“Kristy, will you marry me? I love you and want you to be my wife.” I had always loved redheads. And Kristy’s bright, beautiful red hair was the prettiest of them all. She was smart, witty, and pure. Her family was well thought of, and all her siblings were successful. I knew Kristy would be the perfect mate to complete my life. She was committed to the Lord and had a passion to do His will. All these qualities added up to the perfect 10, in my assessment. I would be the next Billy Graham with her at my side.
Through the years, I have called her my partner in life and partner in ministry. “I chased her until she caught me,” I like to say, which brings a laugh when I say it. The truth is, I was the one doing the chasing, and I caught her
. She loved me, and I knew it. But I did the chasing. And she was a great catch.
Our love was a pure love, and it was growing. We were both committed to putting God first in our lives, and we both had done our best to serve the Lord and give Him our best. Now we were ready to marry and enter the ministry. And there were so many things we had in common that would make for a great marriage. Besides, the Lord was coming soon. I wanted to go to heaven one day, but I wanted to be married before I got there. Heaven is a wonderful place, but there are mixed theologies on whether heaven includes marriage. I had saved myself sexually for my wife, and I wanted to enjoy the marriage bed before I saw the pearly gates. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for someone who had served the Lord all his life.
So when she said, "Yes," I was thrilled.
Kristy and I loved each other, and we were respected as mature young adults with a great commitment to God, but we had so much to learn as we prepared for marriage.
Our parents made good role models for us with their long-lasting marriages. But now we had to make marriage work for us. It’ll be easy
, I thought. She loves me. I love her. We are mature young adults. Our faith, family, and future are all in agreement. It won’t be hard.
Regarding premarital advice, Dad told me, “Son, all you have to do is love her. Don’t try to figure her out. Just love her.” It sounded right to me. That wouldn’t be too difficult, right?
Wrong! Now, after years of marriage, I know Dad was right. “Just love her,” he said. “Don’t try to figure her out.”
How does a man love his wife? Was Dad right about not trying to figure her out? Kristy was different from me, in so many ways. Her physical beauty was strikingly different, but there were differences in her inner qualities. We had so much in common, but there was still so many differences.
She was strong in spirit and faith, but tender in emotion and heart.
I was direct and to the point.
She was quiet and more timid.
She liked spontaneity and made decisions filled with emotion.
I was slower and more methodical.
But she loved me, and I loved her, and there was a complete bond of trust. We knew we could trust each other because we had kept ourselves pure morally, and we knew our walk with God was real.
We married with high expectations and exciting dreams. We wanted two children, and we wanted to serve the Lord in ministry all the days of our lives. I was called to preach, and she was called to be my helper in ministry. What more could you ask for?
Now all we had to do was enjoy the journey.
It has been a joyous journey, and the journey isn’t completed. Through the years, Dad’s words would ring in my ears, “Just love her.” I have counseled hundreds of couples and performed scores and scores of marriage ceremonies, and most of the time men don’t have a clue what that means!
Love, for a man, immediately or inevitably means or leads to the bedroom. For the woman, it means more about romance filled with kind and tender words, quiet romantic dinners, roses, Hallmark cards, jewelry, and a tender touch. Most women sense they are loved when their men are quick to do the little things. Little things are not really that hard to do, but for most men it would be easier to climb Mount Everest than to love in those special ways that women need.
How do you love your wife? That is a big question with lots of little answers. The Bible commands men to love their wives. It is a repeated direct command in the Scriptures. It is commanded to be done in the same manner that Christ loved the Church, in that He died for the Church.
Now that doesn’t mean that our love for our wives is going to kill us. But it obviously means that it will require sacrificial, life-altering, ego-adjusting, self denial that promises to produce rewarding benefits that far outweigh the costs. Men who learn the value of loving their wives are happy and blessed men.
Kristy has shared a message with women across America entitled, “How to Love Your Husband.” It has always been a hit. Men like for their wives to hear this teaching, and pastors have often said that the men of their church had more smiles on their faces than they had ever seen--the day after she shared. She teaches women many qualities of love that are important to men, but the high point is her scriptural teaching on how women need to “know” their husbands--in the biblical sense of the word. That means that wives are to respond to their husbands’ sexual needs. The ladies love it, but the men are ecstatic.
Kristy and I developed what we call Joy in Marriage seminars and have taught it in churches, which includes her message on "How to Love Your Husband." When I promote her teaching on this topic, I immediately follow that up by saying that I will be speaking to the men on “How to Enjoy It!” That always brings a great response.
The truth is, when we men learn how to love our wives in the way they desire, we will enjoy it. Our assignment as men to our wives is to love them. It is a focused, direct command that brings great dividends and blessing to the men who learn the secret.
In a study, men were asked what three things they wanted from their wives. They wanted 1) an interesting, exciting sex partner, 2) a fun partner, and 3) a good cook and good mother to their children--in that order! That is how wives love their husbands from a man’s perspective.
Likewise, a study showed that women wanted 1) time, 2) tenderness, and 3) talk--in that order!
Therein lies the challenge. Men must learn to turn muscular, macho, methodical manner into timeless romance that fulfills the innermost desires of their wives...
Stay tuned for Part 2!