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Boy, I’m glad you asked!
As a Christian man, your job is to be the head of your family. This means that your first job as a leader, if you are married, is to lead at home. The way a man treats his wife tells you more about his character than anything else. Personally, I refuse to have any dealings, other than unavoidable business dealings, with any man who is maritally unfaithful, who doesn’t have the spine to lead his family, or who is just a generally piss-poor husband. (e.g. a bully, an ignorer)
People often quote Ephesians 5:22-24 as an example of how a wife should act, and ignore the fact that Ephesians 5:25-33 (which tells a man how to treat his wife) is roughly three times longer! With this in mind, I offer 5 ways to cherish your wife.
1) Praise her publicly, both when she is with you and when she isn't. If you have ever read the Song of Solomon, you know that King Solomon was tops when it came to heaping praise on his beloved. While I am not suggesting that you tell all your friends how your wife’s breasts are like two fawns, or that you compare her teeth to a flock of sheep, you can certainly offer honest praise about her cooking, her housekeeping, her sense of humor, her work ethic, her ability to control the household budget, etc. Don’t just reserve these compliments for when she is with you, or they will seem contrived. By the way, if you can’t think of anything about which to praise her, you likely aren’t paying anywhere near enough attention to her!
2) NEVER run her down publicly! It doesn’t matter whether she is with you or not... it doesn’t matter even if you think you are "only joking". Proverbs 26:18-19 compares a man who excuses his lies and insults with, "I was only joking," to a madman shooting flaming arrows! There is no way around it... your little barbs hurt, whether she says so or not! Each one takes a little bit out of her. Broadcasting your wife’s faults, be they real or perceived, is the same as you making an investment in a bitter, jaded, introverted wife. Dumb!
3) Compliment her when you are alone together. Going back to Ephesians 5, men are commanded to love their wives the same as their own bodies. If you enjoy receiving a compliment about your body (and who doesn't?), don’t you think your wife enjoys getting kind words from you? These don’t have to be about anything physical, although if you aren’t complimenting her on her appearance, find something outstanding and start doing it now! Whatever she does to make your married life better is up for grabs in the world of compliments. Every sincere compliment is the same as you making an investment in a joyful, secure, outgoing wife. Smart!
4) God is first, she is second, everything else comes next. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Together, you put God first, each other second, kids (if you have them) third, and then triage everything else out accordingly. Did you get that? She is more important than your friends, your parents, and even your children! If your buddies are more important, you’re just an idiot (there really is no way to sugar-coat that one). Your parents will pass on, your children will grow up and move away, and it will just be God, you and your wife. If you value anything above God and your wife, you will be living with strangers once everything else moves on.
5) Do everything you can to become a better man... for God's sake, for your sake, and for her sake. If you are anything like me, you understand that your wife is a gift from God whom you don’t deserve. With that in mind, it should be natural to want to fulfill the call to put off your old self and be made new in the attitude of your mind (Ephesians 4:22-24). Start filtering everything you do, say, and think, to be glorifying to God and beneficial to your wife. Seek out and read lots of great books on how to be a better, godly husband. Examine your life, figure out where you need to make changes and then make a plan to start those changes. Do whatever it takes, but start doing it now!
What are the ways you cherish your wife?
The above is part of a series of blog posts entitled, “Leadership Lessons from the Bible.”