When I was growing up in the 70's there was a game on TV called "The Newlywed Game" . There would be about 4 couples (newlyweds of course) and they would take turns trying to predict what the other spouse (secluded off stage) would say about that their answers . The spouse that was secluded off stage was then brought in and the fun began. Many of them didn't know their new spouse as well as they thought. There are similar games played nowadays at marriage showers and couples events.
But I would contend that most couples that have been married for many years don't really know their spouse either, even though they think they do. And actually, while it is not at the heart of our arguments (selfishness would rank high there), it certainly contributes greatly to the problem. Here is a simple task that I believe is biblically directed to the husband, but by implication also to the wife.
Start a list of your spouse's characteristics. That is, start taking note of what bugs them, what gives them joy, what they are very particular about, etc... Do they like to be 5 minutes early? Are they detail oriented? What makes them anxious? What gives them peace and rest? Do they like to talk? What do they like to talk about? Does it bother them if you wear the same clothing two times in a row even if you think it is not dirty? When and how do they like to be intimate? What hinders intimacy? What do they like to do in their spare time: outdoor activity or indoor?
I could go on and on. And some things seem to fall into the male and female category as to tendencies. The point is that you will be surprised if you consciously start taking note (literally) of those times when something "bugs" or pleases your spouse or just how and when they like things.
Now, I'm a bit outdated as I still carry 3x5 cards in my pocket to write down notes. However, most of you will have "smartphones" and are able to conveniently record as you observe or think of your spouse's tendencies.
Try to be as detailed as possible in your observations. You may start off with general observations but try to get more and more detailed.
We will discuss the use of these lists next time, but for now, do your assigned homework, students! Yes, we are commanded to be students of our spouse:
I Peter 3:7 "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way..."
Men are to be examples to their wives as Christ is to The Church (Eph 5:25). We men need to understand that we are constantly instructing our wives (by what we do and say) and what we are teaching will come home to "roost" for good or evil. But that is a subject that we will get to another time.
Wives, you don't need to wait around for your husband to do this "exercise".
Women are commanded in Scripture to respect their husbands, evidently a big deal to men Biblically (and according to many surveys).
Eph. 5:33 "...and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
Since that is so, you need to find out what makes them "tick". Make your list!
For now, make that list! I am ashamed to say that I just did this a couple of months ago (after 35 years) and I found it to be very helpful in understanding my wife.
I believe if you take the time to do this, it will be a great help in working toward a better, more blessed marriage...especially if you are just getting started in marriage.
By the way, listen carefully to what your spouse says during the day and you will find a wealth of clues!
Pastor Robert was born in San Antonio but came back to Northeast MO where his mother's family has roots. He received his B.S. in Education from Asbury University in 1988. He and his wife Kerri have raised three children and have enjoyed starting a U-Pick blueberry farm. Robert has always been passionate about teaching God's Word and it has been a joy for him to lead the saints at Faith Baptist Church since 2015.