In all your attempts to win and maintain the exclusive loyalty of a man or woman, have you ever considered that your greatest power is not your luscious looks, the sharpness of your intelligence and the significance of your accomplishments, or even your money, but the ability to demonstrate an irresistible, God kind of love?
Philippians 2:3-4 tells us this:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. (NIV)
It’s a simple principle that completely changes more people’s focus in marriage, and transforms the whole experience: you look to the interests of another over your own. Fun for you means making life good for the significant other in your life.
This kind of lifestyle flies in the face of humanistic individualism, and the belief that you should fight for your own advantage first in everything.
Where individualism is the foundation of a marriage, the relationship will be contractual. In this environment you don’t yield to the preferences or desires of the other, but you insist that your own needs are met before you will give an inch.
Contractual marriages are always cool, with boundaries and ultimatums that protect each person’s personal space. They may feature separate bank accounts, the withholding of personal information and the drawing up of prenuptial agreements. They are rooted in fear of being taken advantage of by the other. The root cause is an orphan spirit, or the fear of being left destitute.
A marriage built on the foundation of covenant has, at its heart, the decision to give the other the first advantage and it is only possible when both parties believe the love that God has for them.
As an individual, you have to know without a doubt that God has your back, and that even if you are mistreated, God Himself will stand up for you, because He is your shield and your recompense. This was precisely what Sarah did when Abraham told her to say she was his sister, not his wife, twice putting her in a position of vulnerability; God would not let it happen, however, and even told Abimelech in a dream that he was dead meat if he touched her! Most of us would have been militant in Sarah’s situation, but God’s power is reserved for those who make room for Him. Know that He would go to those lengths for you too!
More than that, if you will put the needs of your husband or wife before your own, you will light a fire of passion in them for you. It is hard not to be crazy about someone who is so intent on making life good for you!
Every person has their unique list of needs and preferences. You are going to have to study your spouse to really understand what does it for him or her. There is absolutely no point trying to force what is important to you on them, and trying to convince them to be happy with it. This just won’t work! You will have to apply greater wisdom and greater selflessness even as you understand how to apply this principle.
Here are some things that will help you to identify where to start. Don’t delay!
The nature of a man
- A man is designed by God to be the driving force of a marriage. He carries the primary responsibility for the direction of the couples’ shared life together.
- A man needs a strong sense of self worth and confidence in order to lead and yet is prone to terrible insecurities and self doubts. He needs a woman to admire him, build him up and believe in him to maintain a sense of wellbeing. He needs to feel good about the woman standing beside him, and to know that she is 100% for him in spite of his weaknesses.
- A man would rather be shown respect than affection. He needs to feel that he is significant, valued and important to his wife and family. If he doesn’t feel this he will opt out of the family environment at every opportunity.
- A man finds it very hard to admit he is wrong and takes failure hard. He needs to know that his wife believes he is up to the challenge of stepping out in life or he will be inclined to play safe and stay in his comfort zone. He doesn’t need to be reminded of his mistakes. He may not seem to be, but he is very aware of them.
- A man has the potential to be a king or a fool. His wife’s wisdom, love and respect will bring the king out of him and cause the foolish tendencies to diminish and disappear.
- A man is always afraid that one day people will find out that he is not as good as he appears to be. The comforting backing of an affirming wife makes all the difference to him.
The nature of a woman
- A woman was created to be a helper. She is anointed to bring out whatever help is required at any given time. However, if her husband is not really doing anything that needs her help, she will become frustrated. She is much happier when her man takes the lead and calls on her skills.
- A woman wants to know, “Am I worth pursuing?” and “Can I hold his attention for the whole of our lives?” She often feels insecure in marriage since a man usually becomes less intense about this after the wedding than when he was dating her. The man must give her consistency in his loving. Her challenge is to continue to give him something to pursue by continually appreciating and developing herself. This will keep the sense of romance fresh.
- A woman is an incubator. She receives, develops and multiplies whatever she is given. She will turn a man into a king. A wise man will run things past her first and let her incubate the ideas. She will be the wind beneath his wings and the one who completes what he has begun.
- A woman approaches life from an experiential perspective. Men go through life not feeling a great deal, but she is emotional. Women appreciate things in life that men miss. A man needs his wife’s emotional ability and her intuition to bring colour and life to his otherwise more limited experience of life.
- A woman who is maximised in her strength is often intimidating to a man. She will be intelligent, intuitive, good looking, deep, articulate, forward thinking, educated, gifted, and anointed and it will take a confident man to handle her. However she isn’t there to compete but rather to compliment the man to whom she is married.