Continuing in the Principle of Adore and Respect, Lesson 12 delves into the topic of Understanding. The main idea is:
“God calls you to live with your spouse in “an understanding way.” This means you will need to become a student of your spouse so that you can best love and celebrate them. Your relationship with your spouse is also tied to your relationship with God.”
“Your relationship with your spouse is also tied to your relationship with God.” This one statement is the lynch to this whole lesson. If we get this, it will change how we will move forward.
“We need to be servants to one another by studying our spouse and not just be looking out for #1 which is our natural bent. If you want a better marriage then we need to always be looking out for ways to love and respect our spouse.”
“Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, my side, and the truth.” J. Michael Straczynski
The key to understanding people and especially your spouse in every situation is seeing all three sides…Understanding happens at the confluence of all three. Persevere to understand the one God has blessed you with!!
I love how this lesson started out,
“God made you different, and your differences actually help you to be stronger as a couple then you are alone. By understanding some of these differences, you’ll be better able to serve and celebrate your spouse and help them become the person God has uniquely created them to be.”
Psalms 139:13-14 talks about being “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and that is the truth for sure but you know what else is the truth? Your spouse is fearfully and wonderfully made too! AND they were made in God’s image (see Genesis 1:27). When we tear down our spouse, we are tearing down God’s masterpiece! That is why we need to understand the person God has blessed us with and focus on that as a team, together you are better!
I love how the book posed this challenge to us…
“The challenge all couples face in marriage is to view these differences in a way that will actually bring you together and strengthen your marriage, rather than pushing your apart or driving a wedge between you.”
It is important to remember that we will experience spiritual warfare; Satan will exploit those differences to try at increase that “wedge between you.”
“Your differences are from God and are intended to create a stronger combined entity (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). You are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27-28), and you are to celebrate the unique ways God has created each of you.”
1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) says,
“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.”
Live with your spouse in an understanding way. What does that mean to you?
The book made 2 points about this verse that I want to share. First that “weaker vessel” means “physically weaker, not of less value.”
They made a great comparison between a crystal glass and Thermos both having value but for different purposes…
“A crystal glass is weaker than a Thermos, but the Thermos does not possess more values than the glass. In the same way, while a woman may be physically weaker, she is not in any way less valuable than her husband.”
In the last post, ★ Re|Engage – Expectations ★ I shared about my wife’s uncle who married us that he gave me some great advice when he performed the marriage counseling. The parallel between the wine glass and Thermos reminds me of another piece of advice that he gave me to be a “bull in a china shop.” Men need to understand their wives are delicate and precious just how a wine glass is.
The second point from 1 Peter 3:7 that the lesson made was that “a clear connection exists between the way you understand (or don’t understand) your spouse and your spiritual intimacy.”
For men, Peter makes the distinction that if we fail to do so, our “prayers may be hindered.”
“The implication is that you cannot separate your relationship with God from your relationship with your spouse.”
So like anything in life, the only way to understand anything is to study it right? Here is a great question to ask your spouse periodically…How am I doing showing you love or respect? And then listen and learn from what they say.
I like what they said in the lesson that understanding and studying your spouse…
“is a lifelong process…it requires time and attention. It requires intentional effort such as regularly dating one another, purposefully pursuing one another and taking time to communicate with one another.”
Here is a great prayer to pray to God:
Show me one way to love and respect my spouse. Let me see my spouse through your eyes.
I will close with this great advice from James McDonald who suggested these 4 things to improve your marriage:
“Nothing will transform your marriage like spending time on your marriage.”
- 15 minutes a day(just talking to your spouse) – Guys don’t pull out a stop watch to time it!
- 1evening per week (spend time together)
- 1 day per month(really devoted to your marriage)
- 1 weekend per year (To a conference or something to really improve your marriage)
“The opportunity we have to live with our spouses in an understanding way is one of the greatest challenges and privileges we experience in marriage.”
If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Emotional Intimacy ★
If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…