on and on. And finally, I just interrupted her and said, “Hey! Is there anything positive? Can you just tell me one positive quality about your husband?”

She looked at me, and she said, “Well, I would if he had any.”

I said, “So, you’re telling me you married a man with no positive qualities. What does that say about you?”

Here’s the reality: He has positive qualities! Remember them? But they’ve just become so commonplace that we don’t see them anymore. We need to back out and look at the positive qualities that our husband gifted us with.

It is a privilege to be married! I get to be married to this man! Does he know I feel that way? We need to be speaking about the positives.

Trent: Five ways a husband feels respected: Your acceptance, your assistance, your admiration and your adaptability.

William Harley has done a lot of research on marriage—husbands and wives—and he wanted to find out: What are the top needs of a husband and a wife?

The number two need that he discovered in his research that a husband needs is something he labeled “recreational companionship.”

Guys just want to have fun . . . apparently. They want to play, and they want a playmate. They want somebody to be alongside of them as they do adventurous things and take risks and scrape their knee and get up and move forward.

And so, in thinking about that, Andrea and I were talking with Andrea’s grandparents in Alabama. (They have interesting names in Alabama: GamPapa and GamMamma were married for over sixty years. Late in their life, we were having lunch with them one day.) Andrea asked them this question: “What has been the secret to the longevity in your relationship?”

And without batting an eye, GamMamma said, “Playing golf.” (Thought I might get an “amen” out of a man there, somewhere along the line.) Now, listen, it was not because GamMamma liked playing golf. She didn’t pick up a golf club until she was sixty years old! GamMamma played golf because she liked GamPapa, and GamPapa like GamMamma playing golf!

So, recreational companionship—maybe not your favorite thing, but you can adapt. You can be a part of something he enjoys, and it communicates respect to a husband.

Andrea: I would also say: Don’t stop growing. Like, as a woman, don’t stop growing as a person.

When Trent and I got married, I was twenty-four years old. I look back. I was very selfish. I was very immature. And, hopefully, after twenty-two years of marriage, I’ve grown. Hopefully he sees a person who has matured in the Lord, and there is beauty there and there is strength there. And hopefully, we’ll have twenty-two more years, and I’ll look back to this point and say, “Ah, there’s been so much more growth!”

I don’t know what that looks like for you. Maybe that means reading a book on marriage every year, reading a book on parenting every year. For sure, I know that means getting in the presence of the Lord.

Second Corinthians talks about “we are changed from one degree of glory to another as we behold Jesus.” That has got to be our number one pursuit because that is when we are changed.

There’s a great book—and there’s not many left—but there’s a great book out in the Resource Center, and it’s called Sacred Influence. This week it’s become my favorite marriage book.

Trent: My favorite, too!

Andrea: It’s not a “pie in the sky” book. It just talks about marriage. It talks about how we as women get our identity from God and not from our husbands. We’ve got to have it firmly in the Lord.

And then, it talks about all the different ways that we can grow as women. In the back it talks about: What if you have an angry husband? How do you handle that? What if you have a husband with this issue? How do you handle that? Just wisdom that is just practical for the age that we’re living in.

This is a quote out of that book, talking about growth. He says,

When you grow in character, when you sink your spiritual roots deep, when you learn to hear God’s voice and build your mind with His wisdom, when you allow His Holy Spirit to transform your character and reshape your heart, your husband will be more motivated to maintain your respect and affection. Nothing compares to being married to a godly woman—nothing. And nothing gets more tiresome more quickly than living with a narcissist or a weak wife or a fearful one.

So we need to know our areas where we need growth. If I’m so focused on my areas where I need to grow, it helps me not to be so focused on his.

Trent: He also needs your availability.

The last time Andrea and I were with you, we talked about how men and women have these different needs for levels of intimacy. For a wife she has this need for emotional intimacy, to be emotionally connected to you. She feels like there’s distance unless there’s emotional intimacy.

Ladies, please hear me: Your husband has the same need for physical intimacy that you have for emotional intimacy. He doesn’t feel close to you, he doesn’t feel respected, without physical intimacy.

And, ladies, if you are married to a Christian, Christ has made claims—not only on his life—Christ has made claims on his sexuality and given him boundaries in which he is to practice his sexuality. And it’s hard! The world is doing everything it can to get him to play outside of those boundaries sexually.

The question you need to ask yourself is this: “How can I help him stay in the boundaries?” Your availability communicates respect.

About five years ago was the last time I preached this particular passage of Scripture here at Harvest. It wasn’t actually in this room; it was back at Northpointe Elementary School. We had about 300 people coming at that time, and we were always looking for new people. “Is there anybody new going to show up that might want to be a part of this thing we are building here?”

And I remember, as I was preaching to women about submission, there was a guy I’d never seen before. He came in the door of the gym. He didn’t come and sit down. He just stood along the back wall throughout the whole message. And in my heart, I was just like, “Sorry, dude. This was not the message you needed to hear. Come back another Sunday, and it will apply to you.”

And I was like, “Doggone it! I wish that guy could have been here on a different Sunday.”

And I noticed he left right as I was closing the message. And I thought, I’ll never see that guy again. Surely he’s not going to come back after he heard that message to wives on submission.

But then, on Tuesday afternoon I got an email from this guy, and this is what he said: “I was so convicted by the message. As a matter of fact, I had to leave early because I was bursting into tears. I drove home with tears running out of my eyes.”

I asked, “Why is that?”

He said, “Because I realized I wasn’t the kind of man that my wife could submit to. I’ve been passive and uninvolved.”

He said he drove home, went to their liquor cabinet, poured out all of the liquor into the sink and drained it all out. And he was calling to ask for help. And so I asked, “Can you meet me at Chili’s on Tuesday?”

And we did, we met at Chili’s and, over chips and salsa, he prayed to receive Christ, gave his life to Christ, he gave his family to Christ. He said, “I’m going to salvage my marriage! I’m going to go home and love and lead my wife.”

Before we went home, he said, “Let’s stop by the Christian bookstore. We don’t have Bibles.” He bought seven Bibles. He went home, passed them all out, and he said, “Open your Bibles to John chapter 3!” And he led them through John chapter 3. It’s the only passage he knew, because that’s what we talked about at Chili’s that he needed to do.

Husbands, your wife has a hard job. You can make it easier by loving her and leading her and being vertically submitted to Christ, and as she follows your leadership, it will make it much easier for her to submit to you. Do you understand what we’re saying here?

Without your love, husbands, she reacts without respect.

Ladies, without your respect, he reacts without love.

That is not a fun home to live in! If you want a fun home to live in, do this: Husbands, it is your love that inspires her respect. And it is your respect, ladies, that inspires his love. And now, you get more love inspiring your respect, and more respect inspiring his love. That’s a great place to live!

So, the question is: “Who moves first?” Answer: It doesn’t matter. It just gets everything going in the right direction.

Nancy: That’s Pastor Trent Griffith, the good friend of Revive Our Hearts and the pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in nearby Granger, Indiana.

Trent and his wife Andrea have been showing us as wives what communicates respect to our husbands. And then Trent ended by reminding both husbands and wives that marriage isn’t about us or how we feel. It’s about putting the gospel of Christ on display.

To help you do that even better, I’d like to send you a copy of a workbook that I co-authored with my friend Mary Kassian. It’s called True Woman 101: Divine Design.

This eight-week study will walk you through the basics of biblical womanhood. Why did God create you to be a woman anyway? How are men and women different, and how are we the same? And how can we glorify God in uniquely feminine ways?

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any size, we’d like to send you this True Woman 101 workbook. Your gift at this time will enable Revive Our Hearts to continue helping women around the world discover and embrace their God-created design and His calling for their lives.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

To get your copy, call 1–800–569–5959. Make your gift of any size, and ask for True Woman 101. Or, make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow we take on a very important topic: God Himself. Jen Wilkin will be here to help us meditate on the amazing attributes of God. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help your marriage paint a picture of the gospel. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

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