Although men generally think that they understand women, most of them actually do not. Husbands must be humble enough to admit that they do not truly understand their wives. In this third segment of a ten-article series on restoring marriage, Dr. Don Dunlap encourages husbands to acknowledge the fact that their sinful, corrupted natures hinder them from acting tenderly and compassionately toward their wives. He urges men to express genuine humility to their wives when they offend them, and to ask them for forgiveness.
Men often make a third mistake that seriously harms their marriage relationship. They assume that they understand what the specific needs of a woman are.
Most men are blind to the fact that they do not really understand their wives.
The writer of Philippians 2:4 warns,
None of you should think only of his own affairs, but should learn to see things from other peoples points of view.
Most men tend to be egocentric. They look at life only from their own perspective. Thus, although men generally think that they understand women, they actually do not. A husband must be humble enough to admit that he does not truly understand his wife. He must also acknowledge the fact that his own sinful and corrupted nature is what hinders him from being tender and compassionate toward her.
Until a man attempts to view life from his wifes perspective, he cannot live with her in an understanding way.
The command in 1 Peter 3:7 is specifically directed toward men:
You husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.
No husband has the biblical option not to understand his wife. Yet, when he thinks that he finally understands her, he often finds that she changes. A man must commit himself to becoming a master student of his wife over the period of a lifetime. He should invest whatever time is necessary to learn how a woman thinks. A husband must find out what is important to his wife and seek to view life from her point of view. He should express gratitude for her attentiveness to details and for the extra little things that she does to demonstrate her love for him.
The fourth way that a husband contributes to the downfall of a marriage is to seldom admit to his own failure. A mere superficial admission of wrongdoing is equally as ineffective and offensive as an outright refusal to admit guilt. Most men are proficient at general confessions when they have made a mistake, but they are unwilling to own up to their specific offenses. Nonspecific confessions of guilt usually serve to make matters worse.
When a man refuses to admit that he is wrong he loses the respect of his wife and children.
When a husband refuses to humble himself before his wife and ask for forgiveness, his pride wounds her spirit. She often becomes increasingly unwilling to admit her own guilt when she is wrong, and she frequently develops emotional and physical coolness toward her husband.
A husband must realize that he is responsible for keeping good communication lines open with his wife and his family. Some men believe they lose the respect of people who are under their authority if they admit that they make mistakes. They wrongly conclude that their family will interpret an admission of guilt as weakness.
The opposite is true. Family members know that no one is perfect. When a husband or father is willing to admit that he is wrong, he earns his familys respect and honor. His humility becomes an example to his family. His wife and his children soon learn to follow his example of repentance and restoration. We read in James 4:6 that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Husbands must ask God for the grace to express genuine humility when they offend their wives, and they must be willing to ask for forgiveness.