I've noticed a serious common marital problem.
This problem basically falls on the man's side, though women can also fall prey to it.
Allow me to start with an illustration. John and Sandy get married. At first they're happy and find each other attractive. Sandy begins gaining
weight, and John becomes dissatisfied with her. He starts noticing all the slim, trim women around. He no longer even touches Sandy. He blames
the problem on Sandy, and lets her know it. He excuses his unfaithfulness by putting the blame on her. He excuses himself saying, "If she would
take better care of herself, I wouldn't have any problem!" This is a nauseating scenario, but a common problem. The women feel guilty for their
weight gain, accepting the blame cast on them. The fault isn't the woman's. I've seen this played out, where the woman was skin and bones and
the husband still complained about her being fat. No! The problem doesn't lie with the woman!
For those who don't really care about God, my solution won't be acceptable. For those with a soft heart, there's hope. The problem begins for the
man, not in his wife's condition, but in his thinking. He thinks of self first - selfishness! He looks to himself and satisfying only himself. A major
flaw in this action is that he's never really satisfied.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
This specifically addresses the problem. The illustration I gave is a universal trouble man falls into. Man sinfully grows bitter with dissatisfaction,
as his heart stays self-centered.
The solution starts with the husband loving his wife. Love is a decision, not a feeling. It's a commitment, not a whim. When the husbands
committed to looking after the welfare of his wife, the feelings and attraction will follow (Proverbs 16:3). For example, if the husband is thinking,
"How can I help my wife? How can I support and encourage her? How can I build her up? How can I make her feel loved?" affections and attraction
will be there. The marriage will flourish.
There's a rather racy verse in Proverbs:
18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant
roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. Proverbs 5:18,19
This verse has real beauty to it. It shows a flourishing, joyful marriage. Looking carefully at these verses, you can see that this thriving marriage
is a CHOICE! It starts off with, "Let thy fountain be blessed:". This means God's blessing will be on the married couple that dwells together
in zealous love for each other. God wants to pour forth this blessing. The withholding comes on our part, that's why it starts out with the word,
The passage goes on, "rejoice with the wife of thy youth." From this, we see how God intends us to stay married to that original wife, not
your second or third wife. Your second or third wife would not be the wife of your youth (with a few exceptions). Getting married and staying married
is part of receiving God's blessing. "Rejoice" spells out exactly what I've been saying about attitude. We look in love towards our wives and the
attitudes will be there.
In verse 19 we find, "Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe;". This also shows choice: "Let her be". She can be the
fragile elegance of our life, the savor of gentle beauty, if we allow her to. We allow her to, by choosing to love her, not by demanding she become
something new. It doesn't say, "Make her be"!
The verse continues, "let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love." Solomons blunt
about sexual attraction. Men are attracted to women's bodies by design, but we're not to let this attraction get out of reign. We find a wife and
commit ourselves to seek satisfaction in gazing at our wife only. Going beyond this is the adultery Jesus spoke of:
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:27,28
Back again in the latter part of verse 19, we find choice. We find that, "let her" once more. If we fall into dissatisfaction, it's because we
choose not to find satisfaction in our wives. "Ravished" also carries power. This shows that the love with our wives will be fully satisfying, if we
choose to let it be. If we're dissatisfied, the problems with our attitude, not our wives "performance". Quit blaming your wife as a substitute for
your attitude and heart problems!
Another dangerous occupation the world loves to practice, is to sit around with others airing pet peeves about their spouses. Flee such
conversation! Refuse to take part! This is deadly to a marriage. We should naturally seek to protect the dignity of our spouses, not humiliate
them! Even if they don't know we've participated in such conversation, the act is treason to ones life partner!
I was working and some around were sharing pet peeves about their spouses. It disgusted me, but I minded my own business. They invited me
to join asking what my pet peeves about my wife were. I was shocked they should ask me. My response was, "I love my wife, I would never say
anything bad about her!" The discussion came to an abrupt end. My wife is wonderful, and when it comes to talking about her with others, I'd rather boast
about her! This should be our mind- and heart-set. If it isn't, it's because we decide to seek for our own profit, and not our spouse's.
This state of mind also brings disputes with our spouses to a quick end. Because we're looking for our spouse's best, we're actively looking for a
way to restore love and peace with our spouse. We don't want to hurt them, but to comfort them. Again, are we self-centered, or do we consider
our spouse first? Only selfish people fall into the John and Sandy classification. I said this problem tends to be with men in that illustration. The
reason for this, is women tend (not always), to seek their husband's benefit. If the husband reciprocates, all will be well.
The selfish husband tends to become lax in spiritual matters. He demands his headship of the household to help promote his selfish agenda. He
participates in certain "spiritual" activities to appease his conscience. He may even send his children to a "Christian" school. These are
smokescreens for this selfish man. The truly non-selfish man eagerly endeavors to fulfill his charge in Ephesians 5:21-33. This truly God-loving
man is ready to hear rebuke from his wife to edification. He will earnestly examine any challenge she presents to him. If she wants to shy away
from something, because she doubts it's the right way to go, he will honor that. He will support her out of that love that looks after her best
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:25
When we drift in this area in our marriage, we need to immediately set it straight by seeking God together. Humble ourselves before God. Pray
TOGETHER! A prayer, like the following, that really flows from the heart, is the kind of place to start. Holding each other, the husband essentially
praying: "Father, we love you and need your help right now. We're so sorry for how evil our hearts have (or my heart
has) been. We don't even know quite how to fix this problem, but please Lord, have mercy on us now. Restore our
hearts and give us love for each other. Jesus save us. Thank you God. In Jesus name."
Don't stop now! You may feel remorse and decide to do better today, but remorse too easily fades within a week. Just as you lived selfishly
before, it's easy to slip back into this selfishness. Start by realizing selfishness rides on the back of laziness. It seeks personal pleasure, not
anothers. Being unselfish means not being lazy.
For those who struggle with laziness, laziness has an advantage. It regains victory by just biding its time. Eventually you fall back into it,
because diligence grows weary. The only way to overcome this fatal flaw, is to determine to be on fire for God. He alone can give you victory over
laziness and selfishness. If you don't make this decision to be on fire for God, the rest will unravel again. Don't fool yourself, truly repent.
Something else I've noticed too many "Christian" couples fail in, is prayer. If a husband and wife do spend time in private prayer, they often fail
in not having a daily time praying together. What kind of an "on fire for God" Christian home doesn't have prayer together? Something is seriously
wrong if this joint prayer is absent. What else can account for its absence, but spiritual sickness? If you love God and love each other, it's only
natural you'll pray together.
Finally, there's one more side that needs consideration in the issue of a husband's desire for his wife. That's health. We think, because we feel
OK and show no real signs of degeneration, that we're in good health. This can be deceptive. I've read that the sex drive is one of those things
that comes from our surplus of energy. In other words, if our bodies are operating healthfully at their peaks, then the extra energy, not required to
sustain basic health, kicks over into our sex drive. If we have poor health, because of sickness or poor dietary habits, the sex drive can fall to a
very low ebb or even into perversion. If there's a problem in the area of drive, I would recommend you see a naturopathic physician. They can
trace down either of these potential causes, or eliminate them as a possibility. We need to be aware and watch out for both physical and spiritual
causes. To deal with the spiritual doesn't mean the physical side will just clear up, sometimes it needs special work of its own.
Joy in a marriage is a choice, not chance. It demands effort and diligence. If we're negligent, we fail both our spouse and God. This is serious
business that God will require an account of. Failure here cuts our communion with God:
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. 1 Peter 3:7
Now get up and work toward a wonderful marriage!