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accident that the New Testament repeatedly instructs the husband to love his wife. Paul wrote, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies… for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Ephesians 5:28–29). The word cherish here literally means “to warm, as a bird warms its young.” A wife needs to be understood and accepted as a person. But she needs also to experience her husband’s tender affection. She needs the security of being held close to the heart of her husband, not as a mere plaything, but because he counts her dear and priceless. We should note here that meeting these first three needs is a cumulative process. Each need depends on the previous one. A husband cannot accept his wife if he does not understand her, and he cannot cherish her if he does not understand and accept her. 4. A wife needs someone who demonstrates strength and wisdom in leadership. “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). When the Bible refers to a woman as “the weaker vessel,” it does not necessarily mean she is weaker in every way; and as we noted earlier, it certainly does not mean she is inferior. It does reflect, however, that women are drawn to strength in men, if it is coupled with consideration. Men often flaunt their strength in ways that dominate and exploit women. Such “strength” loses its attractiveness quickly. God intended a husband to demonstrate his strength by protecting his wife and children, by shielding them from hardship and harm, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, and by guiding the home with consideration for them. 5. A wife needs someone who is faithful. “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame” (Song of Solomon 8:6). Intimate love calls for the exclusion of all others. It includes a healthy jealousy which says, “I belong to you, and you belong to me.” A wife needs the security not only that her husband loves her, but that he loves no one else in the same 36 | Loaves & Fishes • Issue 32


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