FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Affirming Your Man

with Ann Wilson | June 24, 2015
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Women and men are different, right? Ann Wilson punctuates that obvious point with a resounding "YES" as she exhorts wives on a recent Love Like You Mean It® cruise to use the power of their femininity to build up their husbands.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Women and men are different, right? Ann Wilson punctuates that obvious point with a resounding "YES" as she exhorts wives on a recent Love Like You Mean It® cruise to use the power of their femininity to build up their husbands.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Women and men are different, right? Ann Wilson punctuates that obvious point with a resounding “YES” as she exhorts wives to use the power of their femininity to build up their husbands.

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Affirming Your Man

With Ann Wilson
June 24, 2015
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Bob: Every wife has an awesome power—it’s the power of influence. Here’s Ann Wilson.

Ann: Ladies, I want you to know what it’s like to be a man. You see, as little boys—here’s what happened: “We grow up, and we usually have our moms cheering for us like: ‘Good job, David. Good job!’ Then, I played college football. So, every Saturday, I had a stadium of people like, ‘Dave Wilson is the man! Yes!’”  He said: “Then, we meet you; and you’re saying to us: ‘You’re the man!  And out of all the men of the universe, I choose you.’  You’re applauding, ‘Yes! Yes!’”  And he goes, “And then, we get married.”  [Laughter] 

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, June 24th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. How are you using the awesome power you have, as a wife, to motivate, encourage, and build up your husband? 



We’ll hear from Ann Wilson about that today. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I have a little bit of a confession to make. I snuck into the women’s session on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise back in February.

Dennis: You are kidding me?!  You want to admit that, here on national radio? 

Bob: There was—they needed me there to make an—

Dennis: We’re beginning to wonder about you before that, Bob, but this may put it over the top.

Bob: They needed me to make an announcement during the session. I thought, “Well, as long as I’m here, I might as well just hang around and see what it is they are going to talk about.” 

Dennis: And your statement to me was—this is how impressed Bob was with the speaker you’re about to hear, folks.

Bob: Oh, you want me to say it? 

Dennis: Yes!  You were the one that said it—I didn’t. I didn’t hear the message! 

Bob: I said, coming out of that message, that: “You could put Ann Wilson up with any of the well-known, well-respected Bible teachers that ladies go and listen to regularly in churches all around the country.



“Her ability to connect with those women and to deliver truth to those women”—well, as our listeners are going to hear—“she does a great job.” 

Dennis: She does, and she is a good friend. She’s been married to her husband Dave since 1981. They started a church together near Rochester Hills, Michigan, that now has grown to just a modest size of 15/16 thousand people. She is a great lady and also speaks at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways with her husband Dave.

Bob: Well, Ann and Dave were both a part of the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back last February. They are going to be joining us again this coming February, 2016, on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. I mention that because we are down to the final few cabins for next February. The cruise is almost sold out.

We wanted to remind listeners: “If you’d like to sail with us next year, we’d love to have you—



—“but you need to act quickly if you want to join us on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.” Go to our website,, and click where it says, “GO DEEPER,” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You’ll find information about the cruise. If you have any questions, you can call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.” 

We’re going to hear Ann talk today to a ballroom full of women talking about how God has called women to respect their husbands.

[Previously Recorded Message] 

Ann: Finally, we’re together! [Laughter] I have been giddy about us being together. Maybe, it’s because I have all sons / maybe, it’s because—when my family that I grew up in / I have two brothers and a sister—and we all had boys. So, there were 12 boys between us.



And so, the essence of estrogen is just awesome to me!  [Laughter] 

And honestly, speaking to women is one of my favorite things. It’s not because I feel like I have anything, really, that great to say; but it’s because when we get together, as women, there is a sense of “I’m not the only one going through things.”  I feel, sometimes, like I don’t fit the mold of the Christian woman because I’m really not that nice. [Laughter] I want to be nice, but I’m just not always so nice. I’m going to take you through my journey that has been a difficult journey for me of learning how to love, support, and respect Dave. And I’m going to be very truthful.

When I was growing up, my mom was this amazing mother. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but my mom was probably the greatest servant I’ve ever witnessed then and now in my life.



She would do for my dad / she would serve my dad. He took advantage of it and took her for granted. It made me angry, and I felt like: “Mom, stop being so nice to him!  You are enabling him to be lazy.” As I got older, I was angry with her. She would say, “I like doing this for your dad;” but I saw her as a doormat, and I didn’t respect her for it. I didn’t get it.

Then, when we came to speak for FamilyLife, I was only 29 when we came on. We’d been married 10 years. So, as 30-year-olds, I’m getting up here, addressing women. I’ll never forget pulling out the notes—and the first time studying what I was going to say and figuring out what I was going to say. In the notes—if you’ve ever been to a Weekend to Remember, you’ll see that one of the first things that we teach in FamilyLife is Genesis—how it says that God has called the woman to be a helper to the man.

I’m looking at that, and I keep looking at the word, “helper.”



Here is what I think: “Where is my helper?! [Laughter]  Why does the husband get a helper?!  Why don’t we get a helper, as the women?”  See, you guys, I told you I’m not nice!  [Laughter]  So, you know, I am sitting there like—so, then, I think: “You know what?  Maybe, I just have the wrong definition for the helper.”  So, I look it up in the dictionary. It says: “A go-for—a person who does the dirty work. Someone important tells them what to do.”  I’m like, “See!”   

So, I’m talking to Dave; and I’m like, “I don’t think I can speak for FamilyLife because I don’t like that I don’t get a helper.”  And he’s like: “Oh, my gosh, Ann. You need to know what it means in Hebrew—the word, ‘helper,’ means completer. You help to complete me.”  And then, I’m like: “Okay. Alright, I get that.”



So, this whole journey—as you can see by that illustration—has not been easy for me. I seem to be that person that learns the hard way.

So, Dave and I had been married probably about 15 years—10 to 15 years. I was asked to speak at our church to the M.O.P.S group—the Mothers of Preschoolers. So, I was going—I said: “Honey, why don’t you come with me?  That would be fun. We should do it together. The women would get a guy’s perspective,”—because they wanted us to speak on marriage.

So, Dave starts—he starts getting into this—and he’s speaking to all these women. He’s talking and he goes: “Ladies, I want you to know what it’s like to be a man. You see, as little boys here is what happens—we grow up, and we usually have moms”—and he grew up in a single / his mom raised him, as a single mom. “My mom was cheering for me like, ‘Good job, David. Good job!’  So, I liked that; and little boys are always saying: ‘Mom, watch. Watch!’  You, moms, are always saying: ‘Good. [Clapping] Way to go!  Good job.’” 

He said: “And then, we get older, as guys.” 



“We go into middle school, and high school, and elementary school; and we usually start to find what we are good in. And there is usually someone along the line—a teacher/a coach—or something that we’re good at that other people applaud for us: ‘Yes!  Good job!  You’re the man.’” 

Now, I’ve never heard Dave say any of this before. I’m like: “Whoa!  Look at this. This is some new stuff. This is good.”  [Laughter] So, he says, “And I played college football. So, every Saturday,”—and he was a quarterback—“I had a stadium of people like, ‘Dave Wilson is the man!  Yes!  Yes!’” 

He said: “And then, we start dating, and we meet you. And you’re saying to us, ‘You are the man!  You are the man!  Out of all the men in the universe, I choose you.’  And you’re applauding, ‘[Clapping] Yes!  Yes!  Yes!’”  Then, he goes, “Then, we get married.”  [Laughter] 

Now, I’m over here in the chair, like, “Oh, where are you going with this now?”



He goes, “We get married, and it feels like we walk in the door of our homes and all we hear is ‘BOOO!  BOOO!’”  [Laughter] He looks at me, at this point. I’m like, “What?!”  And then, he feels really bad—he’s like, “Oh, we haven’t really talked about this.”  I’m clueless—clueless. So, we kind of get in this fight, right there. I’m like: “What do you mean I boo?  I’m not booing you.”  It was terrible—like so terrible.

So, we get in the car. I’m like, “What the heck was that about?!”  [Laughter]  I said, “You feel like I boo you?”  He goes: “Yes, I feel like you’re continually disappointed. I feel like I do something, and you’re always critiquing it.” 

So, then, I get really defensive—



—and I said, “I am helping you!  I”—because my heart is really, truly—it’s not to harm him—I said: “Honey, I’m telling you that people are not speaking the truth to you, and I will. [Laughter] I am a gift to you!”—right?  Don’t you feel like that?—like: “I am your gift!”  He’s like, “All I hear is boo,” which then takes me on this journey of getting in the Word.

I come across Proverbs 21:9—it says, “It’s better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Alright, I live in Michigan. So, I’m imagining, when I read this—the middle of winter— and I’m imagining Dave on the corner of my roof, in the snow, shuttering cold—and it’s better for him to be out there than in the house with me—Oh! 



Then, I was thinking, too, as I started studying for FamilyLife and thinking about what I would say, as a speaker, and I remember reading Ephesians 5:33. Let me tell you—I love Ephesians. It’s the most practical book in the Bible—I feel like—one of them—because the first three chapters—it’s six chapters—the first three chapters are all about doctrine/theology: “This is the truth. This is who God is. This is who He says we are.”  Then, the last three chapters are all about practical application of that truth—so: “Here is the truth. Now, here is how to apply the truth.”   

So, in Ephesians, we find out what we’re called to be, as women / what men are called to be, as husbands—as parents. It ends in Chapter 6 with putting on the armor of God—like we can’t do it without the armor.

So, in Ephesians 5:33, when it talks about—and you’ve heard this so much—how the man should love his wife / how the woman should respect her husband, I put down in here the Amplified version because I feel like it’s much more direct and descriptive—



—like, “What the heck does it mean to respect our husbands?!” 

So, it says this—he beginning of it says: “However, let each man of you love his wife as his very own self”—and here it is—“and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband.”  What does that mean?  “She notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him. She defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.”  Ahhh!  We should just stop and pray the rest of the time that God will allow us to do that! 

So, when I look at that, I think, “God, I want to do that, but what does that look like?”  First of all, I would say this: “We can intentionally choose God’s design, or we can unintentionally fall into the culture’s demise.” 


What is God’s design?  That’s what we’re going to look at, but you do know what culture’s design is. Don’t you think that our culture tells us it’s 50-50?  Here is the problem—here is what I do when I know the right way. If Dave isn’t doing his part—if he’s not giving 50—I think, “He’s not giving 50. He’s giving 30,”—so, then, I give 30. “He’s doing nothing. So, why should I do anything?”  That’s what the culture tells us: “It’s all about us.” 

So, what is God’s game plan?  Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears it down.”  When I think about that, I think: “How am I building my house?  What am I doing right now that I am building it?” 

I’ll never forget Andy Stanley saying this—in one of his marriage series—he said this: “Your husband should be able to tell how much God loves him by the way you treat him, and love him, and admire him. 



“Your husband may have no idea what God is like, but he should be able to know by the way that you treat him—by the way you respect him, he will have a glimpse of how much God adores him.” 

And I think what we do, as women, is—we are like, “Can I go work in the children’s wing in the church instead of that?” because that’s so much harder; isn’t it?—he should know how much God loves him by the way we treat him. Let me tell you—in Ephesians, it says this: “Submit to one another out of”—this is the part—“out of”—anybody know what the next part is?

Audience: Reverence.

Ann: —“reverence”—for whom?

Audience: God.

Ann: —“for God.”  Who do we do it for?  Why do we love him?—because he deserves it?  No—because God deserves it—it’s our devotion / it’s our way of serving Him.

It starts with, first of all, our attitudes. What does respect look like to your man?  It demonstrates respect by, first of all, your attitude. Look at Ephesians 4:22-24:



“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life”—look at this part—“to put off our old self”—why?—“which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the”—first, what’s that word?

Audience: Attitude.

Ann: —“attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  It starts where?  Here—I’m telling you—this is where I feel like the enemy of our souls, Satan, gets us, first of all—in our attitude.

Do you ever find yourself griping in your head and complaining?  I will never forget—I was so mad at Dave. He had been gone so much—I felt like he wasn’t helping. I felt like he wasn’t listening to me, and I remember folding the laundry. I remember folding, and the whole time, I’m building like this whole scenario of like: “He doesn’t do anything! He’s lazy, and he doesn’t notice me!”  I mean, I’m folding and folding. I felt like God said to me:



“What would happen if you prayed as much as you complained in your head?” 

Audience: Oh! 

Ann: Yes! Talk about conviction. It made me realize how our thoughts—isn’t this true?— because the Bible says that “As a man thinks, so is he.”  As we think about our husbands, it turns into action; but it starts right here in our minds.

I think that we don’t realize and we forget the influence and the power that we have, as women. We have so much power to make him great, and we have the power to crush him in an instant. It’s a heady responsibility that we have, and God has given it to us and entrusted it to us. He has chosen you / He has chosen me to help make my husband the man that He wants. I don’t know if I can do it sometimes, and I know I can’t apart from His Spirit.

What does an attitude look like?—an attitude of unconditional respect?



It says that God commands the wives to respect our husbands without conditions / without him earning it. He is God’s gift to us and comes with a blessing—it is an attitude of honor.

Our culture treats men like they are stupid; and we, as women, can treat men like they are stupid. When we treat them as if they are stupid, they will act like they are stupid. Honestly, I think that—this is so embarrassing—I think—sometimes, I feel like, “I’m just smarter than Dave,” you know?  We’re better communicators—and I think we get prideful, as women. We treat our husbands like they are not as great as they really are.

I read this quote by Stu Weber—that: “A woman can so easily crush a man’s spirit with a word, with a look, with a shrug of indifference. Her cynicism is utterly emasculating; and many times, incredibly subtle. Like a fine, thin blade, it slices deep, penetrating to the very core of his masculine soul.”  Ahh!  Those are hard words to hear.


Also, Dave and I—this is just a terrible illustration. Dave was on the phone. He had made a hotel reservation for some friends coming in. I was in the other room—I could hear him talking on the phone. I could tell that they lost the reservation / that they didn’t take the reservation. Dave was being really nice—he’s like, “Okay, well, do you think that there is another room we could get?”  I am instantly—this is terrible—I’m instantly like: “Oh, my gosh!  I can handle this,”—like: “I will get this done.”  You guys—any of you like that? [Laughter]

So, I walk in there; and I’m like: “Dave—give me the phone!  Just give me the phone!”—this is the attitude; you know?—like: “I can do these things. I’m better than you. I’m better than you.”  So, he gets so mad. He takes the phone—he throws it on the ground, and he walks out of the room. He doesn’t usually do that, and I will tell you—here are the first signs that you know that you’ve disrespected your man—one of two things—



—anger or they storm off.

I should have known instantly. I didn’t know any of this stuff back then, but I should have known instantly—I so disrespected him. The next thing, he walked out of the room. Here is what he says, “Why don’t you just cut it off, Ann?”  That’s embarrassing to me that I would be so prideful, thinking that I’m so—“I can get that done,”—that I would emasculate him like that: “Who cares?  It’s a hotel room, Ann!” 

I have the power to make him great, and I have the power to crush him. I’m embarrassed to tell you that story. I apologized to him later because it was so flagrant that I could see it so clearly. That’s what I mean by I learn the hard way sometimes. So, how are you doing?  I want you to grade yourself on a 1-5—5 being great / 1being not so great.



How are you doing with your attitude in respecting your husband?  Just kind of mentally think, “Where am I?” 


Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to the first part today of a message from Ann Wilson—a message she shared with women onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back in February. You could hear how quiet it was in the room; couldn’t you? 

Dennis: I think she’s touching on, obviously, a felt need. Women need to know, practically, how their respect can either build their husbands or cut him down. It goes back to Ephesians, Chapter 5—a simple job description or an assignment—that God gives women a command. It says in Ephesians 5:33, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  That’s very clear. What does that mean?—“respect.” Well, it shows up in your attitude—



—how you respond to him—when he’s attempting to lead, when he really is leading, or maybe, even when he fails.

Bob: It also shows up in your words and in your actions. Ann is going to address that in Part Two of her message, which we’ll hear on tomorrow’s program.

Dennis: And I think the question for every wife, who is listening to our broadcast: “How are you doing at respecting your husband in your attitude, in your words, in your actions, and in how you respond to him?”  Just give yourself a grade. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to go to work in your heart, and maybe, convict you like she was convicted, there at the end of her message. You could hear her reflecting with a teachable heart: “Lord, how do I need to be a better wife in terms of respecting my husband?” 

And then, if you are a man, and you’ve listened to this all the way through to the end, the question for you is: “Are you a man worthy of respect?”  That’s a key question.



I wouldn’t brush that one off—I’d just ask the question: “Have you truly loved her, and cherished her, and nourished her the way you’re commanded to?”—because, if you have, it’s going to make it easier for her to respect you.


Bob: Yes. If you are interested in listening again to this message—to download it and hear it in its entirety—maybe, pass it on to a friend / maybe, someone you know who would benefit from listening to Ann—you can go to our website Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER,” and look for the button to download today’s message from Ann Wilson.

You’ll also see a button that talks about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Ann and her husband Dave are going to be with us again in 2016 as we set sail for Grand Cayman and for Jamaica. Again, it is Valentine’s week, 2016. We’ll head out on Monday, February 15th, and come back into port on the 20th. We still have—



—well, actually, fewer than a hundred cabins left for the cruise. We’ve got about 2,400 people already signed up to join us and just a few spots left.

So, if a listener is interested in being on the 2016 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise—hearing Dave and Ann Wilson, along with Darrin Patrick, Bryan Loritts, Lysa TerKeurst—bands like Sanctus Real. Steve Green’s going to join us—Selah, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. We’ve got 321 Improv. It’s going to be a great week onboard the cruise. If you are interested, now is the time to sign-up. We expect, here in a couple of weeks, that the cruise will be completely sold out.

In fact, our team is offering a little incentive to those of you who are signing up in the month of June. Go to Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER,” and look for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise button for more information. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. That’s—



—1-800-358-6329—1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”  Ask about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We can register you over the phone or answer any questions you might have.

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear more from Ann Wilson about how a wife can exert a powerful influence in the life of her husband and can help him be the man that God’s created him to be. We’ll hear about that tomorrow. Hope you can tune in.


I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.


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