HUSBANDS: LEARN YOUR WIVES!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
Husbands must live with their lives in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7). The Greek phrase for “an understanding way” literally could be translated, ‘according to knowledge.’ Every husband must dwell together with his wife in such a way that he knows her -- very well. That means, quite practically, that husbands must date (and continue to date!) their wives. The wedding ceremony doesn’t mean the work of learning one another has ceased. Rather, it only has launched!
What does it look like for husbands to learn their wives?
First, learn her intentionally. This means that the husband must actually try and remember that he must be deliberate and proactive in reaching her heart and learning more about her. Because, naturally, this won’t happen automatically. Men can so quickly fall into laziness and apathy which can be utterly catastrophic for a thriving and holy marriage relationship. Thus, the man must strive to ask questions, pursue her as much after the wedding as he did to win her before they were even dating. Second, husbands must learn her emotionally. Women change as different seasons of life come and go. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just life. Seasons and life and families change. So husbands have the wonderful privilege of knowing and learning and seeking to learn how their wives are doing on the inside. This allows the husbands to shepherd and love their wives well.
Third, learn her repeatedly. It’s not a one-shot endeavor. Rather, this is an ongoing pursuit. It’s relentless. It’s undying. It’s a continual desire to ask questions and more questions and dialogue together and ask good, heart searching questions regularly. Again, this is to remain throughout the entirety of one’s marriage. Fourth, learn her studiously. Husbands can tend to study theology more than their wives. Husbands can tend to study their work and hobbies and sports teams more than their wives. And this ought not to be. Every husband must study his bride. He should be constantly asking and learning. Constantly inquiring and seeking to know why she thinks and speaks and does and reacts and lives the way she does. This comes with time. It’s not a quick, drive-thru, get it done easily and quickly endeavor. This studying of the wife is a life-long pursuit.
Fifth, learn her cheerfully. God has given the wonderful blessing to husbands to live with their wives according to knowledge (understandably). Indeed, this makes for a happy and healthy home life when the man leads well and cheerfully pursues his wife. Few women would say that they feel adequately pursued and happily embraced by their husbands as much as they would like. O husbands can learn from this. Take joy in the study of that amazing gift that God has given you in your wife. Go deep with her. Linger long with her. Embrace her tenderly and gently. Affirm her verbally and constantly. Take delight in the presence of and dialoguing with your wife.
Sixth, learn her pursuingly. This is a reminder that marital harmony and deep one-ness and knowledge doesn’t automatically come when the ring is on the finger or when a certain number of decades pass by. Strangely and tragically, three or four decades could pass in a marriage relationship and, in reality, the couple might not know each other one whit. The duty falls to the man to pursue his wife and live understandably with her. This way he can serve her well and bring happiness and joy to the gracious treasure that God has given to him. And finally, the husband is to learn her tenderly. This takes patience and consideration. This means that it takes time -- yes, T-I-M-E -- with her and lots of conversations and dialogues to understand her. But keep tenderly pursuing her. Keep gently learning her. Keep intentionally investing in her. Keep asking her questions.
As a husband learns his wife, he will better equip himself to know her wants, her fears, her happiness, her anxieties, her struggles, her sins, her enjoyments, and what satisfies her most. Only in spending much time together, regularly, and making it happen (on the calendar) can this kind of deep, intimate knowledge occur. It’s not a matter of a husband asking to make it work. It’s a husband’s duty to move and shuffle and exchange things if necessary so he can have adequate time with his wife.