In Ephesians 5:25, Paul gives men a challenging but important instruction: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Jesus loved the church with a sacrificial love. His love was selfless. He loved the Church more than He loved Himself.
That’s how men should love their wives—by sacrificing to meet their needs. What are those needs?
First, her greatest need is for security. A woman feels most secure when she is married to a man who is sensitive. He understands what is important to her. He works hard to meet her needs. She doesn’t have to nag him or drop hints.
A lot of men view their role in marriage as going to work, supporting the family, and coming home to relax. But that’s not the husband’s job. His job is to serve his wife. He identifies what she needs and he makes sure she gets it.
A sacrificial husband will sacrifice any hobby, interest, or promotion to show that nothing in life is as important as his wife. That is what gives her security. On the other hand, women feel insecure when their husband is selfish and detached.
Her next need is for soft, nonsexual affection. I once counseled a couple where the woman said, “Outside the bedroom, he’s never touched me. Never held my hand or put his arm around me.” She was frustrated and angry about it.
Early in our marriage, I was like that husband. I just didn’t know how to be affectionate with Karen. I was rough. God had to teach me how important it was for me to hold her, to be gentle and show affection without expecting it to lead somewhere. When I changed, it changed our marriage.
Some men may say, “That’s just not the way I am.” I tell them it doesn’t matter. You need to change and meet your wife’s needs.
The number-three need for women is open and honest communication. When a lot of guys come home from work, their wife may ask them how their day was. They respond with grunts or vague answers. Or the wife may come home from her job and the husband doesn’t even ask about her day.
Neither of these invites good communication. Women want to be asked about their day. And when they ask about your day, men, they want answers. They want actual information, feelings, and opinions. They want to connect to your world.
I grew up in a pretty quiet family. We were reserved. Sharing intimate details didn’t come naturally for me. But God convicted me that talking patiently with Karen was something I needed to do. I had to be willing to do something that, at first, made me uncomfortable in order to meet one of her basic needs.
Finally, women need leadership. This doesn’t mean dominating them. They are equal partners and should be treated as such. But they do want their husbands to initiate in certain areas: children, romance, finances, and spiritual matters.
This isn’t easy for many couples. Some men have naturally strong personalities and take the lead on everything. They might even make decisions without consulting their wife. These husbands need to dial it back a little.
Other men may be more passive. In this case, they need to step it up. Start conversations about the kids. Talk about the budget. Bring up the topic of spirituality and prayer. She wants you to be an equal partner in those things. She wants you to lead sacrificially.
Guys, meeting your wife’s needs requires looking outside yourself and identifying the things that are important to her. Sacrifice your own desires or comfort and commit to loving her more than you love yourself. I guarantee it will improve your marriage.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today