Speaking Life Over Your Wife

– by Brett Johnson

Lyn and I recently spoke at a marketplace leaders’ retreat. On the Sunday morning I shared Ephesians 5:26-27 with them, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word”. Every time I have heard someone speak on this topic, the application has been that husbands should read Scripture to their wives. In reality, few husbands do this, and I suspected the men were waiting for the usual “read the Bible to your wife” lecture.

Speak life over your wife
Instead I asked the men to take a moment, and ask God for a rhema, a fresh word for their wives. What did they believe God wanted to say to their wives, right then and there? The men took a moment and asked the Father to speak. Then I asked them to share those words, to speak them over their wives. Earlier in the weekend, I had noticed a couple where the temperature between them seemed in minus territory; their body language indicated that they were not really on intimate terms. A day-and-a-half later, when this same man shared the rhema word with his wife, she was in tears. 

Why did I do this exercise?
Look at the verse in the Greek translation; it is not talking about reading the Bible to your wife, since the word used is rhema, (the spoken word of God) and not logos, the printed word.
Isn’t this precisely what Jesus does for us? He speaks afresh, He speaks new, He doesn’t just mail us regulations. As Christ loves us husbands, giving us a fresh word each day, so we are instructed to share a fresh, life-giving word with our wives each day.
Are you considering your

Wife’s needs?
This instruction has implications: to hear a fresh word for our wives we need to be listening to God ourselves as a matter of routine. We also need to be carefully considering our wives: how are they doing, what are their perceived needs, what would encourage them, what are their dreams, what might be troubling them? Wives no more want a lecture from the Bible, via their husbands, than we want a root canal. 

Ask God for a word!
Does this mean I neglect my Bible and just wait for a fresh word? Of course not. Reading Scripture is one way to press pause on a busy day, creating space and time for the Spirit to insert a rhema into our distracted busyness. The key point, husbands, is that God expects us to ask Him for a fresh word for our wives. How often? Well, how often would you like your wife to bath, shower, clean up?

Married or single, this still applies
What if you are reading this and you are single? Developing the habit of hearing God’s whisper is preparation for marriage. Practice sharing uplifting words with others. Care enough to wash those around you with fresh water. All of us, single and married, can imagine how much healthier the Body of Christ would be if we all cared enough to routinely seek God for a “word in season” for those close to us.


JOY! Magazine (June 2018)

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