Understanding Your HusbandJuly 17, 2006
Today on the broadcast, Cindy Easley, wife of Moody President Michael Easley, gives wives practical pointers for understanding their husbands.
Today on the broadcast, Cindy Easley, wife of Moody President Michael Easley, gives wives practical pointers for understanding their husbands.
Understanding Your Husband
Bob: There's an old joke that goes something like this -- "Every woman is looking for a man with the brains of Einstein, the looks of Tom Cruise, and the money of Donald Trump and instead they wind up with the money of Einstein, the brains of Cruise, and Donald Trump's looks." The point is, are you expecting more from your husband than any husband can provide? Here's Cindy Easley.
Cindy: We need to receive our mates based on who God is not based on who they are. You know, on our best day our husbands aren't perfect, are they? Because on our best day, we're not perfect, either. We have to receive our husbands based on who God is. It's His gift. So be careful that you're not asking your husband to meet needs that it is not within his ability to meet.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, July 17th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Are your expectations for your husband realistic, or have you been spending too much time on "Fantasy Island?"
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. Where did Barbara learn how to be a wife?
Dennis: Well, she had a great mom.
Dennis: Her mom and dad have now been married -- they're coming up on their 58th, count 'em, 58 years of marriage, and she was a very stable, solid model. But I'd have to say, secondly, she picked it up from the Bible and then, thirdly, I think by teaching on it. When she taught at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences, she would have to look at the Scripture and evaluate what the Bible said and what she was doing and what she needed to do better, and I think every time she taught, I came out a little better. It was a pretty cool deal.
Bob: Well, there was probably a little OJT thrown in there, too, right? A little on-the-job training?
Dennis: Well, that was occurring all along.
Dennis: And that's how most women learn today.
Bob: And I think that's the challenge that a lot of women are experiencing in the culture as well as husbands who are wondering, "How do I be a godly husband?" We can look at what the Scriptures have to say, and, certainly, that's the source for where we find our definition for how to be a godly wife or a godly husband. But it does help to have somebody who has lived it and has looked at the Scriptures and can come alongside and offer some counsel. That's one of the things that happens at the Weekend to Remember conference. The couples who come to speak at these conferences, first of all, understand what the Scriptures have to say about how to build a strong marriage but, secondly, they've lived a little while, they have a little marriage under their belt, they've made some mistakes, and they're not ashamed to talk about some of those mistakes and let you in on some of the cracks and failures and issues they've had to work through.
Dennis: And, you know, at the Weekend to Remember, Bob, when our wives speak at these events, they share from their successes as well as their failures, and I think that's how a lot of women learn. They learn from other women hearing what they've done right and what they wish they'd done better.
Bob: This month we are encouraging FamilyLife Today listeners to set aside a weekend this fall and go away together to a Weekend to Remember conference. We're going to be hosting these in about four-dozen cities all across the country. There will be one coming to a city near where you live. You can go on our website, FamilyLife.com, and find the location and the dates and just set that weekend aside, and if you will register this month for the conference, we're going to give you the special FamilyLife Today "Bob's Special Deal" group rate.
That means that without forming a group, you'll get the group discount, you'll save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee by registering this month for one of these upcoming Weekend to Remember conferences.
Dennis: I ought to mention that many of these conferences in the spring were sold out, and so I want to encourage you -- pick up a phone and call our 800 number or go online and take advantage of -- what did you call it -- Bob's --
Bob: Bob's Special Deal, that's right. In fact, as you're filling out the registration form on our website, when you come to the keycode box, if you want to take advantage of this FamilyLife Today special radio offer and save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee, you need to type my name in the box. Just type in "Bob," and that's how they'll know that you're a FamilyLife Today listener.
Dennis: That's pretty simple.
Bob: We thought about having them type in "Dennis," but it takes more letters, so we went with "Bob," and you can spell Bob forwards or backwards, either way, so that's why we did it that way.
Dennis: For people who aren't ambidextrous, that's wonderful.
Bob: You can call 1-800-FLTODAY to register over the phone and, again, just mention that you're a FamilyLife Today listener, and that you'd like to take advantage of the special offer and, again, you'll save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee as a couple, and you'll have a fun, romantic weekend together at the Weekend to Remember conference, and you'll get some helpful training on how to build a stronger marriage, how to be a godly husband, and how to be a godly wife, which is what we want the focus of today's program to be.
Dennis: That's right, and we'd like to give you a little sample, a little bite of the cookie, by listening to Cindy Easley. Cindy and her husband, Michael, speak at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences. Many of you may know that name, Michael Easley, he is the president of Moody Bible Institute, and he and his wife Cindy have been among our most popular speakers at our Weekend to Remember conferences, and I think you're going to enjoy this message, as Cindy speaks very openly and honestly about the wife' responsibility for oneness.
Cindy: [from Weekend to Remember conference] When I was 12 years old, I got contacts for the first time. Now, I had had glasses since I was about probably seven or eight, so I'll never forget the day I was in the ophthalmologist's office, and I put contacts in my eyes, and the ophthalmologist pulled the drapes aside in his office, and he said, "Cindy, count the leaves on the trees." Did you know it was the first time I realized you could count leaves on a tree -- because before they had just been a mass of green. But, for the first time in my life, my eyes were clearly in focus. I could see individual leaves that were 200 yards away.
Well, that's what discernment is. Discernment is the ability to see clearly. Ephesians 5 says, "Therefore be careful how you walk not as unwise men" -- or I would add "women," "but as wives making the most of your time because the days are evil." So discernment, then, is insight. It's thoughtful action, it's the ability to see clearly.
Now, what are we to discern? Here's a few things -- first, that God has designed the husband and wife with equal value. But look at this verse in Galatians, 3 -- "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This was a radical thought when it was written, because when St. Paul wrote these words, women were considered a property. So this was a brand-new thought for them, it was radical -- men and women, husband and wife, had equal value.
God has designed the husband and wife to be interdependent. I have found this interdependence is what drives me crazy about Michael because, see, Michael has some things that I don't have. Michael is goal-oriented, he is very discerning, he is very detail-oriented. You can tell that from hearing him speak, can't you? He's a do-do-do-do-do kind of person. I am a -- "So -- what are we going to do today? Party? Where are we going to go? Let's go do something. Let's play. Okay, no? We have work, oh, let's do that later." We are so different in this way, and sometimes when he is telling me, "You know what? We really need to plan for this. We need to be goal-oriented," and I'm, like, "Why plan? That's tomorrow, this is today -- party hearty."
But, you know, I need that. I need that desperately. As a result, Michael has taught me to set some goals and to have a plan to meet those goals, and it's been very healthy for me. On the other hand, I have taught him to "Lighten up, Buddy," you know? We need to have some playtime. So that, our interdependence is very important in our marriage relationship.
It can also be somewhat irritating. I have a friend who, she explains her relationship like this -- her husband is the taco, she is the hot sauce. I like that. Wise women discern God's divine order of responsibility in marriage. God has designated the husband as the head of the relationship. Now, you hear that, and you go, "I don't really like that." Well, let me tell you -- just set your mind at ease, and let me tell you what they're talking about. They are talking about how our husbands need to love like the Savior and lead like a servant. Now, that doesn't sound very intimidating to me. I like that.
Number two, God has given the wife to the man as his helper in the relationship. Now, helper is a title of worth. God refers to Himself in Scripture as our Helper. Now, certainly, we are not greater than God, so we know that the word "helper" cannot be demeaning. It is not a demeaning term in Scripture.
Number three, God has designed the husband and wife relationship to be a living picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. This is an incredible responsibility we have in a Christian family, I believe, because in some ways we are the best representative for a picture of Christ in the church that the world will ever see -- that is, if we're doing it well. God has provided the husband and the wife the power to fulfill His design through dependence on His Spirit.
Now, how many of you vacuum. Yeah, me, too, I vacuum. Let's just suppose -- this is Sunday, so let's suppose you go home, and maybe Wednesday is the day that you clean your house, and you pull your vacuum out, and you have on your housecleaning clothes, you know, those are the clothes that you wouldn't be caught dead anywhere else in the world in. You pray that your neighbors don't stop by when you're wearing those clothes? Okay. You have those clothes on, and you pull out your vacuum, and you begin vacuuming, and you're vacuuming this one spot that's particularly dirty. You're vacuuming for about 30 minutes. You are getting sweaty, and that floor is not getting any cleaner, and you can't figure it out. You're thinking, "This vacuum normally works just fine. What is wrong with this?" And then it dawns on you, you forgot to plug the vacuum in.
You know, it doesn't matter how hard you're working, does it? If that vacuum is not plugged into a power source, your carpet is not going to get any cleaner. That's exactly what the Holy Spirit is like in our life.
John 15:5 says, "Apart from me you can do nothing." The top of page 134, "A Wife's Responsibility is Loving Her Husband." Letter A, "Love is an attitude of unconditional acceptance." We need to accept our husbands as they are -- an imperfect person. Well, duh, was that hard? I mean, that's not new information. So let's go on -- "Your acceptance should not be based upon his performance but on his worth as God's gift to you." We need to receive our mates based on who God is not based on who they are. You know, on our best day, our husbands aren't perfect are they -- because on our best day, we're not perfect, either. We have to receive our husbands based on who God is. It's His gift.
I think sometimes we have a problem with this because we depend on our husbands to meet needs they were never designed to meet. You know, God has given women relational needs, but sometimes they need to be met only through God our Father. So be careful that you're not asking your husband to meet needs that it is not within his ability to meet.
Let me give you a little insight into your husband. Somewhere they have disconnected their thoughts and their feelings from who they are, from being able to express them. Some of your husbands are in that position and you know what, ladies, for some of them it is a risk because for some of you, you are very quick thinkers. You're decisive, you see black and white. That's a gift. They can't see that way, so ask them how they think, how they feel, give them time to process. It may take hours, it may take days, give them time to process. And then when they tell you what they think or feel, even if you disagree, even if you think their thought is absurd, do not shoot them down. Please accept their thoughts and feelings, because they are different from yours. Mine are different from my husband's.
Number three, accept him despite his failures. True love grants another person the freedom to fail. Did you hear that? The freedom to fail, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in another person's life. Now, you know, what we do sometimes with our husbands? We yell at them, we humiliate them, when what we need to do is pick them up, love them, hug them, kiss them, encourage them, and put them back on. We need to allow our husbands the freedom to fail because God does.
Letter B -- "Love is sacrificial action." Love is keeping your husband in focus as your top priority.
Number two, "Love is staying available to your husband in terms of time and energy." Michael and I have found if we don't put time together on the calendar, it won't happen, and I'm talking about non-sexual intimacy, like, we go to lunch every Wednesday together. The whole staff knows that Wednesday is Michael's day. Michael's secretary knows to never schedule anything during the lunchtime on Wednesday, and we just spend time just talking. Sometimes we talk about things that are relevant, sometimes we talk about things that are irrelevant, sometimes we run errands together. What I've found is that as long as we are meeting together regularly, that when little problems come up, they don't turn into big problems.
"Love is listening." It's giving your husband full attention. When Michael comes home from work, if I'm not in the middle of burning dinner or trying to teach our children a subject that I don't know, then I will follow Michael up to the bedroom and just talk for a few minutes and, you know, this is not the time for that deep conversation we have a problem. It's more of a "How was your day," and he doesn't even have to really answer.
Now, let me ask you, when you ask your husband "How was your day?" What does he say? "Fine." We're all married to the same men. That's what they say. So at this point, just following up into the bedroom, I let him get away with "fine." Because we're just kind of touching base here. I'm just letting him know that I'm interested in him, that I love him, that I'm willing to stop what I'm doing to give him a little eye contact as he's changing clothes or to be in the same room.
Later I found it's helpful to go in or to -- after dinner, after the kids are in bed, when life has settled down in our household, to say, "So, you said that your day was fine. What was the highlight of your day today -- and to ask him specific questions.
Letter C -- "Love is physical responsiveness." "I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country, let us spend the night in the villages, let us rise early and go to the vineyards. There I will give you my love." I love this passage in Song of Solomon. Let me show you why.
This woman does three things for her husband that I think we need to be doing on a regular basis. First of all, look at the first phrase -- "I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me." She knows his need. She knows her husband has a need for her, and then she goes on -- "Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country, let us spend the night in the villages." She's saying, "Come on, honey, let's go to the Holiday Inn for the weekend." That's what some of you have done this weekend. I think this is wonderful. It's marvelous. Don't just make it a Marriage Conference event, though. Make plans in your own home, in someone else's home -- no --
-- in a hotel, you know, it doesn't have to be an expensive hotel. A Holiday Inn is just fine, whatever, just make a plan for it. And then she goes on, "Let us rise early and go to the vineyards, there I will give you my love." Not only has she planned for it, she actually initiates -- can you imagine how excited your husband would be if you were the one that turned to him in the morning and goes, "Huh."
You know, we talk about saving time and energy for our husbands to, like, have a date night or a lunchtime or something like that, but I have found I have to save time and energy sexually for Michael.
When Michael and I were first married, he would get in bed at night, and you know how you have these little things you say to see if you're in the mood, and one of ours that I could tell you would be --
-- get in bed, and he would say, "Honey, are you tired?" Well, you know, after 23 years of marriage and a 45-year-old body and four children, now he gets in bed, he goes, "Honey, how tired are you?"
But I have learned that I have to save time and energy, and one thing that I do is that I program myself through the day to think about my husband, and that sounds so basic, doesn't it? But there's times that, like, around, you know, I may be running car pool and going to get the kids from school, and I have to focus and shift my mind and go, "Okay, tonight I'm going to save time and energy to initiate sex with Michael," and I'll have to do this throughout the day to remind me to either slow down or -- you know, some of you have preschoolers, and you just cannot get your house cleaned. I understand that. I have a friend who -- she dealt with this in a very creative way. Her husband came in one time and was complaining, "What did you do all day? Look at this house." She had four preschoolers, and he didn't realize what she was doing, but you talk about blessing him. Rather than, you know, "Well, if you only knew what -- you don't have to stay with these kids all day." Do you know what she did? She took him into the powder room and had sex with him. He never complained about it again, never.
You know, be creative. Take the romantic lead. Teach your husband what is romantic. You are not usurping your husband's leadership by teaching him how to be romantic. If you love candles, get out the candles. One night when we first moved to Virginia, we had moved from Texas and we, of course, didn't have a fireplace in Texas, there was no need, and in Virginia we had a fireplace. And so we hadn't been there very long, and one day I said, "Do you know what I think would be really romantic?" to Michael, and he said, "What?" And I said it would be really romantic to have a fireplace and just to be able to turn off all the noise in the house, put on some romantic music at night when the kids are in bed, wouldn't that be romantic? That's what we had at our house that night. He set it all up, and it was wonderful. And it didn't bother me at all that I had to plant, not so subtly, the idea. It worked, I thought, very well.
Bob: Well, we've been listening to Cindy Easley.
Dennis: I think the phone lines right now are all busy from men calling to sign up, getting the Bob's Special Rate for the Weekend to Remember.
Bob: I don't know, I think there may be some wives who are going, "I know why you wanted us to hear Cindy Easley's message at the Weekend to Remember conference." But we've been playing a portion of what Cindy shares, and other wives share, as they speak at the Weekend to Remember conference, and I think it's just helpful for a wife to hear another wife say, "Hey, I'm living through a real life with you, but I think the Scriptures have something to say about it."
Dennis: It's not only helpful, it's healthy. I think one of the great dangers of our day is for wives to get isolated in this culture, thinking they're the only ones who feel the way they feel, and when they go to the Weekend to Remember, and they hear one of our wives speak authentically about dirty houses and about what it's like to be a wife and how tough it is sometimes when you're exhausted, I think they take heart. I think it does feel very healthy to them as a woman.
Bob: This month we are offering listeners to FamilyLife Today a special opportunity to register, as you mentioned, Bob's Special Deal, which you've talked about. Listeners can save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee. That gives them the group rate without having to form a group. We're kind of calling our FamilyLife Today listeners one big group this month. If you register between now and the end of July, you'll save $60 per couple off the regular registration for one of our upcoming fall Weekend to Remember conferences.
Here is what we want you to do -- go to the website, FamilyLife.com, find out when a conference is going to be coming to a city near where you live or find a weekend that works for you and where you can travel to a conference, and then register either online or by calling 1-800-FLTODAY. And, again, if you register before the end of the month, and you let us know that you're a FamilyLife Today listener, you'll save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee.
Now, if you're filling out the registration form online, you will come to a keycode box, and if you type in my name, type in "Bob," that's how we'll know you're a FamilyLife Today listener, and you'll get the special rate. If you call 1-800-FLTODAY just mention you heard about this on FamilyLife Today, we'll get you signed up for one of these upcoming events and save you $60 per couple off the regular registration fee.
Again, the website is FamilyLife.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY for more information. If, for some reason, you can't make it to one of the conferences this fall, and you'd still like to hear what is presented at these conferences, we have the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember on audio CD. You can hear the messages as they're presented. It's not the same as being at the conference together, but it does give you practical biblical help for building a stronger marriage. You can find more information about the Weekend to Remember audio series on our website at FamilyLife.com or ask about it when you call 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
Well, tomorrow we're going to hear Part Two of Cindy Easley's message for wives, and she's going to talk about how husbands and wives can learn to dance together without stepping on each other's toes, and we're not talking about ballroom dancing, although she will be talking about ballroom dancing tomorrow. 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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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