The Power of a Woman
About the Guest
A wife has the power to give life to her husband through many avenues - encouragement, intimacy, and friendship. Today on the broadcast, Dennis and Barbara Rainey talk about the power of a loving wife.
Barbara RaineyAfter graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Cru® in 1971. With her husband Dennis, whom she married in 1972, the Rainey’s cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry committed to helping marriages and families survive and thrive in our generation. Barbara is a frequent speaker and guest on FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s award-winning nationally-syndicated daily radio broadcast. She is the author or coauthor of...more
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
A wife has the power to give life to her husband through many avenues – encouragement, intimacy, and friendship.
The Power of a Woman
Bob: The Bible discusses a variety of very practical life issues, and one of the issues, where the Bible runs crosscurrent to the culture is the issue of sexual intimacy. Here's Barbara Rainey.
Barbara: It is difficult not to feel negatively about some of this because our culture has so degraded the sexual side of life. I mean, it's just not the way God intended it to be. But between a husband and wife, it is a holy thing, and it can be, and part of it is retraining our thinking, too. I mean, God created the sexual dimension of marriage, and He blessed it, and He said it was good.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 8th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. One way for couples to rekindle the romance in their marriage is for them to renew their minds. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You know my nearly encyclopedic knowledge of pop music, right?
Dennis: I do know.
Dennis: It's frightening over more than a dozen years, Bob, to see how many songs you have catalogued in your mind over the years. It is a statement of the brainwash of music.
Bob: Well, you know the British pop star Cliff Richard.
Bob: You've never heard of him?
Dennis: I'm sorry.
Barbara: Yes, you have.
Dennis: Cliff Richard?
Barbara: Because I know.
Dennis: Was he the one …
Barbara: I don't know what he did; I just know his name.
Bob: He – in the late '50s, early '60s, he was the Elvis of Great Britain. I mean, he was huge, sold more records than anybody in Great Britain. He is today, Sir Cliff. He was – he made a profession of faith in Christ.
Dennis: You know what? I did …
Bob: It's coming back to you now?
Dennis: … associate him with Billy Graham. Was there a chance he did something with Billy Graham?
Bob: Billy Graham was involved in making a movie about Sir Cliff.
Barbara: There you go.
Bob: There you go.
Dennis: I am impressed with my own sub-encyclopedic knowledge.
Bob: We'd have to call yours – let's see, if mine is encyclopedic …
Dennis: No, don't even go there, don't even go there. What's your point? Keep going.
Bob: Cliff Richard had only a couple of pop songs that made it on to the U.S. charts, but one of them was the song, "Devil Woman." Have you ever heard the song, "Devil Woman?"
Bob: Well, we're going to play just a clip of Cliff Richard singing "Devil" …
Dennis: Bob, this is FamilyLife Today.
Bob: Trust me, trust me, this applies to what we're going to talk about today. Here is Sir Cliff Richard with just a portion of his hit song, "Devil Woman."
[Cliff Richard sings "Devil Woman"]
Now, do you know why I wanted us to play just the portion of that song?
Dennis: I think.
Bob: You're questioning my better judgment altogether, aren't you? Go ahead, say it, "Yes."
Dennis: Yeah, yeah, so is Barbara, who joins us on FamilyLife Today, too.
Bob: Barbara, welcome back to the program.
Barbara: Thank you, Bob.
Bob: Sir Cliff, later talking about that song, said "That song, to me, was a perfect illustration of what the Bible talks about in Proverbs 5, 6, and 7. And you listen back to those words, "She's just a devil woman with evil on her mind; beware the devil woman, she's going to get you." It was all about the evil temptress and about the power that she had over the unsuspecting man.
Dennis: Yes, and if you go to Proverbs, chapter 5, and have a fresh reading of it, it really does describe a wayward wife, a woman who was an adultress, who was luring men into her web, her web of immorality, and, of course, what it's talking about here is what he was saying is that a woman does have power.
Now, the question is will she use her power, sexually speaking, for good, or will she use it for evil?
Bob: Barbara, do you remember as an adolescent, being aware of the fact that, as a woman, you had some power over boys at your school?
Barbara: Well, actually, I didn't terribly much, because my realization of the whole idea that women have power was a very slow evolution in my thinking. But I did begin to understand even in junior high and high school that boys are attracted to girls, and they like the pretty girls, and they liked girls that looked more like women than the girls that still looked like little girls.
I mean, I began to see that there was an attraction there, and that girls did have power with boys.
Bob: And you saw that some girls subconsciously, instinctively, used their power to flirt, to gain the attention of the boys …
Barbara: That's right.
Bob: … and the Bible says that kind of behavior for girls, for women, is categorically, unquestionably wrong in every setting, right?
Barbara: Wrong when you're not married.
Bob: So it's not wrong in every setting?
Barbara: No, because when you're married it's a good thing. See, the problem is that we, as females, grow up knowing that we not supposed to – or at least most of us grow up knowing that we're not supposed to be provocative. Most of us were raised to dress modestly and to put all of that on hold for the day that you get married. But we also know that the day you get married, it's supposed to all be okay.
So I think the whole idea of a women understanding that she has power, and that she has that power that God has given her to use with her husband is something that a lot of us took some years to understand as wives. At least it did for me. It took me a while to understand that I had power, and that I needed to use it for good in my husband's life.
Bob: You go for so long knowing, feeling, "I shouldn't be acting this way with boys, it's wrong, it's improper, it's not honoring to God."
Barbara: Right, right.
Bob: It's pretty hard to walk down an aisle and think, "Now I need to use it to its fullest extent for good."
Bob: Do you remember when you kind of thought to yourself, "I do have that power, and I ought to be using it for good?"
Barbara: Well, it wasn't a sudden realization like turning on a switch, which would have been nice. I would have liked that. I would have liked a potion of some kind like we talked about.
But it wasn't – it was more of a gradual realization, and a lot of it came honestly, because my husband kept telling me that it was true, and he would say things to me that would say, "I want you to know that you have power, and you're powerful in my life." And I didn't feel powerful. I mean, if anything, I felt a lack of power not because he made me feel that way, it was just the way I was wired. I didn't see myself as being a powerful person. Part of it is my personality, too, that I don't see myself as a strong person.
But I began to understand what he was saying; that he was talking about our marriage, and that in our marriage relationship, I have power with him like we talked about to give life to him, and that my responding to him in our – in the intimacy in our relationship is a very strong thing in his life.
Dennis: It's hard for a woman to feel she's powerful over a man just because of the sheer muscle mass that a man possesses that she doesn't.
Barbara: Mm-hm, that's right.
Dennis: A man can lift more; he is much harder.
Bob: The Bible says she's the weaker sex. What power is there in the weaker sex, right?
Dennis: Well, think back biblically for a moment – what about Delilah. Does she have any power?
Barbara: And she was in love with or was after the strongest man on the planet, too.
Dennis: Talk about power, it ended up costing him his eyesight.
Bob: The biblical examples we see, though, all cast that power in this kind of a wrongly used …
Barbara: In a negative light.
Bob: … negative light.
Barbara: That's right.
Dennis: And that's what's being talked about in Proverbs, chapter 5, 6, and 7. In fact, speaking of the power of a woman – and this is a dad talking to his son, and I've had this talk with my sons – what can cause a man to be like an ox that is headed into a stall that's going to be shot in the head, have its throat slit and slaughtered – a woman's power. And that's how Solomon concluded this entire section – 5, 6, and 7 in Proverbs – wanting to summarize the power of a woman by comparing him to a beast. That's how much power a woman can have over a man.
Bob: When you were talking to Barbara about the power that she has in your marriage, you were talking about not just the sexual power, but she has all kinds of power to affirm you as a man …
Dennis: No doubt about it.
Bob: … to encourage you, to believe in you, to support you.
Dennis: And she's done those things.
Dennis: And I think because she's done those things, it's made her even more powerful in my life. In fact, to such a degree now, when I finish speaking, there is only one person who I want to go to and ask, "How'd I do?" Or when I've written something, I want to know what she thinks first. Her power goes way beyond just the sexual dimension of our relationship, but it also includes it, and I think there are a lot of women who are apologizing for their power in their husband's life and have forgotten how powerful they can be for good or for evil.
Again, Jezebel, Jezebel incited her husband to evil. She influenced him to do wrong. So it's not just sexually but, certainly, it includes the sexual dimension of life.
Bob: Barbara, if a wife was to sit down today and read Proverbs 5, 6, and 7, and see all the characteristics of this woman who is the wayward woman; who is enticing a man away from his marriage vows, if she was to do that and say, "I'm going to be like this with my husband," you're saying that would be something that would be honoring to God and that would have His blessing on it.
Barbara: I think what I would say is that there are some things that we can learn from a woman who knew how to use her power. See, the problem for married women is that we see these examples, and they're all negative. We don't see too many examples that are positive because a wife who uses her power with her husband uses it in a private setting. It's the wife who uses it correctly; her power is hidden. It's for one other person, and nobody sees that.
Bob: It's discreet.
Barbara: Exactly, whereas the woman who uses her power negatively does it publicly, and we see the wrong use of that power. And so it's a real dilemma for Christian women, because we see how it's used wrongly, and we withdraw from that, and we cringe, and we just say, "I don't want to have any part of that."
But what we need to see is that there are some things we can learn from how she used her power, even though she used it wrongly, there are still some things that the adulteress women in Proverbs 7 did that we can say are good and can be used with my husband.
Bob: Give me some examples.
Barbara: Well, for instance, one of the first phrases that's used to describe her is that her words were like "honey, smoother than oil." And I think, for many wives, we need to evaluate how we're speaking to our husbands. Too many times we complain, and we gripe, and all we are is – we're just cranky around our husbands, and instead of speaking words that are smooth and words that go down easily, we say things that are judgmental and angry and all kinds of things, and I think that's one example is if we want to be powerful in our husbands' lives, we need to check how we speak to him.
Bob: You know, we would say that it would be wrong for a single woman to flirt with someone who is not her husband, and it would be wrong for a married woman to flirt with somebody to whom she is not married. But now let's turn it around and say, "Is it okay?" In fact, is it a good thing for a wife to flirt with her husband?
Barbara: Yes, it is, and it's a very good thing, and it's the kind of thing that gives her power with her man, with her husband, because if she can understand – well, she did that, more than likely, when they were dating or engaged. I mean, it came easy then, but it's that skill and that idea that is so easily buried in marriage when you get bogged down with responsibilities and children and struggles of life. Those little playful things like flirting tend to go by the wayside. But, yes, it's a very good thing for a wife to do with her husband.
Bob: What else did the woman in Proverbs 7 do that a wife can learn from?
Barbara: Well, one of the phrases says she seized him and kissed him and, you know, it's a picture of this woman who sees this guy walking down the street, and she was aggressive. She reached out and pulled him up next to her and planted one on him.
And I think that sometimes we wives forget how encouraging that would be to our husbands when he came home, even just to greet him with a kiss at the door when he came home.
Dennis: I find it interesting in the Proverbs that Solomon describes the way the wayward wife kissed the young man, was "brazenly." She put a kiss on him that stopped him dead in his tracks.
There isn't a husband listening to our broadcast right now who if his wife met him at the door tonight, and she looked him in the eyes deeply and with a little fire in her eyes, and then kissed him profoundly, brazenly, he would go, "Wow."
Now, maybe now, not 100 percent of the men, because there are some guys who maybe need to be awakened out of a slumber, but I think most husbands would say, "I don't know what you had for lunch, sweetheart, but you ought to have it again tomorrow."
Bob: All right. She can speak the right words; she can kiss him unexpectedly. What else did this wayward woman do that a wife can learn from?
Barbara: Another thing that is mentioned about this woman in the Proverbs is that she used her beauty, especially her eyes. It says that she beckoned to him with her eyes, and I think a lot of times wives get real lazy. We get sloppy because we're tired, and we're worn out, and it's difficult at the end of the day to be – sometimes even to feel alert much less to be thinking positively about our husbands.
But you don't have to do it every day, but pick a day and greet him that way and look good when he comes home and use your eyes to engage him and don't ignore that side of who you are because how you look is an attraction to your husband.
Dennis: One of the things that Barbara has done well throughout the entire time of our marriage is just the rare time when I arrive home when she doesn't look really nice. It's a wise woman who understands that her physical beauty, her attraction, needs to be cultivated and protected.
Barbara: A wife who understands that she has power and then is willing to use it with her husband is protecting him from temptation. She is a magnet that draws him back home because he may see somebody else out in the workplace who may look better day after day, but if he knows his wife is at home, and that she is going to meet his needs, and she is seeking to love him in a way that he wants to be loved and participating and sharing intimacy together, why would he want to go with somebody else?
Bob: Isn't there, though, in the back of your mind, as you think about these things, and you think about emulating this woman, isn't there just this little voice that goes, "You're being a tramp." I mean, this woman is a tramp. So are you going to act all trampy with your husband.
Barbara: Yeah, you don't have to act trampy.
Bob: What do you mean?
Barbara: [laughs] Well, I think there's way to do it in a way that's holy. I mean, God created the sexual dimension of marriage, and He blessed it, and He said it was good, and it's not an unholy thing, and I think we – it is difficult not to feel negatively about some of this because our culture has so degraded the sexual side of life. I mean, it's just not the way God intended it to be. But between a husband and wife it is a holy thing, and part of it is retraining our thinking, too. To begin to think biblically that God says this is good, He wants wives to be this way with their husbands, and it's an okay thing.
But it does often require turning away from what we hear in the world and setting aside those negative thoughts that come, because it is easy to fall into feeling like, "This just doesn't feel right."
Dennis: There are a couple of points I'd make about this. Number one, a tramp is one who has an evil intention.
Barbara: That's right.
Dennis: And, number two, a tramp has no sense of any standard or of honoring God with their behavior. And a wife who is understanding her power is wanting to honor God in both attitude an action.
Bob: So it's not the activity that makes a woman a tramp, it's what's in the heart of the woman.
Barbara: That's correct.
Bob: It's the intent and the purpose and the motivation.
Barbara: That's right.
Dennis: But it's a woman who understands how her husband thinks and doesn't deny what he's thinking but who moves to meet that need and who he is in creative ways.
Barbara: And is willing to risk doing those things, because they're not necessarily always easy. For instance, just the scenario we've been talking about, about being tired at the end of the day from dealing with kids and responsibilities and everything else, it is a sacrifice to sometimes to take a nap in the afternoon so that you've got energy for your husband, or it's a sacrifice to set aside what you are doing when he walks in the door and go greet him with a kiss.
It takes denying yourself, and it does take a level of sacrifice in order to serve, but we've talked about that. It's important in marriage to have self-denial in order to meet one another's needs.
Bob: You know, as we've talked about the wayward woman who would use these devices to lead someone else's husband astray, we could say, in one sense, it may be just as wrong for a wife not to use these same devices to attract her husband. That may be just as sinful as the wayward woman …
Barbara: … who is using them for evil. That's correct. Because we have a responsibility as wives, and we talked about that earlier, too, to meet one another's needs in marriage.
Dennis: And, you know, that's why Paul spoke very clearly that both the husband and the wife have a duty to one another.
Barbara: That's right.
Dennis: And I don't think romance is an optional part of a marriage relationship. It should be a vital, growing, contagious part of the marriage relationship of two people getting to know one another in a more and more intimate way. It means that men have to be pressing in to getting to know their wives and meeting their wives relational needs, and it means that wives may have to step outside their comfort zone and do some of the things we've talked about today – be more of a sexual attractor of their husbands after they've been married for a number of years. Both are learning to speak one another's languages of romance – a woman speaking sexual intimacy, a man speaking relational intimacy.
But as we do, the result is that two very different people, a husband and a wife, can come together, and the two can become one.
Bob: That whole concept of oneness is what's at the center of the Weekend to Remember conference, where we talk about how we move from isolation to oneness, and this is part of the dimension of what God intends for that oneness to look like and to be like – the whole area of romance and intimacy and passion.
Dennis: And if you don't have a plan to move toward oneness, you're going to naturally drift apart toward isolation. And that's why the Weekend to Remember is so powerful. It takes that big idea and helps a couple understand your marriage. You're either moving toward oneness, or you're gradually drifting toward isolation, and that's why it's one of the great investments in romance and in your marriage to spend a weekend together getting God's blueprints for building oneness together as a couple.
Bob: You know, next weekend we're going to be kicking off our spring season of Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences. I'm going to be up in the Washington, D.C. area at the Crystal City Marriott speaking at one of the conferences that we're hosting. And then the weekend after that in Baltimore speaking at a conference there.
We've got conferences in cities all across the country this spring, and we do hope that many of our listeners will plan to spend a weekend away this spring at one of our FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences, and there's more information about the conference on our website at FamilyLife.com. You can find out when the conference is coming to a city near where you live, get the dates and the locations, and then plan to join us for one of these weekends.
You can also get information on our website about Dennis and Barbara's book, "Rekindling the Romance," which we have in our FamilyLife Resource Center. Along with a brand-new resource our team has put together called the "Simply Romantic Nights" volume 2 collection – a boxful of great date ideas for a husband and for a wife to stir a little fresh creativity in your marriage. Find some ways to just respark the romance.
Again, all the information about these resources and these upcoming events is available on our website at FamilyLife.com. You could also call us if we can answer any questions you have. 1-800-FLTODAY is the number, and our team would be happy to make arrangements to have the resources we've talked about here sent to you. Again, the toll-free number – 1-800-FLTODAY or go online at FamilyLife.com.
And let me say a special word of thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We are listener-supported. Folks just like you who pitch in from time to time to help make this program possible, this month we are saying thank you to those of you who can make a donation of any amount to support this ministry. We'd love to send you two CDs that feature a conversation we had a while back with the authors of a book called "Intimate Issues – 21 Questions Women Ask about Romance and Intimacy in Marriage." The authors are Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, and the two CDs cover much of the material that's found in their book.
We'd love to send these CDs out to you as our way of saying thank you for your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today. You can make your donation online at FamilyLife.com, and if you're doing that, and you'd like to receive the CDs, just type the word "intimate" into the keycode box on the online donation form, or call and make your donation over the phone and mention that you'd like the CDs on intimacy. Again, we're happy to send them out to you, and we very much appreciate your financial support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Well, I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can be back with us on Monday when we're going to hear a message about purity in marriage and the importance of keeping your marriage pure. Pastor and author Joshua Harris will be presenting that message, and I hope you can be here to listen on Monday.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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