"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why Husbands Leave, Part 5: Can I Count On You?

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This is part 5 in my "Why Husbands Leave" series.  If you missed the previous parts of the series, follow the links at the end of this post.

Question:  
What happens when a husband can’t depend on his wife to do what she says she’ll do?

Answer:  
He will do it himself or find someone else who will. 

  1. Wives, have you ever said you would do something, then forgotten to do it?  Has it happened more than once in the last month?  More than ten times?

  1. Have you gotten so busy with a project that you let some other things, perhaps important things, fall by the wayside?

  1. Have you avoided doing something you said you would do, hoping your husband would forget about it?

  1. Have you been there for him when he needed you, I mean really needed you?

  1. In an emergency, are you prepared to drop everything and go?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then you are an exceptional wife.  Congratulations. 

If you answered no to the above, your husband is most likely feeling a tad abandoned and sad.  Also, he is almost certainly wondering who his friends are, and if you are truly one of them.
 
Harsh?  Yes.  True?  Yes.  


You see, men are on a quest for someone they can count on, someone who is so loyal that they will say “yes” without even hearing the full request – someone who will be there, just because.  He’s looking for that kind of loyalty from the person who is supposed to be his closest friend – his wife.  She’s supposed to be his very best friend, with all the "all-for-one-and-one-for-all" details that are included in the job description. 

Sadly, many wives are not willing to take on that role, leaving husbands to do for themselves or find help and support elsewhere.  Instead, they make their husbands provide some sort of “proof of need” before they will spring into action.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:17)

It is heartbreaking, because most men do not have a friend they can rely on in such a way, whereas women tend to have friends who will come and help at a moments’ notice. 

What happens when a husband realizes he can’t rely on his wife?

He begins to do things for himself that his wife would normally do for him. 
He stops asking her for favors, realizing that she probably won't follow through.
He seeks out other companionship that will be supportive and reliable.
He becomes passive or withdrawn.
He leaves the marriage.

I’m not saying all husbands will do all these things as soon as their wives disappoint them.  What I am saying is that when there is a pattern of unreliability there is a higher likelihood that a husband will demonstrate one or more of these characteristics.

What’s a wife to do?

  1. First, pray for your husband, yourself, and your marriage.  Make sure your most important relationship on earth is covered with sincere prayer.
  2. Secondly, from this moment on, do what you say you’ll do.  Keep your promises.  Be reliable. Don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere for someone he can count on.  Make sure that person is you. 
  3. Lastly, if there are things that you promised in the past, that you haven’t done, do them. 

If you follow these steps he will probably come around and start trusting you again. 

"But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."    (1 John 2:5-6)

So … what is your track record?  Can your husband count on you? 


From the inside out,


T B

 ****************

If you would like to read the rest of the series, here are the links.
Why Husbands Leave, Part 1: Significance
Why Husbands Leave, Part 2: Love
Why Husbands Leave, Part 3: Respect 
Why Husbands Leave, Part 4: Sex and Desire 

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This post is linked to ...

The Alabaster Jar

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why Husbands Leave, Part 4: Sex and Desire

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This is part 4 in my "Why Husbands Leave" series.  If you missed the previous 3 posts, follow the links at the end of this post.

Men have needs (duh). One of our largest needs is to feel sexy and desired by women, particularly our wives if we are married.  Many times, however, husbands don't feel especially sexy or desired. Husbands have desires on a deep level that, if left unattended can cause serious damage to him and to the marriage.

What the heck am I talking about?

We all know that in most marriages wives are in charge when it comes to sexual activities.  Sex happens only when they say, where they say, and only includes the things they say it will include.  Husbands can initiate until the cows come home and it won't make a bit of difference.  Generally speaking, her sexual preferences are the only thing on the menu, take it or leave it. If she wants a certain something, that's what they do. If she doesn't, they don't.  Done deal. As long as the end result is the same every time, he should feel desired and sexy, right?

Many of you are probably shaking your heads in disagreement. but if you really examine it closely, it's true in a vast majority of marriages.

Here are just a few facts from my research:
  • Men wait an average of 4 days from the time they begin initiating sexual intimacy until they actually have sex with their spouses (no wonder we give up).
  • 52% of husbands have stopped initiating sex with their wives.
  • In a survey of 2,473 men, 7 out of 10 said they were afraid to ask for anything different sexually from their wives. 
  • In the same survey, almost all husbands said they enjoyed seeing their wives' bodies. 
  • A poll of 1,500 wives showed that 4 out of 5 placed a higher priority on their children and house than pleasing their husbands.
  • 75% of husbands stated that they would try anything their wives wanted in bed.
  • 62% of wives are reluctant to let their husbands take the lead in bed.
  • 69% of wives do not enjoy giving their husbands sexual pleasure if it doesn't involve intercourse. 
  • 43% of women do not like to get messy during sex.
  • 84% of women have sex to get their guy to do more around the house.
    What to do?

Men are visual creatures.  We are sexual creatures.  We desire adventure and variety.  We are hunters by design.  It's how our Heavenly Father made us.

I am fully aware of the fact that husbands are supposed to turn their sexual appetites toward their wives (1 Cor. 7:2), but when he she is too ashamed to show him the love he needs, it feels to him like something is wrong with him, as though he isn't sexy enough or desirable enough for her to share her body with him.  When this happens, he feels awkward; he will shut down to her and seek other ways to make himself feel better. 


If a wife consistently avoids things in bed that she is uncomfortable with, he will become passive.  He will not initiate sex, and will leave it all up to her.  When, where, how, etc... all for her to decide.  He will stop asking.  He won't stop desiring, he'll just stop asking.  He'll write her off as a playmate.  Just like a viticulturist prunes the unproductive branches of the grape vine, a husband will "prune" his wife from that part of his life.  Then he will look for ways to fulfill that desire elsewhere.

If a wife treats sex as a chore instead of deriving joy from giving pleasure to her husband, he will not feel desired; he won't feel good when he's with her. As a result he will withdraw from her and seek out people who find him pleasant to be around.  He will find a way to fill that need of being wanted.

If a woman is too ashamed to reveal her body to her own husband (Gen. 2:25), he will seek out opportunities to see a naked woman, because he has an attraction to them. You see, a naked woman is, to a man, like a light bulb is to a fly.  He will keep flying into it even if he knows it's a terrible idea.
  • He might linger a bit longer on that television station.  
  • He might let his eye be drawn to the advertisements on the right bar of his computer. He may even click on the link. 
  • Perhaps he will ogle the young jogger in the park.   
  • He might view pornography.
  • He may have an affair.
  • He might leave the marriage.
Am I saying it is right for a husband to do these things?

Absolutely not.

BUT ... many husbands are easily and deeply wounded by rejection from their wives.  When husbands are wounded in a sexual way, it cuts to the very heart of their identity.  Men are created that way.  Yes, it really does mean that much.  In some cases this is why husbands leave.


WARNING: THIS WILL MOST LIKELY OFFEND SOME OF YOU (I'm gonna use the "S" word).

Submit. When wives do not submit to their husbands sexually (translation = when wives don't give their husbands the sex they want/need), it places the husband in a vulnerable position in which he is more open to temptation.  He will be drawn to situations that make him feel sexy and desired.  That retail clerk who always winks at him might turn out to be someone who will fulfill his sexual desires.  He should be turning these desires toward his wife, but if she isn't willing or available, he becomes susceptible to sexual temptation. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote, "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything"(Eph. 5:24). I believe this also carries through to things sexual, as a means to keep husbands from being tempted by things outside of the marriage.

Now, before you all jump on me for being a misogynistic jerk, husbands are looking for more out of this deal than just sex.  It's about intimacy.  Oneness, Being known. completely.  The whole enchilada.  Husbands want sex to be a completely non-taboo activity.  They don't want to be thought of as "yucky" in any way, but sadly in many cases that is exactly how they feel.

And ... I'm not saying all of this falls on the shoulders of wives.  There are many husbands who have not spoken up about this, but are passively accepting what is given without making waves. ("What we have here is a failure to communicate." - Sorry, I just couldn't resist) In such cases, the husband needs to speak up and express his needs.  If his wife doesn't know she isn't meeting a need, there's no reason for her to think there's a problem.      

What to do?

Wives need to know their husbands. I mean really know them.  They need to become students of the things that please their husbands and make them feel sexy and desired.  Simple as that.  Learn about him and his needs and learn how to meet them.  Start small, simple - Rome wasn't built in a day

Husbands mustn't forget that when Adam and Even introduced sin into the world, God promised men a life of pain and frustration.  Like it or not, they must accept the likelihood that their wives may not EVER make them feel desirable.  With that in mind, trusting in God and focusing on His promises that things will be much better when they're walking on streets of gold is a more productive use of a man's time than walking around in a perpetual pity party.  Meanwhile, they need to speak up and take the lead.  It might make them happier men and better husbands.
 

From the inside out,


TB


If you would like to read the rest of the series, here are the links.
Why Husbands Leave, Part 1: Significance
Why Husbands Leave, Part 2: Love
Why Husbands Leave, Part 3: Respect 

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Post - Mothers' Day Thoughts


Proverbs 31:2
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her.

Okay, so you got through the day, you pampered your wife, gave her the day off, maybe bought her some flowers or made dinner, put the kids in bed and planned a bit of "alone time" with your wife.  Even if you didn't do all of the above (Mothers' Day in our house mostly consisted of a five-year old's birthday celebration), you at least got through it.  Right?


Did she feel special? Really special?


The answer probably depends on what she was expecting of the day, and you and the kids, and how you met (or didn't meet) those expectations.  Did you take her out for dinner?  What about flowers?  Candy?  Perhaps a massage?  Did you take care of everything?

(E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G?????)

Sadly, I did not take care of everything for the mother of my children.  Alright, maybe I made sure the flowers were in place and everyone ate well, but as far as making my bride feel special, I missed the mark.  Somehow she didn't get the "it's-your-special-day" feeling I was going for.

Maybe it was the birthday presents and cake.
Maybe it was the half-moved-into condition of the house.
Maybe it was the giant mess left by our children and their friends.

No excuses. It was my responsibility to make sure everything was taken care of, and I failed.

What can I do now that Mothers' Day is over?  How can I bless her now that her day is another page in the not-so-splendid history book?

I have to work harder to make sure things are the way she likes them around here. I need to mobilize the troops and hold them responsible for some things.  I have to get the family "machine" working more smoothly so life will be better for my bride.

Until then ...



From the inside out,

TB

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Husbands Leave, Part 3: Respect - A Tale of Two Husbands

This is part 3 in my "Why Husbands Leave" series.  If you missed the previous 2 posts, follow the links at the end of this post.

When polls are conducted about the needs of husbands, respect always lands squarely in the top three.  Why is respect so important to husbands?  What can wives do to help their husbands feel respected?

Respect is a state of being admired or esteemed.
Esteem = value.

Husbands want to feel respected in the marriage.  A husband who does not feel respected will not be happy and may not be willing to continue in the marriage.

To illustrate the point, allow me to present ...

A Tale of Two Husbands
Tale #1

He seemed happy, that much was obvious.  Every day he followed the same routine he had grown so comfortable with over the years.  Wake up, work, come home, eat, television, sleep, repeat.  It was comfortable and easy. 

He wasn’t unlike many men he knew.  He had a good job, a nice house, and two wonderful children, twins to be precise.    He worked hard and came home every day to deal with the continued pressures of a modern home and family; children bickering, a to-do list that keeps getting longer, a car that needs repair.  All normal stuff for the typical married man, right?

One day he came home from work after a very important meeting that would determine his success or failure in his job for the foreseeable future.

“How was your meeting?” his wife asked.

“Great!” he replied.  “Jim was there and he thought my …”

“Jim?  He’s an idiot.  I hope you told him he ruined your weekend with all that extra work.”

“No.  I didn’t think it was the time.”

“If you don’t stand up for yourself you’ll never get ahead.  You just let him walk all over you.”

“I know, but I need the job.”

“Whatever.”

She rolled her eyes as she walked away from him, her attitude indicating her level of respect for her husband.

Later that evening at dinner, the whole family was gathered around the table eating and enjoying some small talk when the conversation took the usual unfortunate turn.

His son asked, “How was your meeting, Dad?”

“Not bad, in fact it went very well!” the father replied.

“So, you finally grew a backbone?

"What's that supposed to mean?"

His daughter chimed in, "It means that a 'real man' would do whatever he had to do to get ahead in the world."

"I do what I have to"

"That's not what Mom says."  Both kids looked at each other before looking simultaneously at their mother.

It was obvious that their mother had been doing a bit of complaining within earshot of the children.

The words cut like a knife.  He knew he had to do something.  That much was obvious.
The wonderful life that began with two people who were madly in love had slowly changed over the years until his wife and children thought nothing of openly disrespecting him.

Eventually he made a decision to leave the marriage.

********************************

Tale #2 *

A new pastor arrived in town.  It was a large town that resembled more of a small city than a hamlet or village.  It was the kind of place where life moved at full speed and no one had time to stop and breathe. 

After he and his family settled and the children were registered for school, he began visiting the families in his new congregation. Things went as expected as he made his way through the church directory, calling and visiting families, learning about them, praying with them.  It was a tedious and necessary part of the job, but one that he enjoyed very much.

One particular family bounced around in his thoughts that week.  They were a family who, though they had nothing, were head and shoulders above the rest.  They had a certain “something” the other families he visited that week could only dream of.  

When the pastor knocked on this family’s door, the woman answered and invited him in.  As they sat in the living room, talking and drinking coffee she made many references to her husband and what a wonderful home he provides for her and the children.  Before long the children came downstairs and introduced themselves to the new pastor.  The littlest one asked anxiously when his daddy was coming home.  Another older daughter went to the kitchen to make more coffee "for Daddy when he comes home." Still another child was getting the paper and putting it in "Daddy's chair."

The pastor was very curious about the tremendous person these children call “Daddy.”  When the father finally arrived home, his wife rushed to the door to greet him with a small kiss and his children each gave him a hug.  He sat down in his chair and his daughter brought him a cup of coffee.  He beamed as he talked to his wife, his children, and their new pastor.  There was a genuine peace and happiness about this man.

The pastor was struck by the sheer presence of him, not because his strength was so great as to command such respect from his wife and family, but because he was so ordinary – one might even say “geeky” – yet he commanded such respect from his wife and family.

********************************

Each of these tales involves s husband, a wife, and children.  The major difference between these scenarios is the role of the wife.   The attitude of a wife has a ripple effect throughout the family. 

The wife in Tale #1 was not respectful toward her husband.  The consequence of this disrespect is not only a broken marriage relationship (the husband make a decision to leave), but also some notably disrespectful children.  The fact that they dare to speak to their father in such a manner is likely a direct result of the model shown to them by their mother.

The wife in Tale #2 has shown her children a model of respect.  She held her husband in high regard at all times, thereby setting an example for her children.  The children in turn show respect for both parents.


"...it's not who or what the father is personally, but the mother's attitude toward him that makes all the difference. A husband can only take their proper place at the head of the house when wives respect and honor their wishes, thereby giving our children the desire to do likewise."
I couldn't agree more.  When husbands love their wives and wives submit to their husbands (show them respect) then the home is in proper order, as God intended.  Any other arrangement causes unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and disrespect.

Finally, here are a few verses to take with you and ponder as you think about respect in marriage.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)
***
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22 (ESV)
***
For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (ESV)
***
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:22-33
New International Version (NIV)
***
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
Proverbs 21:19
***
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3
 * Tale #2 was adapted from a story that appeared on the Interactive Bible Home Page.

If you would like to read the rest of the series, here are the links.
Why Husbands Leave, Part 1: Significance
Why Husbands Leave, Part 2: Love 


From the inside out,

TB 
 
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To Boldly Go ...


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In Paul's letter to the Ephesians he asks them to pray for him, specifically so that he might proclaim the Word of God boldly.

and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
(Ephesians 6:19-20)


I ask that of you today as well.  Blogging about marriage is sometimes a battlefield.  Many people whom I regard as friends find themselves in vehement disagreement with me regarding God's design for marriage. 


I admit it is a radical concept that God would have designed two people to fit together as one.  It is also radical to believe that the woman was made for the man, and not the other way around.  Further, it is VERY radical to believe that a husband is commanded to love his wife, even if his wife is a shrew.  And wives, let's not forget the piece about submission. Now THERE'S a radical idea.  Imagine ... wives submitting to their husbands in everything... EVERYTHING???  Even if he isn't nice to her?  


Yes.  It's radical.  It's what I believe.  Why?  Because God made it that way. He said so in His Word.  Why would I not believe Him?  He is God, isn't He?


Therefore, I have spoken out on what I believe to be the tenets of marriage as God designed it, and how He wants us to live it.  Whether we do what He says is up to us.  No one can make a husband love his wife.  However, if he doesn't he will live with consequences.  Likewise, no one can make a wife submit to her husband's authority.  It's a choice she has to make.  As with the husband, if she chooses to not submit, she will live with consequences.


I, personally, want to have a marriage that models God's original design. And I am led by the Holy Spirit to spread the word.  That said, I must do so boldly, which is problematic, as I am not always a bold person when it comes to Godly things.  


Marriage is a controversial area, so, naturally, people will disagree. Loudly. They will call me a chauvinist. They'll say I'm a dictator (and some other things I will not share).   


What Ever.  Let them say what they want.  

Whatever the outcome, this appears to be my task, at least for now.  And that being so, I must do it for the glory of God.


So, like Paul, I'm asking you to pray for me, that I will boldly go where few have dared to go, and to speak the truth, whether people like it or not (mostly not, I'll bet).




From the inside out,


TB
 
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