How a Woman Should Romance Her Husband

with Carolyn Mahaney | February 10, 2009

Author Carolyn Mahaney teaches women the ABCs of romance on today’s broadcast.

Author Carolyn Mahaney teaches women the ABCs of romance on today’s broadcast.

How a Woman Should Romance Her Husband

With Carolyn Mahaney
|
February 10, 2009
| Download Transcript PDF

Carolyn: Let's serve our husbands by caring for our appearance when we are around the house and not only seek to look good when we go out.  It's important to keep ourselves attractive.  We need to do all that we can to the outside, of course, that has limitations, because outwardly we are deteriorating but, most importantly, we need to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit.  We need to grow in submission because, you know what?  We will only grow more beautiful to our husbands.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, February 10th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  We have practical advice today from Carolyn Mahaney today for wives who want to love their husbands well.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition.  This weekend, of course, is Valentine's Day weekend.  We're kicking off our spring season of FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences starting Friday night in places like the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania; at the Gaylord Texan Resort in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where you're going to be speaking, Dennis, you're one of the speakers there; we're also going to be at a resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico; we're going to be in Norfolk, Virginia; we're going to be in Washington, D.C. and some other locations as well, and we've got a lot of couples who are signed up to join us for our romantic getaway this weekend at a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.  We do still have some seats available, so if folks want more information, they can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com.

And leading up to Valentine's Day for the last several weeks, we have been daring one another to love like we mean it by taking The Love Dare that was featured in the movie, "Fireproof," that is now out on DVD.  We've just been going through the dares that are in the book, "The Love Dare," and if folks need more information about that book or about the DVD, that's on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com as well.

Today's Love Dare, day number 37 in our 40-day Love Dare – yesterday was about the Bible and its relationship to love and romance and marriage.  Today it's about prayer.  In Matthew 18 Jesus says, "If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father."  So your assignment today, your dare for the day, is to ask your spouse if you can begin praying together.  Talk about the best time to do it, whether it's in the morning, at the lunch hour, before bed – use this time to commit your concerns, your disagreements, your needs before the Lord, and then don't forget to thank God for His provision and for his blessing, even if your spouse isn't interested in doing this, you can resolve to spend daily time in prayer yourself.  So that's your Love Dare assignment for today and, again, there is more information about the book, "The Love Dare," about the "Fireproof" DVD and about the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com.

Now, we're going to talk about romance today, and let me ask you – you played baseball, growing up, didn't you?

Dennis: Yeah, mm-hm.

Bob: Are you a right-hander, left-hander?

Dennis: Right-handed.

Bob: Could you switch hit?

Dennis: No.

Bob: You couldn't hit from the left?

Dennis: No.  I couldn't hit very well from the right side.  I was a pitcher, and pitchers aren't expected to hit.

Bob: And you only threw right-handed, too, you didn't throw with the left hand?

Dennis: Bob, Bob, how many ambidextrous pitchers did you ever know about?

Bob: There aren't many.

Dennis: Did you play baseball?

Bob: I did play baseball.  I was a catcher and only threw with my right hand and only hit from the right side.  I guess I was thinking about the subject of romance.  You know, it's the season of romance, and I was thinking it seems like, when it comes to romance, most guys are right-handed and most women are left-handed, and when you try to have a romantic blend, guys start throwing from the right, and women start batting from the left, and you just wind up in a little bit of a mess, you know what I mean?

Dennis: I think I do.  We're different, God made us different, and different is not wrong, it's just different. 

Bob: Is it good?

Dennis: I think it is, because God's not a cosmic killjoy in heaven trying to pull the wool over our eyes or make life miserable for us.  I think he wants us to pursue one another with a genuine, sacrificial love that says to our wives, as we've already talked this week to the men, "Sweetheart, I love you.  I'll pursue you all my days, and I want to speak your romantic love language."

Bob: And if that means that I've got to learn how to bat from the left a little bit, I'll do that.

Dennis: Well, it will mean – not a little bit.

Bob: And the same is true for a wife.

Dennis: I think most wives need to learn to switch hit as well.

Bob: That's right, and we've already heard this week from C.J. Mahaney, who many of our listeners know used to pastor a church outside of Baltimore and now heads Sovereign Grace Ministries.  He was talking to men about how we can be more romantic with our wives, and now we want to hear from his wife in a message for women about how a wife can bat from the right side.

Dennis: That's right.   Carolyn Mahaney is a great lady.  She's been on FamilyLife Today,  along with her daughters.  She is a very authentic person, and I think you're going to benefit from her wisdom, because she's a woman who has seen a marriage go through three decades of ups and downs, raising a family in the midst of the challenges of being a pastor's wife, and I think she has a lot of tried-and-true godly wisdom that many of our wives are going to be able to benefit from.

Carolyn: I still remember a few years back when I was hosting a panel of pastor's wives during a women's session at a leader's conference, and we were fielding a number of questions that were coming about biblical counseling and child-rearing, and then a woman from the audience asked this question – she said, "What is one thing you have learned that encourages your husband the most?"  And, as the other ladies on the panel were answering this question, I debated it in my mind.  I'm thinking, "Should I answer this?"  Because I know what C.J.'s answer would be, but I thought, "Do I dare say that?"

And then it was my turn, so I decided to go for it, and I blurted out, "Make love to him.  That's what my husband would say encourages him the most, if he was here."  And, you know, there was that wave of nervous laughter, but it's true.  Engaging in this physical expression of marital intimacy is one of the most meaningful ways that we can encourage our husbands. 

Now, our culture puts forth the idea that the only people having sex – or good sex, that is, are those who aren't married.  And when marital sex is portrayed in popular media, it is usually presented as bland or routine, but that's not how Holy Scripture presents the physical relationship in marriage.  That is why it is so important for us, as women, to have a biblical perspective of sex, because God intends that it is to be tremendous fun, it is to be an experience of tremendous joy and satisfaction in our marriage.  It's God's heart that our sexual experience with our husband be one that is filled with uninhibited passion and exhilarating delight.

So let's take a few minutes now and talk about the sexual relationship from the wife's perspective, and let's consider some grade A passion, if you will.  I would like us to discuss how we, as wives, can be attractive, available, anticipatory, aggressive, and adventurous in order to pursue a passionate sexual relationship with our husbands.

So let's begin with attractive.  I'd like you to open your Bibles with me to the first chapter of the Song of Solomon.  I think it's accurate to say, for most husbands, physical attraction was the lure that first drew him to his wife.  And I think it's also truthful to state that, for most husbands, physical attraction to his wife remains a significant issue for him throughout the marriage.  The husband in the Song of Songs was certainly enthralled by his wife's beauty.  Look how he describes her in verse 8 of chapter 1 – "If you do not know, O most beautiful among women," and then again in verse 15 – "Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful."  And if you continue to read this little book, you will find more such declarations – the husband was captivated by his wife's beauty.

In the same way, our beauty is important to our husbands, therefore, it is necessary for us, as wives, to do all we can to make ourselves attractive to our husbands.  Now, some of you are sitting there thinking, "Well, that's all fine and good, but at this stage of my life, physical attractiveness is out of reach.  Trying to make myself attractive is a goal I abandoned a long time ago."  Now, if those are your thoughts, you are probably in the same season of life that I am where everything about my physical appearance is heading in one direction, and that would not be uphill.

So why am I encouraging us to make ourselves attractive to our husbands if that's no longer even a possibility, it seems, for most of us?  Because I believe we can make ourselves attractive to our husbands no matter what our age.  Now keep your finger in Song of Solomon, because we're going to continue to look at this little book throughout our time, but flip over, for a moment, to 1 Peter 3, and let's look at verses 3 through 5 from 1 Peter 3.

Now it says, "Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which, in God's sight is very precious" – for this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, or as the NIV puts it, "Used to make themselves beautiful" – by submitting to their husbands.  We need to grow in submission, because you know what?  We will only grow more beautiful to our husbands.

Number two, be available – making ourselves available to our husband is another way we enhance our sexual relationship.  Scripture makes it plain that my body belongs to my husband, and his body belongs to me.  The husband and wife in the Song of Solomon understood this principle.  Song of Solomon 2:16 says, "My beloved is mine, and I am his."  This is a repeated refrain throughout the Book of Song of Songs. 

Do you know what?  As we choose to obey God and give our bodies to our husbands, even when we may be lacking sexual desire for them, God will reward us with pleasure.  He will transform our desire.  Elizabeth Elliott says, "the essence of sexual enjoyment for a woman is self-giving.  You will find that it is impossible to draw the line between giving pleasure and receiving pleasure.  If you put the giving first, the receiving is inevitable."

Number three – be anticipatory.  Now, there are probably few things that would bless our husbands more than if we anticipated and looked forward to our lovemaking experiences.  See, most husbands desire more from sex than getting their biological needs met by a passive, bored but submissive wife.  Our husbands want to know that we long for him as much as he longs for us.  As we have already learned from the Song of Songs, God intends sex to be mutually satisfying. 

This little book reveals that both the husband and wife were equally passionate about sex.  Look at verse 5 of chapter 2 in the Song of Songs.  In describing her passion for sex, she declared, "I am sick with love."  Or, as the NIV translates it, "I am faint with love."  This woman longed for her husband.  Maybe some of you are saying and thinking, "That does not describe my sexual desire and experience.  I am not faint with love for my husband."

Well, let me ask you this – were you ever faint with love for your husband?  How about before you married him?  Did you have that strong sexual desire for him then?  See, most of us will confess that before our marriage our sexual desire was pretty strong and rather intense, was it not? 

Now, if that is no longer our experience, if we no longer feel that same intensity or desire, what has happened?  Has our sex drive changed?  Possibly we have stopped doing what we used to do before we were married.  Maybe we have ceased to think about and desire our husband in the same way that we did before we married him.

Women get married, and then they wonder where all the feelings have gone.  Do you know what?  Oftentimes it's because we are no longer fantasizing and daydreaming about our husband in the same way that we did before we married him.  God has given us the gift of our imagination, and one of the ways we are to employ this gift is by sexually fantasizing about our husband.  It's an activity most of us were proficient at before marriage.  We just need to continue the practice after we are married and maintain it throughout our married life.  It's an exercise that will generate ongoing sexual desire for our husbands.

Now, another common reason for a lack of sexual desire is fatigue, and although weariness is potential reality in many seasons of our lives, it's probably most pronounced in the years when a woman is caring for small children.  And a while back, I had a conversation with a young woman who had just become a brand-new mommy, and you know it's that season of life where you are facing the reality from going, having all this time to be with your husband and plenty of time to take care of the home to, all of a sudden, you are still in your pajamas and your bed is unmade, and it's the middle of the afternoon, and all you've done that day is take care of the needs of the baby.  And her question to me was "How do I keep my husband a priority in this season of my life?"  And I responded to her, "Honey, fix your husband a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner and give him great sex after dinner, and he will feel prized by you."

Number four, be aggressive – I think we should think about being aggressive in two ways – aggressive in praise of our husbands and aggressive in pursuit of our husband.  Listen to this woman's challenge from a book I read some time ago.  She said, "Are you in love with your husband?  Not do you love him?  I know you do.  He's been around a long time, and you're used to him, he's the father of your children, but are you in love with him?  How long has it been since your heart really squeezed when you looked at him?  Why is it you have forgotten the things that attracted you to him at first?

By the grace of God, I want you to start changing your thought pattern.  Tomorrow morning get your eyes off the toaster or the baby bottles long enough to look at him.  Don't you see the way his coat fits his shoulders?  Look at his hands.  Do you remember when just to look at his strong hands made your heart lift?  Well, look at him and remember, then loose your tongue and tell him you love him.

We also need to be aggressive in our pursuit of our husbands.  Again, when we read the Song of Songs, we discover that the husband and wife equally initiated the lovemaking experience, and they were equally aggressive during sex, and this should be the description of our marriage.  All initiating for lovemaking doesn't rest with the husband.  As wives, we should be initiating as well.

And, finally, let's be adventurous.  Joe Dillow says the woman who would never think of serving her husband the same frozen dinner every evening sometimes serves him the same frozen sexual response every night.  Sex, like supper, loses much of its flavor when it becomes predictable.  We shouldn't allow it to become predictable.  Let's be adventurous, and do you know that as we do, we will reap rich rewards in our marriage?

Dennis: And all of God's men said, "Amen."

Bob: Just sitting there thinking – I don't think we ought to try and say anything much more, do you?

Dennis: Close the broadcast in prayer and call our wives and tell them to listen to Carolyn again on the Internet at FamilyLife.com.

Bob: I think we can encourage couples that we've got some resources that are available, including the book you and Barbara wrote called "Rekindling the Romance."

Dennis: And I just want to say, Barbara has written half the book.  She edited my half of the book where I was writing to the men.  I promise you, she heavily edited it where I was instructing the men on how they could speak romance to their wives, but Barbara's half of the book, frankly, is worth double the price of "Rekindling the Romance," because she speaks – well, just like Carolyn does out of more than three decades of marriage and raising six kids and the ups and downs of health issues and life, and she speaks with authenticity. 

In fact, that's one of the encouraging comments we've most often had about the book is how wives have come to Barbara and said, "You know, I just appreciate you bring real.  I can identify with what you felt, how you expressed it, and also how you practically equipped me to be able to better speak this language of romance to my husband."

Bob: And I imagine there are probably a lot of our listeners who may be experiencing CRFS, chronic romantic fatigue syndrome, and your book is an antidote for that.   We've got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Resource Center, it would be great for couples to read together following Valentine's Day.  You may want to get the book as a gift for your husband or wife.  It's, actually, a gift for both of you, because there are two sides to this book – one side for husbands and one side for wives.  So it's kind of a combo Valentine's gift.

You can find out more about it on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com.  The book is called "Rekindling the Romance."  You will also find information about the book that C.J. Mahaney has written called "Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God."  There is a chapter in his book from his wife Carolyn where she shares some of the same things we heard her talk about on today's program, and you may be interested in getting a copy of that book.  Again, it's called "Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God." 

And then you'll also find information on our website about the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection, which is a great, fun gift for couples to give to one another for Valentine's Day to spark the romance and the passion in your marriage throughout the year – creative date ideas for couples – it really is a fun resource, and it's been newly updated and revised by our team.

All the details for all of these resources can be found at FamilyLifeToday.com or, if it's easier, you can call 1-800-FLTODAY.  We can answer any questions you have about the resources and make arrangements to have the ones you want sent out to you.

We have just recently had a number of FamilyLifeToday listeners who have joined with us as Legacy Partners.  These are folks who each month provide financial support for the ministry, and we so much appreciate those of you who do help us out month to month with the financial needs of our ministry.

We also appreciate those of you who, from time to time, make a donation as you are able to or as something prompts you to make a donation and this month, if you are able to help with a donation of any amount, we have a thank you gift we'd like to send you.  It's a two-CD set that features a conversation we had on the subject of love and respect with the author of a book by that name, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. 

In the book Dr. Eggerichs talks about the whole idea of unconditional love, which we've all heard about, but he also talks about what unconditional respect might look like.  And we are happy to send you the two CDs that feature our conversation with Dr. Eggerichs when you support the ministry this month, again, with a donation of any amount.  If you're donating online, when you get to the keycode box on the donation form, type in the word "respect," and we'll know to send the CDs to you.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329.  You can make your donation over the phone and just ask for the CD series called "Love and Respect," and, again, we're happy to send it out to you, and we so appreciate your financial partnership with us and your support of this ministry.

Now, tomorrow Chip Ingram is going to join us, along with Tim Walker, and we're going to talk about the need for a brand-new sexual revolution.  We'll talk about revolutionizing our thinking on this subject tomorrow, and I hope you can be with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back next time 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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