How to See Your Wife

How to See Your Wife

Empowered by the truth that God keeps me as “the apple of [his] eye” (Psalm 17:8), I made the commitment to be a man who takes literally the command that “each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Over the years, I have landed on three practices that promote a marriage culture that sees: stop, scribe, and speak.

The scene was reminiscent of a scary movie. Julia walked out to the church parking lot and found an ominous note taped to her car window: “I SEE YOU!”

Though she thought I was hundreds of miles away, I was actually nearby, watching the entire scene unfold. When she began to nervously look around, I took that as my cue and drove up next to her. As she stared in shock, I asked in the smoothest way possible, “Wanna take a ride?” (Yes, I had rehearsed it many times.) She joyfully got in the car, and a few hours later, I got down on one knee and asked if she would marry me. She said yes.

The cryptic three-word message was actually not the way I intended to start the morning. I had crafted the perfect poem to start our engagement day, but it got lost somewhere between my hotel and the church. With only a few seconds to write something, “I SEE YOU!” was all I could come up with.

We used to think our engagement was perfect except for those hastily written three words. Ironically, after 22 years of marriage, that note has become one of our favorite parts of the day. In fact, one of our marriage goals is to regularly and intentionally communicate what first happened on accident: “I see you.” While many fantasize about falling in love at first sight, we’ve discovered a better dream: a marriage that furthers love with each additional sight.

God Saw

It took a few years of marriage before I realized the power of sight as a way to pursue Julia. Up to that point, I was focused on developing my listening skills. Then, right when I began to make progress on that, God revealed (in perfect Godlike fashion) a new need for development: looking skills. We get a glimpse of the power of sight in the way God describes Israel’s suffering in Egypt:

God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel — and God knew. (Exodus 2:24–25)

By developing our listening and looking skills, we unlock a powerful combination in our marriages. When we listen, we communicate that our wife has been heard. When we look, we communicate that she is known and understood.

Unfortunately, far too many wives are overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness. Day after day, they feel invisible to the man they love. When I reflect on my own marriage and the real reasons why I don’t actively bless my wife as God intends, I admit that one of my main obstacles is optical. I don’t actually see what’s happening around me because I’m not really looking.

Savior with Wide Eyes

My breakthrough started with a study on all that Jesus noticed. Our Savior walked through life with eyes wide open. Jesus noticed Nathaniel under a tree (John 1:48) and Zacchaeus up in a tree (Luke 19:5). He noticed John’s disciples following at a distance (John 1:38) and the touch of one desperate woman while the masses pressed around him (Luke 8:45).

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