Love and Affection
God loves us. If He didn’t, we would know it. He provides us with all we need, without us even asking. Many times He gives us MORE than we need. He gives us time for leisure and provisions for things that we enjoy. I don’t need my small collection of Final Fantasy collectables, but (as odd as it sounds), thank God that I have enough that I can eat and have clothing and a home and a car, yet still have a little left over to buy something insignificant and fun.

This, to me, is proof of Gods love and affection for us as His children. Likewise, as husbands we should give our wives and children both, but I feel we need to better understand the difference between the two. Personally I feel that they are often seen as something interchangeable with one another, but this is not the case. You can love someone, yet withhold affection (which is sometimes necessary), and you can also be affectionate toward someone without loving them.

Do you get up every morning at 5am, trudge into the kitchen for a cup of coffee before you get dressed, then head out before the crack of dawn to your office/field/job site? Despite your sore back, throbbing headache and your jerky boss, do you continue to do this every day? Every. Day. Over and over, just so your family can have a nice house, nice clothes, clean and healthy food and a car to drive around in? Congratulations! You are expressing love! It’s not a difficult thing, and its something men really do excel at. Yes, we may complain sometimes, but, if your anything like me, when you see your family happy and healthy, it doesn’t seem so bad. The majority of men really do love their wife and kids, and would easily sacrifice their own lives to keep them safe. In fact, men DO sacrifice their lives, as the toll of working every day, the mental and physical stress, leads to men dying much earlier than women, and that says nothing of the occupational hazards. I work in an office, which isn’t so bad, but there are greater men than I that face death, dismemberment and danger every day, then turn around the next day and do it all over again. This willingness to sacrifice ones self for the benefit of others is what Jesus called “no greater love”, and though we often attribute it to ones willingness to throw themselves in front of a speeding bullet, the daily sacrifice of a husband is a more than adequate example of that love.

Affection is a difficult topic for me. Not because I don’t know how to show affection – I believe most men do, but because I personally feel that modern women have an affection addiction, and they often think that how much affection you show them equates to how much love you have for them. Its actually not much different than how your kids think, but its completely wrong.

Affection is a direct result of your emotional state. If you are happy with someone, if they have been good or kind or acted properly, your affection will increase. When they act poorly, mistreat you or are disobedient, your affection will decrease. This is not to be mistaken with love, which is a constant, despite pain and hardship (well, for the most part). When your affection for your wife and children is high you may find yourself buying them gifts, treating them to a night out for ice cream or allowing them privileges they don’t normally receive.  Some would think this is a bad thing, but I tend to see it as a way for those under authority to learn what pleases those whos authority they are under. This behavior is not un-biblical, either, as the Lord promises blessings in return for our obedience in many scriptures:

But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days maybe long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
When we are disobedient to God, His affections may leave us, but His love never will.
Now, as a man it is important to understand that women greatly desire affection. It, like drama, is like air to them. As a result of this some women may try to get you to believe that the amount of affection you show them is a direct correlation to the amount of love you have for them, but you cannot and must not fall for this sleight of hand trick. If you do you will be expected to shower her with a continuous flow of affectionate gestures, which I assure you will tire you out and likely break your bank account. Modern women and men ascribe to the false statement ‘happy wife, happy life’, and this is not only a lie, but is a direct contradiction to scripture, which says if we base our happiness on the things of this world (including other people) we will be sorely disappointed.  Certainly we see men that allow their children to control the heartstrings of their fathers and we shake our heads in shame, yet these same men would allow their wives the same control and we fall back to the ‘happy wife, happy life’ fallacy.
I have always believed that women have ALWAYS been addicted to affection, but only in the past hundred years or so have men been able to supply them with a constant stream of it. In days long past many men didn’t have the luxury of working jobs that were so close to home. Instead of leaving in the morning and being home by dinner (or visiting for lunch) some men would have to hop on a boat and be gone for months or even years before coming back. I recall just recently watching the movie In the Heart of the Sea (an excellent film, by the way. I highly recommend it) and during the opening scenes one of the main characters indicates to his wife that he will be at sea for two years. TWO. YEARS. I’m sure his wife appreciated every bit of affection she received from him and likely did whatever she could while he was around to stay in his good affections. However, because men nowadays are often gone in the morning and back by dinner it almost seems like there is an excess of affection and, like any drug, when you use too much of it you require more and more doses to get the same buzz. Affection is a good thing, but too much of a good thing turns it into a bad thing. We, as men, must understand that when affection is not being earned, it should be reigned back. To continue to give affection for bad behavior is to train a child, or a wife, to be a spoiled brat.
Up next, the final chapter: Sex