Do you really know your wife? Did you know that God commands you to know your wife? What does it mean as a Christian husband to know your wife? These are some questions I will try to answer in this next post in this series “How to be a godly husband”.
One of the best passages in all the Bible that speaks to a husband’s responsibilities to his wife is found in I Peter chapter 3.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:7(KJV)
In this post we will tackle just the first part of this verse – “dwell with them according to knowledge”, and in our next post(“12 Ways to honor your wife“) we will talk about what it means to honor your wife.
What does “dwell” mean?
The English word “dwell” in I Peter 3:7 is a translation of the Greek Word “Sunoikeo” (which is only used here in all the Bible) which is defined by Thayer’s and Smiths Bible dictionary as follows:
“to dwell together
of the domestic association
of intercourse of a husband and wife “
It was a word commonly used in the Greek language to refer to a man and a woman living in a sexual relationship together, it was used both of men with their wives, as well as men with their mistresses.
What does “knowledge” mean?
The English word “knowledge in I Peter 3:7 is a translation of the Greek Word “Gnosis” which is defined by Thayer’s and Smiths Bible dictionary as follows:
“knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding
the general knowledge of Christian religion
the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced
esp. of things lawful and unlawful for Christians
moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living”
This same Greek word is used 28 times in the New Testament, and I will draw your attention to two of them as I think it relates to this:
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – II Peter 3:18 (KJV)
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2 (KJV)
I believe, that in the same we need to grow in our knowledge of our Savior, we also need to grow in our knowledge of our wives. But we must also realize as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 13:2, that even if we know a lot about our wives, if we don’t have love, then our knowledge of her will be useless.
Previously I wrote a posted entitled “The 12 attributes of marital love” where I explored this wonderful passage of Scripture – which defines love as God sees it, rather than the way we in modern times understand love.
When husbands are commanded to love their wives, it is with this same “agape” love that is defined for us in I Corinthians 13, and it is an unconditional love based in duty, commitment and action.
So what does it mean to live with your wife according to knowledge?
When we put together everything we have seen so far, God is saying this in I Peter 3:
“Husbands as you live in this sexual relationship with you wife, get to know her, talk to her, understand how she ticks and use this knowledge you gain to love her better.”
You can’t know your wife, without talking to your wife
Guys – God is literally telling us as husbands – “you have to talk to your wife”. Communication in Christian marriage is not some “nice to have”, it is essential and commanded by God. Some Christian husbands may have liked in previous posts were I alluded to God’s commands that a husband and wife are to have sex, and they may not deny one another. In many marriages, those commands regarding sex are more difficult for the woman to handle (and much more controversial as the hundreds of emails I got can attest to).
But here is a command that is difficult for us as husbands (and I am sure I won’t have one protest from one wife about this) – that we has husbands must talk with our wives.
And guess what guys – even if our wife is denying us sexually, we don’t have the right to stop talking to her. Two wrongs never make a right. It is a natural and sinful reaction by many men, that if their wives give them the cold shoulder in bed, they give their wives the cold shoulder outside of the bedroom, but this is part of our sin nature and we must combat it. We must talk with and interact with our wives no matter what.
In fact often times we will discover, that if our wives do give us the cold shoulder in bed, it is because they need to talk, that we have not been doing our job in talking to them.
And guess what guys – a secret many men discover is, when you talk to your wife outside the bedroom (and outside the context of sex completely), often times you will find your wife much more responsive to the way you want to “communicate” in the bedroom.
10 Ways to know your wife better(and yes they all involve talking)
OK so I said it – God commands us a husbands to know and talk with our wives, to know our wives. But how do we talk to them? Here are 10 ways to talk with your wife:
1. Talk about your faith
Talk about your faith, and ask your wife what she wants to pray for. I think it is a good habit for couples to get into that they pray each night together before bed. I think that we as husbands can learn a lot about our wives by just asking what she wants to pray about, and she can learn a lot about us by what we want to pray about. As part of this talking about our faith, we should also as Christian husbands and wives be able to talk about what we heard on Sunday in Church, or what we have read in the Bible that week, something online, or maybe in a book we are reading.
2. Talk about your day
When you talk to your wife about your day, make sure to give detail. Most of us husbands when our wives ask us how our day at work went will say “it was fine”. But wives’ often want more detail like “was it busy”, “was it stressful”, they want to know about the interpersonal relationships you have at work – it takes some doing for most of us husbands, especially at the end of the day when we don’t feel like talking, but if your wife wants to know, you need to open that up to her.
3. Talk about her day
Do not forget to ask her about how her day was! And be prepared to listen intently. Some days she may want to talk about the kids, but other days it might be stuff about her mom or her friends. It might be nothing but stuff she saw on TV that day, but whatever it is, listen and interact. Make sure when you are talking with her that she has your undivided attention. If that means turning off the TV then do it. If that means closing the laptop then do it. If you are in the car and that means turning off the radio, then do it. Sometimes it means getting away from the kids – going to your bedroom and just talking (Nothing more).
4. Talking only for sex is a big no-no
Don’t just talk when you want to have sex. This is a big mistake a lot of us husbands make. We start making small talk with our wives only when we want to have sex – this is a big no-no, and it sets up the idea that you only want talk to your wife when you want sex.
5. Don’t always try to solve problems
Don’t try to solve all her problems, sometimes just listen. Notice I used the key word “sometimes”. That means as men God has made us natural problem solvers, and sometimes we may need to offer some advice, but other times we do not. We need to use discernment as to when we offer advice, and other times we just sit and listen.
6. Talk about her wants and needs
Ask your wife for ideas on things she would like for herself AND around the house. Make sure you get BOTH personal info (like the kinds of jewelry or flowers she likes, or trips she wants to take) and household things she wants. Women love getting new things for the house, but when you only get her household items and never personal items just for her, it can cause her to grow resentful toward her home and we don’t want that to happen.
7. Know her hopes and dreams
Know your wife’s hopes and dreams, and within your ability to do so, try to make some of them come true. Many women will just come right out with these kinds of things, and most of the time we as husbands have only to listen, and remember. With some wives it may take some prying, as some Christian women think they are being selfish when they talk about such things, but a Christian husband needs to make his wife comfortable with this kind of talk. We as husbands ought to feel secure in sharing our hopes and dreams with our wives as well, and this helps to strengthen the bond and connection between a husband and wife.
8. Know her fears and worries
Ask your wife about what her fears are, what makes her worry, what stresses her out, and what ways you can do to help relieve her stress, worries and fears. Every husband should know his wife’s fears and worries and he should do everything in his power to alleviate those things, and protect her from those things. Most women have deep longing for security, and when we as husbands listen to her fears and worries, and offer her comfort, we can help to give her that security that she needs.
9. Know what she wants in the bedroom
Have the sex conversation from time to time. Some men don’t ever want to talk about this – they just want to do it and no words need to be said. Other men talk about it too much. What I mean is – they are constantly bugging their wives to rate their performance in the bedroom, or tell them what they did wrong or right, and no woman wants that. What I mean by “Have the sex conversation” is as a couple, whether you are comfortable with it, or she is comfortable with it, you need to occasionally talk about you sex life. Ask her is there anything you could do differently in this department? Are there things she likes that you could do more of? Are there things she really does not like that you do? Does she feel like you are not having sex enough for her?
10. Know what she is missing
Have the “what have you been missing from me lately?” conversations. Basically this is a catch all conversation that asks your wife to let you know what needs she feels you have not been meeting. This takes a really secure husband to ask this kind of question, and we all have to get to that point where we can ask it, and receive the answers. Obviously her answers need to be couched in respect and love, but your wife needs to feel free to let you know these things so that your relationship can be stronger.
In getting to know and in talking with your wife you need to actually take that knowledge and put it into action! Surprise her one night by bringing her home that piece of jewelry she wanted (and not just on your anniversary). If she has let you know how stressful things have been lately, tell her you are bringing home take out so she does not have to cook, or tell her you will take over with the kids and send her to her favorite nail salon so she can get some pampering and stress relief.
The next post in this series will be “12 Ways to honor your wife“.