In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 NLT)


I know it is only one letter in the word, but there is a big difference in complement and compliment.   As men we need to understand how important this distinction is in our home, and especially with the way we live with our wife.


The fact is men are hardwired for a compliment. We love to be affirmed by our wives, and other people as well. Even if it is a menial, boring task around the house such as taking out the garbage or mowing our yard, we love it when our wife recognizes our efforts and tells us that we did a great job. If we feel unappreciated and disrespected by our wives or our children, we are also hardwired for a negative reaction, or negative thoughts. Disrespect is the most sensitive hot button to hurt a man, and this will in turn hurt our relationship with our wife. Do you men agree with this? It is important that you understand this about yourself, so that you can understand the woman you are married to, and live with her in an understanding manner as instructed in the scripture above. You see our wife needs to be complimented and appreciated as much as we do. She needs to be affirmed, and she also needs to be respected, like we need it. But foremost, the wife and the husband needs to fulfill God’s design for their marriage, and this is where the word complement comes in.


com·ple·ment – “a thing that completes or brings to perfection.”


When a husband and wife come to see the design for marriage that God had in mind at creation, they will see that without the wife the husband would not be completed, nor would the wife be completed without him. For a marriage to be lived as two individuals with no concern about their spouse’ completion, and his or her role in it, would be out of God’s design. We need to shoot for God’s design. Right?


This is where I would want to have a woman speak to women about the intricacies of how she completes her husband, and in doing so enables him to complete her. I can speak to the biblical guidelines. They are there. I can read them and repeat them. But there is a delicate navigation through the transfer of biblical truths in sensitive areas that I think a woman can do better than me with a woman. However, as a pastor and mentor to men, and being a seventy-two year old man who has seen and experienced a lot and has a very blessed marriage coming up fifty years, I think I can speak boldly to men. So men … husbands … these words are directed to you:


Men, it is our tendency to not respect what our wives can do for us, in completing us. We are driven more for wanting a compliment than we are to be complemented. To be completed by her we must admit that we are incomplete. That alone goes against the male ego. We do not want to admit that we really need her opinion, her sensitivity, her awareness, her detailed view. We tend to make her feel almost worthless, and certainly unappreciated when we communicate disgust, or impatience, or the fact that she is a woman and doesn’t understand the things we do. Men these words or innuendos tear her down rather than build her up. When we tear her down we tear our self down. We are indeed like the woman in Proverbs who tears her own home down:


A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. (Proverbs 14:1 NLT)


As the spiritual leader in our home, if we do not love and respect our wives, and if we do not complete her as God designed us to do for her, then we may very well be the reason that she becomes a destroyer of our home. We must see how important our role is to complete her, and her us.


On the other hand we can become an asset in God’s hands to allow Him to use us to complete her. Then she will be formed into the woman He wants, and the one we will greatly appreciate. Here is how she is described:


An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 10:10-12 ESV)


As a father of two beautiful daughters, a father-in-law of a beautiful woman who I love as a daughter, and a grandfather of six beautiful granddaughters, you can be assured that I am concerned about the way their husbands do or will love them, and nurture their completion. It is with this personal perspective that I want to share the last insight about our wife’s Father:


Men if you are married to a Christian wife it would be good to understand that not only is God our Father, He is also your wife’s Father. This means that He is also your Heavenly Father-in Law. Remember He presented His daughter to you to love, appreciate, protect, nurture, respect and to complete. Let’s keep Him happy by the way we treat our wife, and His daughter. If we do, it will be well for you and me, for He will grow her into the woman of our dreams. She will be completed, and she will then complete us. That is the design for marriage that God created.