Becoming Your Wife's Satisfier...(Ephesians 5:28-31)
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
Many men are like Adam…”it is the woman you gave me Lord, that is the reason I am in this mess.” Many men have said that I would be much better off if I had not married you.
This passage here refers to meeting needs. Becoming your wife’s sanctifier is about meeting the needs that Dr. Harley has so eloquently shown us. “I will supply all your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus.” Jesus takes it upon Himself to take care of His bride’s (the church) needs. Most men when they are lying while dating, promise to meet their wife’s needs. But now they are saying “I didn’t know she was that needy.” But we need to remember that we as the church need Jesus to fill our needs everyday.
Do you know why Jesus goes about meeting the needs of His bride? Because He understands something about leadership that most men do not. The higher you go up the ladder of leadership, the greater servant you become. You see, most men define leadership as: “being the BOSS.” I’m in charge here…this is my home…I am the king of my castle. In the upper room, the disciples fought over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus said that you will always know who the leader is because the greatest among you will be your servant. Now please remember this sentence, because the whole concept of being your wife’s satisfier rides on this. Anyway, this is why Jesus washed their feet in the upper room. Peter said that “Hey, you can’t do this…you’re in charge.” Jesus said “because I am in charge, I do this.”
To meet your wife’s needs means you must become a servant. The Bible says you are the leader of your home, the head of your wife. But it also says that as the head, you must become a servant. The definition of Biblical leadership includes being a servant. Just as Jesus is a servant for his bride. Now of course, Jesus is Lord (and we will talk about how you women are to treat your husband as lord in your part)…but you will sure make it more conducive by being a servant.
This passage basically says that your wife is an extension of you. And whatever you do for you, you should do double for her. To love your wife as your own body. Look, we guys take care of our needs. Sometimes we do so, even when we don’t feel like it. Well ,the same goes for doing this for your wife.
Biblical love is driven by the meeting of needs. Now, I can hear you now. “She is going to take advantage of that. If I begin meeting needs, she is going to take advantage of that and I am going to be misused.” Oh...you mean kinda like we do with Jesus? He cant bless us enough, and we are complaining!! He cant meet our needs enough and we are complaining. Yes, there is a risk to make it your goal of meeting the needs of this other person. But that is what love does…it takes that risk. It is an act of the will.
But in order to meet these needs, you need to know them…
1st Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
The first part of this says to dwell with your wives in an understanding way. In a different translation, it says to know your wife. You cant meet needs you don’t understand. But here is the problem…understanding a woman. That is like going to a foreign country, with another language!! Men are told to study the Bible, and told here to study their wives.
Many times your wife speaks from how she feels, and you are answering what she should do. She may be sitting there sharing a problem that she has, and you sit there coming up with a solution to a problem she has not fully expressed yet. The reason we men want to come up with a solution for this problem that she hasn’t fully explained is that we don’t want to take the time to hear all of that. In our mind, she is taking two hours to explain something that really only takes 5 minutes. So what we offer to do is to cut out an hour and 55 minutes of conversation and get to the point. “Let me help you…this is how you fix that. Let me help you so we don’t have to spend 2 hours discussing it.”
But we men don’t understand. In men language, we say a word and we understand the surface meaning of the word…and we act on it. But she wants to describe that thing. You see, she doesn’t just want you to understand it intellectually…she wants you to feel it with her. She wants you to “emote” with her. That’s why this passage says to dwell with your wives, which in the Greek means to live with her. To spend time with her. It means be there long enough to understand…and that means time. That’s why when you offer a solution, she is getting mad. You are wondering why she is getting mad over a problem you are trying to fix? Well, it is because she wants to know that you are more concerned about her than her problem. She doesn’t just want you to fix the problem…she wants you to “fix” her while helping to fix the problem. That takes time, because part of her getting “fixed” is her ability to fully express. It takes time to learn a foreign language. We must dwell with her long enough in order to understand her needs. It takes that to not only understand what her needs are, but also how she feels about them. And that takes a servant.
You know, the Ritz Carlton has service like no other. In most hotels, you have the concierge. The concierge is there to provide you answers, to give you solutions to your problems. Not at the Ritz Carlton. Every employee at the Ritz is told that they are not only to tell someone how to get something done or get something fixed or whatever, they are to TAKE them there to get it fixed or to get that need met. At the Ritz, someone is always taking you somewhere…or they will have you sit there while they go get it. People keep showing up at the Ritz because of this kind of service. We men wonder why our wives don’t show up when we need them and that is because we want to be a concierge. We want to give quick answers rather then taking them, leading them to the solution. Walking them thru the details. That takes time. Time we used to give them while we were dating…time we cant seem to find for them now. It’s not because we don’t have time…just look at the worn out remote. We have plenty of time. It is just that we don’t have time for them. There fore they feel like they aren’t understood. Therefore they are complaining and not satisfied. They are complaining because the investment level is so low.
So how do we husbands know that we are fulfilling this. Take out a sheet of paper and divide it in half. On one side, write at the top “SHE SERVES ME.” On the other, write “I SERVE HER.” Then right down on her side everything she does directly for you. If she cooks your meals, that is directly for you. If she washes your clothes, that is directly for you. Then, write down on your side everything you do directly for her. Now, if her side is longer than your side…then she is the husband, and you are the wife. You know why? Because, if her list is longer than your list…”the greatest among you shall be your servant.” She is the greater because she is the greater servant. She has established herself as the leader.
It says a man should love his wife like he loves his own body. You are the greatest. So you should be the greatest servant. That means you need to lengthen your list, or shorten hers (or a combination of both). For she is to NEVER out serve you!!
Look, why do we give a big tip to a waiter that does a great job? I mean, it is their job. But, if he did a great job, we want to reward that service. Many men want a big tip…at eleven o’clock at night…and she looks at your service and rolls over.
The passage goes on to describe how a man meets these needs. It says that a man must nourish and cherish his wife. That is what Christ does for His bride. Every woman, whether she knows it or not, needs to be nourished and cherished.
Nourish just means to feed in order to mature. When we got saved, Jesus didn’t just stop…He got started on us. That is why you don’t date to marry…you marry to date! In our culture, we date to marry, and then we wonder what happened after the wedding. Well, we stopped dating!! Instead, we should spend a lifetime learning how to meet the needs of our wives.
When she marries us, she should be better off because she has someone undistractedly investing in her blossoming. She is going to flourish under your regime like she would have never flourished under her father’s regime. Her father had his own wife, he had other children. Your wife has her husband who should be about making his wife all she can be.
A man nourishes his wife in 5 ways:
1. Words of affirmation. He becomes her cheerleader. Instead of “thank you for dinner” it becomes “that meal was incredible, honey.” Some might say “I don’t know how to do that.” Well, you did when you were dating her!!
2. Quality time. A listening time. Regularly saying “Honey, I want us to take some time right now, and me just listen to you about that problem you were telling me about yesterday. I have blocked out the next hour…and I just want to hear you tell me what you feel about that.”
3. Receiving of gifts. It doesn’t have to be a diamond ring, because the point of the gist isn’t the gift…it is just “you were on my mind.”
4. Acts of service. Doing the unexpected. Washing the dishes when she normally does it. Or making the bed up today when she normally does it. I mean, that only takes two minutes. But suddenly, she feels like she has become immensely important.
5. Physical touch. Non sexual touch. Not a touch that says “I’m going somewhere.” A touch that says “I want to be close to you, I want to be near you.”
That is how you nourish your wife. But the problem is that we want to bring our marriage to the big car shop of Marriage Builders and Dr. Harley and ask him to fix it, when we have never changed the oil, never done the routine maintenance. And you could have never had to deal with this, if you had just given it regular maintenance.
The other way to be your wife’s Satisfier is to cherish her. It says to understand your wife’s needs, for she is the weaker vessel. Now, that is a misused verse. A woman is only weaker to a man in one way…physically. In every other classification, she is not weaker. The word “weaker” there doesn’t mean “less than”…the word weaker has to do with how you handle highly valued material. Fine china. You don’t treat fine china like paper plates. The reason you handle it carefully because of how much you value it. This is a value issue. A man is to value his wife like fine china.
The word cherish is a word that means to warm up, like a bird that uses its wings to cover and warm its young. It means “you are special, top priority, number one…there is nobody like you.” She always feels like she is special. Cherish. To hold as unique or special.
Now, men have it as a goal to constantly change their wives. That is what Christ does with His bride, right? But, she isn’t going to change just because you say change. She is going to change because it is in her best interests to change. And what will make that change in her best interests, according to God…is two words. Nourish and cherish.
You have plates in the sink that haven’t been washed for several days and now you decide you are going to clean them. Food is crusted on them. And then you show up and want to start scrubbing on them. Just scrubbing away at that hard food. But isn’t there a better way? How about sticking them in some water with some detergent and letting them soak. You aren’t really doing anything, just putting them in an environment of softness. That hot water and detergent starts loosening up all of that tough stuff.
Some of our wives are hard. They might be hard due to life experiences, or a domineering mother…or even our actions. And now all of a sudden, you are going to be the man and start scrubbing?? “Get off of there…you’re going to change!!” And you are scrubbing and scrubbing and everyone is irritated. She’s irritated for you for pushing, and you’re irritated for having to push. And God says “Why don’t you soak her?” Put her in the water and soak her with nourishing and cherishing and watch Me loosen up the stuff.
The passage goes on to say that we are the members of one body. That is why we nourish and cherish. Because when we nourish and cherish our wife, we do so also for ourselves.
Ephesians goes onto say that a man leaves his father and mother. Notice, this has nothing to say about a woman leaving her father and mother. This says a man is to leave his father and mother. Why? Because it is your job as the leader to establish something new. Which means you are to sever any ties that conflict with or compete against this new relationship. You are to take the lead in creating the environment.
Then it says that a man will cleave to his wife. Which means to stick like glue. What that means practically is NO DIVORCE. Malachi says God hates divorce. And He is talking to men there for putting away their wives. God is saying in Malachi that He will judge you for an illegitimate divorce. Why? Because in marriage, you are to stick like glue.
Now notice the final sentence is that the two shall become one. The man leaves, the man cleaves…but not until you get to the third line does the woman even come in. When a man leaves and sets up the proper environment…when the man cleaves to his wife like glue so that she knows that this relationship is permanent…THEN you become one flesh! You cant become one flesh if you are fighting to be two flesh. To operate as two when you are supposed to be coming together as one, means there will be a breakdown in the relationship. And, oh…by the way…don’t bother to pray about it because God says He isn’t listening! Because how you treat her is how He will treat you. 1st Peter 3:7 “So that your prayers be not hindered.” One of the reasons you might not be getting your prayers answered is that you have not seen to it that she is getting hers answered.
She wants a husband who will care for her, who will nourish her, who will cherish her. But no, she has one that says “I don’t have time, I have work. I don’t have time, I have a football game. I don’t have time, I have this or that. I don’t have time.” And then you come to church and get on your knees and ask God to answer your prayers, and God is screaming from Heaven “I don’t have time!! Don’t ask me about that job promotion, don’t ask me about getting that need met. I DON’T HAVE TIME!” However you treat your wife, He will treat you. The best way to get your prayers answered is to see to it that she gets hers met. God will see you meeting hers, and he will meet yours.
A great illustration of this is the story of a country where when you wanted to get a wife, you brought cows with you for exchange. Well, in this one village, this man had two daughters. The youngest was very beautiful...the oldest very haggardly. One day, the father heard a rich man was coming to town to find a wife. So he wondered how many cows he would get for his beautiful younger daughter. Maybe one, maybe two. When the man arrived, he arrived with ten cows. WOW!! The father thought “I’m rich!!” But when the man came by, and saw the two daughters, he chose the older one…and paid ten cows for her. Her father was perplexed. He loved her…but couldn’t understand. “Ten cows…for her?”
Well they went off to be married and set up house. About a month later the father saw her again. And he couldn’t believe his eyes. Here stood a woman that was more beautiful than even his younger daughter. Wow!! How could this have happened? Simple. When she saw her value in the eyes of her husband… no matter what she looked like on the outside, she was worth 10 cows to him. So, when he showed that and treated her like a 10 cow woman, she began to want to be a 10 cow woman and look like a 10 cow woman. She started to want to be like what he was treating her as.
What that means is that we need to treat our wives like thoroughbreds, and then we wont end up with old nags!! Decide what we want her to be, how we want her to change…and then nourish and cherish it.
Now some husband might say “That is all fine for a normal girl…but my wife isn’t normal. You cannot imagine all of the needs she has. How can I begin to meet all of the needs that this woman has?” Simple. “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” See, we forget that it isn’t just our ability here. God says that if we do what we can do, then He’ll come down and give us what we are lacking. Remember, we also have a provider who will nourish and cherish us.
Okay, next time we get to the women!!