During a talk on ‘Sex, Romance and the Glory of God-What Every Christian Woman Needs to Know,’ Carolyn Mahaney recounted advice given to a young mother who was still trying to care for her husband well. She answered pointedly, ‘Make your husband a peanut butter jelly sandwich for dinner and then make passionate love to him that evening.’ (I have no idea if that’s the exact quote, but you get the idea)
I was sure I’d be the perfect wife for my husband. I’d cook him yummy dinners, pack his lunch each morning, keep a spotless house, provide a place to entertain his friends, and send him little love notes. I’d be a regular June Cleaver.
But…I soon found that my husband wasn’t too keen on marrying June Cleaver. And his needs were a little different than Beaver’s dad’s. While I was looking to be the perfect wife in all external matters, he was looking for something entirely different.
Sure, he enjoys a clean house and a good dinner and he might like an occasional note or two. But, generally speaking, those are not his primary needs. And truth be told, if I would focus first on the primary needs, the others become less important or at times, even take care of themselves.
Thinking on Carolyn’s message, it seems this, for wives, is the way of truly obeying the greatest commandment….to love our neighbor (in this case, our husbands) as ourselves.
There are some things that I love for my husband to do….take out the garbage, take care of our finances, maintain our cars, etc. BUT, if he does all those things perfectly and still neglects my primary needs—for regular long talks, for quality time together, and for spiritual encouragement…then I’m left wanting.
And so, loving my husband as I’d like to be loved means meeting his primary needs first. Truthfully, it’s often easier to cook a nice meal or keep a clean home than to be connected and mentally present enough to be physically intimate. I can make a list and check it off when it comes to chores and acts of service. But, there’s no checklist for being physically ready to be near my husband and no pen can scratch off the duty of taking time to provide rest and a comfortable space for my husband to unwind.
Even after hearing this message, I still think I can do it all. I want to give my husband the gourmet meal, the clean home, the well behaved kids and a great love life. BUT, I’m not Christ and so I’m never going to be able (and I’m not meant to) meet every need. I’m limited in so many ways. And so, today, when there’s a time to choose, I’m praying for grace to first serve my husband’s greatest needs and trust that he’ll be okay with peanut butter and jelly for dinner.
One great way to get moving in this direction is to ask your husband what things that he wouldn’t mind you cutting out of your day and duties….tasks that may not mean as much to him in order to take care of his greater needs.
The book written based on the Sex and the Supremacy of Christ conference is a free download here.