After all my years of counseling couples, I’ve learned that a woman falls in love with a man who sacrifices to meet her needs. She also stays in love with this kind of man. In fact, nothing in this world can endear a man to a woman more than the quality of sacrificial love.
In the same way, nothing embitters a woman’s spirit more than a selfish or abusive man. Much of the spiritual decay in our society—including the breakdown of the family—can be attributed to selfish and abusive men.
When men change, so will our society.
I’m not just theorizing. I have personally experienced the reality of an angry and embittered woman. As sweet as Karen was on the day we met, she had turned into a very different person after only five years of marriage.
Instead of greeting me at the door with a kiss, she met me in the kitchen with a stare. Her “sweet nothings” at bedtime turned into complaints.
At the beginning of our relationship, I tried my best to win Karen’s heart. But by our fourth year of marriage, I’d stopped pursuing her at all. The little energy I did direct toward her was to meet my own sexual needs.
It wasn’t long before she began to complain about being used only for sex. I accused her of being unreasonable. I was wrong.
During those years, I worked, played golf, and went home expecting Karen to take the load off me. I intended to watch television and rest while she cooked, cared for the kids, cleaned the house, paid the bills, and did yard work. If she asked for my help with anything, I got annoyed and told her how tired I was.
I was lazy. I took Karen for granted. I was a chauvinist. Without even realizing it, I had adopted an attitude that women were not as important as men.
I am ashamed today that I ever believed those lies, but that attitude fueled my neglectful, selfish behavior. The angry woman in my house reflected her unrighteous husband.
Am I saying that women don’t have minds of their own? That all a wife does is react to her husband?
No. That’s the last thing in the world I’m trying to say! Women were created by God as equal to men in every spiritual, moral, and intellectual sense. Emotionally and physically, women are not inferior or superior—they are just different.
Even though women perfectly capable of controlling their behavior and making their own decisions, they are not immune from a destructive husband. The emotional agony, insecurity, and suffering caused by the men in their lives can take a very serious toll.
That is why God’s plan for husbands—for men to love their wives sacrificially, “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25)—is so important. Nothing reverses the course of a destructive husband and a failing marriage like a commitment to Christlike, sacrificial love.
If a husband loves sacrificially and a woman reflects her husband, then her life will reflect the character of Christ. There is no better hope for hurting marriages.