With Valentine’s Day approaching in a few weeks I have been thinking a lot about my wife and a weekend get-away we are planning. I plan to charm her with as much romance as I can squeeze out of this granite brain of mine. Knowing my wife, and her commitment to the Bible, I know she will be blessed the most by a type of romance that is rooted in the Word of God. God is, after all, our creator and marriage is the first human relationship He created. That being the case we would expect the Word of God to have something to say about romance as part of marriage. And, of course, it does.
Any attempt at romance must begin with an understanding of who is being addressed. What is perceived as romance to my wife, may not go over the same in someone else’s marriage. First Peter 3:7 tells us, “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.” I can already hear the objections. “It is impossible to understand my wife. She’s irrational. She doesn’t make any sense…” Trust me, there have been times when looking deeply into the eyes of my precious bride I think to myself, “I have no clue what you are talking about.” I do understand. Consider again what Peter is saying, “live with your wives is an understanding way.” He is not saying that husbands must understand our wives. He is not asking the impossible! :) He says to live with our wives in an understanding way. That’s different.
What is an understanding way? What does it take to show understanding to your wife? As with any act of obedience to our Savior it takes the power of God. Consider how the fruit of the Spirit applies to loving your wife. According to Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These fruits are all qualities given to us by the Holy Spirit that demonstrate understanding. Since we know that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) we can do this. Therefore, romance begins by letting the Spirit of God control us. What wife does not want their husband to be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled as well as bring love, joy, and peace to their marriage?
The Song of Solomon gives us some practical examples of a husband displaying romance through his understanding of his bride. In multiple places Solomon uses kind and gentle words with the woman he loves. He complements her looks. “Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful.” (1:15) He honors her above others. “As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women.” (2:2) He treats her gently. “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me!” He expresses his devotion. “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.” (4:9)
We would do well as Solomon did to pray for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1) as we seek to live with our wives in an understanding way. Ask God to help you through His Spirit to be the husband God intended you to be. As we meditate on His Word and seek to bless our wives, we would also do well to remember the warning given in 1 Peter 3:7. If we are not living with our wives in an understanding way, we are told that our prayers could be hindered. We must take that warning seriously and remember it when we are impatient, rude, or unloving towards our wives.
Finally, we must remember that there is no sacrifice too great when it comes to loving our wives as spelled out in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” When you consider all Christ has done for us, to save us when we were unworthy of being saved, it is only a small thing to yield to the Holy Spirit and love our wives by living with them in an understanding way.
Please join me this Valentine’s Day in applying God’s Word to our marriages and loving our wives. And may you rejoice in the wife of your youth everyday of your marriage. (Proverbs 5:18)