Summary: This is the fourth sermon in a series of four on Christian marriage which deals with husbands meeting the most basic needs of their wives from an “exchanged life’ perspective.”

Someone has said, “A woman marries a man thinking she can change him. A man marries a woman thinking she’ll never change.” Men and women have similarities and differences. In fact, entire volumes have been written on this subject. The following story about a young couple will illustrate what I mean.

A young couple, very committed to the Lord are engaged to be married. It’s past midnight and they’ve been to a movie. He has tenderly kissed her good night and he’s heading down the walk to his car. The young man is praying, “Oh Lord, I want to thank you for giving me strength to keep my physical desires under control all during our dating. You know it hasn’t been easy! There are still two more weeks Lord, until we get married and that means two more weeks I’ll have to restrain myself. I know your grace is sufficient, but if you could just let these two weeks zip by I’d certainly be grateful!”

Now let’s look in on the bride-to-be. She’s standing inside the house with her back against the door, his kiss warm on her lips, an enraptured look on her face. They had eaten popcorn out of the same bag at the movies and to her this was such an intimate, special experience that she slipped one of the kernels into the pocket of her sweater so she could press it in her diary. She’s praying too: “Oh Lord, what a marvelous, glorious evening! What bliss!, as she kisses the kernel tenderly. In two wonderful weeks we’ll be marrie3d. These are going to be the most glorious two weeks of my life! Let me live each lovely experience to the fullest, sot that I’ll be able to remember every precious moment.”

When the two weeks pass, the guy finally gets his princess into the castle and raises the drawbridge. His attitude is: “All right, let’s get on with this thing! Rain on that popcorn routine!” Guys, we’ve got to get it through our thick heads that when it comes to women, we’re dealing with “popcorn-type people.” This leads me to the first need of wives in Christian Marriage:

I. A Wife Needs TLC in Christian Marriage verse 25

A woman needs tender, loving, care in Christian Marriage. So let me elaborate on what TLC means from a wife’s point of view.

1. TENDER – communicates gentleness. Your wife needs you to be tender to the touch, not rough. She needs you to be tender in the way you look at her. Sometimes a husband’s eyes communicate anger or hostility or frustration. She also needs you to watch the way you speak to her. Wives would say, “Speak tenderly, please.” The fact is, sometimes a man’s voice can sound gruff even when he doesn’t intend for it to. One wife tells her story in a letter. “When my husband came home from work yesterday, the house was a wreck and the kids were driving me wild. When I told him I just couldn’t handle it, do you know what he did? He took me out into the laundry room, put his hands on my shoulders, looked down into my face and said very quietly, ‘Now, just calm down.’ Then he put his arms around me, pulled me against him and just held me for five whole minutes without saying a word. I can’t explain to you how good it felt to be in his arms like that. I began to slowly relax and escape from my stressed-out world. Then he said, ‘Now let’s tackle this and see if we can get those little “buzz saws” fed and into bed early tonight. Then we’ll get a sitter and you and I will go to that quiet little pizza place and be together, just you and me.’”

Many men develop the macho mind-set during childhood and never stop to see how destructive it can be. A physically big man may consider it beneath himself to be tender; a physically small man may be too threatened to be tender. A plain vanilla man may have been “trained like a bird dog, that to be tender is to be a sissy. “Don’t ever cry. Don’t ever let your feelings show.” However, we men need to understand that women thrive on tenderness. And it not only causes them to respect our masculinity all the more, but to admire our sensitivity as well. The second part of TLC is:

2. LOVING – The word love here is “agape,” doing the most constructive, edifying, redemptive thing possible. Loving means understanding or at least making an effort to understand her thoughts as well as her behavior. It means recognizing her ability to do certain things and encouraging her to do them. It also means that when you recognize that she’s uncomfortable in doing certain things, you shouldn’t force her to do them.

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