Friday, July 01, 2011

Wives Must Pursue Their Husbands

by CWK

I opened to my beloved,
   but my beloved had turned and gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not;
    I called him, but he gave no answer. 
                                                                  -Song of Songs 5:6, ESV

The Song of Songs ought to be required reading in premarital counseling. It addresses several issues that are overlooked on the "Marriage" shelf at the Christian bookstore. For example, chapter 5 addresses one of the difficulties inherent in marriage and love: the pursuing man who loses heart occasionally, and withdraws.

In my marriage counseling experience, one of the difficulties women soon find in marriage has to do with the reserved demeanor of their husbands. Now, it is a cliche that men are more reserved by nature, and tend to withdraw. A cliche, yes, but just like in most cliches, there's truth in the details.

Yep, men, often withdraw -- especially when they are overwhelmed, or spurned, or discouraged. Them's the facts. What's a girl to do? Let's take another look at The Song.

In chapter 5 of the Song of Songs, verse 6 to be exact, the woman seeks the man out. She looks for him. This is something we don't often talk about. We often praise men who pursue their wives over the course of a marriage, and fail to mention that wives also are called on, from time to time, to pursue their husbands.

But how? Women especially need to develop this talent of ‘looking for’ their mate when he withdraws. This is a hard process, but well worth it. If he is frustrated, it might be helpful to ask some gentle questions: seek to understand him, to get to the bottom of it. It requires some patience to get to the bottom of another’s heart. 

In addition, christian wives should seek out their husbands gifts -- look intently to see where his strengths lie. As Chesterton puts it, you have to love something FIRST to make it lovely. Men need to know they are strong, and they will become stronger. Honest and sincere appreciation and respect enables a man to be more courageous. But first, you gotta look for his strengths, and take the time to figure them out.  

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