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Nourished and Cherished
He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church. EPHESIANS 5:29
There are two words in today's verse given to husbands as a very specific assignment in loving their wives : "nourish" and "cherish." The word "nourish" means not only "to feed" but also "to nurture to maturity." We have an assignment to help our wives grow. Stated another way, Barbara is my number one disciple. I must take responsibility for her spiritual growth.
Practically speaking, that means praying with her and for her. When the children were little, it meant finding a way to get her some time to be able to get alone and read the Scriptures. All the time, it means talking about the spiritual lessons you are learning. It means considering what spiritual nutrients she needs to become the woman God created her to be.
The word "cherish" is another great term that means "to warm another," and hence, "to cherish." When you pull a blanket over yourself on a cold night, you don't feel an immediate burst of warmth. It takes time for the coolness to
subside. It's the same way with your wife. Every wife, regardless of the season of life she is in, needs her husband to use words that warm her soul—words of delight, encouragement, affirmation and understanding. She needs the warmth of your relationship to endure the "cold" she may be facing. She needs you to enter her world and say, "I'd rather spend time with you than with anyone else
in the world."
I don't have many regrets as I look back over our marriage, but I wish I paid more attention to Barbara's spiritual growth. Having 6 children in 10 years and leading an organization that grew 30 to 40 percent a year during that same period were challenges for both of us. Husband, "seize the day!" Pay attention now to how you can nourish and cherish your wife.
Ask your wife to share a few things you can do to nourish and cherish her and to help her grow.
Husband, use this time to pray for your wife and her top two or three needs right now. Pray, too, that she will grow.