How to Love Like Spam

Spam. We all get it. We all hate it. We rarely read it. Yet, I never expected to learn anything from it. The other day I received an unwanted email from Men’s Health magazine. The subject line read “Leave Her Begging for More.” Like you, I did not need to open the email to know what they were selling, but I have to admit, the title caught my eye. In a mere five words, it spoke to both the deep insecurities and the deep cravings within most men. If you are a man, let me ask you: Have you ever felt you could not measure up to your wife’s standards? Have you ever wanted your wife to insatiably desire you, both as a lover and a man?

Exactly.

Every man wants to leave his wife begging for more of him (on a variety of levels), but few know how to do this well. The answer, I find, is not as complicated as we make it out to be. However, as with all good communication, we must speak the other person’s language effectively in order to be understood accurately. Many men falter here because intellectually we understand that insatiable desire in a woman is not maintained through tight abs and firm pecks, but our testosterone tells us this can’t really be true. We wind up focusing on physical touch more than other areas of the relationship, because if we are desired physically, we believe we are affirmed relationally. But the truth is that the man who only pursues his wife physically, or who emphasizes sex over the needs of her heart, makes his wife feel like a cheap whore.

If you want your wife to insatiably desire you, if you want to know that you meet the deepest needs of her heart, it is really quite simple. It only requires three things from you, all of which are easy to do, but take a lifetime to perfect.

Serve Your Wife

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In January of 1996 I used this little wooden statue of Jesus washing Peter’s feet to propose to my wife (the ring went in the dish). It was a symbol of how I wanted our marriage to be, both in public and in private. I did not want either one of us to lord over the other. I wanted a marriage of mutual servanthood. I wanted her to know that even though the Bible talked about the husband being the head of the family, I understood this to be a servant role, not a dictatorship, where I sought to emulate Christ who “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross.” (Php. 2:6-8) 

In these three short verses, we see, I believe, a modern template for how a husband should serve his wife. First, we do not abuse the power of leadership that God has bestowed upon us by using it for our own advantage. This does not mean we disavow our position or our authority, but it does mean we refuse to place our spouse under our thumb, especially on the grounds of being “the head of the home.”

Second, we “make ourselves nothing.” In other words, we make her the most important person in the relationship. Every woman I’ve met has just as much of a craving to feel insatiably desired as a man does, but what speaks to a woman’s heart is having her husband continually pursue her. She wants to know that she is #1 in his life. That there is no sporting event, fish in the river, job obligation, or family member/friend who is more important to him than herself. She wants to know that when the chips are down, he will always choose her over the other things in his life. The only way a husband can continually accomplish this is if he “makes himself nothing.” His goal is to reject selfishness and pride so that she may know that she is treasured above all else in his life.

Third, Christ was “made in human likeness.” For husbands, this means that, like Christ, we put off what we know (i.e. man-think) and empathize with our wives to the degree that we respond with woman-think. We are constantly seeking to know her as intimately as if we had had a Vulcan mind meld with her (or for those raised in the Harry Potter generation: we need to know her as intimately as if we had performed occlumency on her). But since we do not have any special abilities to help us with this, the process becomes a lifetime of seeking to understand her and to respond in ways that not only make sense to her, but also minister to the emotional core that drives her.

Sacrifice for Your Wife

In April 2003, 27-year-old Aron Ralston found his right arm trapped beneath an 800 pound boulder in a canyon no wider than his shoulders. He was trapped. He was screaming. He was totally freaking out. But once he realized that it was not the pain that would kill him but his response to it, he began looking for solutions. After 127 hours of fruitless attempts, he decided to do the only thing that made sense — cut off his arm. This included the painful act of not only using his knife against his own arm, but also breaking both bones in his arm so that he could complete the primitive operation.

It is an inspirational story of determination, survival, and sacrifice. But as I compare my fortitude with what Ralston had to endure, I wonder if I could have made the same decision, because once you decide to do it, you are all in. There is no going back.

You see, sacrifice is good in theory, but when you have to permanently give up something for the sake of the whole, when you have cut it off and walk away from it forever, the question becomes “Can you do it?”

You hear lovers say all the time, “I would die for her.” But would you, really? Death can come in many forms. All are permanent, but only one has no tomorrows. To die for our spouses typically happens on a daily basis. It is a series of small choices that equal an attitude of honor and value for your wife, because you respect how vulnerable she truly is to you. It is a realization that you must empty yourself for your wife, if you want her to be insatiably drawn to you as a husband.

But do you make it a priority to sacrifice for your wife? Have you done so today?Look at the definition by Mother Theresa above. Do your actions towards your wife fulfill this definition? Are you willing, like Christ, to serve “even to death”? Or more to the point, let’s take out the word “willing.”

Are you emptying out all of your self for her?

If not, go back and reevaluate how you are treating your wife. If you want your wife to be unable to get enough of you, then you need to put yourself on the line and pour out everything for her. This does not mean that you do not get anything in return. Wives have their servant roles as well, but a husband should not focus on what he can get. He should focus on what he can give. But if a man is only giving in order to receive favors in the bedroom later, he is not sacrificing for her. He is, instead, sacrificing for himself. The truly sacrificial husband, places his wife above himself. He prioritizes the relationship above relations.

He shows her that pain, cost, or loss are insignificant to you, as long as you have her. Even at the cost of life or limb.

The thing about sacrifices, though, are that they are painful in the beginning, but are often a joy in the end. Ralston himself does not see his decision to give up something as precious as an arm as a bad thing. In an article here, Ralston was quoted as saying:

“All of us have our boulders,” he said. “They can be medical, they can be financial, they can be emotional. I wouldn’t change this for anything. It has made my life what it is, rich beyond imagining. When I left that arm behind, I didn’t lose anything. Now, today, I give back, I give my time to do search and rescue, I travel. I speak like this, to give back. 

“Our boulders can be our blessings,” he said. “That is what I am trying to say, to show. It’s up to us to decide which.”

Finally,

Shelter Your Wife

I know, as a final point, this seems kind of obvious, but sheltering your wife comes in both the dramatic and the non-dramatic times of life. It is more than protecting your wife’s reputation or shielding her from physical danger.

It is standing with her in how she feels when she is describing a negative situation from work, instead of trying to tell her how she should have handled it.

It is lending her your strength, both emotionally and physically, so that she feels appreciated and can trust that you always will support her in her endeavors.

It is cooking dinner when she’s exhausted at night.

It is cleaning her car for her when she hasn’t asked you to or expects it.

It is finding extra ways to help with the house and the kids while she gets a new degree.

It is affirming not only her person or looks, but also the fact of and the importance of the relationship to you.

It is comforting her when she loses her grandmother or gets laid off from work.

It is helping her figure out ways to accomplish her daily and life goals.

It is pursuing harmony in the relationship so that she always feels emotionally safe with you.

It is coming alongside and gently helping her with a problem.

It is, in essence, taking care of her emotionally and physically so that she feels supported, loved, and valued. Sheltering your wife is covering her from any impending danger, just as Christ covered us from God’s coming wrath.

So, there you have it. The three simple ways to become the husband you always wanted to be are: serve her, sacrifice for her, and shelter her. If you consistently persist in perfecting these three things, she will not only love you, respect you, and promote your selfless love to others, but you will also have the marriage you always wanted.  The one in which you love her as she deserves to be loved and in which you continually leave her begging for more.

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