Guys, “manning up” begins in your relationship with your wife. Besides your relationship with God, the second longest relationship you will have is with your wife. My good friend and pastor, Ted Cunningham, shared with me the importance of prioritizing my relationship with my wife. King Solomon, a man who definitely knows his “stuff” about women, marriage, and life states in Ecclesiastes 9:9 “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
Solomon had many, many wives and concubines, but at the end of his life he wished he could have spent all his waking moments pouring all his love into the wife of his youth. From a man who had many wives and lovers he was not speaking of many, but one. A wife you would call your best friend, tell your deepest secrets to, share dreams with, and party together.
Solomon’s book of Ecclesiastes may sound a little dreary at times. But the point he makes again and again is that we have only one shot at this life! It will always be hard, full of work, and sometimes unfair. But in the midst of it, Solomon, the richest and wisest human to walk the planet says: enjoy your smokin’ hot wife.
When Ted pointed that out to me, it really changed the way I looked at my relationship with my wife, Kari. I began to ask myself, what does it mean to truly enjoy my wife? These are the answers I’ve learned:
- Love big and serve big: I love golf! But, I need to hold Kari more than my golf clubs. Going out and trying to hit a little white ball for four hours is a lot of fun. However, I can’t expect her to feel “in the mood” if I’m too busy working on caressing a golf club and not her. When loving and serving my wife is my top priority, God blesses our relationship. Our kids also see tremendous benefits from a healthy marriage—spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
- Let’s talk about it: Solomon was absolutely right: life is hard. A mean boss, friends spreading false rumors, or difficult in-laws can create unwanted tension in our lives. And it doesn’t help that I’m typically a “stuffer.” I would rather think and not talk about “it.” A part of enjoying life, however, is experiencing the hard times together rather than all alone in our minds. I have an amazingly encouraging wife and I need to take advantage of that by communicating more and giving her a chance to do what she is so great at.
- It’s party time: Life can get very busy, especially with young kids at home. I’m not talking about the typical date nights, such as a dinner out (which we inevitably end up just talking about our kid’s upcoming schedules), or a movie and popcorn (which has almost zero conversation involved). I’m talking about the need for planning “just for fun” date nights—the kind that feel like you’re going to a party. Truly connecting and doing stuff that makes us smile, laugh out-loud, and even romance. My parents have been a great example to me and Kari when it comes to enjoying life together. Taking dance lessons, season tickets to the symphony, attending wine & art shows, and cruising the rivers of France. That’s what I want. Enjoy life with my wife.
- Pray, worship, and minister together: Kari and I made the decision 24 years ago to have a Christ-centered life and marriage. My primary responsibility is to man up and lead my wife spiritually. I’m purposeful in taking the initiative for us to spend quality time together, reading the bible and praying.
- The Love Language tool: Kari’s love language is words of affirmation. I sometimes forget to tell her how much I appreciate her and all she does for our family. Simply taking the time to say, “Wow! The house is sparkling. It’s amazing how you did that plus be the helper at Zoie’s school, look at Pinterest with Hannah, fill out Michael’s financial aid forms, and make a gourmet dinner. You are incredible!” makes her feel like I’m putting a million dollars in her bank account. Do you know your mate’s love language? If not, I want to encourage you and your spouse to take the Love Language assessment at 5lovelanguages.com. Once you learn when your spouse is showing you love from their own language, you’ll likely start to recognize that he or she is loving you a lot more love than you may have first thought.
- My wife is smokin’ hot: Dudes, sometimes we flat-out forget how lucky we really are. Let’s man up and tell the world how much we love our wives. Let’s man up and tell the world how our standard of beauty is found within our wives, not a porn star. Let’s man up and tell other dudes how cool it is to love our wives.
Glenn Wolfe is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most married man.” He was married a whopping 29 times. When he passed away at the age of 88, Glenn had numerous children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to go along with his 29 ex-wives. On the day of his funeral, however, not one person attended. In fact, no one even claimed his body at the hospital. I would guess that Glenn didn’t enjoy life very much—always searching for the next best thing and expecting the grass to be greener on the other side of the fence.
Men, one of the greatest gifts we can give to the world is to simply love, serve, and enjoy our wives. Let’s man up and live out Ephesians 5:25—loving our wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.