Leading with Gentleness and Mercy
I wish I had $10 for every guy who has said to me, in one way or another, “I just don’t get her. I want to. I am trying to, but I just don’t get her.” If I did have all those $10 bills, I would be writing this to you between rounds on my latest golf holiday!
I have heard this lament often enough, I knew we all needed some help. So, we started asking the women who came to our FamilyLife Canada Weekend Getaway marriage conferences what they wished their men knew about them. We now have over 4,000 responses and here are the top 5:
1. I WANT TO HAVE REAL CONVERSATIONS WITH YOU.
Most women feel loved and secure in the relationship when they are able to have conversations— real conversations—with their men. Lack of conversation is often interpreted by men to mean that everything is fine. Silence is interpreted by our women as “something is wrong”. Carve out 15 minutes a day for non-logistical conversation and you will be surprised at how your relationship changes.
2. I WANT TO FEEL LIKE A PRIORITY.
When we were pursuing our wife, she felt like a priority…but how about now? The prime priority pirates are work, kids, family, friends and hobbies. All those things are good, and the wise response isn’t to bail out on any of those, but our wife wants to know that if you had to make a priority choice, you would choose her. If you want to know if your wife feels like a priority, ask her. And here’s the follow up question: “What could I do to make you feel like my number 1 priority?”
3. I WANT TO FEEL LOVED AND RESPECTED.
Some people have distorted the truth of Ephesians 5:33 to mean that women only want to feel loved and don’t care about respect. Not true, according to the women who shared their hearts in this survey. They want both. And that isn’t too surprising because all the men I talk to tell me that they want to be both respected and loved. I know I do.
4. I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT I ENJOY SEX TOO, BUT I AM NOT LIKE YOU.
One of the classic mistakes we all make in love is assuming that the other person is like us. It is a mega- mistake men make in the area of sexual intimacy. Men are aroused more quickly and more visually than women in most cases. Men take an average of 2 minutes from first contact to orgasm. Women take an average of 17 minutes. Be sensitive to this and make plans together with your wife to navigate this. You will be happy you did.
5. I WANT YOU TO LEAD.
When men think about leadership, far too often they conceive of it only in terms of power. Maybe that’s a carryover from work or competition but it’s not what our wives mean. Here is a direct quote from one of the women in the survey that says it so well:
“I want you to lead with gentleness and mercy – when you do this I LOVE following your lead. There are days when the sun goes down and I am utterly spent. One more decision will break me. It may seem like a small thing but deciding on a meal, choosing what Sunday service we’ll go to or picking the movie we’ll watch can mean so much. “
Those are the top five responses from 4,000 Canadian women. Share this article with your wife and ask her which of the five best represents her heart. That would go a long way toward answering the question we began with.