“I need an hour of your time tomorrow,” my husband said with a smile. He had just returned from exploring some new sections of a mountainside creek near our home. Intrigued, and excited by the prospect of an hour together sans kids, I agreed.
The next day, we hopped in the car for our little mystery adventure. After a short drive, he led us to a trail I had never seen before. Since my husband is a landscape photographer, I assumed he was probably taking me to some new grand vista, or maybe a roaring waterfall he had found (he loves waterfalls). Instead, we followed the twists and turns of a brisk, bubbling creek, scrambled over boulders and ducked under low branches until we arrived at a hidden hillside bursting with tiny, perfectly ripe wild strawberries.
Tears stung the corners of my eyes. I love strawberries … but that’s not what got to me. I was grinning ear to ear because my husband braved muggy heat and mosquitoes to make my soul smile. My heart melted because he knew this simple adventure would be my favorite “date.”
I stared first at the strawberry patch, then at my husband, and then back at the strawberries. At that moment, I was struck by a powerful thought: My husband knows me. Ephesians 5:31-33 came to mind:
“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself.”
One of the great gifts God has tucked into the aspect of “becoming one flesh” in marriage is the opportunity to be known. God knows us intimately and wants to be known in return. And He has designed marriage to tangibly display this kind of intimate relationship for the world to see. So how can we foster that kind of knowing with our spouse?
- Be a student. We are all works in progress, growing and changing as we age, mature and experience life’s ups and downs. If we want to know our spouse, it will take an ongoing commitment to study him or her through every life stage.
- Champion your spouse’s interests. Philippians 2:4 says that we should look out for others’ interests, not just our own. We show that we know our spouse when we can anticipate what they’d prefer and then make the choice to sacrifice our own desires or preferences for them.
- Focus on the good. Knowing our spouse means we’ll also become acquainted with their shortcomings. Focusing on their strengths and accomplishments, and being patient with the rest, is a tremendous gift to our spouse. A gift we’d love to receive in return!
Think about your marriage. How has your spouse changed in the past five years? Think of one of your spouse’s strengths you can recognize and show appreciation for today.
As the sun sank low behind the western hills, we picked the strawberries, and then laughed and ate until our fingers were sticky and the patch was bare. That night I reveled in the deep, satisfying gift of being known and pondered how to return the favor.