The following is the transcript from the June 19, 2016 service at Little Brown Church, Nashua, Iowa.
Today we’re going to talk about husbands wish their wives knew about men. Now, you may think this is going to be about what men wish their wives knew about being the wife we want. And we could talk about that.
It’s pretty basic.
I think I can sum it all up in an essay that was written for a 1950's home economics textbook. It was from a chapter on how a woman should act when her husband comes home from work.
Let me read it to you:
• "Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
• "Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking...Be a little gay and a little more interesting.
...by the way, is nausea sinking in yet? Hold on, it gets better!
• "Clear away the clutter...run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order.
• "Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hand and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
...and here's my favorite part.
• "Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice.
• "Make the evening his: never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other place of entertainment...the goal: a place where your husband can renew himself."
And all God’s men said, “Amen.”
But that’s actually not where I’m going.
It is likely no surprise to you that God has wired women and men differently. We all recognize some of these differences, but others often hide in plain sight. Shaunti Feldhahn, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, author and speaker recently wrote a fantastic book, For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men. In it, she recounts the surprising truths she learned about men after interviewing more than one thousand of them.
1. Men would rather feel unloved than inadequate and disrespected. Husbands need to know that their wives respect them both privately and publicly. Men thrive when they know that their wives trust them, admire them and believe in them. Shaunti Feldhahn’s research indicated that men would rather sense the loss of loving feelings from their wives than to be disrespected by them.
2. A man’s anger is often a response to feeling disrespected by his wife. When a husband becomes angry with his wife, he may not come out and say, “You’re disrespecting me!” But, there is a good likelihood that he is feeling stung by something his wife has done which he considers disrespectful and humiliating.
3. Men are insecure. Men are afraid that they aren’t cutting it in life — not just at work, but at home, in their role as a husband. They may never vocalize this, but inwardly, they are secretly vulnerable. The antidote? Affirmation. To men, affirmation from their wives is everything! If they don’t receive this affirmation from their wives, they’ll seek it elsewhere. When they receive regular and genuine affirmation from their wives (not flattery, by the way), they become much more secure and confident in all areas of their lives.
4. Men feel the burden of being the provider for their family. Intellectually, it doesn’t matter how much or little a man makes, or whether or not his wife makes more or less money in her career. Men simply bear the emotional burden of providing for their family. It’s not a burden they’ve chosen to bear. Men are simply wired with this burden. As such, it is never far from their minds and can result in the feeling of being trapped. While wives cannot release their husbands from this burden, they can relieve it through a healthy dose of appreciation, encouragement and support.
5. Men want more sex. Everyone’s natural response to this is probably, “Duh!” But, that response is probably for the wrong reason. We primarily assume that men want more sex with their wives due to their physical wiring (their “needs”). But, surprisingly, Shaunti Feldhahn’s research showed that the reason men want more sex is because of their strong need to be desired by their wives. Men simply need to be wanted. Regular, fulfilling sex is critical to a man’s sense of feeling loved and desired.
6. Sex means more than sex. When men feel their wives desire them sexually, it has a profound effect on the rest of their lives. It gives them an increasing sense of confidence and well-being that carries over into every other area of his life. The flipside of this coin also carries a profoundly negative affect. When a husband feels rejected sexually, he not only feels his wife is rejecting him physically, but that she is somehow rejecting his life as a husband, provider and man. This is why making sex a priority in marriage is so incredibly important!
7. Men struggle with visual temptation. This means the vast majority of men respond to visual images when it comes to women. And, this doesn’t just mean the guys with wandering eyes. Even the most godly husband cannot avoid noticing a woman who dresses in a way that draws attention to her body. Even if it is just a glance, these visual images are stored away in the male brain as a sort of “visual rolodex” that will reappear without any warning. Men can choose whether to dwell on these images and memories or dismiss them, but they can’t control when these images appear.
8. Men enjoy romance, but doubt their skills to be romantic. True, many men appear to be unromantic clods, but it doesn’t mean that they want to be that way! Men want to be romantic, but they just doubt their ability to pull it off. They are plagued by internal hesitations, perceiving the risk of humiliation and failure as too high. Wives can do a great deal to increase their husbands’ confidence in their romantic skills through encouragement and redefining what romance looks like. For example, a wife may balk when her husband asks her to go along to the hardware store, but it’s likely that he’s asking because he sees it as a time they can get away as a couple and hang out together. What’s not romantic about that?
9. Men care about their wife’s appearance. This isn’t saying that all men want their wives to look like the latest supermodel. What men really want is to know that their wives are making an effort to take care of themselves (and not letting themselves go) because it matters to them (the husbands!). Husbands appreciate the efforts their wives make to maintain their attractiveness.
10. Men want their wives to know how much they love them. This was the number one response of men. Men aren’t confident in their ability to express this, but they love their wives dearly. Men want to show how much they love their wives and long for them to understand this fact.
11. Men are not overall verbal. First, most men are not overly verbal.
I don’t mean that we can’t talk. I just mean that we are not very good at expressing ourselves in areas where women usually are. This means in the area of personal thoughts and feelings. We’re good at communicating information or engaging in debate, but we’re not so hot when it comes to communicating on an emotional level.
In fact, it’s not just an inability, for most men, it’s not even a need. And this is a fundamental difference between men and women.
Ann Landers once conducted an interesting survey through her newspaper column that asked women which they would rather have with their husband: a night of physical intimacy – in other words, sex – or an evening of intimate conversation.
Of the 90,000 women who responded, it was almost unanimous: they said they wanted to talk.
Now put this together.
Because women are highly verbal, and they are feelers, women tend to use communication to express their feelings, and expect others to do the same. When they don’t, they feel that there has been a relational breakdown, and intimacy is threatened.
So are we just unfeeling? No! The deeper truth is that men do have feelings, men do have emotions, we just have a difficulty expressing them verbally.
Women expect men to communicate on the feeling level. In other words, to talk the way they talk, because women tend to use communication for intimacy.
But men tend to use it for information. That’s our default mode.
Why This Is Good To Know
So what’s the point in bringing all this up? It’s pretty basic.
Men really are from another planet - that’s who God made us to be. And women are not from that world, which can lead to relational friction.
I’ve seen marriages EXPLODE over this – because of women wanting men to be like women and vice versa.
But it doesn’t have to.
Instead of resentment, disappointment, or division, it can lead to something else: Understanding.
Take a look at how the Bible talks about this:
“...husbands...treat her [your wife] with understanding as you live together” (I Peter 3:7, NLT).
The Bible calls us to live together according to knowledge, not expectation.
That’s an important difference. To live together on the basis of expectation usually means that we expect our spouse to think like we think, feel like we feel, and react like we would react.
Instead of realizing that God made men as men, and women as women, and there are some very real differences between us that have to be taken into consideration. That’s what living with someone on the basis of knowledge is about.
We are called to work at knowing our differences, and understanding them.
And, in the end, be gracious toward them; treating those differences with respect, care, insight, and thoughtfulness.
And it’s a two way street!
In Ephesians, the Bible says:
“Wives, understand and support your husbands.” (Eph. 5:22, MSG)
Which means realize the way we’re naturally wired; take into account what our default mode is going to be.
One last thing, on the way home today, we don’t want to talk about it.
Let’s stand for a closing prayer.