daily Broadcast

Is There a Man in the House?, Part 2

From the series Marriage that Works

Guys, do you ever get overwhelmed by trying to be father, husband, provider, spiritual leader?  How do you balance it all and do it successfully?  Chip provides a clear, biblical path for you to follow as you lead your family.

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Message Transcript

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands and to the Lord.” Here’s the reason. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the Church.”

So, there’s a role. There’s a responsibility here. “He Himself, Jesus, being the Savior of the body. But as the Church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

Here’s where it gets hard. “Husbands, love your wives.” Well, how? “Just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”

Well, why did He do that? “That He might sanctify her. Having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word. That He might present to Himself a Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and be blameless.”

Application: so there’s some connection between a husband loving a wife the same way Jesus loves His Church, so husbands ought to love their own wives – how? As their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. Because the two, remember, became one.

“For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does the Church. Because we’re His members.”

Now, guys, if you have a pen, pull it out. I want you to circle and underline a few words. First of all, I want you, as quickly as you can, to scan that and every time the word “love” is there, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle it. You’re going to get something real quickly, right?

“Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the Church. No man loved his own body, right?”

This word is not phileo love. Be a good friend. Be loyal. This is not eros love. This isn’t sexual love. This isn’t even storge love, which is have a good family connection. This is agape love.

Agape love is not an emotional love. It may or may not have emotion. Agape love is unconditionally giving another person what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal cost. That’s how Jesus loved you, that’s how Jesus loved me.

When I was in my sin, when I didn’t want any of God’s help and I absolutely didn’t deserve it, Christ died in my place. When Jesus was in the Garden and He was fully man and fully God, and in His humanness, knowing that God the Father would turn His face away from Him, and your sin and my sin would be placed on Him, He said, basically, translation, “If there’s a plan B that we haven’t thought of, why don’t we go with plan B, instead of this cross stuff. Nevertheless, not My will,” right? “But Yours.”

But listen, Jesus did not emotionally want to die for you. He didn’t feel like it. He chose to.

Agape love is a choice. It’s a choice. When I, as a man, treat my wife well, when I’m sensitive to her, when I care about her, when I respond in ways that God wants me to because I feel really good about her, that’s a good thing.

It’s a far greater thing when she hurts me, and wounds me, and is acting in ways that make me feel like I want to push her away. Agape love is, I give her what she needs the most, when she deserves it the least, at great personal cost.

Now, women, that’s what God calls your husband to do to you.

That’s not hard, again, that is absolutely impossible [apart] from the Spirit of God working inside your husband’s heart and life and him being absolutely committed to doing that.

Notice, it says, “That He might sanctify her.” Will you circle the word “sanctify her” and underneath that it says, “present to Himself.” The word “sanctify” means to “set apart.” To make her holy.

And don’t let that word “holy” conjure up big, black robes and candles lit in a dark room. It means “special.” And the “set apart” just means absolutely special.

And He says, Jesus did that for us, His Church. As a man, my job is to help my wife become the special person that God wants her to become.

Jesus did it by the washing of the water with the Word. The word there in Greek, it’s the rhema. Not just the logos but it’s the spoken word. Jesus speaks life into His Church. My job, as a husband, is speak life into the soul of my wife. Affirmation and encouragement. Truth from God that is given to me. Caring for her.

It goes on to say, notice those two little words about how this happens. Nourishes and cherishes. Put a box around “nourishes” and put a box around “cherishes.” How do I love my wife?

The word “nourished” literally means “to feed.” It means to be devoted to. It means to provide for, in everything. It means to promote the development and the maintenance of the health of something.

So, to nourish something, now, think of this, guys. This was so foreign to me. , I just basically thought, “You get married, you fall in love, you’re attracted to her, you have some kids, things work out. You play a lot of softball and basketball and she cooks a lot and you hope it works.”

I’m sorry. That’s all I knew. And then I became a Christian. And then I realized, God has all these needs that He created my wife to have, and He created me as the instrument that He wants to meet many of those needs, just like He created her to meet many of mine.

And so, I’m to develop and maintain and help her mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally become all that God created her to become. That’s to nourish.

And the word “cherish” here literally means “to keep warm.” It means to commune in ways that make sense to her. It means to be to her that sense of safety and comfort. It’s, guys, why they want to do things that don’t make any sense like, “Let’s talk.” And you say, “What about?” And they say, “Nothing.” “Then, why do you want to talk?” We want to get something done. “Because, well, how did your day go?” “Fine. It went fine.”

No, no, no. She wants to hear what’s going on inside. Why was it fine? What happened? She wants to be connected to your soul. She wants to know that you ask questions like, “How are you feeling? What’s going on inside? What are your concerns? What’s your biggest fear right now? How are you handling it? Do you want to stop right now, together, and pray about that?”

What she needs is a leader. What she needs is a man. A man who sees his role, not as: what can I get? But a man who sees his role, from God, to provide everything for his wife that Jesus gave to the Church. Clarity, leadership, cherishing, devotion, development.

And, for most of us as men, we never saw that. We never saw that in our home. And so, it’s pretty hard to pull off. But I will tell you, you say to God, “God, will you help me be that kind of man?”

Whether you’re thirty or fifty or seventy, God will answer that prayer. And the moment you begin to become this kind of man, really significant things happen.

So, in summary, what we have is a man’s role is to assume the same kind of responsibility for their wives and give the same kind of love to the point of actually, physically dying for your wife, that Jesus did for the Church.

I, in summary, would say, that’s what a leader is, in the home, okay? That’s a real man. A real man is not playing hard, making money, dropping it in, and living your own kind of separate life, and longing for everyone to meet your needs.

How do we get this in a way that becoming real men where we’re at? How do we assume the responsibility? And what does it mean?

Let me give you three very specific ways, as men, we can start. Okay?

Number one, husbands must love their wives sacrificially. That’s out of verse 25. Love her in a way, sacrificial means, love her in a way that costs you something. And under that, in your notes, I’m going to give you three specific ways to love your wife where it costs you something.

Number one is in preference. Okay? Sometimes, you need to communicate to your wife, especially if you’re coming out of, like I was, really consumed with me, and my world, and my stuff. Sometimes you need to do something where she knows you really love this and you choose to do something that says, and she looks at you and goes, “Are you kidding? You gave up that?” Where do you need to love your wife where it costs you in preference?

Second, it’ll cost you in, write the word, “time.” The second place you need to love your wife is in time. It requires time.

The long, long, long, long work hours, and the hobbies where some of you only have one day off a week, and five and half to six and a half hours is on a golf course and your family doesn’t see you, let me just tell you, is stupid. Okay? It’s just stupid.

Because I’m going to tell you that once all that stuff happens and your kids get grown and they’re away, you will wish you could get some of those hours back that you worked and you got plenty of time to get better at golf.

Now, I’m going to tell you a little bit later you need to have hobbies, you need to have men friends, you need to work out, you need to have fun with guys. I’m not saying that.

I’m just saying to be a leader in your home, like anything, it requires time. So, you lead and you say stuff like, three or four in my case. I was leading a very large church at the time, five or six nights a week, we ate together at five thirty.

Did I have work before five thirty, after five thirty, and demands? Absolutely. But my family, and my wife, knew we’re going to eat together.

And after we ate, we did this crazy stuff. We actually pushed the plates to the middle and we talked. And then we often prayed. And at least a couple times, during the week, I would say, “This is what I’m learning right now.” And then I’d ask some of the kids, as they got older, what are you learning?

And my kids knew, rather than perfunctory devotions, everyone spends times in God’s Word, everyone’s listening from God, we eat together, we share together.

So, you love them sacrificially.

Second, you’ve got to love your wives intentionally. Verses 26 to 28, Jesus, very, He sanctified them. He had a plan. And so, purposefully seek to develop your wife’s greatest beauty and gifts: spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

You want to see your wife as a flower that you’re an instrument in the hands of the living God that will bloom in ways that will produce beauty like you could never imagine.

And you’re on her team, you’re her number one cheerleader, you’re seeing gifts that she has that she doesn’t see.

Early in our marriage, I remember, my wife wrote a Christmas letter. It’s our first Christmas letter. We’re just married. And I read it. And I was writing all these papers in seminary.

And I thought, “Man, she writes way better than me.” I said, “You write, really good, honey.” “Oh, no. You’re just saying that. You’re my husband.” “No, this is really, really good.”

And then I heard her explaining to someone. I said, “Honey, I think you communicate really well.” “No, I couldn’t.”

So, anyway, first church. These ladies ask her to speak. And I said, “Honey, I think you can. And let’s go over the outline together and…”

And I, literally, she did it. There were ten or twelve women, which was a huge group back then. And she would, literally, throw up and be sick two days before she spoke. And you know what she needed? She needed, just needed someone to believe in her. Someone to say, “You can do that. You’re gifted at that.”

She did a series called, “Precious in His Sight” at a women’s retreat and it helped women so much so we had a gap on the radio – a week we needed to fill.

And I said, “Why don’t we put my wife’s stuff on there and see what happens.” So, we did. It sold more than mine.

And I could have been threatened but then I thought, “Now, wait a second. I’ve been, for twenty years, dreaming a dream to see her…” And that’s one of many, many things.

I remember when she was hitting the early part of mid-life. And, as a woman, you’re thinking, there’s osteoporosis out there, I need to be in shape, and there’s also, your body starts changing, and you need to fight against gravity.

And I came from this athletic background. I’d work out twice a day still, if I could. I just love to. It’s not a discipline. But she came from this total, never, she, nothing.

And so, we were up in Tahoe on vacation and we were talking about our relationship and where we’re headed, and what concerns you? And she said, “You know it kind of concerns me?”

And so, I said, “Well, why don’t we start walking together?” And we’ve been walking together ever since. Some of the best times of conversation.

And early on, it was literally, I felt like I was walking slow. “You coming?” Yi-yi-yi. And then eventually it got where, “Hey, honey, could you slow down?” At one point in time, she just realized, she goes, she was really intimidated by the gyms and never…

So, I rearranged my schedule for two years so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for fifty-five minutes during my lunch hour, we went to a gym together, I showed her how to use the machines, and we lifted and worked out.

And my wife, guess what – did that, man, that had huge difference. What am I saying? I’m responsible to be intentional about helping her develop.

We just decided on the book that we’re going to read together and then I read a chapter, she reads a chapter, we’re going to discuss it later this week. It never ends.

I’ve got to be intentional about developing her spiritually, emotionally, relationally. And loving her and helping her see what she can’t see in herself. Do you get it, guys? It’s a big job. Sacrificially, intentionally.

And, third, sensitively. That’s the nourish and the caring for your wife. It’s the little things that are big things for a woman. Little words of encouragement. It’s when you call for no reason. I know it doesn’t make sense but, believe me, it does to them somehow.

It’s when you take a walk, it’s when you talk, it’s when you plan in a date and you plan the date and you get the babysitter. Why that matters? I don’t know. It seems easier to her, she knows her better, but, okay guys, I’m just telling you. This is what’s called sensitivity.

And there’s something about, it’s noticing what’s going on around the house that’s broken.

I was, I’ve got to share this with you. This is so embarrassing. See how faded these cards are? These cards are from the early eighties. I was married about four years. And I was learning exactly what I’m teaching you.

And as I was learning it, I just realized, I am clueless. And my mind, it doesn’t – it’s one thing to hear a message or read a book. I don’t know about you but I default back to how I grew up.

And so I thought, I’m going to write down on these cards the kind of husband that I want to be and each day, I’ll just read them over and maybe, someway, somehow, over time, it’ll stick.

Because it wasn’t sticking. Oh, I was sensitive for, like, one day in a row. Oh…the next seven weren’t very good. And so, this is “life-goals with wife.” Life goals:

“My goal is to love Theresa sacrificially in a way that makes sense to her.” I just wanted to remember that was what the job was.

“My goal is to be the leader and initiator in our family that God wants me to be.” I just, I never saw that growing up.

“My goal is to get away with Theresa alone three times each year.” Now, just to be fair, guys, I don’t think I ever did it three times. But the fact that I wrote it down and said it, we usually got away at least twice, which was two more times than ever before.

“My goal is to make our home a beautiful place to live in within our priorities financially, as a gift to Theresa.”

Another goal is, “My goal is to read with Theresa once a week, either a book together or separately.” Now, do I do it every week of every year? Of course not. But I can’t tell you how many dozens of books over the last thirty-two years we’ve done.

“My goal is to pray seriously with my wife once a week and briefly each day.” That doesn’t sound like a big deal. I’ve been in pastor’s conferences and I’ve asked pastors, “If you pray with your wife, no lying, raise your hand.” Less than ten percent of pastors pray with their wives.

“My goal is to give my wife what she needs instead of what she wants.” There’s a danger that I’ll touch on – one of the dangers, if you get real serious and if you have a passion to do what God wants you to do, is that you’ll think that anything your wife wants, a really good, loving husband says yes to, which produces codependency.

You need to lead – what’s best. You want to give her what’s best for her, best for the family, best for your marriage.

And, at times, that means you get rejection from her because you say, “You know what? Honey, I’d really love to do that, we really can’t afford that right now.” “But, why not?” “You know what? We really can’t”

So, are you guys getting what a man looks like? And the power, when a man shows up like this in a relationship?

As you turn the page, I want to give you a warning. The warnings are what this does not mean and I’ll give them to your briefly. But I need to balance it out.

It doesn’t mean, as I just stated, you always give your wife what she wants.

Number two, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a life of your own. You need to have friends, male friends, you need to have hobbies. You need to do things planned into your life where you get from other men, and have fun, and have a world of your own that refreshes you so you can show up and bring something great to your wife. And so, wives, you’ve got to participate with that.

Third, it doesn’t mean that you make her dependent on you. Don’t smother her. Don’t take care of things. Part of developing something is, “You can do it! Go for it!” “Oh, I don’t think I can.” “You’ll be great.” So, you don’t make your wife dependent.

And, finally, it doesn’t mean you call all the shots. It means you talk, and pray, and get God’s counsel, and you work as a team and, at the end of the day, you do what we’re called to do.

Remember that, in that one line? Step up. Step up.