What’s your idea of the perfect mate? I’ve been counseling married couples for more than two decades, and I can pretty much guess what your answer will be. Why? Because with the exception of some minor personal preferences, there seem to be universal standards for what we desire from the opposite sex.
Men generally tell me that the ideal women is someone who makes him feel like a king. She is a cheerleader for him. She encourages him, praises him, and isn’t afraid to tell him how great he is.
She meets his sexual needs (aggressively so, in fact), always looks her best, and provides a comfortable home environment where he can relax at the end of the day. She even shares his hobbies and interests.
Women tend to view the ideal man as sensitive and affectionate. He’s a strong leader who’s not afraid to make decisions—but only after prayer and while honoring her opinions. He’s an honest, open communicator and always willing to share his thoughts and feelings with her.
He works hard, provides financially for the family, and manages his money wisely while showing generosity to those in need. Also, he helps out around the house and is a great dad.
How close have I come to describing your ideal spouse? You may not agree with every point, but I bet the overall picture I’ve painted come close to your dream husband or wife.
You might be surprised to know that this ideal isn’t just a product of my experience counseling couples. It’s also described in the Bible. When the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write his letter to the church at Ephesus, we were given a blueprint for marital bliss.
As often as I point couples toward this passage, I’ve never heard a husband say he doesn’t want his wife to honor or submit to him “as to the Lord.” I’ve never heard a wife say she doesn’t want her husband to “give up his life” for her like Jesus did for the Church.
But I have heard a lot of men and women refuse to accept their own biblical roles, or make excuses about why their spouse’s actions prevent them from doing what they know they’re supposed to do!
That’s because most couples who come in for counseling have already fallen into a vicious cycle of accusation and frustration. Both are focused on what is wrong with their spouse rather than working to become the kind of spouse their husband or wife longs for.
The kind of marriage God wants for them is the kind described in Ephesians 5:22-33. The way to achieve it (with God’s help) is by making changes to their own lives rather than hoping their spouse will change.
Over the next few posts, we’ll discuss these roles and the life-changing results of fulfilling them. Keep Ephesians 5:22-33 bookmarked. Familiarize yourself with it this week, because we’ll be referring to it often.