Shortly before I married, I read a short book by C.J. Mahaney called Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know. His book inspired me to cherish my wife.
Seven years and three kids later, I struggle this important task. Recently, I listened to his 2012 talk to young seminarians at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He describes three ways he cherishes his wife of 37 years.
Imagine sitting at Starbucks with C.J. and asking him what advice he would give you to help you cherish your wife with young children. Watch this video or read my notes to see how he might answer.
1. Care for Her Soul
“The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” (George Mueller)
- Take the children away in the morning so your wife can have her morning devotions. Perhaps you cannot give your wife 3 to 4 hours, but even 15 to 30 minutes can help her nourish her soul.
- Provide books and resources to help your wife preach the gospel to herself. Nourish her spiritual diet. Help her look and examine truth external to herself. Discourage her from engaging in unnecessary and unprofitable introspection.
- Provide her a monthly time that she can devote and spend time with her girlfriends.
- Twice a year, provide her a 24 to 36 hour retreat away from the family. Even the planning of the event beforehand can be profitable, and there is sustained benefit from the retreat afterward. You will likely be physically and emotionally exhausted while she is away. Taking on her responsibilities short–term will remind you how much your wife does for you and your family. It should teach us that we should have “zero whining.” We should never complain about our roles and responsibilities.
- Realize that in many ways, your wife’s role and responsibility is more important and more difficult. The greatest way your wife can serve the church is to flourish in her role as wife and mother.
- Tell your wife purposefully and regularly how important is her role and responsibility. Tell her how much you value and cherish her faithfulness to you and God.
2. Cultivate Consistent Communication
- Your wife wants to talk to you, so are you making time with her? There can be spontaneous time, but there also needs to be fixed, planned, consistent time.
- Consider having and maintaining consistent date nights on a weekly basis. There is a good chance that years from now, your weekly dates will pay huge dividends.
- Date nights will assure your wife there will be a time to communicate with you. This should be a time when you are fully present and completely undistracted.
- If you do not have a date night, what is your alternative? Perhaps a nightly couch time after your kids go to bed once your children can sleep through the night.
- You need to listen to her, but you also need to share and talk about your world. After a difficult day at work, you may want to forget about your world. But your wife wants to know about your world so she can be included.
- Your wife wants to know what is going on in your heart.
- A woman is more eager to have physically intimacy with a husband who is eager to communicate.
- Men will often view closeness as doing activities together, even if there is minimal talking and discussion. Wives seek more than doing activities together. They want intimate and honest communication with you.
3. Create Romantic Memories
- It is our privilege to romance our wives. Romance is often a casualty with the busyness of life.
- To romance your wife requires your leadership and initiative. There needs to be intention to create romance and romantic memories.
- To create romance, you must study your wife. You must understand your wife to be able to know what things promote romance from your wife’s perspective. How does your wife define romance?
- The tendency is wanting to bring your wife to your world instead of studying her world.
- When was the last time you planned to make a romantic memory with your wife?
- If you do not intentionally plan for this, the urgent will overshadow the important. You cannot let this happen.
Plan for Service and Surprise
Take 15 minutes each week to ask yourself two important questions.
- How can I serve my wife this week?
- How can I surprise my wife this week?
Does Your Wife Feel More Like a Mother or a Wife?
Ask your wife this diagnostic question. My wife, unfortunately, does feel more like a mother than a wife.
Consider that the most effective mothers are usually the most cherished wives.