I think I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak, if I had just listened to some old fashioned advice on love.  But when it was being disseminated by ladies who did tea and wore church hats wider than a Tuscan sunset, the advice of my elders did not seem wholly applicable to my ventures in modern love.

As I’ve gotten older and gone through several of those episodes, I’ve realized that there are some truths about love that will always be true.  And so in licking my wounds, here are some of those adages, those bits of old soul wisdom, that will apply to love from now to years to come.

“If a man wants you, he will let you know.”

No matter how many magazines or online quizzes tell you that the man you’re crushing on may just be playing hard to get, the fact remains that a man who wants a woman will let her know.  This is not to say that woman should never approach, but that if you find yourself chasing- you’re doing something wrong.

“If he’s not sure if he wants to meet your family, he’s not sure about staying in your life.”

As I write this, I am smiling thinking about the boys who trembled up steps to shake hands with my father.  Despite his normally chipper demeanor, my dad put on burly man act when meeting any young man who picked me up at the house.  In some ways the process of adulthood has made the meet easier to relegate from a necessity to a formality.  But if the man your life is not trying to meet the people who brought you into this world- then odds are he’s not planning to stick around for that much longer.

“Let the man, be a man.”

This one is tough because I can picture Steve Harvey saying it with great enthusiasm in a suit with infinite buttons.  But while it’s a tough pill to swallow- there is still in this day and age, good reason why you should let the man in your life be the man of the relationship.  Of course there are differing economic and societal shifts to relationships today but letting the man be the emotional protector is a role we should not relinquish too soon.

What are some pieces of advice that have stuck with you through the years?  Tell us, Clutchettes and share your oldies but goodies with us!

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  • Fox

    I had to obtain wisdom through trial and error. I love it when the oldheads drop jewels on me.

  • Gabi

    We need to let that idea of “letting a man be a man” crap go, its a dangerous statement. We’re basically allowing them to cling on to those old outdated ideas and actions with the justification of “well thats what men do/say” Women will let men get away with almost anything because they think they have to let him feel like a man even when they know his actions are wrong. I mean the statement allows men practically no limitations while women are constantly being told what we cannot do. And that isn’t right. The statement also, I feel, contributes to feeding sexism and homophobia in our community and that is what makes it very dangerous.

    We’re even allowing our young boys to get into fights and do more dangerous things because its “what boys do” but why are we allowing them to be fighting anyways? Being physically strong, having the ability to beat people up and putting your life in danger does not make you a man and we need to let our young boys know this.

    I will never “let my man be a man” because its something he should be doing anyways, it is not my job to make him into one. Being a man is simply just being a grown responsible adult who contributes positively to our society. Just because you were born with a penis does not mean you should be granted “extra perks” in this life. But of course that is just my personal opinion of what “manhood” is, I don’t care for gender roles. Every person is going to have their own idea what they think manhood is and no one is right, and no one is wrong, its a differing of opinion. I think that however we need to rethink this statement and the impact that it has.

    • Gabi, see Chelly’s comments above. It terms of a relationship, it’s about letting a man feel he is needed and can be the provider we all women say we’re looking for in a partner. We’re not asking him to go out and fight because he’s physically strong or abuse the relationship he has with a woman. Sometimes of us women are so used be in total control, we don’t allow a man to provide for us, love us and provide some much needed romance. The statement “let a man be a man” doesn’t mean he can get away with doing anything he feels and we’re suppose to follow. For example, I’m sure Michelle Obama doesn’t let our president get away with doing anything he wants, but at the same time you can tell she allows he to be the man in the relationship and she is his partner walking beside him.

  • ed

    Men need respect and women need love. Ask a man if he had to choose if his woman loved him or respect him. Every time he will say repect. If a woman disrepects, her man won’t love. If a man won’t love, his woman disrespects. It is ironic that in the Bible woman are told to respect their husbands but they are not told to love them. It is because love comes naturally to women but not respect. The same goes for men being told to love their wives but not respect them because respect comes naturally for men.
    Ephesians 5
    3. (25a) The simple command to Christian husbands: love your wife.

    Husbands, love your wives,

    a. Husbands, love your wives: Paul’s words to Christian husbands safeguards his previous words to wives. Though wives are to submit to their husbands, it never excuses husbands acting as tyrants over their wives.

    i. According to 2 Timothy 1:7, God has given us the spirit of power – but also of love. Power, in their Christian life, is always to be exercised in love. “It is not naked power, it is not the power of a dictator or a little tyrant, it is not the idea of a man who arrogates to himself certain rights, and tramples upon his wife’s feelings and so on, and sits in the home as a dictator . . . No husband is entitled to say that he is the head of the wife unless he loves his wife . . . So the reign of the husband is to be a reign and a rule of love; it is a leadership of love.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    b. Love your wives: Paul used the ancient Greek word agape. The ancient Greeks had four different words we translate love. It is important to understand the difference between the words, and why the apostle Paul chose the Greek word agape here.

    i. Eros was one word for love. It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love. It refers to love driven by desire.

    ii. Storge was the second word for love. It refers to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general. It is love driven by blood.

    iii. Philia is the third word for love. It speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. It might be described as the highest love of which man, without God’s help, is capable of. It is fondness, or love driven by common interests and affection.

    iv. Agape is the fourth word for love. Eros, storge, and philia each speak about love that is felt. These describe “instinctive” love, love that comes spontaneously from the heart. Paul assumes that eros (desire) and phileo (fondness) are present. Christians should not act as if these things do not matter in the marriage relationship. They do matter. But Paul’s real point is to address a higher kind of love, agape love. Agape describes a different kind of love. It is a love more of decision than of the spontaneous heart. It is as much a matter of the mind than the heart, because it chooses to love the undeserving.

    v. “Agape has to do with the mind: it is not simply an emotion which rises unbidden in our hearts; it is a principle by which we deliberately live.” (Barclay) Agape really doesn’t have much to do with feelings – it has to do with decisions.

    vi. Strictly speaking, agape can’t be defined as “God’s love,” because men are said to agape sin and the world (John 3:19; 1 John 2:15). But it can be defined as a sacrificial, giving, absorbing, love. The word has little to do with emotion; it has much to do with self-denial for the sake of another.

    It is a love that loves without changing.
    It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment.
    It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing.
    It is love that loves even when it is rejected.
    Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given. It gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive.
    vii. We can read this passage and think that Paul is saying “husbands, be kind to your wives.” Or “husbands, be nice to your wives.” There is no doubt that for many marriages, this would be a huge improvement. But that isn’t what Paul writes about. What he really means is, “husbands, continually practice self-denial for the sake of your wives.”

    4. (25b-27) The standard and example of a Christian husband’s love.

    Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

    a. Just as Christ also loved the church: Jesus’ attitude towards the church is a pattern for the Christian husband’s love to his wife. This shows that the loveless marriage doesn’t please God. It doesn’t fulfill His purpose. This is love given to the undeserving. This is love given first. This is love that may be rejected, but still loves.

    i. “It is possible that some husbands might say, ‘How can I love such a wife as I have?’ It might be a supposable case that some Christian was unequally yoked together with an unbeliever, and found himself for ever bound with a fetter to one possessed of a morose disposition, of a froward temper, of a bitter spirit. He might therefore say, ‘Surely I am excused from loving in such a case as this. It cannot be expected that I should love that which is in itself so unlovely.’ But mark, beloved, the wisdom of the apostle. He silences that excuse, which may possibly have occurred to his mind while writing the passage, by taking the example of the Savior, who loved, not because there was loveliness in his Church, but in order to make her lovely.” (Spurgeon)

    b. Just as Christ also loved the church: We might say that Paul is teaching two things at once here. He teaches about the nature of the relationship between husband and wife, and he teaches about the relationship between Christ and His Church. Each illustrates important principles about the other.

    i. It demonstrates the Jesus loves his church with a special love. Jesus loves the world, and died for the world; but just as a husband can have a general love for everyone, he must also have a special love for his bride.

    ii. “I ask you to notice what is not always the case with regard to the husband and the wife, that the Lord Jesus loves his church unselfishly; that is to say, he never loved her for what she has, but what she is; nay, I must go further than that, and say that he loved her, not so much for what she is, but what he makes her as the object of his love. He loves her not for what comes to him from her, or with her, but for what he is able to bestow upon her. His is the strongest love that ever was.” (Spurgeon)

    iii. Using the love of an ideal husband as a pattern, we could say that Jesus has a constant love for His people, an enduring love for His people, and a hearty love for His people.

    c. And gave Himself for her: Jesus’ action towards the church is a pattern. This helps us define what agape love is all about: it is self-sacrificing love. How should a husband love his wife? As Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. What did that involve? Perhaps the best statement concerning that matter is in Philippians 2:5-8, where it shows that the focus of Jesus was on the church. It was for the church that He did what He did, not for Himself.

    i. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

    ii. Husbands may say, “I though God said I was the head of the home.” You are the head. “I thought my wife was supposed to submit to me.” She is supposed to submit to you. “Then why do I have to lay down my life and sacrifice? Why do I have to humble myself, and give away my high-minded reputation, and be servant? I thought I was in charge!” There is only one answer to this husband: You understand “headship” and “submission” in a very worldly way. You don’t understand it in a godly way.

    Worldly headship: “I am your head, so you take your orders from me and must do whatever I want.”
    Godly headship: “I am your head, so I must care for you and serve you.”
    Worldly submission: “You must submit to me, so here are the things I want you to do for me.”
    Godly submission: “You must submit to me, so I am accountable before God for you. I must care for you and serve you.”
    iii. This is not the height of romantic love as the world knows it. This isn’t love based on looks, image, the ability to be suave and cutting-edge cool. This is love expressed through sacrifice.

    d. That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word: When Jesus gave Himself for the church on the cross, it also provided cleansing from every stain sin makes. Since the work of Jesus on the cross comes to us through the Word of God and the preached word, it can be said that we are washed of water by the word.

    i. When Paul says the washing of water by the word, he uses the ancient Greek word rhema. “It is true that rhema is not quite the same as logos, but carries with it the definite sense of the spoken word . . . it may have the sense of that truth as proclaimed, the preached Word or Gospel.” (Salmond) There is something cleansing about being under the teaching of the Word.

    ii. “I do not believe that baptism is intended here, nor even referred to. I know that the most of commentators say it is. I do not think it. It strikes me that one word explains the whole. Christ sanctifies and cleanses us by the washing of water, but what sort of water? By the Word. The water which washes away sin, which cleanses and purifies the soul, is the Word.” (Charles Spurgeon, a confirmed Baptist)

    iii. This speaks of Jesus’ work for the church. Obviously, a husband cannot spiritual cleanse his wife the same way Jesus cleanses the church. But a husband can take an active, caring interest in his wife’s spiritual health. As the priest of the home, he helps her keep “clean” before the Lord.

    e. That He might present her to Himself a glorious church: This means that Jesus shares His prospects, His future with His bride. A Christian husband should share his prospects and future with his wife. And as a wife will share in the husband’s future, so we will share in the glorious future of our Lord.

    i. “Since the Church is not fit for Christ by nature, he resolved to make her so by grace. He could not he in communion with sin. Therefore it must be purged away. Perfect holiness was absolutely necessary in one who was to be the bride of Christ. He purposes to work that in her, and to make her meet to he his spouse eternally. The great means by which he attempts to do this, is, ‘he gave himself for her.’ “ (Spurgeon)

    ii. “The Lord will not have a sluttish Church, and therefore he came not by blood only, but by water also, that clean water of his Spirit, whereby he washeth away the swinish nature of his saints, so that they desire no more to wallow in the mire.” (Trapp)

    f. Not having spot or wrinkle: The idea isn’t that the bride is in this state before the “wedding day,” but on the wedding day. “That is what is meant by the phrase ‘glorious church’. She will be in a state of glory.”

    i. “The Holy Ghost seems to exhaust language to describe this purity. He says, ‘Without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!’ She shall have nothing like a spot, nothing that can he construed into a wrinkle; she shall be fair, and the world shall be compelled to acknowledge that she is.” (Spurgeon)

    ii. “When He presents her to Himself, with all the principalities and powers and the serried ranks for all the potentates of heaven looking on at this marvelous thing, and scrutinizing and examining her, there will not be a single blemish, there will not be a spot upon her. The most careful examination will not be able to detect the slightest speck of unworthiness or of sin.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    iii. “How should we be feeling? We should feel exactly as any woman who becomes engaged to be married feels. We should be looking forward to the great day, and longing for it, and living for it.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    5. (28-29) The application of the principles to the duty of a Christian husband.

    So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

    a. So husbands: In Ephesians 5:22-24, Paul gave three reasons for a Christian wife’s submission to her husband. In addressing the Christian husbands, Paul also gave three reasons to love their wife:

    i. First, they should love their wife this way because this is what love is. Paul indicates this in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives.

    ii. Second, they should love their wife this way because the relationship between husband and wife has a pattern: the relationship of Jesus and His church. Paul indicates this in Ephesians 5:25-29: Just as Christ also loved the church . . . So husbands ought to love their own wives . . . just as the Lord does the church.

    iii. The third reason is found in Ephesians 5:28-32. The Christian husband must love his wife this way because you are one with her, just as Jesus is one with the church.

    b. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies: The single word as is very important. Paul does not say, “So ought men to love their wives in the same way as they love their bodies.” That would be an improvement in many cases, but that is not the meaning. The meaning is, “So ought men to love their wives because they are their own bodies.”

    i. A man loves his wife as his body – that is what he is saying. A man must love his wife as his body, as a part of himself. As Eve was a part of Adam, taken out of his side, so the wife is to the man, because she is a part of him.

    ii. “The Apostle puts it in this form in order that a husband may see that he cannot detach himself from his wife. You cannot detach yourself from your body, so you cannot detach yourself from your wife. She is a part of you, says the Apostle, so remember that always. (Lloyd-Jones)

    iii. “The husband must realize that his wife is a part of himself. He will not feel this instinctively; he has to be taught it; and the Bible in all its parts teaches it. In other words, the husband must understand that he and his wife are not two: they are one.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    iv. This means for that success in the marriage relationship, we must think and understand. The world relies upon “love” and feelings to make marriage work, and never really makes a person think and understand about marriage.

    c. He who loves his wife loves himself: Simply said, when you love your wife, you benefit yourself. Perhaps it is better to put it in the negative: when you neglect your wife, you neglect yourself, and it will come back to hurt you.

    i. We all know what it is like to neglect something – like a noise or a maintenance issue on an automobile – and it comes back to hurt you. Husbands, it is even more true regarding your wife, because she is part of you.

    ii. “On the practical level, therefore, the whole of the husband’s thinking must include his wife also. He must never think of himself in isolation or detachment. The moment he does so he has broken the most fundamental principle of marriage. In a sense, the moment a man thinks of himself in isolation he has broken the marriage. And he has no right to do that! There is a sense in which he cannot do it, because the wife is a part of himself. But if it happens he is certain to inflict grievous damage on his wife; and it is damage in which he himself will be involved because she is a part of him.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    d. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it: Any man in his right mind is going to take care of his own flesh, even if it is just in the sense of feeding and clothing and caring for his own body. He knows that if he doesn’t, he is going to suffer for it. In the same way, once we know the Biblical fact of this unity, if we are in our right minds we will nourish and cherish our wives, because she is part of us.

    e. Just as the Lord does the church: The principle of oneness also is dominant in the relationship between Jesus and His people.

    There is oneness of life: We share the same vital resurrection life that resides in Jesus Himself.
    There is oneness of service: We are privileged to be co-workers with our Lord.
    There is oneness of feeling: Jesus feels a unique sympathy with us, and we feel a unique sympathy with Him.
    There is oneness of mutual necessity: We cannot exist without Him and He cannot exist without us, in the sense that a redeemer is not a redeemer without any redeemed; a savior is not a savior without any saved
    There is oneness of nature: The same genetic code links us with our Savior, and we are partakers of the divine nature
    There is oneness of possession: We share in the riches of His glory both now and in the age to come
    There is oneness of present condition: When our Savior is lifted high, so are His people with Him.
    There is oneness of future destiny: We will be glorified with Him.
    6. (30-32) The mystical union between Jesus and the church, and its relation to marriage.

    For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

    a. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones: Paul here brings the analogy back in a circle. First, the relationship between Jesus and the church spoke to us about the husband-wife relationship. Now the marriage relationship speaks to us about the relationship between Jesus and His people.

    i. With the same intimacy, love, and sharing that an ideal husband and wife share, Jesus wants to live with His people.

    b. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh: Paul quoted this essential passage from Genesis 2:24. Relevant to marriage, it shows that just as the first man and the first woman were one – she was taken from him, and then brought back to him – so it could be said of every married man today that he is joined to his wife. God did the joining. Husbands can resent it, they can resist it, they can ignore it, but it doesn’t change the fact.

    i. It shows a fundamental principle for promoting oneness in marriage: there must be a leaving (former associations) and a cleaving (joining together as one).

    c. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church: It would be easy to think that the Genesis 2:24 passage (also quoted by Jesus in Matthew 19:5) only speaks about marriage. Paul wants us to know that it also speaks about the relationship between Christ and the church.

    i. This is true in regard to the pattern of the first man and the first woman. “Woman was made at the beginning as the result of an operation which God performed upon man. How does the church come into being? As the result of an operation which God performed on the Second Man, His only begotten, beloved Son on Calvary’s hill. A deep sleep fell upon Adam. A deep sleep fell upon the Son of God, He gave up the ghost, He expired, and there in that operation the church was taken out. As the woman was taken out of Adam, so the church is taken out of Christ. The woman was taken out of the side of Adam; and it is from the Lord’s bleeding, wounded side that the church comes.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    ii. It is also true in regard to the pattern of marriage in general.

    It shows us that Jesus wants more than just an external, surface relationship.
    It shows us that Jesus wants us to be one with Him.
    It shows us that there is a sense in which Jesus is incomplete without us. Adam was incomplete without Eve; we can say that Eve makes up the “fullness” of Adam, makes up that which was lacking in him. And that is exactly what the church does for Jesus; Ephesians 1:23 says of the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
    iii. It shows the common connection of unity and oneness in the two relationships. “Unity, mark you for that is the essence of the marriage-bond. We are one with Christ, who made himself one with his people.” (Spurgeon)

    7. (33) A summary comment to husbands and wives.

    Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

    a. Nevertheless: Paul really taught on two things at once. He teaches about marriage, but he also teaches about God’s pattern for marriage – the relationship between Jesus and His people. So in Ephesians 5:31 and 32 he has focused on the relationship between Jesus and His people, and is getting really excited about it. But then he remembers that his original topic was marriage, so that is why he comes in with the nevertheless in Ephesians 5:33.

    i. This is Paul’s way of saying, “I know I got off the topic a little bit. So let’s come back to the matter of marriage, and I’ll sum it up for you. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

    b. Let each one of you: This means that everyone is included. We can say this about all the teaching on marriage. It is easy to say, “Well, I’m just not that sort of person, so I’ll never do very well.” Husbands do it, saying, “I’m just not very loving.” Wives do it, saying, “I’m just not the submissive sort.” But no matter what our natural disposition is, we have a target to shoot for, and let each one of you in particular means we all should set our eyes on the target the Bible shows us.

    c. So love his own wife as himself: Paul again stresses the unity that a husband must recognize and let shape his thinking and his actions.

    i. “Unity is the central principle in marriage; and it is because so many people in this modern world have never had any conception of what is involved in marriage, from the standpoint of unity, that they are riding so loosely to it and breaking their vows and pledges, so much so that divorce has become one of the major problems in our age. They have never caught sight of this unity; they are still thinking in terms of their individuality, and so you have two people asserting their rights, and therefore you get clashes and discord and separation. The answer to all that, says Paul, is to understand this great principle of unity.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    ii. “He is given the position of dignity and of leadership and of headship; and if he understands what it means he will never abuse it, he will never misuse it, by being harsh or dictatorial or unkind or unfair. To be guilty of such behaviour is a denial of the marriage principle, and means that there is an absence of the Spirit.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    d. Let the wife see: Paul is calling the wife to pay special attention here. This may be a point where many wives might excuse themselves for one reason or another, but Paul emphasizes, “Let the wife see.”

    e. Let the wife see that she respects her husband: This word respects is the same word often used of the reverential fear and awe the disciples had toward Jesus. Can we say that the wife should respect the husband so highly, that it points in the direction of a reverential awe?

    i. “The Apostle used a very striking word here. It is rightly translated in the Authorized Version as ‘reverence’; but the word really means ‘fear’. ‘And the wife see that she fears her husband’. But we must remember that there are different types of fear . . . he speaks of ‘reverential’ fear. What it really means is ‘deference’, ‘with reverential obedience’.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    ii. “The wife is to treat her husband with deference; in other words, she is to recognize this biblical and Christian view of marriage, she is the regard the husband as her head, the head of this new unit. They are both one, but there is a head to the unit, as there is a head to our body, as Christ is the Head of the church.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    f. Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband: If Paul’s message in this great passage could be boiled down to two principles which must govern our thinking and our actions as married people, those two are:

    Husbands: Understand that you and your wife are one, are a unity.
    Wives: Understand that your unity has a head – your husband.
    i. Wives are quick to embrace and understand the husband’s principle, and they want that to be the governing principle of the marriage.

    ii. Husbands are quick to embrace and understand the wife’s principle, and they want that to be the governing principle of the marriage.

    iii. But we must let our principle govern us. When you have a husband thinking, “I’m one with my wife, and I must think and act that way,” and a wife thinking “My husband is the head of our oneness, and I need to respect and defer to him as the head,” then you will have a healthy, Biblical marriage.

    iv. “The supreme thing always is to consider our Lord Jesus Christ. If a husband and wife are together considering Him, you need have no worry about their relationship to each other.” (Lloyd-Jones)

    • From scanning through your comments, I probably agree with everything you said. The only problem is I stopped reading after the first main paragraph. Please be mroe concise next time.