The Power of a Wife’s Affirmation
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Ann WilsonAnn Wilson and her husband Dave are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Mother to three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody and wife to one, occasionally grown-up husband, Dave, Ann balances a home life and professional ministry career building both on the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ. Frequently speaking at Kensington Church, a 6-campus church that welcomes more than 14,000 visitors every weekend, and touring across the country at m...more
Women and men are different, right? Ann Wilson punctuates that obvious point with a resounding “YES” as she exhorts wives to use the power of their femininity to build up their husbands.
The Power of a Wife’s Affirmation
Bob: Every wife has an awesome power; it’s the power of influence. Here’s Ann Wilson.
Ann: Ladies, I want you to know what it’s like to be a man. You see, as little boys, here’s what happened: “We grow up, and we usually have our moms cheering for me like, ‘Good job, David. Good job!’” He says, “And I played college football. Every Saturday, I had a stadium of people like, ‘Dave Wilson is the man! Yes!’” He said, “Then, we meet you, and you’re saying, ‘You’re the man! And out of all the men of the universe, I choose you!’ You’re applauding, ‘Yes! Yes!’” And then he goes [deadpan voice], “And then we get married.” [Laughter]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday March 9th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. How are you stewarding the awesome power you have as a wife to encourage, to motivate, and to build up your husband? You’ll hear more about that today from Ann Wilson. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Today is equal time day.
Dave: Equal time?
Bob: Yes, equal time. We’ve already heard from you this week about what real manhood is all about.
Dave: Yes; you’re done with me now; aren’t you?
Bob: We are done with you! [Laughter]
Dave: “That’s enough of you”; I get it!
Bob: We heard part of a message from one of our Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruises. We’re doing that because, this week, we are letting our listeners know we are cruising—
Dave: Yes, baby!
Bob: —in 2022.
Ann: That’s right! We are!!
Dave: The wind will be blowing through my hair on the top deck of that Love Like You Mean It boat!
Bob: If you had hair, that would be true.
Ann: Yes, you’re wishing it were true. [Laughter]
Bob: We are so excited about the fact that, after having to cancel for a year, we’re back. It looks like everything is full speed ahead/all systems go for the cruise in 2022.
Dave: We’re going! We’re going!
Bob: We have opened registration; people are already booking their staterooms. A lot of people are like, “We cannot wait! Can we do it in September instead of Valentine’s?”
Dave: And you may think it’s not going to sell out because, you know,—
Dave: —we’re coming out of COVID; but it’s going to sell out! You’d better get your ticket.
Bob: Yes, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the cruise and to find out how you can sign up. Right now, this week/the best price available for the cruise. You can save $400 per couple off your cabin registration.
Dave: Do it!
Bob: And that’s good this week, so call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY; or go online to find out more about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.
We’re going to hear, today, the first part of a message that you did with the wives on the cruise, back a few years ago, Ann. We heard from your husband with the guys, but you like getting together with the women and talking about what God’s design for womanhood is.
Ann: I love being with women. I think part of it is because we’re all struggling with the same thing: and we can admit it; and we can laugh about it; and we can cry about it. It is fun!
Bob: And your goal in this message is to talk about how important and how powerful it is for a wife to be committed to supporting, affirming, believing in her husband; right?
Ann: Right; we’re going to talk about attitude, our words, our actions, and how to support and respect our men when it’s not always easy to do that.
Dave: I really like this message! [Laughter]
Bob: Well, let’s listen in. Here’s Ann Wilson, talking to women on board the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise a few years back.
[Previous Love Like You Mean It Message]
Ann: Finally, we’re together! [Laughter] I have been giddy about us being together. Speaking to women is one of my favorite things, and it’s not because I feel like I have anything, really, that great to say; but it’s because, when we get together as women, there is a sense of: “I’m not the only one going through things.”
I’m going to take you through my journey, that has been a difficult journey for me, of learning how to love, support, and respect Dave. And I’m going to be very truthful. When I was growing up, my mom was this amazing mother. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but my mom was probably the greatest servant I’ve ever witnessed then and now in my life.
She would do for my dad; she would serve my dad. He took advantage of it and took her for granted. It made me angry; and I felt like, “Mom, stop being so nice to him! You are enabling him to be lazy.” As I got older, I was angry with her. She would say, “I like doing this for your dad.” But I saw her as a doormat, and I didn’t respect her for it; and I didn’t get it.
Then, when we came to speak for FamilyLife®—I was only 29 when we came on; we’d been married 10 years—so as a 30-year-old, I’m getting up here, addressing women. I’ll never forget pulling out the notes and, for the first time, studying what I was going to say and figuring out what I was going to say. In the notes—if you’ve ever been to a Weekend to Remember®—you’ll see that one of the first things that we teach in FamilyLife is Genesis: how it says that God has called the woman to be a helper to the man.
I’m looking at that; and I keep looking at the word, “helper.” Here is what I think: “Where is my helper?! [Laughter] Why does the husband get a helper?! Why don’t we get a helper, as the women?” See, you guys, I told you I’m not nice! [Laughter] So, you know, I am sitting there like—so then I think, “You know what? Maybe I just have the wrong definition for the helper.” I look it up in the dictionary; it says: “A go-for.” [Laughter] “A person who does the dirty work. Someone important tells them what to do.” I’m like, “See!”
I’m talking to Dave, and I’m like, “Honey, I don’t think I can speak for FamilyLife; because I don’t like that I don’t get a helper.” “Ann! You need to understand what it means in Hebrew. The word, ‘helper,’ means ‘completer.’ You help to complete me.” And then, I’m like, “Okay; alright. I get that.”
So this whole journey, as you can see by that illustration, has not been easy for me. I seem to be that person that learns the hard way. Dave and I had been married probably about 15 years—10 to 15 years—and I was asked to speak at our church to the MOPS group/the Mothers of Preschoolers. I was going; and I said, “Honey, why don’t you come with me? That would be fun. We should do it together. The women would get a guy’s perspective,”— because they wanted us to speak on marriage.
Dave starts—he starts getting into this—and he’s speaking to all these women. He’s talking and he goes, “Ladies, I want you to know what it’s like to be a man. You see, as little boys here is what happens: we grow up, and we usually have moms”—and he grew up in a single-[parent home]; his mom raised him as a single mom—“My mom was cheering for me like, ‘Good job, David! Good job!’ I liked that; and little boys are always saying, ‘Mom, watch. Watch!’ Your moms are always saying, ‘Good! Way to go! Good job!’”
He said: “And then, we get older, as guys. We go into middle school, and high school, and elementary school, and we usually start to find what we are good in. And there is usually someone along the line—a teacher/a coach—or something that we’re good at that we start hearing other people applaud for: ‘Yes! Good job! You’re the man.’”
Now, I had never heard Dave say any of this before. I’m like, “Whoa! Look at this. This is some new stuff. This is good!” [Laughter] He says, “And I played college football. Every Saturday,”—and he was a quarterback—“I had a stadium of people like, ‘Dave Wilson is the man! Yes! Yes!’”
He said, “And then, we start dating, and we meet you. And you’re saying to us, ‘You are the man! You are the man! Out of all the men in the universe, I choose you.’ And you’re applauding, ‘Yes! Yes!”
And then he goes [deadpan voice], “And then, we get married.” [Laughter] Now, I’m over here in the chair, like, “Where are you going with this now?” [Laughter] He goes, “We get married, and it feels like we walk in the door of our homes, and all we hear is ‘BOOO! BOOO!’” [Laughter] He looks at me, at this point, and I’m like, “What?!” [Laughter] And then, he feels really bad; he’s like, “Oh, we haven’t really talked about this.” I’m clueless; clueless; so we kind of get in this fight, right there. I’m like, “What do you mean I boo?! I’m not booing you.” [Laughter] It was terrible/like so terrible.
We get in the car; I’m like, “What was that about?!” [Laughter] I said, “You feel like I boo you?” He goes, “Yes, I feel like you’re continually disappointed. I feel like I do something, and you’re always critiquing it.” So then, I get really defensive; and I said, “I am helping you!” [Laughter] Because my heart is really/truly—it’s not to harm him—I said, “Honey, I’m telling you that people are not speaking the truth to you; and I will. [Laughter] I am a gift to you!”—right?—don’t you feel like that?—“I am your gift!”
He’s like, “All I hear is boo,” which then takes me on this journey of getting in the Word. I come across Proverbs 21:9; it says: “It’s better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Alright; I live in Michigan. I’m imagining, when I read this, the middle of winter; and I’m imagining Dave on the corner of my roof, in the snow, shuttering cold; and it’s better for him to be out there than in the house with me; ugh!
Then, I was thinking, too—as I started studying for FamilyLife and thinking about what I would say as a speaker—and I remember reading Ephesians 5:33. Let me tell you—I love Ephesians; it’s the most practical book in the Bible—I feel like one of them—because the first three chapters—it’s six chapters—the first three chapters are all about doctrine/theology: “This is the truth. This is who God is. This is who He says we are.” Then the last three chapters are all about practical application of that truth; so “Here is the truth; now, here is how to apply the truth.”
In Ephesians, we find out what we’re called to be, as women; what men are called to be, as husbands; as parents. It ends, in Chapter 6, with putting on the armor of God; like we can’t do it without the armor. In Ephesians 5:33, when it talks about—you’ve heard this so much: how the man should love his wife; how the woman should respect her husband—I put down in here the Amplified version, because I feel like it’s much more direct and descriptive.
It says this—the beginning of it says: “However, let each man of you love his wife as his very own self,”—and here it is—“and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband.” What does that mean? “She notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him. She defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.” When I look at that, I think, “God, I want to do that; but what does that look like?”
First of all, I would say this: “We can intentionally choose God’s design, or we can unintentionally fall into the culture’s demise.” “What is God’s design?”—that’s what we’re going to look at—but you do know what culture’s design is; don’t you think that our culture tells us: “It’s 50-50”? Here is the problem—here is what I do, even when I know the right way: if Dave isn’t doing his part—if he’s not giving 50—I think, “He’s not giving 50; he’s giving 30.” So then, I give 30. “He’s doing nothing; so why should I do anything?” That’s what the culture tells us: “It’s all about us.”
What is God’s game plan? Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears it down.” When I think about that, I think, “How am I building my house? What am I doing right now that I am building it?”
I’ll never forget Andy Stanley saying this: “Your husband should be able to tell how much God loves him by the way you treat him, and love him, and admire him. Your husband may have no idea what God is like, but he should be able to know by the way that you treat him. By the way you respect him, he will have a glimpse of how much God adores him.”
I think what we do, as women/we are like, “Can I go work in the children’s wing in the church instead of that?” because that’s so much harder; isn’t it?—“He should know how much God loves him by the way we treat him.” Let me tell you—in Ephesians, it says this: “Submit to one another out of”—this is the part: “out of”—anybody know what the next part is?
Ann: —“reverence” for whom?
Ann: —“for God.” Who do we do it for?—why do we love him?—because he deserves it?—no!—because God deserves it! It’s our devotion; it’s our way of serving Him.
It starts with, first of all, our attitudes. What does respect look like to your man? It demonstrates respect by, first of all, your attitude. Look at Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life”—look at this part—“to put off our old self”—why?—“which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the”—first, what’s that word?
Ann: —“attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Do you ever find yourself griping in your head and complaining? I will never forget—I was so mad at Dave—he had been gone so much; I felt like he wasn’t helping. I felt like he wasn’t listening to me. I remember folding the laundry; I remember folding, and the whole time, I’m building like this whole scenario of like: “He doesn’t do anything! He’s lazy,” and “He doesn’t notice me!” I mean, I’m folding it and folding it. I felt like God said to me: “What would happen if you prayed as much as you complained in your head?”
Ann: Yes! As we think about our husbands, it turns into action; but it starts right here in our minds.
I think that we don’t realize, and we forget the influence and the power that we have, as women. We have so much power to make them great, and we have the power to crush them in an instant. It’s a heady responsibility that we have, and God has given it to us and entrusted it to us. He has chosen you—He has chosen me—to help make [our] husband the man that He wants. I don’t know if I can do it sometimes, and I know I can’t apart from His Spirit.
What does an attitude look like?—an attitude of unconditional respect. It says that God commands the wives to respect our husbands without conditions/without him earning it. He is God’s gift to us and comes with a blessing.
It is an attitude of honor. Our culture treats men like they are stupid; and we, as women, can treat men like they are stupid. When we treat them as if they are stupid, they will act like they are stupid. Honestly, I think that—this is so embarrassing—I think/sometimes I feel like, “I’m just smarter than Dave”; you know? We’re better communicators; and I think we get prideful, as women. We treat our husbands like they are not as great as they really are.
I read this quote by Stu Weber; he said, “A woman can so easily crush a man’s spirit with a word, with a look, with a shrug of indifference. Her cynicism is utterly emasculating and, many times, incredibly subtle. Like a fine, thin blade, it slices deep, penetrating to the very core of his masculine soul.” Ahh! Those are hard words to hear.
Also, Dave and I—I mean, this is just a terrible illustration—Dave was on the phone. He had made a hotel reservation for some friends coming in. I was in the other room, and I could hear him talking on the phone. I could tell that they lost the reservation/that they didn’t take the reservation. Dave was being really nice; he’s like, “Okay, well, do you think that there is another room we could get?” I am instantly—this is terrible—I’m instantly like, “I can handle this!”—like—“I will get this done.” [Laughter] Are you guys, any of you, like that? [Laughter] I walk in there; and I’m like, “Dave, give me the phone! Just give me the phone!” This is the attitude—you know?—like, “I can do these things. I’m better than you; I’m better than you.”
He gets so mad—he takes the phone; he throws it on the ground; and he walks out of the room—he doesn’t usually do that. I will tell you—here are the first signs that you know that you’ve disrespected your man—one of two things—anger or they stonewall. I should have known instantly. I didn’t know any of this stuff back then, but I should have known instantly I so disrespected him.
The next thing, he walked out of the room. Here is what he says, “Why don’t you just cut it off, Ann?!” [Emotion in voice] That’s embarrassing to me that I would be so prideful—thinking that I’m so: “I can get that done,”—that I would emasculate him like that—“Who cares? It’s a hotel room, Ann!”
I have the power to make him great, and I have the power to crush him. I’m embarrassed to tell you that story. I apologized to him later, because it was so flagrant that I could see it so clearly. That’s what I mean by: “I learn the hard way sometimes.” So how are you doing? I want you to grade yourself on a 1-5 [scale], 5 being great; 1 being not so great. How are you doing with your attitude in respecting your husband? Just kind of, mentally, think, “Where am I?”
And it’s funny; I think about my parents/how I said that my mom was a doormat. They have become believers and, for the last nine years, my mom has been struggling with Alzheimer’s. [Emotion in voice] One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen in my life is watching my dad—who I felt like was so self-centered/who took her for granted; but my mom just loved him, and served him, and believed in him, and cheered for him—to watch him/he does everything for her! She only recognizes two people: my dad and me. He puts lotion on her arms; he cooks all of her food; he does all the laundry; he cleans the house—things that I’ve never in my life seen him do!
I told him, “Dad, I respect you so much!” He’s like, “How could I not?” He said, “She’s my partner; she’s my girl. And she’s loved me so well her whole life. How could I not do the same thing for her?—because she’s made me who I am.”
The parts that—when I looked at her, I thought were so weak—my dad told me she would come to him, and she would always speak her mind in the bedroom, with respect. Just because she wasn’t ranting and railing, as I was doing in the other room. [Laughter] I want to be that!
And it starts with our surrender to Jesus! Can I tell you how much He loves you?—how He knows you?—how He sees you?—how He longs to walk with you and comfort you?—how He longs to encourage you and use you? All of your gifts/all of your wonderful traits—He sees them. Let Him be your best friend! Let Him be your Redeemer and your Savior! Let Him change us! We can make a world of difference, because our greatest witnessing tool in the future will be your marriage. We, as women, are powerful! Let us surrender to the King, who can give us the strength and power we need to become the women He wants us to be!
Bob: Well, we have been listening to Ann Wilson, addressing a roomful/a ballroom full of women. You were fired up!
Ann: I was a little excited; wasn’t I?
Bob: You were; but there’s something about wanting to challenge, and encourage, and motivate these women to be God’s women; right?
Ann: That’s right; I’m pretty passionate about it. And yes, sometimes I get pretty amped about it too.
Dave: That’s awesome! I don’t know what you said, but I’m ready to go: “Let’s go take the world.” And, by the way, I have a little secret I know about what happened that day.
Dave: I think this is true.
Ann: I have no idea what you’re going to say.
Dave: We’ll have to find out, because the man who I heard this from is sitting beside me. I heard one Bob Lepine wanted to hear Ann Wilson speak; so he snuck in the room and laid down on the floor or, somehow, you listened to her message; is that true?
Bob: I was backstage while you were doing this whole message.
Dave: Oh, that’s what it was.
Bob: I was on the side, because I did/I wanted to hear you speak to the women.
Bob: I remember walking out and saying, “Every woman—not just on the boat—every woman, listening to FamilyLife Today, needs to hear that.”
Ann: Oh, that’s nice.
Bob: I’m glad we were able to feature it for FamilyLife Today listeners. Actually, what we heard was a condensed version of your message. The expanded version is available online; you can download it when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
I should mention—all of our past programs/everything we’ve got is free/downloadable—anything! You want to go search for a subject or whatever, that’s all there; and it’s there for you for free.
While you’re on the website, look for information about the Love Like You Mean It cruise that’s happening next February. I mean, we’re all pretty excited about getting back on the boat—
Bob: —and being able to be out. Right now is the best time for a FamilyLife Today listener to reserve a stateroom for the 2022 FamilyLife Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We have a special offer we make during March. It expires on March 22, so this is the season for you to call in or go online and reserve your stateroom; you’ll save some money. In fact, it’s the best offer we make on staterooms throughout the year.
If you want to take advantage of the best offer, go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY and say: “I want to know more about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise; we may be interested,” “I want to reserve a room,” “What happens if COVID comes back?” I mean, we can answer all of that stuff; right?
All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com and say, “I’m interested.” Reserve a room and start making plans for a week at sea on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. I just have a sense that next year’s cruise is going to be extra-special, with a lot of people, who are so glad to be with us for that week. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information; or call us at 1-800-358-6329; that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Again, take advantage of the special pricing that’s available now until March 22nd.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear from our friend, Gary Thomas, who wrote the book, Sacred Marriage. He’s written a lot on marriage and on relationships. He joined us, a while back, on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise and gave a wonderful message on how we can proactively bless our spouse in marriage. We’ll hear from Gary tomorrow. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch. We got some extra help from Bruce Goff; and of course, our entire broadcast production team was involved in all of this. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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