Any guy can fall in love—I did—and since you are reading this article, it is likely that you did too. Think about it—all it really takes to fall in love is having a pulse. And it only takes half a pulse to fall into lust . . . but you already knew that. Staying in love is another matter; staying in love requires a plan and some learned skills.
With a plan and some skills, you do not have to settle for “survive”; your marriage can thrive. The goal of your marriage was not simply to survive, right? You did not get married thinking that your relationship would not continue to thrive. I have performed a bunch of weddings, and no guy has ever pulled me aside and said, “I’m hoping to get this thing out for a few years so I can walk away with the leather couch and minimal child support.” No way! When you got married, your love was strong; your passion was intense; your dreams were big. Then somewhere along the way . . . something happened.
Contrary to Men’s Health headline wisdom, love is not something that just happens to us. It may feel like that, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is an enemy of marriage who wants us to believe love is all about that adrenaline-rush feeling. That way, when the feeling fades (and it often will after about eighteen months or so) or we think we have lost it altogether, we are fertile ground for the unheroic seeds of our destruction—fantasizing about other women, rationalizing small choices (that often turn into big, sucky mistakes)—with the end result often being the destruction of our marriages.
Essential point: If you have already had one of those destructive relationships that blew up, I have some great news. It is in the past. It is over. Gone. Hopefully, you already have asked God for forgiveness, so it is forgiven. And if it is forgiven, it is really long gone. East-from-the-west gone. What you have is today. This moment. The next best step for you is to forget the past and not worry about the future (and certainly not worry about how the past will affect your future). You have today to start new and begin again. So do that.
For men this whole marriage thing is so much more difficult than we thought when we were dating and then engaged, right? Had we only known!
The dating relationship was explosive. Mysterious. Exciting. Everything was new. The way she walked was cute. Her laugh was contagious. You could stare at her for hours and just listen to her voice.
Then you married . . . and “fascinating” eventually morphed into “irritating.” The way she walks is still cute but, now, with a tad more clothing. It is not her laugh that is contagious anymore but her cough, and so you keep your distance, throwing tissues at her when she asks for one, and you keep a gallon of hand sanitizer in your fanny pack. You have listened to her voice so often that you have built yourself a man cave just to be out of her vocal range.
Though many marriages, of course, are not this far gone, a high percentage are. What used to be delightfully refreshing is now painfully familiar. Now she is so, um, well, ordinary. The new has worn off. The Wow! has turned to Oh no! What once sizzled now barely manages a fizzle. What happened?
According to recent scientific research helping us better understand the dating and courtship years, here is what happened: Apparently there is an excitement and pleasure trigger in your brain that produces a drug called dopamine. It is like candy for your mind. It is quite confusing for us laypeople to comprehend, but basically, when you were dating, your brain began creating and dumping copious loads of dopamine throughout your brain, and it felt great every time you were with her! Some would say you were developing an addiction to love. So, technically, when you said, “I love you,” you were actually stoned. Way to go—now you are a married crackhead!
But dopamine is not love. True love can produce dopamine, and this makes you feel good, but it isn’t love. Love is a choice, and you need a plan, and you need to use skills to keep your marriage filled with love choices.
I realize that there are several different types of married men who will read this article. I obviously do not know what type of marriage you have, but it is likely your marriage might fit into one of the following categories:
1. Strong marriage. No marriage is perfect, but yours is doing well, and you are looking for ways to make it better. You jumped at the chance to read this article and figure out how to be more effective. Nice! you actually thanked her and told her you look forward to reading it. Way to go!
2. Average marriage. Your marriage is okay, but you know it can be better (because it has been), and you want to move it from average to strong. I love that desire to change.
3. Struggling marriage. In some ways your marriage might be okay, but in other areas, you know that something isn’t right. There are little snowballs of simmering anger and resentment, and they are rolling downhill, getting larger and more caustic day by day. She knows it too. Maybe that is why she bought you read this article. My guess is that you did not thank her for this “gift.”
4. Circling-the-drain marriage. Your marriage sucks. Both you and your wife have had enough. It feels as if the only pathway to peace and tranquillity is to go your separate ways. You are in trouble.
But perhaps you have enough hope that something might change. Good . . . not good that it sucks but good that you have a little hope. Hang on to that hope as you continue through this article.
Speaking of time, improving your husband skills will take some time. But if you turn these seven actions into habits, either your wife is going to think you were abducted by aliens and your body was replaced with a pod version, or she will think something is wrong with you and you must be having an affair. I have had wives ask me, “What did you do with my husband?” I hope your wife will ask, “What has gotten into you? Who are you? Why are you so different? Who stole the little boy that was my husband and replaced him with a man? This dude is the hero I married.” If this happens to you, man up and tell her the truth. You do not have to tell her that you used to suck (she knows), but tell her that you are trying to be less sucky now (by the way, that is very sexy to women . . . trying). I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
STOP CHASING THE WIND AND START CHASING YOUR WIFE
When I was little, like most boys, I wanted to be a superhero. Specifically, I wanted to be Batman. He had cool gadgets and was a great fighter. When I became a hormone-filled preteen, I switched to wanting to be the Invisible Man . . . for obvious reasons.
As I grew out of my superhero phase, my dream evolved to becoming a professional athlete. Week after week I devoured Sports Illustrated with anticipation of what I wanted my life to look like. I was inspired by men breaking tackles, sinking three-pointers at the buzzer, hitting walk-off home runs with the crowds going wild, and I imagined myself achieving similar greatness one day.
As I hit late adolescence, my athletic dream began to fade. I discovered that to become a professional athlete required that I actually had to be good at something. Even if I had been blessed with above-average athletic ability, I heard there was something involved in sports called practice. Just thinking about having to practice made me uncomfortable, triggering a love for Twinkies—which I
became very proficient at consuming. So needless to say, I let go of that dream of being SI’s Athlete of the Year.
But the dream of greatness never left. I still wanted it though I was not sure what path to greatness I wanted to chase. When I got married, I thought I might pursue greatness in the bedroom, but after thirty-plus years of marriage, my wife, Cathy, still has not given me a trophy. But I haven’t given up.
Men inherently possess a desire for greatness. I am guessing when you were a boy, you never said, “I’m going to strive for mediocrity with the hope of never achieving anything.” Yet somewhere along the way your dreams for greatness crossed the intersection of reality, and life hit you broadside. It’s not that you gave up the hope for greatness; it’s just that life got in the way: responsibilities, pain, disappointment, careers, relationships that required work—or didn’t work at all—unreasonable and unmet expectations, marriage, children, you name it.
Here’s the sad truth: when our dreams fizzle, we simply learn to settle for lesser dreams. In fact, many of us settle for the crap that the culture has sold to us about what men are supposed to be like: we are supposed to chase things, and we took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.
For men it turns out that the object of the chase is not the important thing. In fact, it is secondary. We can chase prestigious careers, piles of money, positions with esteem, accolades from corporate headquarters, power to control others, women to conquer . . . whatever. It is the act of chasing that is important. But every man who has ever done the chase thing knows that even if we catch whatever it is we are chasing, the chase is never over. There is always something else to chase!
The sadder truth is it is never enough for men to chase after something. We want people (especially other men) to know that we have chased, captured, and won something along the way. This is why guys love trophies. It is interesting that an often-heard phrase is, “That’s his trophy
wife.” You never hear, “That’s her trophy husband.” Why? Everyone knows women did not invent trophies. Guys did. Women invented other things—scrapbooking, Tupperware, and yeast infections—not trophies.
We are surrounded by this stereotypical, culturally correct man. He loves the chase, he works hard, he is strong, he has his pride, he conquers, he advances, he gets his way, he does what he wants, and when he drinks beer, he drinks Dos Equis.
Our culture paints the picture of a man’s man who is driven by thoughts of, I’ve got to close another deal. I’ve got to sign another contract. I’ve got to buy more property. I’ve got to re-fi another loan. I’ve got to land another bid. I’ve got to get ahead of him. I’ve got to get that promotion. I want what he has. I’ve got to say yes to more. I’ve got to say yes to the chase.
It appears that a man’s drive for the chase goes back thousands of years. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes was written by one of the most successful and prosperous men to ever live, the wisest of them all, King Solomon. Solomon appeared to have it all. In his forty-year reign over Israel, he spearheaded massive building projects, including the first temple in Jerusalem. He collected thousands of horses and chariots. He amassed great wealth and treasure. He was very much into the ladies, having seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.
Seriously? He needed a thousand different women? I would hate to see his Visa bill after Hanukkah.
Solomon was a master of the chase. Yet, reflecting upon all he had accomplished, he wrote: “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind” (Eccl. 2:11 NLT).
Sadly, we have bought into the cultural construct of manhood. We are addicted to the chase. We are busy, and our busyness validates our sense of importance. Yet we, like Solomon before us, are chasing the wind. We are too busy to notice that the chase is killing our souls, wounding our wives, and destroying our marriages.
Some of you reading these pages are having an affair. Maybe not with a woman, but with the chase. Your work is the object of your affection. Your phone is your mistress, and your laptop is your lover. The wind is getting your best efforts. When your wife carefully raises a caution flag about your busyness and lack of margin in life, you become defensive and blame her with a clever sentence like, “I’ve got to do all this so you can live the life that you want to live.”
Really? Your wife may appreciate the lifestyle your chase can provide. But she likely would give it up in a heartbeat to have more of you in her life. She does not want your presents; she wants your presence.
Whenever I speak to women’s groups, I hear them loud and clear that our chase is not their chase:
• “I’d rather have him make less money and be around more.”
• “He’s so engaged with work that he’s not engaged at home.”
• “I used to think he did this for the family, but in the end, it’s more about his ego.”
Guys, you are driven to provide for the needs of your family. This is the grain-of-truth, the God-given wiring, and the sacred cog of the chase. But many of us have managed to bury the truth under layers of self-interest and self-fulfillment until the truth has been lost. The point of the chase has become the chase itself.
I am not suggesting you shouldn’t work hard, but I am suggesting that if you are defining your value by the chase—by your ambition, your work, and your achievement—then you are simply chasing after the wind, and ultimately, it is meaningless.
Busyness has become today’s new status symbol. We treat it as a badge of honor. Conversations like this happen every day:
“Hey, how are you doing? Stayin’ busy?”
“Oh, I’m slammed! You?”
“Yep, totally in over my head!”
“Yeah, me too. Can’t believe the season we’re in right now at work.”
“I hear you. Who needs sleep?”
“Glad to hear you’re doing well!”
“Yeah, you too. Congratulations!”
I’m sorry, but that type of interaction borders on insane! Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I am never busy. In fact, struggling with busyness is an ongoing challenge for me. But I am no longer impressed with my own busyness or that of others.
What I have learned (in my own life and in my observation of others) is that busyness is usually a sign of brokenness.
So when a guy tells me about how busy he is, it is usually a sign that something is broken within—either relationally, emotionally, spiritually, or a combination of the three. Here is the point: there is a price to pay for busyness, and it is usually very expensive.
The busyness you experience in pursuit of the chase is an archenemy of being your woman’s hero. The chase robs you of depth in your relationships, particularly your relationship with the most important human being in your life: your wife. When you are addicted to the chase, you have no time for building or maintaining depth in your marriage. You lose focus on what really matters, and the people you love become all too familiar. As Max Lucado, one of my favorite authors, wrote:
He’s an expert in robbing the sparkle and replacing it with the drab. . . . And his strategy is deceptive. . . .
Nor will he steal your home from you; he’ll do something far worse. He’ll paint it with a familiar coat of drabness.
He’ll replace evening gowns with bathrobes, nights on the town with evenings in the recliner, and romance with routine. He’ll scatter the dust of yesterday over the wedding pictures in the hallway until they become a memory of another couple in another time. . . .
Hence, books will go unread, games will go unplayed, hearts will go unnurtured, and opportunities will go ignored. All because the poison of the ordinary has deadened your senses to the magic of the moment.1
The chase causes you to be overcommitted and under-connected. Something has to change, or your marriage will suffer the consequences.
Some years ago I performed a memorial service for a very wealthy man who died in his early fifties from the poison of busyness. It was a sad funeral. Everyone who spoke of the man talked about his work ethic, his vocational achievements (trophies), and his fortune. Clearly, he had been very successful in business. He owned multiple homes and had a lot of stuff that most people would consider the fruit of his labor. What I found tremendously sad was that he was a lousy husband and father. He was rarely home to enjoy his most valued possessions—his family.
Fast-forward a few years. I performed the wedding for this guy’s widow when she remarried. Guess what? Her new husband is now enjoying the fruit of the dead guy’s labor, which likely led to his fatal heart attack. I would like to ask the dead man, “How did all that chasing the wind work out for you?”
Here is the epilogue to this sad story: The man did not really want the toys. He wanted the chase. He died chasing the wind. The wife did not want all the toys. She wanted her husband. They both lost.
When we are addicted to the chase, we leave nothing to our wives but possessions and regrets. I will say it one more time, hoping that dawn will break over those with marble heads: Your wife doesn’t want the presents your chase buys or the status your busyness conveys. She wants a vital and intimate relationship with you, and this requires your presence in her life. It requires you to make a proactive choice to invest your time and energy in your (one) life together.
And here is a bit of biblical truth to drive the nail home: There is only one thing on this earth the Bible talks about being one with. It’s not your job, your kids, your ministry, your hobbies, your golf game, or your fantasy football team(s). It is your wife. And if you are chasing anything else at the expense of oneness with your wife, you are chasing the wind.
A hero is not created when a man chases the wind. A hero is created when a man recognizes he has been chasing the wrong things and realizes that his wife should be the object of his chase.
Husbands, remember the early days of romance with your wife? Remember when you chased after her, flirted with her, tried to win her attention, her thoughts, and her affection? Return to those days. Start chasing your wife again! Your relationship with her is far more meaningful than any money you will ever earn and far more important to your happiness than any work achievement you will ever attain.
Be her hero! Chase her. Don’t stop chasing her. Ever. This is a chase worthy of addiction. It is one that will pay off with a healthy, vibrant, and growing marriage.
In many ways this article is a “Chase Your Wife” manual. After the next chapter (which is about sex), I lay out proven principles for keeping your marriage constantly exciting. Yes, that means finding secrets to more and better sex. Without the glue of physical and emotional intimacy on a regular basis (yes, I said “emotional intimacy,” and you’ll soon discover why), no marriage has a chance. For sure, prayer, Bible reading, and serving together are fantastic and needed, but if they are not combined with the glue of intimacy, you may end up an intact couple, not an intimate one.I know you . . . you don’t want to settle for intact.
These seven secrets—to becoming one with your wife, to not sucking as a husband, to being her hero in every way imaginable—are nearly everything I know about never settling for intact (and not letting her settle). While few men will be able to do all of them at once, over the course of several months or years, with God’s help, a willing wife, and a little effort (okay, it will be one of the hardest challenges you have ever taken in your life), you will have what you signed up for when you said “I do.”
Why? You finally will be doing what you said you would do when you said “I do” even though you had no idea you would actually need to do what needed doing. Got it?
HOW IT GOT LAID
Catchy chapter title, don’t you think? Pardon my literary device, but I was hoping to grab your attention. It worked, right? You are such a guy.
But now that you have started this chapter, keep reading, as what follows is important. (And if you skipped the introduction and hoping to jump right into the good stuff, go back and read them now!)
The actions and skills I am challenging you to incorporate into your life come from a foundation that was laid long before you and I were gleams in our parents’ eyes.
THE MARRIAGE INVENTION
Marriage did not evolve; it was God’s invention. Sex was His idea! That’s right; go ahead and say it with feeling. “Thank You, God!”
Perhaps you don’t know a lot about God or the Bible. That’s okay. But if you haven’t heard this before, let me be the first to inform you that the Bible is not silent on sex, sexuality, or all-things-that-may-be-considered-sexy.
Want proof? Check out this Bible verse: “She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love”
How awesome is that? I know some of you are thinking, Dang, I never saw that verse in my Sunday school class. I know! I can relate. My parents sheltered me from the best parts of the Bible too. Because of that deprivation, I have collected a whole journal full of Bible verses like this one. I figured these verses were a great starting place to memorize Scripture for me and my buddies. Let her breasts satisfy you always. Golden. I bet you already have that verse memorized. I know most of my friends will read that sentence aloud to their wives. But sadly, Scripture wasn’t given to us to use as a club to prove a point, so you really can’t tape that one to your wife’s pocket mirror and ask her to obey. Sorry.
Did you know that the Bible has an entire book filled with sexual imagery, called the Song of Songs? It is a book in which King Solomon vividly describes what he wants to do with his love—it appears she had a great personality. And from what I’ve read, she was pretty hot and wild.
THE SEX IS . . . WELL, AWESOME!
I believe sex is one of the many proofs that there is a God. Sex was God’s intelligent design.
If your mind hasn’t already gone there, think about the female clitoris for a moment. Okay. That’s long enough. If you don’t know what it is (or know it by another name), it is part of the female genitalia. What is the purpose of the clitoris? This is not a trick question, and unfortunately, there is not another Bible verse to memorize here. I want you to stop and consider the why of that little location on your wife’s body. Its purpose is simply for pleasure. That’s
it! The clitoris plays no other biological function:
1. It doesn’t help with urination.
2. It doesn’t contribute to digestion.
3. And you can’t use it to get better cable reception on your TV.
It is simply a female biological trigger for pleasure. Again, we pause to say, “Thank You, God. How wonderful is Your creation!”
It drives me crazy to think that evolution would get any credit for sex. Do you really think there could have been a caveman who accidentally discovered sex one day? Can you imagine Grog’s hieroglyphic journal entry?
Grog run into tree. Ouch! Make face hurt. Then Grog run into Grogette. She soft. I like better. We fall down. I cheer her up. I call it sex.
In the first book of the Bible, we find the creation story, where God created this incredible playground we call Earth, and then He created man and woman. When He created man, “God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ ”
At least on a superficial level, it seems as though Adam has it all. And if he does have it all, isn’t it all good? There was no smog, no traffic, no crowds, no tension, no politics, no mother-in-law. What else could he possibly need—besides, of course, ESPN, UFC, and buffalo wings?
But God makes it clear that Adam did not have it all. He did not have all that was good because he was alone. We were created not to be alone. So then God created Eve, and Adam said, “At last! This one is bone from my bone,
Adam’s response sounds as if he is reading a user’s manual for a first-aid kit . . . boring! Think about it, guys. Adam is the first man in the history of humanity to see a naked woman.
I may have too active of an imagination, but I can’t imagine Adam waking up from his induced sleep, seeing a naked woman, and calmly saying, “At last, someone who can help me name the animals . . . and I hope she has a pleasant personality.”
We know better. There is no way it happened like that. Men, can you imagine this scene? Actually, I know you can imagine and already have. Most men can quickly picture Eve naked in their minds right now. Stop it. Come back to this book.
Nevertheless, I am still betting that this was an extraordinary experience for Adam (talk about a dopamine rush!). He woke up from being put to sleep by God, and there was Eve—naked! Nude! Bare. Stripped. Undressed. Exposed. Uncovered. You get the idea. I wonder if that moment was also the genesis of the phrase “Praise God.” Praise God! Wrap her up! I’ll take her. Better yet, let’s not wrap her up. I’ll take her just like that! Could it be that Adam was the first man to sing (yell, scream), “Come thou fount of every blessing”? Booyah!
You never know.
What we do know is God invented sex and marriage. It was His idea. In Genesis 1, we read of the sixth day of God’s creation: “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. . . . Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (vv. 27, 31 NLT).
When God made men and women, including all of those nifty parts that fit together so nicely and provide humans with pleasure, He looked them over and called what He had made “very good.” When we read of all God created, it is fascinating to note that men and women are the only parts of creation that He says is very good. Everything else rated just good. Stars? Good. Plants? Good. A Starbucks in every garden? Good. Lions, tigers, and bears? Good. Humankind, male and female, marriage, and sex? Very good. This, to me, speaks volumes about God’s intention and the value He placed on the relationship between man and woman.
MARRIAGE MATH: 1+1=1
After God created the first man and woman, we read the conclusion of the account in Genesis 2: “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one”
This passage shows God’s goal for marriage: oneness. It points to the physical nature of the relationship (two united into one—come on; that is a fairly graphic representation of sexual intercourse). They were joined and united as one, and the emotional, spiritual, and sociological bonded (again, joined and united) into a family unit. Marriage is God’s design, and His plan may sound like fuzzy math, but it is, nonetheless, true. God’s goal for marriage is that 1+1=1.
Obviously you are free to believe whatever you want, but for thousands of years this has been the historical and biblical view of marriage. It is one man plus one woman making a monogamous commitment to be united as one.
In the New Testament, Jesus confirms this definition of marriage and adds an exclamation point:
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ ” And he said, “ ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one,
let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Marriage isn’t simply about creating physical oneness. The truth is, we don’t have to create it. When two people marry, they become one. We just have to figure out how to live out marriage as one, united so that no one will split us apart.
Here is a perspective that became a game-changer in my own marriage. It literally transformed my outlook, which in turn reformed my knuckleheaded actions to be a lot less “knuckleheads.” The perspective is what I have come to call the One Heart Principle. Are you ready for it? Really? I promise it can change everything in your marriage. If you’re ready, hang on to your pancreas and open your heart. It is this: in marriage, when I wound or hurt or trample on my wife’s heart, I am really doing the same to my own heart. Or the more positive way to look at it is this: when I enhance my spouse’s heart, I am really enhancing my own at the same time.
This is a no-brainer. It is almost too simple to be true. If, by God’s design, my wife and I are one, then when I hurt my wife, I hurt myself too. On the other hand, when I build up her heart, I also build up myself. That is the powerful dynamic of oneness.
Think about it. The subtle or not-so-subtle verbal shots you take at your wife may make sense in your head in the heat of the moment, but they are not damage-free. They might appear innocent. They might even be part of the how-we-relate-to-each-other script that has played itself out over the years. But they are not innocent, and they always result in damage—to her and to yourself.
I am glad my memory can’t count how many times I have said something that I knew was going to hurt Cathy.
Being totally naive about the One Heart Principle, I always thought she was the target. When I am mad, hurt, wounded, ticked, frustrated, peeved, no problem: take those feelings, mold them into words, and fire them from the cannon of my mouth at the intended target (aka spouse). I can’t believe how stupid I was! She wasn’t the target of my hurtful words; we were the target. You know what I’m referring to. In a sucky moment you say something that could sound funny but would also send a message that you want to get across (e.g., “If you eat another piece of that pie tonight, you’ll be wearing it in the morning.” On the funny scale it’s about a 2 out of 10. On the jerk scale it rates a lot higher.) Anger can turn your spouse into an easy target. Whenever a buddy of mine wanted to make a point that his wife was trying to emasculate him by doing or saying something that obviously was meant to bring him down a notch as a man, he used to call her by the name of his mother-in-law (who everyone knew was over-controlling and insensitive). “It felt good for about five seconds,” he said. “Then I could see the hurt in her eyes, and I realized I’d just wounded two hearts with one cheap shot.”
In your marriage you have One Heart, and when you wound your spouse, you wound yourself too. Imagine shooting a gun that has a curved barrel pointing back at your heart. I don’t know anyone who would willingly shoot that gun. But that’s really what’s happening to our relationships when we hurt our wives. As (biblically) one, we hurt ourselves.
The One Heart Principle means that as a husband who wants to be healthy and happy and experience the same qualities in marriage, I must be vigilant to protect our One Heart in whatever I say and do.
In a much broader context Jesus shared a similar thought in how we relate to others: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets”
You have probably heard this passage referred to as the golden rule. In this verse Jesus says that the entirety of the Scriptures’ teaching can be summed up in treating others the way you want to be treated. Now, if Jesus said this was the standard for how we should treat everyone, how much more should we apply this standard to our own wives, with whom we are united as one?
But wait; there’s more! In the New Testament book of Ephesians, we find the essence of the One Heart Principle (we will talk a bit more about this later on). In Ephesians 5:28–29, we read: “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church” (NLT, emphasis added).
When you grasp this One Heart Principle, it can radically revolutionize your marriage. I realize that there can be a lot of pain in marriage, but I would venture to say that most spouses, at their core, really do not want to hurt each other. In my own marriage I don’t want Cathy to hurt me. So why would I ever want to hurt her? Also, I am fully confident that I would never intentionally hurt myself. Don’t miss this, guys! Because you are one with your wife, why would you want to hurt your wife and yourself? If you embrace the One Heart Principle, it will profoundly change the trajectory of your marriage.
Having One Heart at the forefront of your brain does not mean you will do it right all the time. Pursuing the One Heart Principle is all about motive, not perfection. A good friend of mine is married to a woman with some very significant PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) issues. He told me, “I accidently hurt her by something I say at least once a month. Sometimes she takes it personally because the abuse she faced in a previous marriage was so bad. Other times she realizes I’m a guy and can’t help myself. My job as a guy is to make mistakes, and I’m very good at it.” But then he taught me a “get out of jail” phrase I am starting to incorporate into my own male relational tool chest: “I am so sorry that I hurt you. I know I’ll make many more mistakes as time goes on, but I’ll try not to make that one again.”
Your wife can learn to tolerate your male, um, idiosyncrasies, as long as your intent is never to hurt but always to strengthen and build up—to treat her heart as if it were your own . . . because it is.
So where are we headed together? Though I write and speak, I am a pretty normal male who is trying to follow in the ways of Jesus. Keeping it simple in this book was pretty easy.
source : PRAISE FOR 7 Ways to Be Her Hero by GARY CHAPMAN, PHD