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For Men Only

Toward Godly manhood in a feminized world  
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. I Cor. 16:13 nas


Husbands, Love Your Wives


Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Eph. 5:25-33

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What did Jesus do when we were not pleasing to Him? Did He withdraw and get silent; cut us down with sharp words; stand back and wait for us to change; or “lay down the law” to force us to act in a certain way? Obviously the answer is that He gave Himself to our need, at the cost of His own life.
Jesus gave Himself to us in a way that helped us change so that we could become pleasing to Him! In so doing He set an example for how husbands are to bring change in their home!
A Test of Masculinity
To love our wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, is the ultimate test of manhood. It draws on every possible virtue and potential strength within us. It produces healthy families which lead to a strong church and society. And it leads to good sex.
Every marriage needs some help. Men are to be the initiative takers and leaders. We get to go first. For openers, every husband should read the little book, “For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women” by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. And don’t give me the baloney that it doesn’t describe your wife! It does!! She may be shut down because of wounds of the past, or she might be compensating in some way in order to survive with you and your inadequacies as a man, but the things they write about are inside of her.
The Need
It is within a woman to respond to and give herself to her man in a way that makes life really good for him, but he may first need to open the doors of her heart by meeting some of her needs.
Our physical differences are symbolic of the differences of our inner person and how we experience life. Women think differently than men. As Feldhahns say on p9, women tend to process things by talking them through, and men tend to process things by thinking them through. Wow – that’s a biggie!
They say that a woman needs to be reassured over and over of our love for her and that she is “the one” for us. I don’t quite “get that” because it’s not nearly as much a male need, but that’s the way she is. Its part of the mystery of God’s spectacular design of that which is called “woman,” and the smart man will seek to understand and respond to her.  She also - - well guys - - read the book.
Giving and Receiving
Isn’t it true that we usually marry someone who is different from us personality-wise or in gifting? And doesn’t that have potential to either enrich both of us or to produce conflict?
God didn’t forget anything in His design of male and female on the outside, or masculine and feminine on the inside. When understood in a way that they become complimentary and mutually enriching, our differences can lead to wonderful measures of personal wholeness and fulfillment. God had our good in mind when He made us man and woman.
As each of us gives ourselves to the needs of the other, it stimulates a response that enriches both. It’s the sowing and reaping thing. As we guys caress the spot that God has placed deep inside our wife, it blesses her and stimulates here femininity, and good stuff comes back to us!
Did you see that little line in v28, “He who loves his wife loves himself?” When a man isn’t getting what he wants/needs from his wife, whether it is respect, bed-time, the meals he likes or anything else, the best thing he can do is to humble himself, think about the things that will help meet her needs, and love her. Give himself to her needs.
Women have a specific need to be loved and cherished, and men have a need to be respected. While God instructs wives to respect their husbands, it is only the foolish husband who will try to force that. The wise man will earn her respect by the way he treats her and pleases her. 
Good lovemaking doesn’t start in the bedroom or even the shower. It starts in the kitchen – or wherever it is in the ordinaries of life where we can warm her spirit. Maybe doing some of the things that she has been nagging us about, and which really do need to be done. Expressing love is a way of life. A kind of relationship that is marked by mutually building each other up.
As I say over and over on this site, “to love is to give, as in John 3:16.” And our first verse above repeats that. Isn’t it often easier for a man to give himself to the needs to his car or boat, than his wife – and then he wonders why she doesn’t want to do “breakfast in bed” – or whatever.  
The Bottom Line
The basic points of this article are that it is up to the husband to take initiative to lead in their relationship; that it’s going to cost him; and that the payback can blow his socks off.
Too often we have left it up to her to initiate. Okay - she is often more sensitive and more feeling-driven and it is logical that she might recognize a need in your relationship before you do. However, the ball is now in your court and you are responsible to address it – to “be the man.”
And oh yes – the ecstatic sex that people dream of and write about is only possible in a relationship of love and respect, because that is the only setting in which the two are conjoined not only physically but at the deepest level of their innermost being. That, is ecstasy defined!
This is #6 in the series "For Men Only" on © 2010 Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA. May be printed for personal use and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without further permission if proper acknowledgment is given.  Posted: March 12, 2011
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