– This is a Feature Guest Post by Kevin Schouten –
So let’s face it, it’s easy to love your wife when she’s standing right next to you. I don’t know too many guys who have trouble with that. There are some, but that’s an entirely different topic.
Most men have no problem paying attention to their wives, being respectful to them and expressing thanks for them when they are in the same room. But for some, things change when she’s not around. It becomes easier to joke with your buddies about her, or to sneak that peek at another woman when she’s not looking. But men, it’s just as important, or perhaps even more important, to love her when she’s not looking.
Philippians 4:8 doesn’t come with a disclaimer. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Think about them all the time, not just when someone is watching.
We all know the feelings that come with being in love, but what a lot of men fail to recognize is that love is an action. Love is something we do. And we should love our wives all the time. So here are five ways to love your wife when she’s not looking.
1. Don’t “Check out” other women
I’m sure every one of us has heard some variation of the “It’s ok to look, but not touch” excuse offered up by men. I’ve even heard an extremely disrespectful version about milk and cows. But let’s look for a second at what Matthew says about this. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (5:28). Let’s be real. Every time a man says something like “I’m just appreciating her like I would a work of art” he’s lying.
2. Stay away from Pornography
1 Corinthians 6:18 says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” Looking at pornography is destructive. It destroys relationships. It destroys perceptions. It destroys the ability for men to love their wives. The damage a husband looking at pornography does to his wife is easy to see. She feels like she cannot compete, and either resorts to doing things that make her feel cheap and used, or she just stops caring. But it doesn’t just hurt her. The stimulating effects of looking at pornography affect the male brain just like any other addiction, causing the need for more and more just to be satisfied. Do whatever it takes to flee.
3. Don’t disrespect her or put her down.
“But I was just joking.” Sound familiar? Jokes are funny. I love to hear and tell jokes. Ask me anytime about the duck that walked into the drugstore. Just don’t use your wife as the subject matter for your jokes. I hear too many men around the water cooler putting their wives down for the enjoyment of their friends. The fact that she can’t hear you, doesn’t make it ok. But it gets even worse. There are some men who will disrespect and put down their wives in front of their very own children! We need to honor our wives with our words all the time.
4. Provide for her/your family’s needs
We are designed to be providers. It’s how God made us. But it’s not about dollar amounts. It’s not about vacations and cars. It’s about stability. When we provide stability, we take away worry from our wives. They feel loved and cared for when they know that we are providing. Pastor Tony Evans tells about a signal he uses with his wife and his family. He holds up three fingers. The unspoken message is “I’ve got this”. And most importantly, he’s given them reason to believe him when he uses it. That’s what providing is about. When we make wise decisions that provide stability, we are loving our wives. Even if they don’t see the decisions we are making.
5. Be willing to put her needs before yours (without a parade)
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25. We all know this one, and we accept this command. But we need to do this without a parade. We all like to get the credit for what we do right, even though we may be reluctant to get the credit for what we do wrong. But we need to love our wives by putting her needs before ours even when we don’t get the credit for it.
Loving our wives with words and with actions shouldn’t depend on who’s listening or watching. It should be the pleasure of our lives to make decisions, and speak words that honor our wives. They are gifts from God, designed just for us. It’s time we see them as that, and cherish them. Love your wife today while you’re at work, while you’re at the gym and also when you get home. Trust me, you’ll enjoy the results!
What can you do this week to show love to your wife when she’s not around?
Kevin Schouten is the Co-Founder of small2TALL, a ministry designed to encourage and equip men to become God-Fearing Gentlemen. He resides in Kankakee, IL with his wife, Elizabeth and his two children, Hannah and Elliot, and his five stepchildren, Joe, Ali, Christina, Chad and Caleb. For more information or to connect with Kevin, visit small2tall.com. And connect on Facebook.