LESSONS LEARNED FROM 57 YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wife. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard.”
– I Peter 2:7 NLT
After spending fifty-seven years together in marriage, my wife and I have concluded that one of the most important verses in Scripture regarding marriage is the Apostle Peter’s statement given above.
Peter was, himself, a married man, and no doubt knew what it meant to treat your wife in an understanding way. At the heart of understanding is knowledge, intelligence and discernment. To understand your wife is to know your wife, in the deepest sense. I have known my wife for over a half century and I am still discovering things about her that I did not know. The opposite of understanding is dullness, stupidity and ignorance. To treat your wife in an understanding way is to know her, her likes and dislikes, her preferences, her strengths, her weaknesses, and to seek the best for her in every aspect of life.
Here are a few ways, I believe we can show our wives understanding. I will be the first to say that there is STILL room for improvement on my part in treating my wife with understanding.
Love her unconditionally, in word and deed. My wife seems to never grow tired of my sharing my love for her.
Listen to her. She needs your full attention when conversing with you. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. She is not always expecting a solution, just understanding.
Show affection to her, in public and in private. Touch, hug, kiss, and affirm, just because you love her and are proud to be married to her. Never show affection to another woman that should be shown to your life’s partner.
Never make your wife the butt of your jokes or the object of your humor. Laugh with her, but not at her. Words truly spoken.
Court your wife throughout your marriage. Have at least a weekly date night. Make her feel special by giving her flowers or gifts for no reason other than you love her.
Do things your wife likes to do. My wife loves to go to consignment shops and antique stores. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but I gladly go because I love her.
Give her space when space is needed. If you study her you will know when those times are.
Protect her from things, including assignments, that cause her anxiety.
Help her, with joy, when there are things that need to be done, large or small.
Commend and affirm her. When was the last time you paid her a sincere compliment for who she is, for what she has done, or for the way she looks?
Be quick to repent, confess, and forgive.
Spending quality time with your spouse will produce rich dividends, PLUS God will hear and answer your prayers. And, ladies, I must say that understanding is required of you, if we are to build and maintain a vibrant, love-filled marriage.
I try to work each day on improving my marriage. It’s that important to me, and to the ministry to which God has called me.