Is There a Right Way to Pursue Your Spouse?
Marriage Secret #7:
"I want my spouse to pursue me."
Pursuit is a common want in life. Everyone wants to be pursued in some fashion, whether it's at their job to do some special project, to be recruited to play on a team of some sort, or to be asked by friends to come and do some fun thing. It's no different in marriage. Husbands and wives want to be pursued by one another, however they often see the process of pursuit very differently. Is there a right way to pursue your spouse? Yes...it's the way that says, "I love you" to your spouse.
In the marriage context, there are two ways to pursue your spouse that usually means the most to them. It's either pursuing your spouse via romance or by listening.
Ephesians 5:28-30 (NASB) says,
"So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body."
When this scripture says to the husband that they need to nourish their wife, it is this idea of pursuing your spouse on a regular basis in order to meet a deep emotional need in her. In today's terms, that means taking her on a date where there is something enjoyable for both of you to do together and time for talking, listening, and exploring thoughts and feelings. A husband needs to take time to spend time with his wife to know her emotionally, mentally, spiritually, as well as physically.
First Peter 3:1-4 (NASB) says,
"In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."
When the Scripture says that a wife should develop the qualities of a quiet and gentle spirit, it is exposing a need in her husband to be pursued through attention, listening, and calm in spite of the emotional content of the things he may say.
Notice that Scripture recognizes how both spouses are saying, "Pursue me," but both are to be pursued in different ways. Both have the need to be pursued so each needs to find the way that works for their spouse and pursue them in that way. One spouse (usually the female, but not always) says, "If you really love me, then you would go out of your way at least once a week to spend time with me, pamper me, and get to know me." The other (usually the man, but not always) says, "If you really love me, then you will want to listen to my ideas and stories with interest, attention, and questions." I recognize that not all people fit in the same male-female mold in this area, so if this is you, realize that you are a special minority and the pursuit needs can be met in whatever way is most meaningful to you.
How does this work out practically?
For a woman to feel pursued, she wants to know that there is thought and effort that goes into planning a time just for the two of you. Husbands, try to set aside time this week for a date that would be enjoyable for both of you. It should incorporate some time talking and uninterrupted focused time on her. Ask questions about her day, about thoughts and feelings on the events of the week, or even topics that explore the outer reaches of her mind and emotions. Throw yourself into this time with massive focus and resist the urge to look at your cell phone in any way. If you do, you will reap massive connection and reward.
If the weekly date is handled right it can be a time of pursuit for both parties. But it depends if the talking and listening elements were met in both spouses or not. I have found that men generally need to be pursued in the area of listening typically once a week, whether that occurs on date night or another night. This is very important in making them feel pursued by their wife. It fills an emotional need when there is time set aside to allow the husband to talk and express while his wife listens intently and calmly-with a gentle and quiet spirit. Men feel valued if someone important, someone they care about listens to their speculative ideas that enter their mind and the stories of their day. It is imperative for a wife to stay sober while hearing his dislocating ideas or the same stories over and over. It is not always easy. Listening to your spouse talk about "trout farms," "moving to another city," "a way to be my own boss," and "the time I won the football game in high school," communicates that you are a safe person he can trust. The key is to not react at all to these ideas as if they will all happen. Just let him talk and get it out; let him explore. You can shut these down later if they aren't practical.
What a gift you can give to each other to block out special times each week to pursue each other. I am deeply saddened to realize how many couples never become intimate friends with their spouse because they refuse to give this little gift of focused attention for an hour or a few hours on a date each week. It makes all the difference in the world. Try it this week and see what happens!
(Taken from an excerpt from Dr. Gil's new book, Marriage Secrets, coming out soon.)
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead. In His service,
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
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