When I was being trained as a minister, one of the primary points of emphasis was expositional preaching. I remember the concept “context is king” being drilled into my head like it was yesterday. It went a little like this: “Rudy, we must know what it meant to them to know how it applies to us today. Rudy, what’s the historical distance? Exegete the text, Rudy! Think exegetically, Rudy! Preach expositional sermons, Rudy!”
OK, OK, OK, I got it.
When it comes to our marriages, however, we are not taught to seek to understand our spouses to the same degree. As ministers and Christians, we often know more about a culture from 2,000 to 7,000 years ago than we do about the living and breathing blessing in the present. Oh yes, we know, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). But we don’t live like understanding our “good thing” is a priority.
Husbands: Single-Case Detectives
Maybe no one mentored or taught us to live in an investigative way with our wives, but the Word of God teaches us to do just that. Peter wrote, “Husbands, . . . be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands, this verse means we are detectives with a caseload of one. The words kata gnōsin, translated “understanding way” in the English Standard Version or “considerate” in the New International Version (more literally, “according to knowledge” or “with understanding”), means that husbands are to live with their wives in an investigative way.
Peter pointed out that husbands should understand and be considerate of their wives’ spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Paul also elaborated on the husband’s responsibility to protect and care for his wife, “just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28–30). So, husbands, until we know our wives like Christ knows the church, we have some studying to do.
Husbands, investigate your wife like she’s your only case. Each morning, show up to life with one human being to kata gnōsin (live with in an understanding or investigative way). Consider this: most police precincts attempt to keep their detectives’ caseload at a minimum to improve case quality (or case preparation) and case closures. From the beginning, God has called husbands to leave . . . and cleave to one wife (Genesis 2:24, King James Version). So, God has given each of us a caseload of one for the purposes of case quality (let’s call that intimacy) and case closure (let’s call that transparency).
5 Investigations for Husbands
I will leave you with a few simple ways you can “investigate” your wife. I don’t have the space to treat these in-depth here, but Osharye and I will come back around to discuss them in the coming months. Husbands, we should . . .
- investigate our relationships (date our wives),
- investigate her soul (create spiritual connections),
- investigate her interests (experience things she likes),
- investigate how she communicates (learn her love languages), and
- investigate who she’s becoming (meet her again and again, for she is not the same woman you originally met or married).
Can I challenge you, men? In 1 Peter 3:7, I believe God challenges husbands to live with their wives in an investigative way. I believe God tells us, in that verse, that it’s our responsibility to maintain the oneness in our marriage and that our tool to do so is to investigate our wives! When we consider (kata gnōsin) her, like God considered us, we will then be co-heirs as we were in the beginning.
My encouragement is simply this: Investigate your wife like she’s your only case. God’s looking for case quality (intimacy) and case closure (transparency). For, after Christ, she is your life’s work. She is God’s holy daughter entrusted to you in like manner as the church has been entrusted to Christ.
Don’t exegete the text and forget to study your wife. If there is anything we should be able to expound on, it is on the blessing that is our God-given bride. Yes, be well-versed in the biblical cultures, but hold a PhD when it comes to the breathing blessing who is your caseload of one. For we know, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Now let us commit to living like understanding/investigating our “good thing” is a calling. When we do, we will investigate (kata gnōsin) our wife like she is our only case! Because she is.