Lately, one of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 6:16: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.'”
Think back with me to the beginning-the very beginning of life in Genesis 1. When God created the heavens, the Earth and everything in them, he pronounced his creation good in every way. He not only stamped “goodness” upon them, but he also embedded it within them, implanting it within the core of their being. Each element of his amazing creation was built for eternity, timeless, with its own intentional design and purpose that was good.
Have you ever watched a flock of geese fly south for the winter? Have you seen a retriever lift its nose and tail as it “points” toward a bird? Every summer and fall, hundreds of squirrels visit my backyard, filling their cheeks with nuts that they bury and put away for colder days. No one taught these animals to carry out these tasks. I began to realize that these unconscious, purposeful behaviors-the ones scientists call instinct-are the “ancient paths” that God implanted within His creation.
Every single animal, every plant and tree, every star and planet-every part of His creation has His ancient paths built deep inside it. Man can certainly manipulate the ancient path. He can train the dog or cause the hatchling goose to imprint to himself rather than to another goose-but he cannot change the Creator’s hidden intention. God has built His ancient order into his creation. Each component lives out the design He has implanted within it.
As a unique part of God’s creation, man also has “ancient paths” deep within his design. He is the only aspect of creation that God described with the superlative, pronouncing man, “very good.” However, man is also the one element of God’s creation that has a will. We follow God’s ancient paths for our lives not by instinct, but by obedience-by choice.
Gender is one of the ancient paths that God has so wisely designed. God created us male and female-two very unique ancient paths. Most men who have been married longer than five minutes agree with me: the ancient path needs of women are different from the ancient path needs of men. Generally, in order to meet a woman’s needs, you have to wine her, dine her, call her, hug her, hold her, surprise her, compliment her, smile at her, laugh with her, cry with her, cuddle with her, shop with her, give her jewelry, buy her flowers, hold her hand, write love letters to her and go to the ends of the Earth and back for her. Husbands are . . . different. Most of us will have our needs met if our wife shows up with a steak and baked potato . . . and a twinkle in her eye.
Because our ancient paths are so different from theirs, most men are completely unaware that we don’t meet our wives’ needs. Since I am fine, that should mean you are . . . fine. Recently, a chain letter has been circulated in hopes of helping women who feel discontented with their husbands. It goes something like this:
“Unlike most chain letters, this one does not cost anything. Just send a copy to five of your friends who are equally tired and discontented. Then, bundle up your husband, send him to the woman whose name appears at the top and add your name to the bottom of the list. When your turn comes, you will receive 15,625 men. One of them is bound to be better than the one you have.
“At the writing of this letter, a friend of mine had already received 184 men, four worth keeping. REMEMBER! This chain brings luck. One woman’s pit bull died, and the next day she received an NFL offensive tackle. An unmarried woman living with her widowed mother was able to choose between an orthodontist and a podiatrist. So do not break the chain! One woman did and got her own husband back.”
We may laugh, but somehow, we have gotten away from teaching our sons to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Since He met our needs on the cross, the least we should do is to meet our wives’ needs-no matter how different they seem from our own. Talk to your wife. Discover what makes her feel whole and complete. The more you meet her needs, the more you’ll find that one of her ancient paths is meeting . . . yours.