A young man who is pampered in his youth becomes increasingly arrogant and demanding as he grows older. Eventually he is transformed by a spell into a literal beast as a punishment because it is a reflection of his true nature. His only hope for release is to be truly loved by a maiden—a seemingly impossible achievement. In his anger he demands to be loved, but his beastly behavior only drives people further away until he is totally alone, isolated from the world of humans.
You probably recognize this story as Beauty and the Beast.
There are many variations on this story in different cultures, but all have the same ending. A woman sees something of value in the beast and begins to love him. That love transforms him back into a man—and not just the man he was before, but a new, changed man. How could she have loved him as fearsome as he was? It's a mystery, but it illustrates the power of a woman's love.
Marriage is intended to be redemptive for both men and women. God has given us women the privilege and the ability to bring life to our husbands with our love. Women have enormous power with men, and we can use it for good or for evil.
Consider three examples from the Scripture. Take the power of Delilah with Samson. Samson could take on an army of warriors, but he surrendered to the charms of one woman. In Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns, Chuck Swindoll describes Samson as a "He-man, with a she-weakness."
Take King David, who faced and felled a nine-foot Goliath, yet fell under the spell of Bathsheba. David was so obsessed, he was drawn away from his God into immorality, lies, and ultimately murder.
And consider Solomon, who ruled over the golden years of Israel, but was captivated by the power of women. Actually make that 700 wives and 300 concubines.
A woman's power over men has not lessened since those biblical days. Today, the advertising industry exploits this power in order to sell everything from cars to toothpaste. Magazines, billboards, posters, and store windows use attractive women, seductive women, and blatant sexual images to catch a man's glance and capture his attention.
Every day men walk away from wives, children, friends, parents, siblings—risking career and reputation. For what? Another woman.
Female attraction can be deadly. But death was not our Designer's intention. Feminine power was intended to give life. Eve, as a woman, was designed to complete her man, to nurture life in him, and to create new life with him through children.
Many wives do not understand how profound this power is. God has blessed you with a feminine ability that you can use for great good in your husband's life in four ways:
1. Meet his "aloneness" need. Something is missing in every man. And it's by divine design. After God created Adam, He said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). It's an astounding truth that the perfect God of the universe created a perfect human being and then declared, "it is not good." God intentionally created the first man with an aloneness need. Man was incomplete. God orchestrated the perfect arrangement for His grand finale of creation: a woman, the "helper suitable for him." It is still true since "in the beginning" in Genesis, a wife makes a man complete and whole.
Your husband has this same "aloneness" need.
God brought you into his life to be his "helper" to meet his companionship need. In Christian marriage, this oneness is a unity of mind, body, and soul, and is celebrated through the sexual union.
Lest we women feel somehow superior that we aren't as needy, we are. We are incomplete without our husbands. We need our husbands to help us become who God designed us to be. Neither can stand alone; as mentioned above, God's Word makes it abundantly clear "it is not good that man should be alone." Women must think as God instructs us to in the Bible about our men, ourselves, and our marriages.
Of course, now after the fall of mankind, no one is totally complete without the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ. Further, perfect completeness cannot occur this side of heaven. But in marriage we can touch the holiness of God; we can recapture a taste of what was lost in the Garden of Eden when a husband and a wife express love, transparency, trust, and sacrifice in the mystery of marital intercourse.
2. Bless his sexuality. When God made a man to be attracted to a woman, He had multiple purposes in mind. Adam's aloneness need was not just for a companion. He needed Eve for the joy of finding pleasure in her total person—body, soul, and spirit—and for the affirmation and blessing of his identity as a man that came through her love for him. Genesis 2:25 says, "... and the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." As a result, every wife has a deep, life-altering responsibility to her husband to be a helper, and help him feel like the man God created him to be. If I love my husband, I won't view his sexual needs disapprovingly.
A number of years ago after Dennis spoke about marriage at a seminary, a young wife came up to him with a question. She said, "I was driving home with my husband the other night after church and decided to ask him a question. I asked, 'What could I do to make you feel more like a man of God?' There was silence in the darkness of the car as we were driving home. Then my husband said, 'When I come home from work at the church at the end of the day, meet me at the front door with no clothes on.'"
With a bit of a blush she asked Dennis, "Do you think I ought to do that?"
Dennis encouraged this young woman to please her husband sexually because he knew that in doing so, she would be profoundly validating his God-ordained manhood. Since all men are created with an aloneness need, they journey from boyhood into adulthood needing to know that their maleness is good and positive. Humanly speaking, this is a question that only his wife should answer, a blessing only she should give.
3. Protect your husband from temptation. You have the power to protect your husband from temptation by making sure his sexual needs are met by you and you alone. I have a good friend who said it this way: "If you don't want to do his laundry, your husband can take his clothes to the cleaners. If you decide you don't want to cook anymore for him, he can go out to any number of great restaurants to eat. But if your husband isn't getting his sexual needs met at home with you, and he goes somewhere else, God calls that a sin."
Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. If your husband sins in this way, he's responsible before God. But at the same time, understand that you play a powerful role in helping him not to yield to temptation. God created us as men and women with profoundly inherent differences. If you love him, you'll want to protect him from the limitless temptations that the enemy of his soul floats by him day after day. You are most powerful as a wife when you become a student of what your husband likes and then use that knowledge and your feminine skill to protect him from temptation and sin.
4. Keep him for life. When we stated our vows at the wedding altar, most of us repeated the words "to have and to hold" and "till death do us part." We signed up for life. But have you ever thought about what it means to "have" and "hold" your husband?
To have implies a possession. It means he belongs to you and no one else. He is your responsibility, and you are his. Are you fulfilling your sexual responsibility? For frequency? Creativity? Have you turned him down more often than you have invited his love? Do you put his needs before or after those of your children or your work?
To hold means to keep or bond, much like a magnet. A magnet has the power within to pull another polar opposite to itself. My husband and I are virtual opposites in nearly every way. It's what attracted us to each other in the first place. But I must continue to be a magnet in his life if I am to keep him. Too many women would love to have him if I let him leave home for work or travel constantly in a state of sexual deprivation. First Corinthians 7:5 (NKJV) tells us, "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to ... prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
This may come as no surprise to you, but most men want—really want—their wives to passionately desire them. And when you express sexual longing for him—whether verbally or nonverbally—your husband is unlikely to refuse your magnetic power.
For a number of weeks I planned a special, romantic two-night getaway to a bed and breakfast in another town. I planned and shopped and organized all the right elements for our time together. Then I called him while he was away on a speaking engagement and told him that I would be picking him up at the airport—but we would not be going home! I also dropped more than a few subtle hints about what kind of adventure he could expect.
Power? Absolutely. Attraction? Ask him.
My husband is a man's man, but when I picked him up at the airport, he was as excited as a child on Christmas Eve.
That weekend was memorable for both of us. We both had a wonderful time, but Dennis especially did. He talked about it for months and still mentions it from time to time after all these years.
The more a wife affirms her husband's God-given manhood, the more she helps build him into the man God wants him to be. This power of a wife to affirm him, bless him, protect him, and keep him is blessed by God. It is a very good, nurturing, life-giving gift. Knowing this, I've often wondered why we women don't want or choose to use our God-given powers to affirm and nurture our husbands more often.
Adapted by permission of Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, from Rekindling the Romance, © 2004 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved.