By Dennis Rainey
Hey, we are on the verge of one of THE most terrifying holidays of the year for men … Valentine's Day. How can I express love to my wife, my beloved? And if you aren’t married several of these work for your girlfriend too. Let me tell you a story that I’m really ashamed to tell … As a single man, I made a really poor investment in a stock.
When I was 20 and a sophomore in college, I received a hot “investment tip” from a stockbroker. Without getting my dad’s advice, I invested most of my meager savings, $500, in 400 shares of Dashew Business Machines. I dreamed that this could be the next IBM. It couldn’t go lower than $1.25 per share—or so I thought.
NOT! Instead of soaring the stock went from a buck ... to a half dollar ... to 12.5 cents … and well, you know the rest of the story.
After it tanked and couldn’t be found on any stock exchange, I told my dad of my venture into the world of investments. He smiled slightly and shared how he had done the same thing once as a young man. Then he suggested that I use the now-worthless stock to wallpaper my room! It would serve as a reminder to invest in stocks that are proven and to get my investment advice from a trustworthy authority.
The Scriptures are the best, most proven, and most authoritative “Investment Tip Sheet” for your life, marriage, and family you’ll ever read. Like magically getting access to a copy of the Wall Street Journal that lists stock prices from 40 years in the future. The Bible tells you how to invest in your wife’s life today if you want to experience a fabulous return in 40 years.
And by the way, as you love her, her stock goes up, you will share in the profits! Take a hard look at Ephesians 5:25-33, and note verse 28. It sounds selfish, but the Scripture is reminding us that when we marry our wives we become “one flesh.” Remember guys, you have an assignment to LOVE your wives.
Your wife needs your creative energies if she is to become all that God created her to be. To encourage and equip you in this area, I submit these proven tips for investing in your wife—a strategy that will give both of you a rich return on your marital investment.
Investment Tip #1: Treat her as a fully participating partner.
Today the business world has all kinds of partnerships: silent partners, financial partners, equal partners, controlling partners, minority partners, and more. But in marriage, God intended for us to have only one kind: a fully participating partnership that is based on a lifelong covenant with her.
The apostle Peter sets forth the concept of mutual partnership as he instructs a man to treat his wife as “heirs with you of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7). Although her function and role as a woman differs from yours as a man, she has an equal inheritance as a child of God. She is a fully participating partner in your life, marriage, and family.
If you exclude her from your life, you devalue her worth as a person and her identity suffers. Without realizing it, you send your wife an unmistakably clear signal that says, “I don’t need you. I can live my life without you.”
Some husbands believe that the most difficult words to say are: “I love you” or “Will you forgive me?” But I have determined that for most men the three-word admission that seems the most threatening of all is, “I need you.”
A man may fear he will lose his wife’s respect if he admits his need, but I’ve experienced quite the opposite. When I express my absolute need for Barbara, she is so built up and encouraged that she is free to respect me even more. Listen carefully, guys: I do not lose my identity as a man by expressing that I need her.
You will make your wife a participating partner in your life when you tenderly look her in the eyes and say, “I need you.” Why not make this an experiential reality in your marriage by frequently saying:
· “I need you to listen as I talk about what’s troubling me. And I need your perspective on my problems.”
· “I need your belief in me as a man, husband and father, when I struggle with self-doubt.”
· “I want you to have total access into my life. I need you to keep me honest in areas of my life in which I could stray from Christ. You may question me or confront me on any issue, if you think I am headed in the wrong direction.”
· “You are my friend and sidekick—the person I most trust with my life.”
· “I need you for your advice, judgments, and wise counsel on decisions I face, as I serve our family and as I lead at work.”
· “I need your prayers for a temptation I am facing.”
· “I need you to help me become the man God created me to be.”
Men, I want to encourage you to let your wife into the interior of your life. Are you keeping her out of some area of your life? Do you tend to act independently of her in any area, including career or business? She may be more interested and inciteful than you think.
What about financial matters? She most likely will offer a perspective that you need to hear. A difficult office relationship? Her advice might help you address the problem wisely.
I’ll conclude this tip with an illustration I’ll never forget. Years ago, a man died suddenly. His wife had no idea what to do. She didn’t know what they had from a financial standpoint and was left to grapple with the running of two businesses, properties to manage, and a stock portfolio she didn’t even know existed. She was in the dark.
Instead of being her husband’s partner for life, she realized she had been shut out for nearly 50 years. Over the next couple of years she struggled with resentment, anger and lots of questions, like, “Why didn’t he trust me and confide in me what we had accomplished?”
Don’t replicate that man’s short sightedness and failure to really love his wife.
Investment Tip #2: Protect her.
The apostle Peter also exhorts husbands, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). Peter’s emphasis here is on “understanding” because she is a “weaker vessel.” Your wife wants a man who understands her and her needs.
Your wife needs to feel safe, secure, and protected. As her husband, it’s up to you to provide that “security system.”
Authors John Piper and Wayne Grudem recognize this assignment from God to protect our wives. Upon hearing a noise downstairs in the middle of the night, they write, no self-respecting husband would roll over in bed and tap his wife on the shoulder and say, “I went downstairs last week when we heard a noise. Tonight, it’s your turn” … then hand her a baseball bat.
I am reminded of what I witnessed at a conference I attended where a woman had been assaulted in her hotel room the night before. Standing in the back of the ballroom I listened and watched as the speaker told the attendees what had happened. I noticed a fascinating phenomenon. Instinctively and in unison, as though led by an orchestra conductor, nearly every husband in the audience tenderly slid his arm around his wife. Simultaneously, almost every wife slipped closer into his protective embrace.
It was a physical gesture of a woman’s need for safekeeping and a man’s natural desire to protect his wife.
Certainly, you already protect your wife physically. You wouldn’t think of having it any other way. You discourage her going out at night if it is dangerous. You protect her by encouraging her to lock the car and be aware of her surroundings when she goes shopping. You talk about what to do if a stranger forces his way into the house. And you provide the kind of security she needs at home for the times you are away. All these statements and actions demonstrate that she indeed is valued and that you care about what happens to her.
But are you protecting her from other “muggers” in her life, such as:
· Overscheduling, letting her life get out of balance, and becoming too driven?
· Others’ manipulation of her emotions and time?
· Her own unrealistic goals or expectations, which set her up for failure?
· Her tendency to compare herself with others—where she repeatedly comes up short in her own eyes?
· Burnout at work? At home?
· The children, who would take advantage of her weaknesses that they know so well?
· People who repeatedly discourage her?
As her husband God has uniquely given you the sacred responsibility of protecting your wife…it’s a sacrificial way of truly expressing love to her. Obviously, you can’t protect your wife from every pressure, worry, fear, or loss. But you can do your best to anticipate many of these challenges before they occur and to establish a solid security system for her protection.
Be sure to watch for next week’s blog post when I share three more tips for investing in your wife ...
This is too good to keep to yourself! Share with a friend or family member using the links below!