Source: Mark Driscoll
Men, don’t give women a reason to fear
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. To honor and commemorate it, we’ve pulled together one of my past articles based off the “Marriage and Men” sermon from our Trial sermon series. Please help get the word out today to stop violence against women.
Show honor to your wife
Jesus’ friend Peter wrote to the men and women of the church. In 1 Peter 3:7, he says:
- Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayer may not be hindered.
Peter addresses women in the verse immediately preceding. He encourages them, “Do not fear anything that is frightening” (1 Peter 3:6). This guidance is offered in the context of marriage, and, unfortunately, a woman’s fears about marriage are often legitimate.
Your wife trusts you with the rest of her life
If a woman marries a man, she’s trusting him with the rest of her life—that he won’t hit her, cheat on her, that he’ll work hard, that he’ll pay the bills, that he’ll love their children, that he’ll finish the race well, that he’ll walk with Jesus until the end, that if she gets sick, he’ll look after her, that if she is dying, he will be faithful to her. Gentlemen, it is a terrifying thing for a woman to trust a sinful man.
Every man who reads this, even the best men among us, has areas of repentance and growth that are required.
As a man, I don’t think I fully understood this until I had daughters, and now I have some understanding of that fear. The thought of taking one of my daughters and walking them down the aisle and handing them to a man and trusting that he will love them and protect them and serve them and care for them and look after them, it causes me fear and grave concern.
Don’t give women a reason to fear
Women have legitimate fears, and what Peter is saying is that men conduct themselves in such a way that helps alleviate those fears. I love his words, “in an understanding way, showing honor.” That’s a man.
Now as I say this, many of you guys will nod your head and say, “Yeah, that’s me.”
No, you’re not. So let me practically unpack this for you. Every man who reads this, even the best men among us, has areas of repentance and growth that are required. And so I want to talk to you men about some things that your woman will fear.
1. Honor your wife maritally
Gentlemen, if you are single, you’re not looking for a girlfriend; you’re not looking for a roommate; you’re not looking for a cohabitation partner. You’re looking for a wife. You must honor her while dating, which is when you’re on your best behavior. When you make a mistake, I don’t care if you apologize. Do you repent and lead? Being sorry is not enough; being Christ-like is what is necessary.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Are you selfless or selfish? Do you give yourself up for her or do you take from her?
What it is to be a one-woman man
When you get married, you are to be a one-woman man. That’s the requirement of an elder, and that is the example for all men.
- You’re not the flirt guy
- You’re not the female buddies guy
- You’re not the download porn guy
- You’re not the “I got another gal on the side I always keep in case of emergency” guy
- You’re not the wandering eye guy
If you are, you’re not honoring marriage, and you’re not honoring your wife.
Don’t make women fearful of men
I know some complete fools who like to take their wedding ring off when they go out to the sports bar with the boys. Do you honor your marriage covenant? Do you take responsibility as the head of the marriage covenant, for the well-being of your wife?
If you don’t honor your marriage, your wife is statistically likely to face poverty upon divorce. If you have children, she will become yet another single mother. She’ll have to find a way to explain to the children why they shouldn’t be embittered against you. Many women have seen this play out in so many different ways, it’s not wonder they’re fearful and suspicious of of men.
2. Honor her physically
Peter says that the woman is the “weaker vessel.” Generally speaking, what that means is, if a husband and a wife get in a fist-fight, he’ll probably win. If someone breaks into my home, I don’t turn to my wife and say, “Go get ‘em, baby. You’re the tough one. I’ll stay here and pray.”
You know what, gentlemen? You are stronger than your woman
- Do you ever hit her?
- Do you ever shove her?
- Do you ever push her?
- Do you ever grab her or restrain her?
- Do you ever raise a hand and threaten her?
- Do you ever intimidate her with physical violence?
- Do you give her that look, that pierced, glazed, violent, angry, don’t-push-it-now’s-a-good-time-to-shut-up look?
- Do you tell her, “I’m getting very angry…It’s gonna go bad for you”?
- Do you get right in her face?
- Do you intimidate her with your presence?
Shame on you. A man who picks on a woman is pathetic.
Have you ever forced yourself on a woman? Doesn’t matter if she’s your wife. You’re a rapist.
Don’t hold your wife prisoner
When someone is attacked, we call it abuse. As horrible as that is, what is even worse is torment. Torment is when you’re abused and you can’t get out. This is like prisoners of war and those who are held captive in slavery. For some women, their version of slavery and captivity and torment is called marriage. Their husband is physically intimidating. She’s afraid of him. She can’t leave, or at least that’s what she believes. She feels stuck, particularly if she’s got children. Some of you guys are tormentors and abusers and rapists and husbands and Christians, and that is absolutely inexcusable.
Women, a man who hits you is in sin
Most men don’t walk around thinking about their personal safety. I know a lot of women who do. Ladies, if you’re dating a guy who has ever been physically violent, run for your life, run for your children’s life, run for your grandchildren’s life. If he’s ever even threatened you with violence, there is something profoundly demonic influencing that man. There is something sincerely wrong in that man. If you start to leave, he will likely apologize, shed a few tears, and say it will never happen again. But then he will subtly shift the blame to you: “You know when you do that, it just makes me really angry. Don’t do that again.”
Don’t listen to him. It’s never your fault. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if a man hits you or harms you, he’s in sin. No excuse.
Head-of-the-house does not mean bully
And there some absolute block-headed idiots who believe that when the Bible says that a husband is head of the home, this gives him license to be the bully. There’s nothing uglier than a guy who then takes this same disposition toward his children, especially his daughters. The grossest, vilest thing is a man who hits a woman, and the man who hits a woman is willing to hit his own daughter. It’s disgusting.
3. Honor your wife emotionally
Some of you say, “I’m not emotional, I don’t connect.” You should. Men and women have the same emotions; they express them in masculine and feminine ways. Your wife needs intimacy. She wants you to know her. She wants to know you. She wants you to open up. She wants you to be passionate and loving and honest, and she wants to know you and she wants to be known by you. That’s the Bible’s language for intimacy. The book of Genesis says that Adam was with his wife, Eve, and he knew her.
There are too many guys that turn marriage into a job description. He does his responsibility, she does hers, and there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. Those are guys whose sins are sins of omission. You may not hit her, you may not yell at her, but you didn’t love her. You didn’t connect with her. You didn’t encourage her. You didn’t pursue her.
Ultimately, you failed her.
4. Honor her verbally
How do you speak to her? Do you have nasty nicknames for her? Do you raise your voice? Do you threaten her? Do you make back-handed comments? Some of you guys would say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about with your tongue?
When you wife is not there and you’re with the boys, how do you speak of her? What do you say about her?
Don’t put your children in the middle
Your children will pick this up as well.
You start saying horrible things about your wife, and the children will be left in this terrible position of choosing between their mother and father. Invariably some of the children will despise their own mother and speak evil of her in an effort to remain loyal to their father.
A division in a marriage includes the children. They’re stuck in the middle. They’re casualties of the war.
If I close my eyes, no one can see me
You men could defuse this and take away this fear by honoring her verbally. Speaking honestly, respectfully, lovingly to her and about her. Some of you guys forget that Jesus is there even when your wife is not God sees everything. God knows everything, and you’re not getting away with anything.
5. Honor your wife financially
“If a man does not provide for the needs of his family, he’s denied the faith and worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
In Genesis, the woman’s curse was her children and submitting to her husband; the man’s curse was providing for his family. The weakest men among us force their wife to carry both curses, as if to say, “My load is heavy, and I know yours is heavy, but I need you to carry half of mine too.”
Men, you have to work
You’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to out-work other men if you want to feed your family. That’s your responsibility as a man. If you want any men to respect you, if you want your wife to respect you, if you want your children to respect you, pay the bills. You make the money; you feed the family.
We live in this day where there are guys telling their wives to get an abortion, get a job, and avoid having kids, all because the husband is unwilling to take on the responsibility necessary to provide for a family.
Your wife has a maternal duty to fulfill
It’s tragic when a woman who loves Jesus and wants to be a mom has a husband who keeps telling her no. He’s essentially abusing his role as head of household by commanding his wife to sin and deny all of her maternal instincts. Titus 2 commends women for “working at home” and cultivating a homeward orientation.
We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.
I know that some will dismiss these notions as outdated. I would challenge anyone to look at the condition of marriages and families in our culture and ask if the “modern” way is working.
The latest statistics indicate that the majority of children born to women under the age of 30 are born out of wedlock. It is now at the point where women aren’t even pretending they’re going to ever get married.
Today, women go to college, get a good job, get pregnant, have a kid—alone. They’ve lost any hope of ever finding a guy who can actually carry the load, and that’s tragic. We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.
Be generous with your wife
Many men are not generous with their wives. I know one guy who makes decent money, and he’s totally chintzy with his wife. She gets no spending money, can’t go out to coffee with the girls because he’s a total control freak and a tightwad. Honor your wife financially. I’m not saying you have to live a lavish lifestyle. Live within your means, tithe, save, invest, make a spending budget—and include some margin for your wife. I know it’s hard to live on one income. I know it’s particularly difficult in this economic climate, but that’s no excuse to be irresponsible, selfish, or stingy.
Run the numbers rather than assuming you need a second income
When both husband and wife work, the associated costs add up: daycare, eating out, take-out, dry cleaning, car, second phone, cell phone, taxes, etc. Very rarely do two incomes contribute a meaningful positive increase to the family’s bottom line.
MSNBC completed a study where they presented the data to the mothers who dropped their kids off at the day care. They explain how the second income does not add much overall, and the women respond by bawling on TV, wondering why they went to work in the first place.
Why? Either because the husband can’t run numbers on taxes, or he’s not smart enough to find somebody else to figure it out for him. He simply says, “Put the kids in daycare, get a job, and shoulder half of my curse.”
6. Honor her practically
Some guys leave their house a wreck. It’s never finished, the furniture’s broken, the car hardly starts, they live far away from community, they don’t have a schedule, they don’t have a budget, they don’t have a plan, the wife doesn’t know what’s going on.
Honor her practically. Do you have a budget? Do you have a schedule? Do you have an integrated plan? Do you have a life?
7. Honor her parentally
Gentlemen, your wife wants you to love the kids. She wants you to help raise them. She wants you to love them, to pursue them. She wants you to get guy time with your sons. She wants you to get daddy dates with your daughters. She wants you to do Ephesians 6 and be their pastor. She wants you to read the Bible with them. She wants you to pray with them. And you know what? You should want that too.
Do your job
So many guys who are Christians pay for Christian school and take the family to Christian church, and assume they’ve done their Christian duty. The truth is, you’ve just abdicated your responsibility to others. It’s your job to love your kids. It’s your job to pray with your kids. It’s your job to teach the Bible to your kids. It’s your job to encourage your kids. It’s your job to discipline your kids.
Christian, husband, father, employee. Those are your first four duties; it’ll take most of your life. You’re not going to have a lot of time.
A wife will be so forgiving of so many things if she actually knows her husband desperately loves their children, that he serves them, that he cares for them, that he’s tender with them, that he’s pastor dad for them. So few children actually have a father. So few of those with fathers have a Christian father, and even fewer actually have a dad who’s doing his job.
Men, this is not something you have to do; it’s something you get to do.
Every night, my daughter Alexie looks at me and says, “Poppa Daddy, I need a piggyback ride and a Bible story.” You know what? I do too. I need that as much as Alexie. I weep thinking of the day that I’m not going to be giving her piggyback rides, so I give her as many piggyback rides as I can because it’s a great season and a wonderful opportunity.
Honor your priorities
What this means, gentlemen, is your priorities will be Christian, husband, father, employee. Those are your first four duties; and they’ll take most of your life. You’re not gonna have a lot of time. You’re probably gonna need to put down your tools, your hobbies, your car, your projects, your golf clubs, your Xbox, your remote control, your laptop, and your iPad, in order to to honor your wife parentally. You’re not going to have a lot of time for a lot of other things.
Gentlemen, your goal is not to stand before God and tell him how many missions you accomplished on Call of Duty.
8. Honor her spiritually
All of this comes down to one point.
There are between 11 and 13 million more Christian women than men. Many women go to church on their own, or they have to drag their husband and their children along. It is your job, men, to lead spiritually. Pray with the family. Read the Bible with the family. Pick a good church, become a member, and submit to its leadership. Pick the Community Group or midweek class you will attend together. You are the one to lead the family spiritually.
Start with a prayer
Some guys don’t know where to start. Just start by praying with your wife. There are wives who will read this article and simply want their husband to pray with them.
Some guys pray with all kinds of people—except their wife. Do you pray with your wife? Do you pray with your kids? Do you read the Bible with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your kids?
Leading spiritually is the foundation of everything else.
Source: John Mayer