Feel My Muscles

Written By:

January 17, 2013

Dear Wives,

You’ve likely already discovered this, but underneath the bravado and rough exteriors, we’re still six-year-old boys trying to obtain the approval of our mothers.  We want to do pushups and hear how strong we are.  We live for that type of affirmation.  Whether we admit it or not, that’s a big part of what gets us out of bed in the morning.

I’m not going to make too many friends among my fellow men for admitting that, but I’m willing to take one for the team.  The reason I’m talking about this is simple: I’m convinced that this is the most effective and practical piece of knowledge a wife can use to strengthen her marriage.  It should be part of the wedding vows.  It’s the Holy Grail of marriage advice.

And most women have never heard it.

I was driving to the office yesterday while listening to a podcast by Andy Andrews, the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift. He was addressing some of the recent scandals involving men in power who threw their lives away by having affairs; men like General David Petraeus and Senator John Edwards.  Unfortunately, we can be sure that another scandal or two like these will come to light soon. They seem to be happening with increasing regularity.

As I was driving and listening I heard Andy say something that stuck with me: “Women feel respected when they are loved, but men feel loved when they are respected.”  (Go back and read that again, please.)

I’ve heard that before, but not in such a succinct and powerful manner. I remember hearing youth ministry leader, Jim Burns, say it a little differently twelve years ago. He talked about how every man still longs to flex his arm in front of his mother and say, “Feel my muscles!” Every man desires to feel his mother’s hand squeeze his biceps, and hear her say “You’re so strong!”

So with that backdrop, let me ask you a question: Have you ever wondered what makes a man throw away everything important to him to have an affair? His marriage; his career; his children; his reputation; his influence; his soul; all for sex?

Think about General Petraeus. Many pundits had him on a short list of future presidential candidates. He’d been successful under both Republican and Democratic administrations. He had the respect of political leaders worldwide. Congress respected him. The American people stood in awe of him. And he threw it all away for an affair with his publicist.

What about Senator John Edwards? His wife was fighting for her life as she battled cancer. He had been the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic party. He had everything to lose, and little to gain. And he blew it.

Here’s the hard part, ladies. The longer we’re married to you, the more you know about us. You see us in our underwear. You know our disgusting habits. You see us blow our tops over stupid things. The knight in shining armor that we were when we married you has fallen off of his horse. You see us for who we really are. And that’s a good thing.

But that doesn’t change the reality that as your husbands, we long for you to see us as Sir Lancelot, sitting regally upon his steed, sword in hand. We know that’s not who we are, but that’s who we want to be. And that’s how we desperately need you to see us. And when you don’t, the stage is set for us to be the idiots that we too often are.

In that same podcast, Andy Andrews put it this way. “Ladies, if you don’t treat your husband with respect, you’re essentially handing them the keys to a hotel room.” Think about it. These men were respected greatly by the outside world. There’s no way that their wives had the same perception of them that the rest of the world did. They couldn’t have.

But the women these men cheated with did. And men crave that respect; if they don’t get it from the most critical and important relationship in their lives, it can open the door for someone else to provide it.

Please don’t get me wrong. Men are responsible for their actions. What I’ve shared with you isn’t an excuse for the stupidity and lack of integrity that men demonstrate when they cheat.

Still, it would change many marriages if wives would notice the little moments when their husbands metaphorically say “Feel my muscles!”  We long so much for you to grab ahold of our scrawny little arms and say, “You’re so strong!”

Love,

Your Husbands

 

P.S. Oh, and guys… don’t be too rough on me.  You’ll thank me later.


  • Rob

    Read the book “Love and respect” by Emmerson Eggeridge. Great read, same principles.

  • Ruben Cardenas

    I’m not even married (yet), and I feel somewhat vindicated by this. Amen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wadeh63 Wade Huntsinger

    So true…..Great Article

  • Chris Gould

    Well said. I’d love to see a follow up on different practical ways a wife can express her respect for her husband.

  • revbradl

    Great article! Thanks for posting and “Taking one for the team!” I’m gonna celebrate 25 years of marriage this year and I feel this sting. I know it is not an intentional neglect, but the old adage is unfortunately true: “familiarity breeds contempt. ” Fortunately, I don’t suffer any open contempt, but I definitely feel the contempt of neglected respect. Why can’t our wives realize our needs and do more to stroke our fragile egos? I’d be tempted to recommend that she read this article, but then I’d be accused of being selfish and/or weak. I pray this message finds its mark.

    • http://twitter.com/davidsjesse David Jesse

      It’s funny – I just had an email exchange with my own wife after she read this article. It’s one thing to share this with your wife, but I WROTE IT! My wife was like, “What are you trying to say, Dear?” But the exchange, though slightly awkward, was positive. Maybe you should send it to yours?

    • CLK

      Years ago I would have responded that way as I was a woman who was afraid of vulnerability and humbling myself to off respect as affirmation meant I had to be vulnerable. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be “safe”. However, God changed my heart. I’m not perfect but my heart is to remind my husband that above all else, I respect him and would follow him to the ends if the earth and back. I say all to say – pray for your wife’s heart – that whatever is keeping her from feeling safe being vulnerable enough to humbly show respect for you also, pray and ask God how you can make her feel safe to do so.

      • CLK

        Sorry. Typed all that from my phone and left behind a mess. Hopefully you are able to make sense of it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1432098601 Zach Schanzenbach

    I’m a 19-year-old college kid who isn’t married; this was really insightful. Why be rough? :d

  • http://profiles.google.com/h.j.finnegan01 Heather Finnegan

    Thanks fo r this! My husband and I have been married 11 years. About 2 years ago we did a “love languages” test-he overwhelmingly scored in the “words of affirmation” category. I have tried my best to sing his praises whenever I can. And that doesn’t mean I let him walk all over me, my husband is too sweet and kind to ever do that. But I give him my vote of confidence whenever I can. And when something isn’t right I choose my words more carefully and make sure I discuss the actual problem without any demeaning tone or words. What a difference in my marriage! It was good before and now it’s GREAT!!!! ;)

  • lisa simmons

    I wrote a song a few years ago to use as I teach women’s Bible studies at my church. It’s called “It’s Thru His Ego”. The first line of the song is “Just the other day I was watching boys play when I heard one of them say, feel my muscles…” As the mom of 2 boys and married almost 33 years…feeling his mucsles and saying “you’re so strong” are the most powerful words you can say!

  • In the world but not of it

    Heh my wife feels my muscles regularly and comment what a tough guy I am. Though I am trained in military hand to hand combat.
    Good stuff on the psychology of guys, though be careful of leaning too hard on it or you will be telling people that we also want to go to bed with our mothers.
    Wouldn’t have hurt to include a few Bible verses where God tells ladies to repect and obey their husbands in all things. (found throughout Scripture) If a relationship isn’t based on Gods instruction your building on a sand foundation. Swine like Kerry and Clinton cheat on their wives because they are the kind of God hating trash that Hell gapes for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/postcalvinist Dutch Wood

    I get what you’re trying to do here, but I think my wife expressed it well when she said, “I’m not even remotely interested in a man who’s still looking for mommy’s approval.”

    obviously, the desire to be respected and dangerous is real. I just think this entry made that good desire seem childish and infantile. Certainly unintended, no doubt.

    it just misfired for me.

    • http://twitter.com/davidsjesse David Jesse

      Dutch,
      Obviously this article was a metaphor for the God-wired design deep within a man to be respected. No one is insinuating that it is healthy for a man to literally be seeking his mommies affirmation as an adult. It’s about a woman seeing her husband for what he is striving to become, rather than for his weaknesses. Something I’m sure your wife has figured out already. But this was written for those wives who may not.

      • http://www.facebook.com/postcalvinist Dutch Wood

        Sure. my comment acknowledges all that. I get and agree with your point. It’s spot on. You just expressed it in a way that could seem to belittle the idea.

        It’s all good, though. Thanks for the reply.

      • Marvin D

        I thought thirdoptionmen was about what men are to be and not what we want our wives to do for us

        i’d rather find ways to grow up … not to be like a toddler and definitely not to blame my wife

        if i treat my wife right shes gonna treat me right
        and if she don’t i should still treat her right
        i already put too much on her as it is
        so does the church

  • Harry R.

    Baloney. DId Jesus need women’s respect to do what the Father asked of him and go to the cross for his bride? Yet, this is what husband’s are asked to do in Ephesians: love your wives as Christ loved the church. No husband is honestly asked to endure a whipping with a cat of nine-tails. But to actually be ‘respectable’ before ‘demanding respect’ from their wife may very well be what the Lord is asking of them when he says “Lay down your life (i.e. – your pride)”. I disagree that a man’s greatest need is RESPECT. A man’s greatest need is to receive His Lord’s love and grace and walk obediently in it. And when he does, the respect will flow naturally to and from his wife and many others witnessing such a rare thing as a man with a true heart after God (and not some ‘respect wielding’ fresh tail at the local motel). Knock it off with the fear mongering towards wives. God says, “fear not” wives. Don your helpmeet helmets wives and speak truth to that man whom “God” placed a natural desire FOR in your hearts GEN 3:16. If both the God-given desire and the respect are gone, then your hubby has some soul-searching to do, not motel scanning. Chances are hubby divorced God long before he left you. And THAT is why God hates divorce. When hubby lives with you in an understanding way, his prayers WILL be answered.

    • Marvin D

      right on, Harry

    • http://www.madcowan.com/ Chris

      You may be reading too much into this. The point isn’t about what Men need most over all; the point is obviously what they need most from their wife: respect.
      He’s also not saying that women are the only ones who need to be giving anything. And, yes, men should still act rightly and love their wives whether they’re receiving the respect or not.
      But that doesn’t mean they don’t still need to be respected. You might disagree with they way he presents his case, but I don’t see how anyone could disagree with the bottom line: part of a healthy marriage is for the man to feel respected by his wife. I’ve seen way too many marriages fall apart because the woman is incredibly disrespectful towards her husband; putting him down, always correcting him, complaining about him to others. It’s very sad, and I can empathize with the husbands who ultimately sort of give up on their marriage; they figure, “What’s the point? Nothing will make her happy with me.”

  • Marvin D

    placing blame on the wives because their famous husbands had affairs because she may or may not have showed respect? how toddler of any Christian to insinuate… and unscriptural. Husbands have been blaming wives since Adam blamed Eve and God.

    James 1: 14 each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    Jesus, the King of Kings, did not even receive respect when HE was ON the cross, nailed to it — uhhhh Eph 5:25-33 might need to be re-read because until it sinks into your heart, the hint hint expectations of the wife to pander to a husband who has got mother-son issues is to be hurtful towards her.

    1 Cor 13 teaches the ACTIONS of agapao-love

    husbands are to agapao-love their wives, the wife is not told that about her man/ and it also says to grow up!
    11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.

    fear = phobee_tai used one time in the Bible – we are to judge scripture by scripture, not take it out of context.
    http://biblesuite.com/greek/phobe_tai_5399.htm yet HOW many times does the Bible say “do not fear”?

    There are how many words directed to the husband in Ephesians 5 which turned the NT on its head because it transformed the way marriage would be viewed and how women should be treated by their Christian grown-up husband, a picture of Jesus and His bride. Did the “bride” respect Jesus before He went to the cross for her, before He cherished and nurtured her? before He laid down his life for her? before He washed her with the livng water of His word? before He presented her holy?

    If my wife respects a whiny toddler man of a husband, then I have not done my loving duty and opportunity to be Christlike to her — and she has not helped me to grow up

    Eph 5:15 Therefore be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise, 5:16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 5:17 For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.

    don’t just be plucking scriptures to suit your wants and then call them your needs… there is no way we should be believing a book that puts love AND respect on a 50/50 level – the Bible sure didn’t

    I really liked the thirdoptionmen.org until this post

  • Marvin D

    placing blame on the wives because their famous husbands had affairs because she may or may not have showed respect? how toddler of any Christian to insinuate… and unscriptural. Husbands have been blaming wives since Adam blamed Eve and God.

    James 1: 14 each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    Jesus, the King of Kings, did not even receive respect when HE was ON the cross, nailed to it — uhhhh Eph 5:25-33 might need to be re-read because until it sinks into your heart, the hint hint expectations of the wife to pander to a husband who has got mother-son issues is to be hurtful towards her.

    1 Cor 13 teaches the ACTIONS of agapao-love

    husbands are to agapao-love their wives, the wife is not told that about her man/ and it also says to grow up!
    11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.

    fear = phobee_tai used one time in the Bible – we are to judge scripture by scripture, not take it out of context.
    http://biblesuite.com/greek/phobe_tai_5399.htm yet HOW many times does the Bible say “do not fear”?

    There are how many words directed to the husband in Ephesians 5 which turned the NT on its head because it transformed the way marriage would be viewed and how women should be treated by their Christian grown-up husband, a picture of Jesus and His bride. Did the “bride” respect Jesus before He went to the cross for her, before He cherished and nurtured her? before He laid down his life for her? before He washed her with the livng water of His word? before He presented her holy?

    If my wife respects a whiny toddler man of a husband, then I have not done my loving duty and opportunity to be Christlike to her — and she has not helped me to grow up

    Eph 5:15 Therefore be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise, 5:16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 5:17 For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.

    don’t just be plucking scriptures to suit your wants and then call them your needs… there is no way we should be believing a book that puts love AND respect on a 50/50 level – the Bible sure didn’t

    I really liked the thirdoptionmen.org until this post

    • http://www.madcowan.com/ Chris

      I don’t think you read this article. If you had, you would see that he says men are absolutely responsible for their own actions, and a disrespectful wife is no excuse for what they do. But surely you’re not arguing that women have no influence whatsoever on the actions of their husbands?

      Also, you’re correct; the Bible doesn’t say, “wives, love your husbands.” It says, “wives, submit to your husbands.” In other words: Respect!

  • Dikaiosune

    “Ladies,
    if you don’t treat your husband with respect, you’re essentially handing them
    the keys to a hotel room.” This is absolutely NOT biblical and insinuates that a woman is to blame if her husband is unfaithful; that it is some failure on her part. How sad, when you could have used this article to demonstrate positive ways for wives to support husbands that you chose to fear monger and victim blame. How many men will read this and feel righteous in throwing self-pity parties because their wives do not boost their egos enough? Christ calls us to sacrifice for each other, to put your spouse first, not seek ego boosts. The topic of gender-specific love language is excellent, and I appreciate your candor but using stories of cheating husbands to shift the blame to women is not the way to facilitate this discussion.

    • Lydia

      I don’t think the article intended to shift the blame for mens’ actions to their wives. Rather, it advised wives of the potential they have to make a a strong positive influence in their marriage. If wives deliberately continue to dis-respect their husbands, they are at least a contributing factor and should accept responsibility for any part their own actions may have contributed.

  • Mike Gruppen

    LOL….this is so true. I lead a “Strength Team” ministry and truth be told….us guys that spend our time in the gym usually have the lowest self esteem. We seek that approval through building our bodies but when injury come…..its like the man that built his house upon the sand. This is why it is so important to get your identity and value through Christ alone! Build your life on the ROCK…..King JESUS!!

  • BOOOM

    Stop seeking approval from others and find yourself. Then no outside approval is needed. Leave your damn wife alone. She has too much to do besides pretend like you are the best/ muscular person in the world. Get a fucking clue. How about get some self esteem and she may be like.. Hey… you look different… less like a DOUCHE!!!!! And then she may wanna have sex with you… Insecurity is unattractive. PERIOD!

  • BOOOM

    Stop seeking approval from others and find yourself. Then no outside approval is needed. Leave your damn wife alone. She has too much to do besides pretend like you are the best/ muscular person in the world. Get a fucking clue. How about get some self esteem and she may be like.. Hey… you look different… less like a DOUCHE!!!!! And then she may wanna have sex with you… Insecurity is unattractive. PERIOD!

    • BOOM!

      Sorry for the curse words. hahahahahaha

  • Emily

    Wife-beaters say they love their wives, but they don’t respect them. If there’s any truth to that quote about what men want/need vs. women, it’s problematic and troubling, if anything. Self-respecting women demand respect JUST AS MUCH as love. The same way that men do. I don’t think you can really separate the sexes here, in terms of who needs respect and who can go without it. Need and desire for respect is a universal human trait that we all experience. It’s not exclusively a masculine trait. Pretty sure , cause I am a woman. And if a man doesn’t respect me his love is worthless and I’d just as well shut him out of life.