Christian Marriages and Initiation
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
Within Christian marriages, most women desire their husbands to be strong initiators. Being an initiator can be broken down into three parts; spiritual, marital, and individual. Most Christian women want their spouse to be the spiritual initiator of the family. Being the spiritual initiator means bringing Christ into the home on several levels. First, it refers to men having regular devotions themselves so they can commune with God through His Word and prayer. These devotional times are opportunities for men to learn more about God’s ways and to ultimately make changes in their own lives. Next, men need to initiate spiritual time as a family. Family devotionals can take several different forms, such as praying with children before bed, ensuring the family gets to church on the weekends, having family devotionals each night before dinner, etc. Christian bookstores are full of wonderful resources that are tailored to children of all ages. Third, men need to initiate spiritual time with their partner, which can include praying together, reading Scripture together, reading a couple’s devotional together, etc. Often, the closer couples feel spiritually, the closer they will feel emotionally as well.
Next, it’s important for men to initiate meeting the needs of the marriage. Men must get in the habit of regularly checking-in with their spouse. Questions need to be asked such as, “How do you feel our marriage is doing?” and “What areas do I need to change to improve our relationship?” Men need to listen carefully to how their spouse responds to these questions and make changes accordingly. Unfortunately, a lot of men become complacent and passive towards their spouse’s concerns and desires, making most women feel resentful and hopeless in the relationship. Therefore, it’s critical for men to take action as quickly as possible by initiating change in response to the marital needs.
Third, men must get in the habit of tuning into the specific needs of their spouse that aren’t necessarily related to the marriage. Helpful questions can include, “What do you need more or less of in life?” and “If you had three wishes that could change things, what would they be?” Part of being a superior partner for a woman is caring for her needs in a consistent and sensitive way. Unfortunately, most men are unaware of what their spouse’s needs are and that they can change over time. Therefore, initiating this type of conversation periodically is imperative. Persistently knowing and meeting these types of needs is one of the best ways to increase a woman’s love and respect for her husband.
The more men initiate change and growth in the above three areas, the more wives will feel cared for and cherished, which is what they desire at their core. “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting” (Ephesians 5:25, The Message). It's wise for men in the Christian dating scene to become well versed in these concepts and principles before entering into a serious relationship.