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Helping Your Wife Become All She Can Be

Here are five tips to invest in your wife … and as her stock goes up, you will share in the profits.

By Dennis Rainey

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 $500 in 400 shares. It couldn’t go lower than $1.25 per share … or so I thought.

Sometime later my dad found out and suggested that I use the 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” you’ll ever read. Like having a copy of the Wall Street Journal today that will be published 40 years from now, 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 her stock goes up, you will share in the profits!

Your wife needs your creative energies if she is to become all that God created her to be. To help you in this area, here are some of the best tips I know for giving both of you a rich return on your 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.

The apostle Peter sets forth the concept of mutual partnership as he instructs a man to treat his wife as “a fellow heir of the grace of life.” Although her function and role as a woman differs from yours as a man, she has an equal inheritance as a child of God.

When you recognize your wife as a fully participating partner in your life and marriage, you build her esteem. 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 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. I do not lose my identity as a man by expressing my dependence on 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 and your belief in me as a person.”

· “I need you to help me become the man God created me to be.”

· “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.”

· “You are the person I most trust with my life.”

· “I need you for your advice, judgments, and wise counsel on decisions I face, especially at work.”

· “I need your prayers for a temptation I am facing.”

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 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 solve the problem.

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.

I was reminded of a woman’s need for protection years ago when I attended a conference. During the event, a young woman was raped in her room. Later, when the speaker told the attendees what had happened, I noticed an interesting 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. Likewise, 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 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?

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 problems before they occur and to establish a solid security system for her protection.

Investment Tip #3: Honor her.

When God established marriage, He knew that one of the greatest components for building worth into another person would be honor. We see this in His command to each husband: “Grant 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.”

Every marriage is susceptible to leaks, and ours is no exception. The world lures my wife 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.