The Bible commands husbands in 1 Peter 3:7
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.
What does it mean to live with your wife in an understanding way? What does it mean for a wife to live with her husband in an understanding way?
Tom and I are doing a marriage devotional together provided by the YouVersion app on our phones. It’s a 14 day reading plan on marriage, and today’s was on this very topic. The author presented a very provoking thought:
The dictionary traditionally defines understanding as ‘the faculty of the human mind by which it…comprehends the ideas which others express and intend to communicate.’ Yet in the Bible, understanding is not just a transfer of information, but empathy for the other person.
Empathy. That requires you to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and consider their trouble as if you were them! How many of us really do that? I think I’m more prone to try and convince Tom to see it my way and then he wouldn’t be struggling, at least that’s what my pride would have me believe. <sigh>
Husbands are the ones commanded specifically to do this with their wives, and maybe it’s because men typically don’t get women. Women don’t think like men, and we process our information in a completely different way than they do. But just because we’re different doesn’t mean one is right and the other is wrong. There are generally more ways than one to fix a problem. Even in math, which I don’t like I prefer words, there is more than one way to get the correct answer.
Maybe what it boils down to is a matter of preference?
To understand each other completely we need to be willing to defer our preferences to how our spouse prefers to process something. And then avoid the temptation to mock them or tease them for how they do it. What is of primary importance is to use the obstacles life brings us to learn and grow in our complete understanding of the other.
I love watching couples who have been married for decades for this very reason; they have learned through much practice how their spouse processes things, and they know how to read what they’re thinking before they speak a word. What a blessing it must be to reach that stage of life where you not only love your spouse completely, but your understanding of them reaches beyond what is visible.
Imagine how we will be able to pray for one another in that season? Let’s purpose to do all we can now to grow in our understanding of each another so our prayers will be all the more effective as we intercede on their behalf.