Almost nine years ago I married the man of my dreams. He was sweet, nerdy, and loved God. We laughed the entire day as we looked at different things that said, “This wedding is all about us.” He walked the aisle to the Imperial Death March from Star Wars. I chose BBQ for the dinner. We were opening the doors to marriage. Everything screamed, these two crazy nerdy people are going to do life together.
We have done a lot of life together!
So much has happened in the last eight years. We have welcomed two beautiful children to the world. We have relocated and purchased a home. Together we have been on the ground floor of two amazing ministries. I work with teen moms and he serves teen fathers. We have walked through MRSA, Asthma, Dyslexia, multiple surgeries, car accidents, and many sleepless nights! I can't begin to sum up all the life changes in the last eight years.
Something else happened in the last eight years. We became different people. We didn't mean to. We really didn't. However, life stretches you. It changes you. Having children, changing homes, starting ministries, and so on all leave a mark on who you are. We have changed and now we need to get to know each other again.
My husband has been sneaky!
He doesn't think I catch him but I do. He has been studying me. I don't mean he has been a creepy lurker. Instead, he has invested a lot of time learning about what I am interested in. He has poured his heart into understanding me and my world. Let me tell you something, it works. I have never felt more loved, valued, or important as I have in the last few months. It's not about the things he has done though. It's about the heart behind it. He loves me enough to get to know me all over again.
I better get sneaky too!
Because I am not as awesome as my husband I have had to work harder at this. Lets be honest, he is just better at loving me. It seems effortless for him. He gets a bachelors while I am rocking a high school diploma. Don't get me wrong! I love him more than my whole world. I just don't speak I love you as fluently! After watching him studying me I am starting to try the same with him.
You can study your spouse.
If you are with someone who has changed with time you may look at them and think, “I don't know this person anymore.” Instead of deciding to accept it or end it I want to encourage you to become a student. Take some time and study that person all over again. You may find that the person they have grown into meshes up pretty well with the person you have grown into.
How to study your spouse:
- Find out what they are in to. – This sounds simple but it's so true. In order to become a student of your spouse you first need to know what they are in to.
- Ask them about their interests. – Let's be honest, asking your spouse about what they love can equal a flood of information. Ask them to simplify it for you. It's ok to ask for the cliff notes.
- Focus on one aspect of their interest – I am a whovian! (Doctor Who fan!) My husband can't understand the entirety of every Doctor Who episode ever aired and the implications of every plot twist. He started with one episode at a time. He started small and you can too. Find a small part of that interest and build from there. (He is now a fan for all the whovians who ask.)
- Don't complain about what they love. – If you complain about the event or hobby your spouse loves you have taken away any chance of building your relationship with that interest. Being a student of your spouse means putting yourself on the back burner sometimes. Love is best shown by saying, I value you more than me.
- Study their interests without them knowing! – My husband will read blogs and news stories about Doctor Who so that he can talk to me about it. Does he like it? Not really. He does it because then we have a topic to discuss that I enjoy. Take the time to learn about your spouse's interests without them knowing. Not only will it say, “I love you,” it will also say, “I think about you when we aren't together.”
Being a student of your spouse doesn't mean hard work. It means being deliberate about being part of their world.
In what ways are you a student of your spouse?