To the Newly Married

There is a fascinating verse in Deuteronomy. It isn’t marriage advice; it is a marriage command.

When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.1 (Deu 24:5 KJV)

The command is for a newly married husband to refrain from anything that takes him away from his home for a year. And the purpose of this command is so that he can “cheer up” his wife.

That’s an unfortunate translation. It means something in English that it doesn’t mean in Hebrew. In Hebrew the basic meaning of the word is to rejoice, to exult. In the form that the word is in, it means to cause that state in someone. In other words, the husband is to “make his wife rejoice.”

This is where it gets endlessly wonderful. Women are fascinating creatures; each one created just a little different. They are almost like a puzzle to be solved. God created men and women in such a way that you can’t really learn about your spouse through a how-to book or even a class. Of course, everyone wants a shortcut, especially since we now live in a cursed world. But God didn’t change his creation because we became short-sighted, self-absorbed narcissists. The rule still applies. If you want a blessed and beneficial marriage, learn how to make your wife exult. What makes her tick? What does she fear? What does she dream of?

Do you know?

Peter wrote that we are to live with our wives with understanding (1 Peter 3:7), which is also what Moses is saying. Learn about your wife. Understand her. Think of it: God made marriage in such a way that you can only truly be blessed and happy if you learn to get to know someone other that yourself, and there are no shortcuts. You actually have to take the time to do it.

But, contrary to millions of self-appointed marriage gurus, it isn’t “hard work”, any more than sanctification is hard work. Rather, it is growth, joy, love, pressing toward the mark with uplifted head. We aren’t slaves drudging through mines, but children on our way to glory! What better way to picture this great truth than the marriage of two lovers, learning to exult in one another.

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Women aren’t meant to be understood; they are meant to be loved.” But this is the raving of a narcissist who thinks very highly of himself. Guys, do away with the jokes about not understanding women. You are commanded to do just that. But to do that you have to put off your own self-absorption, and figure out how to listen. Listen with your ears, with your eyes, even with your finger-tips. She’ll let you know what causes her to exult, but you have to tune in.

The Bible says that you have a year. I always counsel newly-weds to turn the TV off and hole up together as much as possible for the first year. Don’t try to learn about your wife from stereotypes, books (especially of the “women’s place is in the home” variety) or locker room gossip. This is your wife you are learning about and she is the only one who can show you what causes her to exult. You are on a wonderful journey of discovery together.

In this day, one of the most prevalent ways to destroy the mystery and delight of loving a woman is pornography. If you cannot tell the difference between the sexual assault that is pornography and a loving relationship that is marriage, then please do not get married. Instead, repent and deal with your own abuse issues before you inflict yourself upon an unsuspecting wife. Marriage won’t cure your pornography issues. Only repentance will. You cannot learn how to cause a woman to rejoice by watching pornography. God did not create either you or her that way. There is no shortcut. you must put off yourself and your own lusts and actually learn to care about another person, namely, your wife.

The fascinating thing about marriage is that the learning never ends. Love and friendship and even romance blooms and grows more intense each year – once you learn how to listen.

If you have been married for a while and find your love growing stagnant, it is probably because you didn’t heed God’s command. Repent and ask your wife’s forgiveness for failing to understand her. Then start your year now. Turn the TV off. Give up boys’ nights out, and learn how to cause your wife to rejoice. It may not be too late.

Isn’t Hebrew fascinating?


Filed under Love, Marriage

10 responses to “To the Newly Married

  1. I just gave a mini-message to an engaged young lady at her bridal shower… I pulled out one of those massive dictionaries (1953)… you know…. big, just huge. I plopped it loudly onto a table and said to her and the ladies, “This is the amount of work men think it will take to understand his wife. Don’t you believe it!” I said, “That’s a lie!”

    I told her, if it’s a command in the Bible, it means it can be done. However, I added that in order for her groom to be able to do this, she would have to be honest. Give him something to work with. She would have to not shy away from expressing who she is, even if it differs from what he is or likes. And to stand on her precious ground. Hopefully she has done this enough during the engagement so he has a very good start at knowing the woman he is marrying!

    It is so wonderful to finally see it in writing from a man….
    “Me, Understand her???”
    “Yes, says the Commander!!!”

    Love this post!

  2. Pingback: To the Newly Married

  3. Pingback: To the Newly Married -IKTHUS.NET

  4. Cassandra Wright

    I hate it when men ask me, “What do women want,” as if it is one answer. I always tell them that I don’t know. I know what THIS woman wants, but I don’t know what other women do. I tell the guys to stop wasting their time asking ME and go ask HER. Oh, but they don’t want to admit that they don’t have it all put together. How silly.

  5. Pingback: A Few of My Favorite Things {September 2016} | The Trotter Family

  6. W

    This is such a great post! And it is ever so refreshing to hear from a man who seems to actually get it that porn is sexual assault. And yet so many men use it as a sex education guide of sorts and then do exactly as you said, Pastor Powell, they impose their [rapey, assaultive, horrible, unloving] so-called sexuality on some unsuspecting woman. People should know that not only is porn evil and wrong but it preys on vulnerable, traumatized, abused women and further destroys them. Many women, who are further abused by the porn industry, suicide.

    But what a lovely post! Your viewpoints are so right on, Pastor Powell! And the way you articulate such is so enjoyable to read. Many blessings to you! 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on My Only Comfort and commented:

    From the archives – but in time for wedding season.

  8. Anu Riley

    What a wonderful post, Sam, thank you so much!

    “God created men and women in such a way that you can’t really learn about your spouse through a how-to book or even a class…There is no shortcut. you must put off yourself and your own lusts and actually learn to care about another person, namely, your wife. The fascinating thing about marriage is that the learning never ends.”

    Shockingly, people (women included!) DO tend to dare to change (aka grow) over time as well. Many, if not almost all, of the things I used to enjoy and exalt in, I no longer do, or am unable to.

    Maybe that is frustrating and I can understand that: you think you have me figured out and I indicate otherwise.

    But it is also can be fascinating at the same time: you thought you had me all figured out? No, there are new “pieces” to me that weren’t there right away, and certain “old” pieces do not “fit” anymore.

    But some “pieces” are there (and should stay there) for good: The ones that say that I am not trying to play games, or drive you crazy, drive you away, or drive you to exhaustion!

    To be honest, I do not understand myself as well as I want to, which (ironically) does frustrate and fascinate me as well. We really are in this together. We’ll get it figured out together.

    Linus, my soul mate (from Peanuts) once worked himself up into a frenzy trying to “understand” the little girl who sat behind him in class. He was trying to be friendly and figure out what she was like, and she kept playing “hard to get” and changing the game on him numerous times, while he desperately tried to keep up!

    When asked why he was bothering with her, he said: “she fascinates me!”

    “Marriage won’t cure your pornography issues.” Marriage is not a problem solver, period, it IS a problem in of itself—but it is more precisely like a puzzle to be solved, which there ARE solutions to. But they won’t be found in anyone else but each other.

    I used to try to “solve the puzzle” through books or sermons and even what other wives said or thought, and TBH, they gave me the same message without meaning to: have you ever met your own husband? Do you know anything about him? Have you tried talking to him, asking him questions? He DOES speak your “Earth” language!

  9. Jon

    Women have to do nothing for husbands
    Husbands are basically slaves to their wives.

    No wonder men are abandoning christianity.

    It has basically become a woman worshipping religion.

    • I’m sorry, your argument is with Deuteronomy 24. The command is only to the husbands. You truly need to repent of your false religion. You are not thriving as you ought to be. You are caught in a world of those who enslave and those who are enslaved. But the world is so much larger now that Jesus has died to set us free. Live in that freedom and you will find rest for your soul.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s