In previous posts I've talked about how what we say and what God says. Now, how do we say what God says? Notice the word love in Ephesians 5:25. What does that look like? Notice the words nourish and cherish in verse 29. We love by nourishing and cherishing, and in so doing, we create opportunities to say what God says.
Here’s how we nourish. Your wife needs to hear you say, "I love you." Your wife needs to hear you say, "God loves you." Would Eve have taken the fruit if Adam was whispering against Satan's lies?
Here’s how we cherish. Your wife needs to see you love her in tangible ways (gifts, dates, flowers, hugs, kisses outside the bedroom, etc.) She needs to know she’s the only one for you.
Here are a few practical examples of how this can play out in your marriage.
1. Read the Bible with your wife.
There is no better way to speak the word of God to your wife than to read the word of God together. A few years ago, Sarah and I started reading the same Bible in a year plan so we're always on the same page, literally!
2. Pray with your wife.
All prayer is response to God. Never waste an opportunity to pray with your wife.
3. Notice your wife.
Here’s how you could walk in the house when you get home from work: Open the door, let the kids run to you and hug you. Then, walk over to your wife and look her in the eye and say, “I’m so glad to see you.” Step back and look her over and say, “Wow, you look great today.” You don’t have to fake it. She should look great to you! She’s the only woman who should look great to you! Then give her a kiss and ask her how her day was. If she mentions something, take note of it to bring it up later for more discussion.
4. Evaluate the state of her heart.
Become an expert in her, knowing weaknesses and strengths, so that you can point her in the right direction at the right time. A thoughtful question or two beyond “how was your day?” will go a long way.
I find that my wife needs some time to process how her day was and what’s going on inside. She’s busy all day just keeping the kids alive and the house from burning down. Here’s what I do from time to time. I take a 3x5 note card and write down ten questions. They range from meaningful and requiring thought to fun and requiring no thought. We dream together. We talk about hard things together. But she needs time to process. And I need time to listen.
5. Be quick to take her to Jesus.
Your job isn't to fix her, it's to take her to the one who can. Take her by the hand and lead her to Jesus and let him do the fixing. Your job is to speak God’s word to her, not to do God’s work for her. Here’s how this can work out practically. When she starts crying you can walk over to her, hold her hand, and start praying.
6. Encourage her.
She needs your constant encouragement. Build in time to honor and encourage her. God tells us to care for our wife as we would our own body! What do you need? She needs it too!
7. Have fun together.
Don't take life so seriously all the time, fun loosens the tension and allows us the freedom to informally enjoy God and one another together. Do what you did when you were dating and trust God to play out the gospel story again in your marriage. Praise God as your having fun. Just say what you’re thinking, “Isn’t it amazing God would give us this gift?”
Everything God calls us to he equips us for. Remember: “The husband is the head of the wife, as the head of every man is Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3). You are not alone. You have someone to lead you. And he will never fail. Just as you are one flesh with your wife, you also are united to Jesus.
You’re not her savior. You’re just the one God appointed to be the primary pointer to the Savior. He chose you to play out the gospel story in your marriage. Model Jesus. Speak the word of God to your wife so that she might see God in her life.