"She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife." (Deuteronomy 21:13)As husbands, we often loose sight of how much our wives gave up to be married to us. This is especially true in marriages that adhere to traditional male/female roles within the marriage. The sacrifices a woman makes to be married to a man can be substantial. Not only does she give up her last name but her relationship with her immediate family often change as she increasingly identifies with her new "family", thus leading to a diminishing closeness with her previous familial relationships. Often a woman is called upon to sacrifice her goals, plans, and future to be joined with, and aid in, her husband's goals, plans, and future. This sacrifice is further compounded when children come on the scene. It is most often the woman who sacrifices her time and plans in giving herself as the primary attendant in the raising and nurturing of the couple's children. This is not to say that men do not also sacrifice for a relationship of marriage, however, in most cases, the woman's sacrifice is of greater magnitude and more keenly felt by her that those of the man.
Too often, husbands view their wives as someone to meet their own personal needs; they are for cooking, cleaning, raising children, and performing other physical responsibilities incumbent with marriage. In doing this, they place their needs above those of their wife. The lesson of this scripture is clear; a husband ought to put his wife's emotional needs above his own physical needs. Just because a husband cannot empathize with or understand what his wife is going through, it does not mean that her needs and feelings are unimportant or that they can be ignored. Peter put it this way,
"You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered." (1 Peter 3:7)It is interesting that this verse is translated "in an understanding way." Peter does not say that men have to understand their wives, but they do have to be understanding. A lot of husbands view their wives as being weaker; not only physically but also emotionally. This causes many husbands to "look down" on their wife's emotions and to minimize what they may be going through. They chide their wives to "get over it", in hopes of "fixing" them, with a goal of making them act, respond, and behave like themselves. However, Peter reminds men to realize that our wives are different, they are "woman", and we need to teat them as so. We need to be gentle and tender in regards to their needs and emotions; giving them grace, support, comfort, and space for the things they are experiencing and feeling. We must not be quick to have them "get over it" so we can get our needs met, rather we should be willing to set aside our needs that we might minister to their needs. Husbands, let the needs of your wife be of greater priority than your own needs and, in doing so, you will be truly blessed. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
More to come... David Robison
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