When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church, he gives her the greatest sense of identity. Peter addresses husbands specifically in his first letter. In chapter 3, and verse 7, he exhorts husbands to “…live (dwell) with your wives in an understanding way (or with understanding)”. The King James makes it sound a little different. It says, “Husbands dwell with them according to knowledge.” This seems to transcend the ideas of what she does or provides for the household. It’s more than relating to her as the housekeeper, cook, family nurturer, organizer, etc. David Jeremiah suggests, “a husband should live with his wife on the basis of her alone—who she is as a person. The only way he can love her is to know her. He is not married to a generic woman. He is married to a unique individual who has no exact twin on the face of the earth. For a husband to think that he can love his wife on the basis of what he knows about the female gender in general is preposterous.”

I’ve often said that there are two things every man must know about women in order to relate to them successfully. But nobody knows what those two things are? It definitely transcends our meager understanding of women in general, but the important thing is to remember that your spouse is a unique individual and knowing her, understanding her, will be the key to a healthy relationship. I like what Jeremiah adds to his comments: “He is not married to the female gender; he is married to a one-of-a-kind person who has not been described in any book. Taking the time to know her—discovering her identity, who she really is—is the only way he can truly love her. And it is the key to affirming her identity. Nothing is as affirming to a wife’s identity than for her husband to love her more the more he gets to know her.”

After 43 years of marriage, I still learn some remarkable things about my wife that I didn’t know before. Occasionally she’ll share some thought or feeling or concern with me that seems alien to what I know about her. I have to reevaluate my impressions! Every little thing I know about my wife helps me to love her better. As it is with God, the more we get to know Him, the more we learn to love Him. I find that true with my wife. Just studying her sometimes when she’s not looking awakens observations about her I’ve not had before. I love Chris De Burg’s song, “The Lady in Red.” Kathy is my lady in red. Many are the times I look at her and want to sing, “’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight, I’ve never seen you shine so bright,…And I have never seen that dress you’re wearing, Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes, I have been blind…” Many are the times in contemplating my wife do I make observations that lead me to say, “I have been blind.”