by Tad Lindley
Now that it’s just us men, let me tell you the reason I titled this For Husband Only. I know that if your wife reads this, she is liable to say, “Brother Lindley is exactly right, you selfish, lazy husband” and then use this column as a club over your head. If any ladies didn’t read the title and have read this far, may I suggest that you lay the newspaper open to this page somewhere that your husband might pick it up and read it. And now please stop reading and let me talk to the men for a moment.
Are you cheating your wife?
Notice I asked are you “cheating your wife”, not are you “cheating on your wife”. The difference being that “cheating on your wife” is adultery. Adultery is an emotional entanglement with someone who is not your wife. This might be through either actual physical adultery, online Face Book adultery, or pornography. People who study marriages indicate that about 60% of men commit adultery at some time in their lives. The Bible is quite clear that adultery is sin. In case this is news to you, I refer you to Exodus 20:14, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Friend, if you are in adultery, you must either repent of it or be forever lost (see I Corinthians 6:9-11). But enough about cheating on your wife, I want to talk to you about cheating your wife.
100% of men cheating their wives
Of the hundreds of men that I have known and worked with across the span of about 26 years, I have come to the conclusion that 100% of men cheat their wives on a fairly regular basis. Maybe it is because the penalty of cheating your wife is not as obvious. In the Old Testament, adultery was punishable by death: And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10) Furthermore, the Bible describes a consequence deeper than execution: But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. (Proverbs 6:32) It is not until the New Testament that we get a word for a man not to cheat his wife.
Your favorite verse
Speaking of sexual relations within a marriage, the Bible tells us, Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (I Corinthians 7:5 NIV) Men tend to like this verse of scripture and hope that their wives heed it. In general most men are more sexually oriented and women tend to be more romantically oriented. So a verse in the Bible that tells married couples not to cheat each other out of sexual relations except during periods of fasting appeals to men: we want our wives to memorize it.
Your biggest failure
But your favorite bedtime verse might also be your biggest failure. If you are an average husband, and your wife is an average wife, then your wife’s needs are not the same as your needs. Five minutes of conversation, three meals a day, and physically being one with your wife on a frequent basis are enough to keep the marriage on even keel until death do you part as far as you are concerned, but she may require a much different language of love than you do. If you deprive her of that, she is being cheated.
Many is the husband who has had a great wife who met his needs day after day, year after year, and he plodded on oblivious to the fact that he was an utter and complete failure at meeting her needs. She did his laundry, and he wore the clean clothes. She cooked the food, and he ate it. She comforted him in the evening, and he drifted off to sleep. At death they parted. He lived a life of selfish satisfaction, and she of quiet loneliness. He thought they had a great marriage, but he cheated her day in and day out for years and never realized it!
I don’t know your wife. But friend, why don’t you pray to God and ask for him to show you what she needs. Giving her a rest some night while you do the dishes actually might be a whole lot more exciting for her than putting a hickey on your grimy neck. Telling her, “Honey I’m going to skip city league tonight and help you pluck the birds” will probably be a much bigger show of love to her than a make out session after the kids go to bed.
What if she doesn’t deserve it?
I realize that many of you are thinking, “Brother Lindley, you don’t know how lazy my wife is. I’m already doing everything around the house, and you want me to sacrifice even more?” I don’t want you to, God wants you to. You might even be the unfortunate man whose wife is cheating you out of what you need, and so both of you live like two children refusing to make the first move toward restoring the marriage. Get over it. When you find out what makes her feel loved and quit cheating her out of it, over time she will reciprocate, and you will find a marriage better than what you ever thought was possible.
Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.