Today, I want to get really practical. I think we can be in church, read 1 Corinthians 13, worship, hear a marriage talk and feel pretty close to our spouse. Then we go home. What do you discover when you try to apply everything you hear about marriage? You discover your spouse is nuts. I don’t mean that in a negative or critical way. More like, they couldn’t be more opposite than you. It’s like they speak an entirely different language. They are nuts. Today I want to explain why they are nuts and how, if you allow it, it can destroy your relationship.
So last week, I teach on 1 Corinthians 13 and how the love in marriage is about what we give not take. Karen asked me to take care of the screen door of our house. She said the door has been broken for 6 months. I said that it hasn’t been that long. She was frustrated and informed me that it has been broken all summer. I was glad to remind her that summer is only three months. She didn’t think that was funny. Okay, so I want to show Karen love. Love in marriage is what you give. So Madison and I jump into the car and off to Aces. We are at Aces and I need Madison to call home to measure the handle to the front door. Madison calls and the conversation takes way too long. I get on the phone. ‘Karen, I need you to measure the handle.’ ‘Ken, do you mean the front door or the screen door?’ ‘Karen, voice raising here, the door you asked me to work on, the front door.’ ‘Okay, Ken, the handle is 2.5”.’ ‘Karen, that’s impossible, the latches are either 6 inches or 7, never mind I’m coming home to take care of it.’
At home, we discover she measured the inside handle of the door and I needed that outside handle measurement. We look at each other and think… you’re nuts.
So let me explain why you think they are nuts.
Research shows that a women’s number 1 need is love. 4 out of 5 women acknowledge sometimes feeling insecure about their man’s love. Among women under 45, that percent jumps to 91%.
What does this tell us? Your wife needs love. Your daughter need love. Now guys let me explain what this means. When they use the word ‘love’ here, it’s not sex. It involves things outside of the bedroom. Sorry. It means things like communication. Listening to her. Responding with a soft heart. Pursuing her.
Research shows that a man’s number 1 need is, in fact, NOT love; it’s respect. 74% of men would rather be alone and unloved than feel inadequate and disrespected.
Ladies, let me explain what that means. It does NOT mean you are a silent doormat [nor is that right or healthy], it means your husband needs you to believe in him. Your son needs you to believe in him.
Think about that ladies. Your husband would rather live in a house by himself and hated by all his neighbors than hear his wife tell everyone at a part how he doesn’t add up. So what does it mean to believe in your husband? One man was interviewed and explained it.
In the movie ‘The Natural,’ Robert Redford is in a humiliating slump. His old flame comes to the stadium. One man said this about that scene. “She just stood up and supported him. She didn’t come down from the stands and tell him what to do or how to fix what was wrong. She didn’t tell him how to hold his bat. She just supported him and let him figure it out. She was saying, ‘I know you can do it.’ That’s exactly what I need.”
Research shows, women need love and men need respect. Let’s read Ephesians 5:31-33
A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NLT
Scripture tells us, husbands love your wife and wives respect your husband. And here is the challenge that can destroy every marriage. A wife wants to love her husband so what does she do? She tries to love him the way she wants to be loved, love. The husband wants to love his wife so what does he do? He tries to love her the way he wants to be loved, respect. Do you see the problem coming?
In less than a second, a misunderstanding can take place, unmet expectation leads to hurt and then boom. Immediately, she begins to feel hurt because she is unloved. Immediately, he begins feel angry because there is no respect.
She feels like he doesn’t love her, in fact, he’s hostile. She is so hurt, she feels like he must now earn her respect. And she lets him know it. She responds with complains and criticizes. Did you see what just happened? His number 1 need is respect, she now refuses to give it, he must earn it.
He gets the message clearly, no respect. He feels like she doesn’t approve of him anymore. He is so hurt he does one of two things. He will either retreat and stop communicating or gets angry and aggressive. Did you see what just happened? Her number 1 need is love, he now refuses to give it, in fact he is hurting her deeply.
She gets the message, I don’t’ love you. And the cycle continues. It doesn’t make sense because earlier that day you went to church and read 1 Corinthians 13. You came home and tried to apply what you heard and you discovered, your spouse is nuts.
What do you do? Couple of things you need to know. First, you are both emotional. In the core of who you are, you both are emotional people and you are both hurt, wounded. Stop pointing the finger at each other as if one does and doesn’t care. You are both emotional and you are both wounded.
Secondly, you both desperately need the other to accept them and validate them. You are hurt and wounded so you don’t see your relationship with clarity. When the dust settles, you will see, you both desperately want them to simply accept you and validate you.
Third, you both have work to do. You are both actively hurting each other because you are responding out of your selfishness. You need to understand that you are both emotional. You are both needing validated. Your spouse isn’t evil, they were created differently than you.
I want to share 3 things about your husband and wife to help you. Ready?
Ladies. Survey shows, 81% of men say, my wife doesn’t respect me right now.
Your husband needs respect. How do you know if you husband feels disrespected? Anger. Either quiet withdraw or out loud – look for anger. He feels disrespected, doesn’t know how to communicate about it so it comes out as anger. Think about it, what man in today’s world would go to his wife and say, “I feel deeply wounded because you are respecting me. I need you and the kids to show more respect.” In today’s world, that sounds like he is an insensitive jerk who is domineering.
Today we look at men and simply say, “You should get over it.” That’s like telling a woman who likes to communicate, “You should have a desire to communicate, get over it.” To tell a man, get over it, is shockingly insensitive.
Survey shows. 67% of men feel insecure at work and are concerned about what others think.
Men are insecure. A man’s inner vulnerability about his performance often stems from his conviction that at all times he is being watched and judged. The secret most men carry with them is that deep down they feel insecure and they are one step away from messing up and being found out. When he comes home, complaints and criticisms will crush him.
Survey shows. 97% said getting enough sex wasn’t, by itself, enough.
They need to feel wanted. One man shared, “I wish my wife understood that making a priority of meeting my intimate needs is the loudest and clearest way she can say, “You are more important to me than anything else in the world.” It is a form of communication that speaks more forcefully, with less room for misinterpretations, than any other.”
For most men, sex is a direct connection to their emotional well-being.
What did we learn about men? They need respect. They are more insecure than you know. They are emotional, there is a direct connection between sexual activity and his emotional well-being.
Men. Survey shows. 95% of women said that this one step, telling her you love her, on our part would diminish or even eliminate the emotional turmoil on their part.
Guys, during conflict, reassure her of your love. In the middle of an argument, fight, misunderstanding, stop and tell her you love her. It’s the magic bullet.
Survey shows. 7 out of 10 married women said, “I would rather have financial struggles and be close.”
Guys, money talks but that emotional connection sings. If she’s upset, realize she doesn’t need space – she needs a hug. A woman reported, “All I want is him to know that half the time I’m just as confused as he is. Instead of getting upset and leaving me alone to ‘calm down,’ I just want him to come close and give me a huge hug and let me know that he loves me and he want me to feel better again.”
Survey shoes. 4 out of 5 women acknowledge sometimes feeling insecure about their man’s love.
Pursue her, the deal is never closed. She feels secure when you two feel close. Hint: living in the same house and having sex doesn’t mean you are close. Make her a priority. A woman reported, “My husband is a very good provider, dearly loves his family, and says I complete him in every way. But he rarely seems willing to spend one-on-one time with me or to share my life, yet he always has time for the guys. I know he also needs his friends, but this lack of me in his day-to-day life is causing a big drift in our marriage.”
Guys, what did we learn? Women need you to say, “I love you.” Don’t give them space, give them a hug. You must, you must, you must pursue them cause the deal is never done.
We have we discovered, we are radically different and we have different needs. Okay, we get that. My spouse isn’t evil. How do you make it work?
Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-8 NIV
This means, if you have any connection at all with Christ, if His grace has impacted you at all, the following should be common sense in how you behave.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-8 NIV
If you have any connection with Christ, it should be common sense to stop being self-focused long enough to learn how to love or respect your spouse.
And if you need an example of how this looks, keep reading.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2:1-8 NIV
Did you get that? God left deity to serve you. He didn’t leverage His God status to rule over you. He was humble. To be humble means you think of others more often than you. You are not a door mate. You have courage to think of others needs more than your own.
You probably won’t die for your spouse. But I can tell you this. Here is the big point of today: that process of being humble enough to love or respect your spouse, will feel like you are dying inside. Why? Everything your spouse needs is in complete conflict, it’s the exact opposite, of what you need. You can’t love them the way you want to be loved, you need to love them the way they need to be loved.
Ladies, men need respect. They are insecure. They need sexual activity. The process of loving your husband, being humble, will push you.
Guys, ladies need emotional connection. Physical hugs. Communication. Need to be pursued because the deal is never closed. The process of loving your wife, being humble, will push you.
Maybe your spouse isn’t the problem. Maybe you are struggling to be humble.