In the last post, we started looking at Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and we are looking specifically at how husbands can show love to their wife. Dr. Eggerichs uses 6 basic areas to express how a husband can do this and they follow the letters C-O-U-P-L-E. The first way a husband can demonstrate love to his wife is understanding her desire for closeness. I am going to take these slowly, so each area may be one post or several.
In Genesis 2:24 the Bible says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Cleaving is not something husbands do too well. I think part of this is that we don’t fully understand what that means. Genesis 2:24 is a verse God chose to use for the first marriage so it probably is pretty important. So what does cleave mean? The definition I find for it says it is to slash, cut, smite, slice, hew, chop, sever, or split. Wow. Many of you are probably saying that this now seems a bit easier than you first thought. Well, there is a second meaning for cleave that probably better fits this verse. Cleave also means to stick fast to, adhere strongly to, or become very strongly involved with or emotionally attached. So, cleaving can really be described by closeness.
Dr. Eggerichs describes this as, “your wife will feel loved when you move toward her and let her know you want to be close with a look, a touch, or a smile.” I think this starts the path to closeness. I don’t think we just want to stop there, though. I think we are trying to get to the one flesh part of Genesis 2:24. What our wife needs is a spiritual and emotional connection.
How do we seek closeness in our marriage? When my wife first started the Peaceful Wife journey one of the first things she did was change the tone of when I came home from work. Before her change, she would greet me when I came in and then dump all of her day on me immediately. After her change, she would greet me when I came in and then give me a chance to acclimate from work to home before she told me about the good and the bad of her day. She even asked the kids to not to come to me immediately with their issues right when I arrived. I needed that few moments to make that transition and she realized that and made coming home a safe place. It was simple but made a huge difference in setting the tone for us for the rest of the evening.
Here is the thing that I may not have fully understood about the sacrifice that my wife was making by taking this approach. Her strongest desire was to reconnect to me as soon as possible and find that closeness when I come home. It is very important that as soon as I get acclimated to being home that I start the process of connecting with my wife. That means giving her face-to-face time, assisting her with dinner or setting the table, talking with her about her day, talking with her about your day, and listening to her triumphs and failures. Dr. Eggerichs says, “What she tends to look for is your desire to “dwell” with her for a short period to discover where her heart is. If she senses you authentically want to connect, this can do more for her than a one-hour discussion.”
In today’s society, with IPhone and tablets there to feed you information and entertainment wherever you are it is easy to miss out on these opportunities to connect and grow closer to your wife. Dr. Eggerichs uses a verse in Deuteronomy 24:5 that describes how a Hebrew soldier was ordered to be home with his wife for one year after they were married and was not given any duty but to give happiness to his wife. Dr. Eggerichs describes that, “he learned to do two things: in the field he did what was respectable, and in the family he did what was loving. He wore his two hats interchangeably and wore them well.” That is what we should seek to do. One of our hats comes natural for us. The other takes some work and effort.