YMJ018: Are you pursuing your spouse?
Are you pursuing your spouse?
HOSTS: Carey & Mindi Green
What you’ll hear on this episode
[2:03] Pursuit in Marriage: Lessons from the Bible
[06:32] Practical Ways to Pursue Your Spouse Daily
[20:38] Christ’s Pursuit of Us as an Example
TRANSCRIPT TO FOLLOW (not edited)
some of our adult kids saying, the ones that aren’t married especially, they’re in there talking about a guy friend and a girlfriend who are like at school and we’re wondering if they’re dating or whatever.
And one of the kids will say, no, she’s not that into him.
And we’ve, we just kind of chuckle, that’s a funny way to say it, but we get what they mean.
And so we wanted to ask you today, how into your spouse are you?
That’s an interesting question to consider. And it may sound like, well, obviously I married her, or I married him, of course I’m into him. But we’re asking a different sort of a question.
Are you working hard to stay into your spouse, to remain connected? And I guess, as you can see in the title of this episode, what are you doing to pursue your spouse? That may be an interesting way to say it. And we get that idea, honestly, from the Bible. It’s mentioned first in the book of Genesis, but then quoted again in Ephesians, which is where I’m going to read from.
It’s Ephesians chapter 5, verses 31 through 33.
Pursuit in Marriage: Lessons from the Bible
[2:03] The Apostle Paul says, quoting Genesis, he says, Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the, two shall become one flesh.
[2:13] This mystery is profound. I’m saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
However, lady, each one of you love his wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
As you can see in this context of instruction, husbands to wives and wives to husbands, it says, a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.
That’s the phrase I wanna zero in on.
Because in the Hebrew, that phrase, hold fast to his wife, can also be translated, chase after or pursue his wife.
That’s a really interesting concept. And you think about what really happens when we’re back in that time of dating and looking for a spouse, that really is what’s going on, isn’t it?
A guy is getting ready to leave his home that he grew up in, and maybe he already has left, and he’s like on the hunt.
He’s pursuing. I mean, most of you guys can remember that. You were going to college, you were going to singles groups, wherever you went, and you’re looking for Mrs. Right.
Your eyes are open, you’re scanning the horizon, you have all kinds of criteria you’re looking for, and that sort of an attitude of pursuit should not end once we, so to speak, catch them.
Once we get married, we should continue pursuing our spouse.
And so first off, we’re gonna talk about some ways we can do that, but Mindy, I’d like to hear from you from the wife’s perspective.
What is the encouragement to you as a woman when your man is pursuing you?
[3:40] Well, we definitely love it when our man pursues us. Those days before we’re married and we are looking for our husband that we haven’t met yet, and we see each other across the room and get excited and that starts the pursuit.
And I mean, very much so we love it when our husband pursues us because it makes us feel loved and special and special to him personally.
[4:06] Yeah, and I think the phrases you just chose are some we should really think about.
Makes you feel loved, makes you feel special.
Cherished, that’s another, yeah. Yeah, cherished, special to him.
I mean, those are all things, guys, that we need to recognize, that our wives not only want to feel those things, I would say they need to feel those things from us, especially as opposed to all other men in the world, they need to feel those things from us.
And that goes right along with when we think of how Christ loves his body, the church, we know he loves and cherishes and delights in his body.
And so the commands of how the husband is supposed to love the wife as Christ loves the church, that just goes right along with the husband continuing to pursue his wife, even though they’ve been married 20, 30, 40, 50 years.
Yeah, as you were talking about how Christ loves the church, what came to my mind was, Jesus really is the ultimate example of pursuit, because here we were lost in our sin, estranged from him.
The New Testament portrays it as we were walking in darkness and he came to us in that darkness, seeking us out.
[5:19] And gave everything he had to give in order to reconcile us to himself and redeem us as his own.
That’s the ultimate example of pursuit. Yeah, his love for us caused him to pursue us.
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. And it’s kind of like a marriage relationship.
The husband falls in love with the wife, so therefore he pursues her.
And those feelings of love aren’t always going to be there, but the husband, if he acts out love towards his wife.
Through pursuit. Through pursuit, that’s gonna help get the feeling of love going again on those days when it might be hard.
Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. I can testify to that from my own experience.
When you have those hard days, but you do the right thing.
[6:08] It does rekindle the feelings in a way. It makes you, if nothing else, mindful of why you start chasing this woman in the first place.
You know, you kind of have that reminiscent feeling and it really gets you going again.
Yeah, and I think that’s just God’s special blessing. If we obey him and love one another, then he’s gonna bless us with the feeling of love and the blessing of a joyous relationship.
Practical Ways to Pursue Your Spouse Daily
[6:32] Yeah, so guys, let me talk to you for a second about some practical ways that I’ve found and I’ve seen other men implement this in their relationships with their spouse.
Now, first off, I think I have to say it’s a mindset.
This is a way of thinking. You have to get yourself used to thinking, I need to be pursuing my wife regularly, daily.
I need to be communicating to her all those things Mindy described as pursuit, that I value her, that I treasure her, that she is important to me, that there’s no one else on my radar except her.
All those things are what I would lump into this term of pursuing her.
[7:11] Those are mindsets and they also are actions. So they’re intentional actions like complimenting her in appropriate ways for the situation, expressing your love to her often, telling her the things about her that you love and appreciate.
Just simple courtesies of thanking her for whatever it is she’s doing that is blessing you at the time.
Could be the laundry, could be the meal, could be some special thing she does for you because it’s been a rough day or whatever.
Just common courtesy of gratitude goes a long way.
[7:42] A husband being mindful of when their wife dresses up, gets ready to go out somewhere.
I’m laughing because we have a history here. I’ll tell you the story in a minute, but go ahead.
But that’s the one way of pursuing, noticing that they fix their hair and put on their makeup and have on nice clothes and then complimenting them saying they look beautiful and I like how you did your hair or I love that outfit.
Part of why I’m laughing guys is because we can be one-tracked creatures in our minds and I’m as guilty as anyone else.
Often, I may notice that I’m liking the way Mindy looks, but I’m not taking the time to stop and examine why she’s looking especially attractive that day.
I don’t notice the hair, I don’t notice she put on makeup, I don’t notice the new outfit, but I just know she looks good.
We have to sometimes learn what it looks like and what it means to be attentive to those things.
[8:37] Yeah, yes. And on the wife’s perspective, we cannot understand why you don’t notice.
Yeah, because you’ve put so much thought and intention into those things.
Exactly, yeah. And for us not to notice, it’s not an intentional slight, but it can be a little bit of an insensitivity maybe to all the effort you’ve put in.
I mean, it’s kind of like if you slaved over a hot stove in the kitchen for hours and hours creating this great meal, and everybody eats it and never says anything.
About your effort or says, thank you.
It’s really a similar thing. Yeah, so what are some other ways that you would say you?
[9:12] Pursue me? Well, I think it’s in showing interest about your day, about the burdens you’re carrying.
[9:20] About what’s on your heart regarding our kids or our financial situation or whatever the current thing on our radar is. I need to be checking in with you and asking you what are you feeling about this and what are your thoughts? Have you had any directions from the Lord that you feel he’s saying I need to be showing interest in your life and in what you think and feel?
I’d say when you do that, you’re pursuing connection with me daily.
And that’s simply just us communicating many times about what our day involves, what’s on our calendars, what do we have to get done.
That makes us connected on a very practical level. Another way that I can pursue you is to show support for the things that you’re involved in, the things you’re interested in, whether that’s activities at church like a women’s Bible study. ask you questions about that.
And again, I’m pursuing you, what you’re interested in, what you’re involved in, what matters to you.
I’m showing interest, which is a kind of pursuit.
Don't let the routine and "normal" of life make your marriage relationship normal. Keep your mindset clear: Your spouse needs you to pursue them and it will bless both of you and your relationship (and the world) if you do.
Showing Care and Asking Questions
[10:18] Yeah, I really like that when you ask me how my time was in the Bible study or when I went out with a friend or when I was mentoring someone, or you really show care and you ask the questions.
You don’t wait for me to just tell you about it.
Yeah, and I’ve had to learn that over the years, and you’ve been very gracious to help me learn that by pointing it out at times when I don’t notice.
Another thing that just came to my mind is, guys, I think it’s very important for us to express the pursuit of our wife by bearing her burdens, and especially in prayer.
[10:54] Not just praying for her and the things we know she’s dealing with in our private lives, but doing that together.
Initiating a conversation about her common struggles or her difficulties that she’s facing at a particular time in life, and initiating prayer together about those things.
And we’ve done an episode recently about how to pray together as a couple, but this is a great reason why we need to do that.
That it’s a good way for you guys to pursue your wife and show her that you’re not only interested in her, you’re interested in helping her in the ways that really matter.
Yeah, and that’s a beautiful way for husbands to think that the Lord has put them in the role of spiritual head.
And so for husbands to think that I’m pursuing my wife as this role of spiritual leader, husbands might not feel like they’re equipped to lead in that area, but the Lord definitely will give them what they need.
But if they just say, wife, we pray tonight, I want to pray for you because I love you and I care for you, they might not necessarily know the Bible really well, but they do know how to pray and they do know how to ask God for things.
That really is encouraging to the wife because she is seeing her husband act in the role that God has placed him in.
And actually, we wives feel very protected and loved when the husband takes initiative in that way.
[12:14] And I think another thing that’s dawned on me more recently, like in the last few years, is that there is a case to be made scripturally for the belief that as the head of the home, the Lord has endowed the husband with a special kind of spiritual authority, and that extends into the area of prayer.
So I believe there is a special power in the prayers of faith that a man prays for his wife and prays for his children.
He’s taking up a mantle of authority and leadership that God has handed to him.
[12:47] And that really is an act of faith that’s bringing honor to the Lord.
We’re taking him at his word that this role of authority matters, and I’m going to take it seriously because it does matter.
And I know he’s going to help me and give me power and answer my prayers because I’m acting in the role he’s put me in.
Does that make sense? Yeah, definitely. And so guys, I want you to just ponder that for a bit.
This whole thing of praying with and for your wife sounds a little intimidating or awkward.
The God of the universe has given you this role, and he’s handed you this authority, and he has equipped you to wage spiritual warfare on behalf of your wife and your kids.
Don’t neglect that.
That’s like you’re a soldier in the army, and the captain gives you the biggest piece of artillery to mow down the enemy that you could ever have.
Neglect using that piece of artillery.
Pursuing Each Other through Dates and Planning
[13:39] Right, it’s one of the most important ways the husband can pursue his wife.
[13:44] So what is one of the most fun ways that you pursue me? Well, that’s a softball.
You just threw me an easy one. Dates.
Right. Going on dates together.
Thank you for graciously bringing that to the forefront of my mind.
Yeah, it’s fun to have dates. The dates obviously can take all kinds of forms.
You can go to dinner and a movie, you can go see a play, go to the symphony, go to the park and have a picnic. I mean, all kinds of ideas you can do for dates.
But husbands, don’t forget, you can still date your wife, even though you’re married.
Yeah, the husband take an initiative in that, and I love how you put on your calendar, okay, when is our date night every week?
And you make sure that you have it set aside.
And I mean, I don’t necessarily need you to think of the ideas all the time, but the fact that you want to date me and you’re excited about it, we look forward to it even though we see each other every day and we have dinner together almost every night.
I’m still excited for us to go on our date when it comes around every week.
And guys, I think you get bonus points, so to speak, if you take the initiative to figure out the childcare.
[14:54] Now, obviously, your wife’s gotta feel good about who’s doing the childcare and that sort of thing, but work together with her to get a plan in place.
Don’t just say, hey, let’s go on a date Friday and leave all that in her lap.
Step in and help set it up, because if she’s taking care of the kids all the time, Anyway, that’s just one more burden that’s just laid on her lap to take care of the kids in another way, and you can help by stepping in and taking initiative to get those things lined out so that you can go on a date.
Yeah, ask your wife how you can help with that.
That’s a good idea, yeah.
[15:26] Now, all of this is in the husband’s lap, so to speak, ways that you can take initiative to pursue your wife.
So let’s flip it around. Even though the passage we just read, is directed specifically at the men, there is a precedent for this for the women too, to be pursuing their husbands.
Right, there’s a lot that’s spoken to the husbands as far as instruction goes, but we as women, as wives, if we are just taking the general commands of loving one another, that’s gonna easily lead us to pursue our husbands.
Like I’m thinking of the verse in Matthew 7, verse 12, So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets. So I love that you pursue me, so I should be pursuing you.
[16:16] I should be thinking of and finding out what is important to you, what things that I do and say are loving to you, and I need to make sure I remember to do those things. I need to ask the Lord to help me. We’ve gotten into some good habits of pursuing one another where daily in In the morning we connect and there’s times when, you might be busy and we haven’t connected yet.
I’ll come into your office and I’ll hug you from behind and then you turn around and then we can talk about the day.
So I pursue you, I don’t always wait for you to pursue me.
You might not remember our date one week or maybe we haven’t talked about it yet.
I’ll bring it up, what do you wanna do on our date?
I’m not waiting on you, I’m thinking of how can I show you I love you?
And if I can just interject there, ladies, it means a lot to your man if when he forgets the date or he forgets the routine and is just busy in his own world, you come graciously and gently remind him rather than getting offended and hurt and taking it personally.
Most of the time, the guys aren’t intentionally slighting you they’re just being a guy, single track mind and they get into something and forget about the other things that were on their radar.
So that means a lot to a guy when you’re able to handle that graciously.
[17:36] Can you think of any other ways that would be beneficial for a wife to pursue a husband?
I think all the ways that you mentioned are valid and are very helpful. I think also showing interest in his work. I think each guy is probably going to have a different degree to which he appreciates this. Some guys who are just in a really technical field and there’s five years of education just to know what he’s talking about. That may not be the best circumstance, but you can ask questions about the relationships. How is so-and-so in your your office doing?
How are you getting along with your boss? Things like that, that you know are issues that he’s mentioned before.
You can check in, you can show concern and care for what’s going on in his world.
Same thing about things he’s interested in. Say he likes to watch football.
You can make room for him to watch football. You can show interest in him and pursuit of him, believe it or not, by making room for things that he loves. And you’re showing care for him in those things.
[18:31] And if y’all notice, a lot of pursuit is showing consideration.
It makes me think of the verse that talks about consider others as more important than yourself. Yeah, Philippians 2.
So yeah, so if you’re thinking, how can I consider my spouse?
It’s gonna lead you to pursue them rightly and in a way that they’re gonna be feeling loved by you.
Yeah, absolutely. Now obviously, which is our next episode, there is the realm of intimacy.
That is a way that both husband and wife can pursue each other.
We’re gonna talk a little more about that in the next episode, but obviously that’s a part of pursuit.
It’s a part of showing interest in the person even on a physical level.
So we’ll get into that next week.
[19:11] Any final thoughts that you have, Mindy, about this whole idea of pursuit?
I just think that an underlying attitude that we need to have as husband or wife is that the Lord always pursues us and that love is pursuit.
So if you love your spouse, if you want to love them, if you wanna show them love, then be sure you are always pursuing them.
Prioritizing Your Spouse’s Needs
[19:36] Don’t get in your own head, don’t float through each day. You’ve got to look at your spouse and ask the question, what do they need from me? How can I love them best? And the Lord who is living inside of you will help you. He will gladly help you.
Those are great observations and ways to think about it. I can’t really think of much to add to that except to say that obviously there are couples out there who this all sounds idyllic because you’re in a rough patch, well I think going back to what Mindy discussed about consider others more important than yourself, that’s a great place to start. If you’re in a tough place and there’s tension between you and you’ve had years of disappointment maybe or even betrayal, starting to think in terms of how can I consider the other person, how can I express love in that way, that begins to chip away at barriers and walls that may have built up and helps you to start thinking rightly about your relationship with your spouse and also helping to soften what’s going on between you.
Blessings in Obedience and Christ’s Pursuit
[20:39] That’s very good. The Lord will bless our obedience even if it feels one-sided for a while.
[20:45] And sometimes it may. The best example, I think, is Jesus’ pursuit of us.
How long did he pursue you before you came to faith, listener? I mean, think about that.
He keeps pursuing even when the other is not interested. And so So that’s a great model for our marriages.
Or how long does Christ pursue us in our immaturities to bring us to maturity?
So Christ is our greatest example, like you said.
Yeah, lots of loving and wise patience there that he applies in all of our cases.
And we do well to do that toward each other as married couples.
Our Father, we are grateful for Your pursuit of us. We can’t express enough what a great grace and mercy that is, and I know all of eternity will be spent thanking you and praising you and recognizing the broad implications of every bit of Your pursuit, Lord. Thank You for that. We ask that You would enable us as believers in Christ, as men and women who have Jesus living in us, to release ourselves from the bondage of insecurity or intimidation or fear or whatever is keeping us from pursuing our spouse, and to begin taking those baby steps by faith. Empower us to do so by Your grace, Amen.
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