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I am about to make bold statements here. They are not meant to be either feminist or anti-feminist, just my views based on experience and Scripture. Of course, the Scripture is filtered through my Anglican/Quaker/Anabaptist theology, but no one thinks in a vacuum.
Christian women want to be with Christian men. (This is where we’re going here.) Christian women want Christian men who respect them and treat them as equals in salvation. Anyone can say “I love you” but it isn’t really love unless there is respect and understanding.
There is a dearth of honesty in today’s world. Everything has a spin on it, everything is shaded to cast the best possible light. Christian women want honesty in their relationships. They don’t want men who are posers, or fakes, or egoists. They don’t want someone who will tell them the comforting lie, or make promises they have no intention of keeping. This is disrespect and only harmful in the long run. No one wants to hear “sweet nothings.” We want the honest-to-God truth, about yourself, about ourselves, about the situation. So don’t make up some exotic story about your past, or a tale about where you were last Saturday night. And honesty means just telling the facts. It does not mean harsh statements about others that are really mere opinions.
A man who is secure in himself shouldn’t have to lie. I have to say this about my brutally honest husband: He doesn’t care about impressing anyone or getting his own way. He’ll tell the truth because it is the right thing to do, and let the consequences fall where they may. Some people find him too blunt, but blunt is better than charming if charming means manipulation or colouring the truth.
Christian women want a man who can do things. Although those of us who are traditional may do most of the work at home, it’s good to know that our partner can cook a simple meal, clean the bathroom and take out the trash. We want a man who is competent at his profession and work, someone who can pull his own weight. And we like to know that he is aware of his abilities, and doesn’t put himself down either from insecurity or false humility. Yes, I like it that my husband can do all the traditional guy things – it is one of the reasons I married him, knowing that we would be compatible in expectations. (You can love a guy to pieces when you first meet him, but if you are a single woman on a farm, in need of a helper to put in fence posts and load hay, Mr. Fascinating may become Mr. Incompetent if he can’t swing a sledgehammer or repair a tractor, and won’t learn. Just telling it like it is.)
Christian women want men who follow Christ. We don’t want a replacement god, or a maybe/maybe not agnostic. We want to be with a Christian man who loves, respects and follows his Lord obediently. This doesn’t mean we have to agree on all points of theology, just that we can agree on which way we are going in our walk with Christ. Sometimes a person will have a conversion experience after marriage, and the partner will suddenly say, “Hey! What’s going on?” And we have to live with the differences – but there has to be a mutuality to that. While obedience to one’s husband is commanded in Scripture, a woman has the right to worship where and how she see fit, without interference or threats from her husband. If the husband refuses to let her go to church, keeps the car from her, or destroys her religious materials, it is time to see a marriage counselor. The husband may set limits on how much of her religion enters into his life, but legally he cannot forbid her to practice her faith. Women who find themselves married to an unbeliever or agnostic should be sensitive about this, though. St. Peter advises us to preach without words, winning over the husband by our modest and faithful way of life. Equally, a husband cannot force his wife into religious practices which she finds unsuitable or un-Christian. I think specifically of cultic practices that may mimic Christianity, such as polygamy, or are introduced from other religions, like purdah – isolation of women. Again, men need to respect the equality of women before God.
Christian women want men who will witness to the faith, who will take a stand against the world when necessary. We want men who will publically say, “I am a Christian,” and follow up with action. We want heroes and witnesses for our partners. We don’t want husbands who put their boss and their job before the family and the church. We want someone who will defend us as Christians.
Yes, we want family men. We want men who want children and see the household as a mansion in the city of God. We want husbands who will be good fathers who love their children the way God loves us, giving all, including his time and attention. We want partners who will pitch in with the laundry when the baby is sick, who will change diapers, who will enjoy the time they have with their children and wife. I’d say we want to see our husbands pick up the little ones and hug them for no good reason but that they are delighted with them. We want fathers in our families who will teach not only the practical stuff, but lead the family in scripture and prayer each day. We want to see our husbands gently discipline the children, correcting them as needed, rather than referring all disciplinary matters to the mother. (And we have to make sure we are doing our share in correcting and nurturing the children, too, never saying “Just you wait till your father gets home!” Nor should we be “too busy” to play with our little ones, leaving the “babysitting” to Dad or older siblings.)
I don’t have to say this, but I’m going to state it outright: We want men who are faithful. We want men who are faithful to us, who don’t let their masculine thoughts stray to someone younger, prettier, thinner or livelier. We want men who are faithful in every way, with their thoughts and imaginations as well as their bodies. It’s too easy for married people to get into the habit of fantasizing about someone more attractive, and maybe acting that out a little. That is called flirting, and married people don’t do it. Period. It makes the partner look unwanted, and gives people the wrong idea. Christian women want men who don’t act on their lustful impulses. We want men who don’t look at pornography in any form, including the salacious television shows and movies available now. And women – you owe it to your husband as a Christian to not act out your fantasies, or encourage your mind to run around. I’ll be blunt about this: Don’t have a secret affair in your head with some handsome actor, or project yourself into a soap opera or romance novel. These are not harmless entertainment, any more than a dirty book or cheesecake magazine is for men. They will make you dissatisfied with your life and your own partner. Find your romance at home with your husband.
Your husband is your husband. Jesus is not your “real” husband. Jesus Christ is your Lord, God, and Saviour. He gave you your husband to stand by your side, to walk with you through life, to be your head just as you are his heart.
Wives, obey your husbands; husbands, love your wives.