In marriage and relationships, there are some really essential things that we need to put into practice if we are going to experience the joys of a Christ-centered marriage. And one of those is seeking understanding.
Shawn and I were recently going thru some Proverbs that spoke of seeking understanding. And although there were many shared by Solomon, the one that stuck out to us was Proverbs 18:2: "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion". Did I hear an "ouch"!! Oh, how each and every husband and wife should take those words in and ask the Lord to help them to begin practicing them more and more consistently! We must truly humble ourselves as we seek to understand what our spouse is trying to communicate to us more than what we are trying to say to them.
And while we could write more on this, we will save that for a later post. But check out below what Dennis Rainey has to say on this important topic of understanding:
The book of Proverbs is one of my favorites in the entire bible because it contains such practical wisdom about every day life. One theme that constantly pops up is the tremendous value of becoming a person of understanding. Take some time to read and consider the teaching of each of the following verses:
Apply your heart to understanding (2:2)
Understanding will watch over you (2:11)
Call understanding your nearest kin (7:4)
A man [or woman] of understanding walks upright (15:21)
Understanding is a wellspring of life to him [or her] who has it (16:22)
Understanding is never an end in itself, it is merely a vehicle to wisdom, direction, and to life. A person of understanding views life and people from God's own perspective. Understanding enables you to feel for another person, to identify with his or her struggles and difficulties, and to know what to say and what not to say. Oh how we need understanding in our marriages!
In the husband-wife relationship, your level of understanding often determines your level of acceptance. Having God's perspective of your spouse and how He designed him [her] to compliment you is essential if you are going to love him [her).
At a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember a few years ago, I talked to several women who described various problems in their marriages. One woman resented her husband's schedule. Another woman disagreed with her husband regarding how to discipline their children. A third spoke of how jealous her husband was of her time spent with her sister.
I gave essentially the same advice to all of these women: Seek to understand why your husband is feeling or acting this way. Focus on better understanding him, not on the negative circumstances and how you are affected. By his unwanted actions, is he communicating some unmet desire for affirmation, commitment, or loyalty?
Even if you don't understand your mate, give him or her your complete acceptance. Many couples are living in circumstances that are very difficult and they need God's guidance and power to be able to love their spouses well.
Why is understanding so important? Because without it, your spouse will feel that you are pressuring him or her to become something he or she is not. With it, your spouse will sense that you love him or her for who he or she is today, and not for what you hope he or she will become tomorrow.
Copyright from the FamilyLife Marriage Bible: Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Devotions for Couples, pp. 770.