What Your Spouse Really, Really Needs from You

They say that the best lovers are the ones who are the best learners. The best lovers have more than than sexual sizzle, since loving someone well requires that we pay attention and learn the nuanced ways of our loved ones: do they like gentle back tickles or more robust get-that-itch scratches? Should the peanut butter be crunchy or smooth? Do they need to debrief as soon as they get home from work, or do they need to decompress alone first? Love calls us to become experts in loving our spouses. There is a dangerous down-side to becoming an expert with regard to our spouses, though. Paying close attention to our spouse's habits can make us not just familiar with their ways, but judgmental of them in ways that are damaging. No one knows more than I do about my husband's sleep, eating, work, exercise, and grooming habits. I know what shows he's watched, what car he'd like to drive, what more than a few of his favorite things are. Apart from the Spirit of God who searches all things (who else knows the mind of a man but Him, after all?), I claim the undisputed Runner-Up Crown in the People-Who-Know-Him-Best contest; and he, in turn, bears the same title as the One-Who-Knows-Me.

But there is a fine line between familiarity breeding intimacy, and familiarity breeding contempt. Knowing the rhythms of another so closely that we become one another's warp to their weft also provides a prime opportunity for us to pick holes at one another, and so slowly start to unravel.

[You can finish reading the rest of this article at Start Marriage Right. Click here.]