Men as Husbands
About the Guest
How would your wife rate you as a husband? Hear a message by Matt Chandler, pastor of the The Village Church in Highland Village, TX, on what it means to be a man who initiates, nourishes, and cherishes his wife.
Matt ChandlerMatt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas metroplex of over 10,000 people. His sermons are among the topselling (free) podcasts on itunes and he speaks at conferences worldwide. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. He lives in Texas with his wife, Lauren, and their...more
Hear a message by Matt Chandler, pastor of the The Village Church in Highland Village, TX, on what it means to be a man who initiates, nourishes, and cherishes his wife.
Men as Husbands
Bob: Alright guys, listen up. Pastor Matt Chandler has some counsel for us about something that’s very hard to do.
Matt: One of the worst things you can do, as a married couple, is let the sun go down on your anger; right? The reason that is—is because you’ll lie in bed—she’ll face that way and you’ll face this way—and you’ll just let that root of bitterness start growing down. In fact, you’ll help it go down—you’ll drill it. You’ll be like, “Oh, she doesn’t respect me”; and she’ll be doing the same. The root of bitterness will just grow and grow and grow. It will grow and grow and grow.
The Bible says: “Don’t let that happen. You need to nip it in the bud, man. You need to not go to bed angry. You need to try and resolve it before you go to bed at night.” I think the weight of that falls on the man. I know some of you are like, “You do not know my wife, Chandler! I’ve seen your wife—she sings, she looks so beautiful, she’s sweet.” Listen, two days ago I saw fire shoot out of my wife’s eyes and kill a puppy. [Laughter]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, October 20th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to hear today about the role a husband can play in his marriage in resolving conflict and about a whole lot more. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. I’m just curious—has your wife ever killed a puppy? [Laughter] I’m just curious—have you ever seen the fire shoot out of her eyes?
Dennis: I have seen that—it’s brought me to my knees! No, she’s never done that—my sweet wife!
Bob: We thought that perhaps some of our male listeners today should just gather together around the radio and listen up because they are going to be challenged to live, as godly husbands and godly dads; right?
Dennis: No doubt about it. In fact, Bob, as I was thinking about this broadcast, I thought of a quote by Charles Wadsworth. Do you think Charlie was related to—
Bob: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? No, because it’s a middle name and a last name.
Dennis: You don’t think there’s any chance they’re related?
Dennis: Wadsworth is not, you know—well, anyway, here’s what Charles Wadsworth said—now, you have to follow this carefully / there’s a ton of wisdom wrapped up in this: “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” [Laughter]
Dennis: I mean, isn’t that the way life goes?
Bob: That is the way life goes! [Laughter]
Dennis: I mean, how many dads out there, right now, are wondering: “Am I right? Am I ever right?” Well, you know what? You’re going to get some encouragement today from a guy who is not on staff with FamilyLife, but he should be because he believes the same book we do—the Bible—has the blueprints for equipping men to be better husbands and fathers.
Bob: Yes, Matt Chandler is the pastor at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. I know they have a number of campuses around the Dallas area. Matt is one of the guys who is featured on the FamilyLife Stepping Up® video series for men. He’s one of the guys we went down and shot some video with. In fact, we’ve got a segment with Matt and his wife, Lauren, talking about one of the challenges they’ve been through in their marriage. I know a number of people who get Matt’s sermons as podcasts—he’s just a really good preacher.
Dennis: And, they used to have a puppy. [Laughter]
Bob: Yes, we’re going to hear the puppy story today as we listen to Part One of a message from Matt Chandler, from the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. Here’s Matt.
Matt: I want to tackle what I believe is just a massive topic. It’s not going to be easy to do, but here’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about men, and I want to talk about masculinity.
I want to talk about what being a man is, and I want to talk about what God created men for; alright? It’s a complex subject. I know a lot of women are like: “It’s not complex; alright!? Feed him / hug him—he’s fine!”—alright? I know there are those of you who don’t think it’s—
But did you know that 1 Corinthians 11 said that “men are the glory of God”? That’s a really big, broad, massive thing. So, if you’re a woman in here, we have addressed women. So we’re going to do men now. I don’t want to offend you. I’m not trying to offend you in any way, but here’s my promise to you: “No matter who you are, as a woman, you’re affected by men; alright? You either have one—you’re married to one; or you want one; or you had one and now don’t want one; alright?” But all of us are affected.
What I want to do is to biblically lay out what God has commanded them to be. If they will hear that, then everybody is better off. But here’s the deal I need you to make with yourself—
—if you try to play the role of the Holy Spirit in any of this, you will absolutely destroy everything that the Holy Spirit works through the Word tonight. If we get in the car tonight and you’re like, “Did you hear him?” It’s just going to go badly for you. I know some of you are stronger; and you’re not going to listen to me here because you’re, “Make him listen.” I’ll accept your apology next week. Let’s go!—alright?
Genesis, Chapters 1, 2, and 3—we’ll read some of 3. I’m not going to read all of 1 and 2—says that God creates the entire universe. He creates it rhythmically, and beautifully, and everything is functioning where it’s supposed to function—everything is working perfectly. He creates the earth. On the majority of the earth, He puts this wild, untamed, rugged landscape. In the middle, the Scriptures say, He plants the garden—the Garden of Eden.
Within Eden, everything is trimmed. It’s nice, and it works well. It's not untamed, and wild, and rugged like the rest of the earth. He plants that there. Then the Scriptures say that He makes man and woman in His image—He makes them both. This is pretty key because, the truth is—men and women are created equally but distinctively; alright?
Here’s what happens—God creates the man to be a cultivator; alright? Here's what I mean by that: God creates men—all men, alright?—to build and create. After we build and create, to continue the growth of whatever that is—we were designed for it. We were designed to cultivate our wives—to love, nurture, encourage, and build in them so they would be, as Psalm 128 says—they would be a fruitful vine.
Go to Genesis 3, verse 17: “And to Adam, He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’”—now listen to this—“’cursed is the ground because of you. In pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you and you shall eat the plants of the field.’”—verse 19: “…by the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread till you return to the ground for out of it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Now, I want to point this out to you—this is going to be heavy stuff—I’m just warning you, out of the gate.
God, when He curses man because of sin, not only curses man but curses what he was supposed to cultivate so that, even when a man tries to cultivate what's right, it wars against him. So, when a man tries to build and cultivate and work with even good, positive things, those things that he's trying to cultivate will, at times, instead of producing fruit, produce thorns and thistles.
I’ll give you an example. If you’ve really tried to speak life into your children / if you really try to talk about the glories of Christ / even if you’ve just tried to lead them in a way that's good and positive—how difficult is that? If you’ve noticed, most of us have these things in our minds: “Ooh, I’m going to do this and all the bills get paid,” and, “I’m going to do that; and that’s going to get done, and this is going to get done,” but it never happens. Like every time you're just there, the transmission fails or something; right?
What happens in young men is—young men are like: “I’m going to get a woman that ain’t that much work, and a new house, and a new car. Then I’ll be set.” That’s a cool little fantasy world you develop there in your head. I'll tell you—that there's nothing, this side of eternity, that's not a fixer-upper—nothing!—no woman, no car, no house—there’s nothing, this side of death, that doesn’t require effort and work.
That takes us to the hard part. Let’s go over to Ephesians 5. We’ll pick it up in 25: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; that she might be holy and without blemish,”—
—okay, so here's what He throws on the man. He comes to the woman and says, “In this relationship that I’ve built out, you’re going to submit to Christ-like leadership.” And then He goes over to the man and says, “You’re going to love your wife like Christ loved the church.”
So, you start running through it—how does Christ love the church? He rescues her. He saves her. He becomes sin for her. He has His body ripped apart for her. He does it all, not because the bride asked for it, but he initiates it on His own. What does this mean? It means the mantle on men is to initiate—in their marriage—initiate. Initiate the fight for wholeness. Initiate the fight for healing. Initiate. Initiate. Initiate.
Far too many women are the initiators in relationships and homes. Let me tell you why I think this is such a big deal and why I think it's nearly impossible without the Holy Spirit’s power. Let me give you just a quick example of what I’m talking about here.
Okay, so the Bible is really clear that one of the worst things you can do, as a married couple, is let the sun go down on your anger; right? The reason that is—is because you’ll lie in bed—she’ll face that way and you’ll face this way—and you’ll just let that root of bitterness start growing down. In fact, you’ll help it go down—you’ll drill it. You’ll be like, “Oh, she doesn’t respect me”; and she’ll be doing the same. The root of bitterness will just grow and grow and grow. It will grow and grow and grow.
The Bible says: “Don’t let that happen. You need to nip it in the bud, man. You need to not go to bed angry. You need to try and resolve it before you go to bed at night.” I think the weight of that falls on the man. I know some of you are like: “You do not know my wife, Chandler!
“I’ve seen your wife—she sings, she looks so beautiful, she’s sweet.” Listen, two days ago, I saw fire shoot out of my wife’s eyes and kill a puppy. [Laughter] The puppy is just burning—where does that stuff come from? I swear—that is nowhere in my notes. [Laughter] The puppy was just howling and screaming. [Laughter] She’s like, “Oh, ho, ho.” [Laughter] I mean, you don’t know who I married.
But here’s what I would tell you, biblically—here is what I would [Laughter] —I apologize! [Laughter] Here is what I tell you, biblically—if your wife, in that moment—10:30/11:00/midnight—is facing that way and you’re facing this way—and she is 99.999 percent to blame, it falls on you to roll over, tap her on the shoulder, and say: “I don’t want to go to go to bed like this. I need to apologize for my .0001 percent.” [Laughter] Okay? [Laughter]
Just for the record, I wouldn't use numbers; but I would do this: “Lauren, before we go to sleep tonight—I know you’re angry / I’m angry. I need to apologize for how I handled what happened earlier.”
Alright—First Corinthians 16—let’s learn how to walk in this. How do we walk in this?—being cultivators—but finding all that we are supposed to cultivate war against us—whether that be business, whether that be family, whether that be wife, whether that be child, whether that be friendships and relationships. We’ve been called to cultivate, and it’s going to war against us. There are going to be times where it produces thorns and thistles versus fruit. So, how do we walk in this deal that God’s created? Look at this—Chapter 16, verse 13: “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men.”
That’s always an ego shot anytime you hear, “Why don’t you act like a man; alright?” It’s just a little shot to the man: “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
Okay, so how do we walk in this system where we’re called, by God, to be cultivators but what we’ve been called to cultivate will, at times, war against us? Alright, it’s in this text: “Be watchful.” Here’s what I think this text means—everyone of us, as men, know where we are weak. If you say you don’t tonight, I would call you a liar. Alright? We know if we have got lust issues. We know if we have got fear issues. We know if we have got pride issues. We know if we have got anger issues. We know where we are weak. We know what keeps us from being the kind of men that God has called us to be.
Well, the text says, “Be watchful.”
If you know that’s where it’s going to come / if you know that’s where you’re going to get attacked / if you know that’s where you’re going to get overwhelmed / if you know that’s how you’re going to stumble and fall, then be watchful of that area of your life. Build defenses in that area of your life: “Be watchful.”
Like if, when you get tired, everything unravels for you, be watchful—maybe you shouldn’t watch the daily show / maybe you should go to bed. Maybe the second SportsCenter, right after you finish watching the first one, isn’t a necessity—maybe sleep is. Maybe, instead of living off of red meat and coffee—maybe, God forbid, you eat a vegetable and drink some water—I didn’t go crazy / I didn’t say, “Do Pilates.” I’m just saying, “Try a green bean once in a while,” if you getting tired is the thing that starts unraveling—
you watching TV makes you unravel. Then, “Come on, man, be watchful.” This isn’t a game! Do you think this is a game?—be watchful. You know where you’re weak / everybody does—be watchful. If you know where they’re going to attack from / if you know where the attack is going to come, wouldn’t it make sense to build some defenses there?
Walk in what you believe because—if you’re giving God and the gospel lip service, but you’re not really walking in it, then, good luck. I don’t even know why you do that. That, to me, is church as a hobby; and I think church might be one of the lamest hobbies in the history of the world—get a boat. Seriously, boats are great / boats are fun. You can wakeboard behind them, or ski behind them, or the inner tube is great if you are little. Get a boat.
I don’t understand—walk in it. Stand firm in our faith. What good is all the power that God has offered us if we’re not ever going to tap into it? “Act like a man,” he says; and then he follows it up with, “Be strong.”
Bob: That is Matt Chandler from The Village Church, in Dallas, challenging us, as men. I have to tell you—listening back to this message today, I’m reminded of the first time I heard it. I was driving in Northern California on my way to a father/son camp with my son, David. We listened to these messages. There was one point where I turned off the message, and we were talking about something. Then, I just didn’t turn it right back on. David, after a minute, said, “Are we going to keep listening?” And I thought, “Cha-ching!” right there; you know?
Bob: He was tracking with what Matt was saying.
Dennis: Matt communicates to folks of all ages—but, you know, that’s a good application for this broadcast, Bob—for some dads to get this and maybe select a little play time on the car radio on your way to, maybe, a sporting event or something you're going to together—but play if for your sons and talk about what it means to be a real man.
Dennis: I like what he said there, at the end, because 1 Corinthians 16: 13 and 14 is one of my favorite passages. It is a charge to men to stand firm, as Matt was talking about.
You know, there a lot of men today, Bob, who make manhood into a hobby—it’s just a game. It’s not the real deal. It takes God to make a man a real man. That’s what Matt is challenging men to do.
Bob: Let me ask you: “If a guy is trying to be God's man in his home, and in his marriage, and with his kids, and his wife is just not on the same page or not responding to him, how would you counsel that guy?”
Dennis: That’s a great question. You know, hold that question, though, because Matt addresses that question in a little piece we’re going to play in just a minute.
Bob: Alright. Well, in the meantime, let me let our listeners know about the video series that Matt is a part of—that’s the Stepping Up video series. It’s a ten-week series for guys to go through in a church setting / in a small group setting. If you’ve got a group of guys you get together with regularly, you get a chance to hear from Matt Chandler, and Voddie Baucham, and Crawford Loritts, and Stu Weber, and Robert Lewis, and Joshua Harris, and James MacDonald, and Dennis Rainey. It’s a powerful series for men to go through.
In fact, we’ve had more than 100,000 guys go through this series. Our team thought—they had this idea—that we ought to change the first month of the year. Instead of calling it “January,” they want to call it “Manuary.” They would like to see a bunch of small groups kick off, during the month of January— or, if you want to go with their language, call it “Manuary”—we’d love to see another 50,000 guys get launched in small group studies during the first part of 2015.
They’ve put a little incentive together to try to get you to consider hosting this at your church or hosting it with a group of guys you know—maybe it is fathers and sons you want to get together with and go through this material. Right now, if you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and you order workbooks for, at least, ten guys, we will send you the leader kit / the video series free. You get the videos free as long as you agree to take ten guys through the material.
You don’t have to wait until “Manuary” to start; but if you want to wait until then, that’s a good launch point for a bunch of guys to start going through this material. Find out more—go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner that says, “GO DEEPER”—look for the “Manuary” box you see there—the Stepping Up box. You can order the resources from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com—that’s FamilyLifeToday.com. Or call 1-800-358-6329; 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Let’s see if we can’t get a whole group of guys going through this material and better understanding what godly masculinity ought to look like.
Now, we also want to say a word of thanks to those of you who make FamilyLife Today possible—those of you who are, not just listeners, but you’re partners with us. You make donations, either from time to time or on a monthly basis, to help sustain this daily radio program. We are grateful for those of you who pitch in and help us pay the bills.
This month, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you one of the new resources that Barbara Rainey has developed for your home. It’s a chalkboard that you can hang in the kitchen or hang in the family room that says, “In this home we give thanks for”—and then you can write, in chalk, what you’re thankful for on any given day. Erase it and write something new the next day. It’s a great discipline to cultivate a spirit of gratitude in your home, and it looks beautiful as well. It’s our gift to you when you make a donation to help support FamilyLife Today.
You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button in the upper right-hand corner that says, “I Care”; and make an online donation. Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone. Ask for the chalkboard when you do that. Or you can request the chalkboard when you mail a donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.
Now, as for the question that I was asking—how a husband ought to proceed if his wife is not really on the same page with him?
Matt: You’re probably picking up on some of this—I’m dysfunctional and come from a very dysfunctional background. So, our first couple of years of marriage were very, very difficult. It wasn’t just my junk; she had some junk too. If you put two dysfunctional people in a house together, it goes badly; right? Yes.
The Lord was really, really merciful. The last five years have just been—probably, the last four years have been just a dream, man—just a dream. But what if things go bad again tomorrow?
Now my role, in submission to Christ, is to cultivate, encourage, love, and build up my wife, regardless of her response. Whew! Whew! That isn’t for the faint of heart!
“What if I’m trying to love, and encourage, and build up and she just
decides she doesn’t want any bit of me anymore?”
“What if she just says, ‘No, thank you!’?”
“What if she doesn’t respond?”
“What if she doesn’t want to leave me, but she just doesn’t respond
the way I want her to respond?”
I tell you what I want to do—but my call is to keep loving, keep walking, keep encouraging—everyday of my life, no matter how long, until the Holy Spirit breaks into her heart.
That’s why this text says: “Be strong / be strong.”
You want to just talk about self-sacrifice and all the valiant themes that men love so much. This is a big one—be strong, in submission to Christ—love your wife, love your children—be that cultivator that I’ve called you to be. Be strong because it might be in the next life that you finally get all the peace you’re looking for.
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