Frightened BabyThe Bible (Ephesians 5:33) points out the greatest need in the heart of a man is the fear of being unworthy of respect or approval.  In common terms, we would say that man’s deepest fear would be a fear of failure, fear of accomplishing nothing, fear of not measuring up, or a fear that no one will find worth and value in him.  The woman that loves her husband will realize the delicate nature of the ego and self-esteem that a man possesses.

There are untold millions of examples of men who have tried to prove themselves in all sorts of amazingly creative ways (as well as many foolish ways) in order to overcome the deepest fears within. The driving force behind many of this nation’s most successful men has been the sense of embarrassment that would fall on them if they failed.  I recall a Russian weight-lifter who had been declared the strongest man in the world for seven years. Upon winning the Olympic gold medal, he returned to his friends and said, “Maybe now my wife will respect me.” He had at that point broken the world record 158 times, but he didn’t have his wife’s respect.

The Driving Need to Succeed

The sense of competition to be the best at something is very intense. Even at the youngest age groups, boys will argue who’s the biggest, the strongest, the fastest, or the best.  The sense of identity and worth that comes to the high school student who achieves recognizable accomplishments is considerable.  I have found that even among the men who say they did not compete for the top spot, had in fact moved the competition to a different playing field.  They may now be competing on the chess board rather than on the gridiron.  They may then even find satisfaction in feminine conquests or financial gain rather than athletic scholarships. When all else fails, many have chosen to be the best at being bad.  Having accomplished something of note is better than being ignored or accomplishing nothing.  We can decry as childish and immature the cry for attention and prestige that is so clear in so many, but we will find that a man will set out to prove himself most frequently when people he loves withhold their approval and admiration.

The Solution Comes from Christ-Like Love

What does this tell us about the driving needs of man? I believe that in our fragile lives we will only find satisfaction as men when we find admiration, respect, appreciation, and approval from someone that we deeply respect and admire.  I believe that Paul in instructing the women of his day to consider their husbands as the leader implies that they themselves supply the biggest need of man when they give him the opportunity to lead. This gift that a wife gives to her husband can only be given when she has respect for his ability.  It can only come when she has confidence in his leadership.  There is for the man a very strong sense of approval when the wife can say that she believes in him. I believe that the wife who recognizes the fear that lies within the heart and responds with the gift of approval and worth to her husband, is in excellent position to receive for herself the commitment, warmth, appreciation, and safety of a husband that she needs most of all.

Photo Courtesy Kevin Lawver

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