His Needs, Her Needs (Part 4) - Recreational Companionship, An Attractive Wife, Domestic Support, Admiration


2. Recreational companionship A. Solomon exhorted us to enjoy the fruit of our labour (Ecc 5:18). i. This means that God wants us to have recreational enjoyment. ii. Men are to live joyfully with their wives (Ecc 9:9). iii. One way for a man to live joyfully with his wife is by sharing his recreational activities with her. B. Aquila and Priscilla were a husband and wife team who shared common interests, including the same occupation, and doing the work of the Lord together (Act 18:2-3, 18, 26). C. Recreational companionship is very important to most men. i. "It is not uncommon for women, when they are single, to join men in pursuing their interests. They find themselves hunting, fishing, playing football, and watching movies that they would never have chosen on their own. After marriage wives often try to interest their husbands in activities more to their own liking. If their attempts fail, they may encourage their husbands to continue their recreational activities without them. I consider that option very dangerous to a marriage, because men place surprising importance on having their wives as recreational companions. The TV stereotypes paint the opposite picture, showing the husbands out with the boys on fishing trips saying, "It doesn't get any better than this." My counseling files say it can get a lot better. In fact, among the five basic male needs, spending recreational time with his wife is second only to sex for the typical husband." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 77) D. Finding recreational activities that both husband and wife enjoy. i. "Engage in only those recreational activities that both you and your spouse can enjoy together." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 83) ii. In order to find recreational activities that both spouses enjoy, a husband and wife should go through a list of activities separately and choose the activities that they each enjoy and then find those activities that overlap which both enjoy. a. Once those activities are discovered, the couple should focus on doing those activities together. b. You may not both enjoy each of them equally, but at least you both enjoy them to some extent. iii. You will not be able do everything you like, but nobody has time to do everything they want to anyway. iv. "You can't do everything. Out of thousands of possible activities, there will probably exist only a few hundred that my wife and I would enjoy thoroughly. I cannot possibly do all those hundreds of things that my wife and I would enjoy. Why, then, should I waste my time doing the things my wife finds no pleasure in? This policy of engaging in only mutually appealing activities is not a summons to a lifetime of misery and deprivation. It simply means choosing activities I already enjoy by taking my wife's feelings into account. Why should I wish to gain at her expense, when we can gain together?" (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 84) v. A man's wife should be the most important thing to him after God and his church, and therefore giving up certain recreational activities in order to maintain a close relationship with his wife is well worth it. E. A husband and wife should be best friends. i. Solomon and his wife were friends (Son 5:16). ii. Consider how lovingly Solomon spoke of his wife (Son 4:9-10). iii. Harley maintains that a husband and wife should not engage in most recreational activities unless they share them, which I agree with. iv. By spending most of their time together, a husband and wife will become best friends even if they currently are not. 3. An attractive wife A. Men are attracted to women largely by sight. i. As my wife tells me: "Men like what they see, but women like what they hear." ii. Men have a strong desire to behold the beauty of a woman (Pro 5:19; Deut 21:11). iii. This gets men in trouble and they have to guard their eyes (Pro 6:25; 2Sa 11:2; Mat 5:28). B. Wives should try to remain attractive to their husbands after they get married and even as they age. i. "By calling for a wife to be attractive I mean she should take pains to look something like the woman her husband married. After all, that was the woman he fell in love with, not a movie star or some other fantasy. "Does this mean a woman must stay eternally young? Of course not, but getting old provides no excuse for letting weight creep up and up, not fixing your hair, and dressing like a bag lady." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 107-108) C. Things wives can do to stay attractive for their husbands i. Weight control a. Women often keep themselves in good shape until after they get married and then let themselves go and gain a lot of weight. (i) This is not fair to her husband who fell in love with a thin, attractive woman. (ii) This would be tantamount to a husband being very nice, sweet, and respectful to a woman until he married her and afterward turning into an insensitive jerk. b. Keeping weight off as we age is not easy, but it should be made a priority for our spouses, especially for the sake of husbands who have a basic need to have an attractive wife. c. It is good for husbands and wives to diet and exercise together which will make cooking easier for the wife and will motivate both partners to stay in shape. ii. Makeup a. Makeup can enhance a woman's looks if it is done right. b. A woman's primary source of beauty should come from within though (1Pe 3:3-5). c. Some men don't like makeup and a wife should consider that before wearing it. d. On the other hand, if a wife really desires to wear makeup because it makes her feel better about herself, a husband should respect that and not force her to not wear any, and especially shouldn't make remarks in the presence of others about how his wife is pretty and doesn't need makeup. e. "With married women, their husbands appreciate and encourage the change if their wives have done it for them. Be certain that in addition to being something you like, your husband also finds the cosmetic changes attractive. Keep in mind that your objective is meeting his need for your physical attractiveness." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 112) iii. Hairstyle a. In addition to gaining weight after getting married, many women also cut their hair short after they get married because it's easier to care for. b. There are a couple of problems with this. (i) Firstly, women are to have long hair which at a minimum covers their entire head (1Co 11:5-6, 15), which means that their hair ought to be a least chin length. (ii) Secondly, a wife should have a hair style that pleases her husband and makes her look attractive to him. c. "Hairstyle and color are another sensitive area for women. Yearly they spend billions on dyes, rinses, shampoos, permanents, sets, and cuts. My question is, why and for whom? "If a wife spends all that time and money to please her husband, and to achieve something she finds comfortable, well and good. But if she lets some hairdresser talk her into something she knows her husband won't like, she has begun to work against herself -- and her marriage. A certain hair-color manufacturer excuses the higher prices of his product by telling the woman, "You're worth it." More to the point, your husband is worth it. If he doesn't like a certain hairstyle and color, abandon it. In fact, consult with him ahead of time and get his opinion before ever getting a different style or coloring. After all, the whole idea is to be attractive to him. "Or is it? Some women object to this idea. They insist on the right to please themselves, or they argue that having to please their husbands in such a way seems unfair and even degrading. "I don't encourage women to meekly accept a hairstyle that makes them miserable. Certainly they need to enjoy their own looks and feel a sense of attractiveness. If a husband likes something his wife can't tolerate, negotiation is in order. Among the many hairstyles available, I'm certain they can find one on which they can agree." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 112-113) iv. Clothes a. As with gaining weight and cropping off hair, some women also dress unattractively for their husbands after they get married. (i) This can be especially hurtful to a husband if his wife dresses attractively when she goes out in public to be seen by other men, but not so when she is around him. (ii) Women should dress modestly when they are in public (1Ti 2:9). (iii) Women should dress as immodestly as their husbands want them to when they are in private with them. b. "A woman should pay as much, if not more, attention to her choice of nightgown or pajamas as she does to what she wears in public. When she dresses for bed, she dresses strictly for her husband. Wearing old and bedraggled night clothes, curlers, and "goop" on your face will not put points in the Love Bank. Wearing a worn-out nightgown to bed because "nobody will see it" misses an important point: One very special and important person does see it, so why not wear something attractive and sexy? Your husband will certainly appreciate it." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 113-114) 4. Domestic support A. As a counterpart to wives having a need for financial support, a primary need of husbands is for domestic support. B. Wives should be keepers at home (Tit 2:3-5). i. Keeper - n. 1. a. One who has charge, care, or oversight of any person or thing; a guardian, warden, custodian. ii. They should guide the house (1Ti 5:14). iii. Guide - v. 1. a. trans. To act as guide to; to go with or before for the purpose of leading the way: said of persons, of God, Providence, and of impersonal agents, such as stars, light, etc. iv. The wife has the responsibility to run the affairs of the house under the authority of her husband. This would include: a. training, educating, and disciplining the children. b. cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and shopping for food, clothes, etc. c. keeping a financial budget (at least for household expenses listed above). v. This is a full time job and a very important one. vi. This is the highest calling a woman could have. vii. Our modern society has turned the role of a women on its head, expecting women to have fulltime careers outside the home. a. This leads to dysfunctional families in which children are raised and trained by strangers in daycares. b. If a wife is not providing her husband with domestic support such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, caring for the children, and making sure the home is a peaceful, warm, and welcoming environment, he will not have one of his primary needs for love met. c. This leads to stress between the husband and wife because the few hours they have together after work are spent trying to keep up with all the cooking and housework that were not done during the day. d. This leads to parents not having adequate time to spend with their kids and parent-child time is replaced by TV-child time. e. An unending plethora of after-school activities only exacerbates this problem. f. "Studies have shown that, especially when children are small, marriages are more successful when women work twenty hours each week or less. Divorce rates double when mothers work full-time outside the home." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 138) viii. These same problems can arise if a wife has taken on too many responsibilities for herself or her children and cannot therefore keep up with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other housework on her own, and therefore expects her husband to pick up the slack. C. Most men have a deep desire for domestic support. i. "So deep is a husband's need for domestic support from his wife that he often fantasizes about how she will greet him lovingly and pleasantly at the door, about well-behaved children who likewise act glad to see him and welcome him to the comfort of a well-maintained home. The fantasy continues as his wife urges him to sit down and relax before taking part in a tasty dinner, its aroma already wafting through the air. "Conversation at dinner includes nothing controversial. Later the family goes out together for an early evening stroll, and he returns to put the children in bed with no hassle or fuss. Then he and his wife relax and talk together, perhaps watch a little television, and go to bed to make love, all at a reasonable hour. A lot of wives may chuckle as they read the above scenario, but I assure you it is quite common in the fantasy lives of many husbands." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 133-134) ii. "To put it simply, in most marriages there exists an unspoken tradeoff between husband and wife. He expects her to simplify his life by cooking his meals, washing and ironing his clothes, keeping the house picked up, calling a repairman when necessary, and attending to the basic needs of their children. To the extent that she gives him this kind of domestic support, he enjoys his responsibility to provide his family with the income it needs." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 135) D. When the wife works and the husband has to help with the housework, trouble arises. i. "So, what can be done in a home where both spouses work to make ends meet? In this situation the wife faces a serious dilemma. She comes home as tired as he does, yet deep down he expects her to cook the meals, wash the dishes, iron the clothes, and entertain the children. He knows better. His logic and reasoning tell him she cannot handle all this and work, too. He manfully steps forward to offer help with the housekeeping and care of the children, but nonetheless he procrastinates. Outbursts of temper and irritation may mar the relationship. All this may evidence the underlying resentment and frustration he feels because one of his basic needs is not being met." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 136) 5. Admiration A . The final primary need of husbands is to be admired by their wives. i. The Bible teaches that wives ought to reverence their husbands (Eph 5:33). ii. Reverence v. - 1. trans. To salute (a person) with deep respect; to show respect for (one) by bowing, kneeling, etc.; to make obeisance to. Obs. b. To treat with respect or deference. Obs. c. To esteem; to value highly. Obs. iii. Wives should highly esteem their husbands. B. Men need honest admiration from their wives to thrive. i. "...honest admiration is a great motivator for most men. When a woman tells a man she thinks he's wonderful, that inspires him to achieve more. He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level. That inspiration helps him prepare for the responsibilities of life. "Admiration not only motivates, it also rewards the husband's existing achievements. When she tells him that she appreciates him for what he has done, it gives him more satisfaction than he receives from his paycheck. A woman needs to appreciate her husband for what he already is, not for what he could become, if he lived up to her standards." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 156-157) ii. "While criticism causes men to become defensive, admiration energizes and motivates them. A man expects -- and needs -- his wife to be his most enthusiastic fan. He draws confidence from her support and can usually achieve far more with her encouragement." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 157) iii. "Behind every man should be an admiring wife." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 158) iv. "Biographies of great men prove it, and lives of all men show it: A man simply thrives on a woman's admiration. To a great extent men owe gratitude to their wives for this kind of emotional support, for without it, their confidence -- the major source of their success -- erodes and eventually crumbles." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 158) C. Praise and admiration from a wife must be sincere. i. "Never fake your admiration. By simply saying flattering words to your husband, you can do more harm than good. To have any value, praise must genuinely reflect your feelings." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 158) ii. A wise husband will consider the praise he receives to see if it's true (Pro 27:21). D. A wife must learn to express true admiration of her husband and the husband must give her reasons for doing so. i. "You need a plan to help you express true feelings of admiration. That means no word games, nothing phony, only true, honest feelings. "You've seen how the Love Bank works, how learning to meet each other's marital needs creates the feeling of love. Well, the process of creating the feeling of respect in a woman works in a very similar way. As a husband learns to meet his wife's five most important needs she finds herself responding with a natural and overflowing respect for him. Conversely, if a man does not meet these needs, she cannot in all honesty express the admiration he needs from her. Therefore her admiration depends on his ability to meet her basic marital needs." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 159)