Understanding My Wife
by Jacob Hudgins
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way”(1 Pet 3:7).
We pay much lipservice to the idea that God knows best how a home should be run. Especially do men wax eloquent on God’s expectation that wives submit to husbands (Eph 5:22), perhaps with a dash of commentary on feminism. But God also gives clear (albeit difficult) obligations to men. I should “live with (my wife) in an understanding way”.
I should try to understand my wife. God has blessed me to live with the most amazing, wonderful woman. That doesn’t mean I understand her. Understanding my wife begins with the realization that she is very different from me. She has different needs, emotions, reactions, and aspirations. These are not wrong simply because they are not masculine. We also use the term “understanding” to mean “giving someone the benefit of the doubt.” My wife deserves this as well. I should evaluate her in an understanding way, peppered with love and gentleness.
It is tempting for Christian men (especially those of us with excellent Christian wives) to abuse the marriage relationship so that we are the focus. Notice the way Christian marriage focuses on the other party: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered”(1 Pet 3:7). As I try to understand her, I show her honor. I focus on her. God did not create marriage so that man would have someone to fan him and bring him lemonade. Since we are heirs together and companions by covenant, my job as husband is to understand my wife and make her the focus of all my attention.
I cannot be frustrated with my wife because she doesn’t think about things like I do. I need to understand her need to talk things out—and indulge it. I need awareness of her need for me to show her my love for her continually, and to pay attention to the gestures I use to do that. I need patience with her, just as she needs patience with me. Perhaps most of all, I must show her, my children, and all those around me the place of tremendous honor and love she holds in my heart.
Lipservice to God’s plan for the home is fruitless. Men, let’s work hard to “live with (our) wives in an understanding way.”