By Dennis Rainey
I remember a TV commercial for a stock brokerage called E.F. Hutton. The commercial showed two businessmen in a restaurant, talking about investing in a particular stock.
“You’ll never regret the purchase of a good stock,” one of them says. “My broker says it’s a real good buy. What does your broker say?
The second man replies, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says—” Suddenly everyone in the restaurant—including waiters—stops eating and leans toward their table in hopes of hearing E.F. Hutton’s investment tip.
The closing line of the commercial was, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.”
The message was clear: If you want an investment tip, go to the authority.
Unfortunately, over the couple decades E.F. Hutton lost its mojo through poor investment decisions. Eventually the original firm disappeared through a series of mergers and acquisitions.
But I know of an investment authority that is far more trustworthy than E.F. Hutton ever was. The ultimate authority is Scripture, and though it doesn’t offer tips on today’s stock market it does provide husbands with timeless investment tips for their wives “life portfolio.” God knows what He’s talking about.
Last week I talked about the first two tips; this week I’m covering numbers 3-5:
Investment Tip #3: Honor her.
When God established marriage, He knew one of the greatest components for building worth into your wife would be to truly honor her. We see this in His command to husbands: “show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7, NASB). Webster defines honor as “high regard or great respect given; especially glory, fame; distinction.”
The Scriptures make it clear that, as a woman, your wife was created in the image of God. She is a unique reflection of God’s goodness, love, grace and mercy. As a fellow heir and image bearer she is God’s good gift to you and truly worthy of honor. Why not ask God to show you ways you can affirm her for reflecting who God is to you?
Every marriage is susceptible to leaks, and ours is no exception. The world lures our wives with glittery, false promises of fulfillment and true significance. If I fail to honor her and esteem her as a woman of distinction, then I ignore the reality of her need and the deceptive power of the world’s promises. It’s just a matter of time before she will begin to wear down and look elsewhere for worth.
The following are a few ways to honor your wife:
First, learn the art of putting her on a pedestal. If you focus on honoring her and caring for her needs, and on nurturing her as your most valued relationship, then you can truly make a difference in how she feels about herself. Capture your wife’s heart by treating her with respect, tenderness, and the highest esteem.
Second, recognize her accomplishments. Frequently I look into Barbara’s eyes and verbally express my wonder at all she does. She wears many hats (some of which are: follower of Christ, woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend) and is an amazingly hard worker. At other times, I stand back in awe of the woman of character she has become. Her steady walk with God is a constant stream of ministry to me. Verbally expressing appreciation to her frequently will yield steady “returns.”
Third, honor your wife by speaking to her with respect. Without careful attention, your tongue can become caustic, searing, and accusing. Washington Irving once said, “The tongue is the only tool that gets sharper with use.”
If your wife works outside the home, she has some unique needs for honor. She may need the practical honor of a free evening once or twice a week when you volunteer to do it all: Put the children to bed, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, etc.
Fourth, honor your wife by extending common courtesies. You may think that these little amenities were worthwhile only during courtship, but actually they are a great way to demonstrate respect and distinction over the long haul. Common courtesy is at the heart of servanthood; it says, “My life for yours.” It bows before another to show esteem and dignity.
My friend Danny is one of the best that I know in demonstrating historic common courtesies. At the dinner table, he stands and pulls out a chair for his wife to be seated. He even does this when she leaves for a moment and then comes back in. It may seem like a small thing, but our wives need to be honored in many small and big ways that say, “My life for yours.”
Investment Tip #4: Develop her gifts and horizons as a woman.
As a young husband I had no idea of all that was wrapped up in this gift called Barbara who God gave to me. Over the next few years I made many rookie mistakes as I began to learn more of who she was and what her talents and abilities were. I’m grateful to God that she was forgiving and patient with me as I learned about what she needed.
What follows is not a comprehensive list of what I discovered, but hopefully these will prompt you to get in the game and develop her as a “fellow heir of the grace of God.”
First, your wife needs your prayers, and she needs you to pray with her. I’m glad I was mentored by a man early in our marriage who challenged me to pray daily with Barbara. No single thing has impacted our marriage and family more than those prayers. Why? Because inviting God in to your relationship with your wife demands surrender to Him which results in wisdom from Him.
So here’s my challenge to you: Help her to grow spiritually by praying regularly for her and with her—at bedtime, in the morning before leaving for work, at mealtimes. Find a time that works best for you two and just DO IT! Praying together will encourage her to grow and you too.
Second, she needs you to share with her what God is teaching you. Interact together over God’s Word and its application to your individual lives, as well as to your family.
Third, help her discover, develop, and deploy her talents. Take part in her life by nurturing the development of her dormant talents. Like fruit seeds that never have been planted and watered fertile soil, your wife’s gifts may need your care in order to germinate. Encourage your wife to employ her spiritual gifts in service to others outside your home if she has time.
Finally, help her develop new horizons. Most of us fail to anticipate major change points in the life of our wives, such as the birth of a child, children’s teen years, menopause, and the empty nest. When your children leave home, your wife will suddenly have more time and attention to devote to another worthwhile cause. Are you doing what you can to develop her today so that she will be ready to take some risks later?
One of the best and most practical ways that we did this was going on “planning retreats.” After Barbara and I became empty-nesters we scheduled a four-day getaway to pray, discuss, and decide what our priorities should be over the next few tears. I suggested we take the first two days and talk about Barbara’s dreams, talents, and passions; then we’d focus on mine. We never got around to my two days, because it became apparent that she needed the focus of all four days! I wish I could list what came out of that time, but one of the fruits is EverThineHome.com. She has become a prolific blogger, podcaster, and producer of video resources for women, wives, mothers, and grandmothers!
Investment Tip #5: Assist in problem solving.
Isn’t it interesting that, for most men, work gobbles up most of our most creative problem-solving energies, our best leadership, and our most noble attitudes? Our wives and families often get the leftovers. One of my friends has on his office desk a plaque that reads, “Save a little for home.”
Your wife would benefit if you saved a little more for home too. Start by considering this question: What one problem in your wife’s life, if solved, would truly strengthen her? Is there a complete roadblock in the way or just a small boulder? How could you remove it?
Here are some ideas for facing an issue like this:
· Ask your wife this question and then get your mobile device or a notepad to capture her answer: “What are your three greatest needs right now?” Or, “What one or two challenges are you facing right now that if solved would be big stress reliever?”
· Get the facts. What exactly is the problem? Whose responsibility is it? What is the cause of the problem?
· Discuss your alternatives together. Be sure to find out what your wife really feels is best in the situation. She may be too close to the problem, or she may know what needs to be done and simply need your leadership and backing to take action.
· Go to God in prayer. Ask Him for the wisdom and resources to solve the problem. Be careful of procrastination, make a decision under God’s leadership, and then help your wife to implement it.
· Evaluate the results. Inspect what happens. Refine the decision and its implementation through thorough analysis of how things are working out.
Does your wife have an area or two in which she consistently fails? Time management? Budgeting? Meal planning? Problem solving at work or at home? Perhaps she needs access to a female mentor who’s “been there” and can coach her in her situation. Or perhaps she needs YOU to step up and step in and provide some help.
But you have a choice. Either develop her to handle the responsibilities or come alongside her to help accomplish the tasks.
She needs you to help her become all God created her to be.
Your investments will pay off
When our children were little (six of ‘em, 10 and under, I used to come home and quickly sense that it had been a challenging day for Barbara. As we sat down to eat down to dinner, I would say, “Okay, I want us to each share about what they MOST like about their mother.” Then we’d go around the circle:
“I like mommy because takes care of my ‘ow-ees’ (a scrape on the knee).
“I like my mommy because she reads to us.”
“I like mom because she makes the best pancakes”
“She explains God to me.”
“I like my mom because her hugs are the best.”
Then from a little one, “I like my mom because shares her toys with me.”
Those days are gone, replaced by adult moms and dads who rise up and call her “blessed.” And it reminds both of us that her “life portfolio” really does have great value.
I wanted to let you know about a new video course coming out soon called, The Call to Courageous Manhood. You can use it individually or in a group setting, and it will give you lots of help on how to step up to your responsibilities as a husband, father, and follower of Christ. Look for it later this month!
Portions of this article were adapted from Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s book Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Copyright © by Dennis Rainey. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.
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