“I could eat chili every week,” I announced to my wife. The kids were just beginning to clean off the table and I was just beginning the second bowl. Filling it to the top, adding a light dusting of salt, and then some crushed crackers, I was in my glory.
“I could seriously eat this every week.”
I expected my wife to appreciate the compliment. Which I am sure she did, but her first response was more of a rebuke! “What? Why are you just telling me that now?” I assumed putting another spoonful of chili in my mouth would buy me some time to contemplate a reasonable excuse. It didn’t.
“Chili is so easy to make! Here I am always trying to come up with new ideas for what to make for dinner. I wish I would have known this 20 years ago when we were first married! I would have added chili to our menu every single week!”
I didn’t have a good rebuttal, other than continuing to eat my second bowl of chili. Since that conversation, we have enjoyed other healthy and creative meals. But most importantly, my wife has made chili almost every week. All because of new information. The knowledge. Even after nearly 20 years of marriage.
One of the qualities of a Christ-centered marriage is knowledge. Peter, when he was addressing husbands and wives, wrote specifically to husbands and challenged them not to be ignorant in their relationship with their wives. He writes, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7). Live with “gnosis” or knowledge of who your wife is and what it is she needs and desires. An ignorant life is dangerous; an ignorant marriage can be devastating.
Even after years or decades of living under the same roof, we can lack understanding. I would humbly suggest, as a husband and father, men need this reminder even more. Which is probably why Peter specifically addresses men to live with “knowledge.” So, what do we need to know about our wife? Here are four things husbands should know about their wives:
- Know what she needs– What is your wife struggling with? What does she need help with, protection from, or provision for? Start by simply asking your wife the question, “Is there anything I can do to help you right now?”
- Know what she loves– Unfortunately, my wife loves when I serve her by cleaning, doing laundry, and dishes, especially when not asked. I wish there was an easier way for her to feel loved! But there isn’t. What is it that makes your wife feel loved and cherished? The question is not whether you think she feels loved, the questions is, does she feel loved?
- Know what she fears– All of us struggle with fear and worry. Do you know what your wife is struggling within marriage, parenting, work, or some other area? Knowing what she fears to allow you to relieve some of the weight she is carrying. It enables you to encourage her and point her to greater trust and dependence in the Lord’s faithfulness.
- Know what she wants–And lastly, what is that your wife dreams about, desires to do, or really hopes for? Knowing what your wife hopes for can be a great source of joy and motivation to help her fulfill what God may be calling her to pursue.
Even after many years of marriage, most of us think we know our spouse better than we really do. So, don’t be content where you are. And don’t assume knowledge comes by accident, although it did for me over a bowl of chili. More times than not, it requires intentional and meaningful communication.
We need to take the time to pray, pay attention, and communicate. We love best when we listen often. Listening allows us to know and love our wife in a way that honors her, encourages her, and ultimately, points her to Jesus. Knowing your wife allows you to love your wife, even better than you already do.
Patrick Schwenk is a husband, father, pastor, and author. Along with his, wife, Patrick is the creator of For the Family and the author of For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House.