Knowing Each Other
“Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son” (1 Sam. 1:19b–20).
We previously examined the call for husbands and wives to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually intimate with one another. It is God’s will that husband and wife become one flesh (Gen. 2:24), and the two cannot become one without true intimacy.
The Bible speaks of this call for intimacy in many ways. For instance, it is interesting that the Bible in many places, such as today’s passage, uses the verb “to know” when it speaks of the physical relationship between husband and wife. We must note that the Bible does not use this verb because it is ashamed of sexual intimacy. After all, entire portions of Scripture (for example, the Song of Solomon) are dedicated to this aspect of the marital relationship. Rather, the Bible uses this verb to indicate that the intimacy that glorifies God is more than just a physical act; it involves knowledge of one’s spouse in ways that go beyond the physical.
For God-glorifying intimacy to exist, we must know our spouses on all levels. But in order for this knowledge to come, we must be willing to spend the time getting to know one another. We are willing to spend much time studying for a career or investigating certain topics that interest us. We cannot learn about such things merely by osmosis. And if we must work hard to know about such things, how much more must we work to know our spouses as we should?
We all know this to be true when we are dating. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to get to know the person whom we are dating. Slowly we let down our guard in order that the other person will truly get to know us. Regrettably, too many people stop doing this once they are married. But this is not how things should be; spouses must continue learning about one another for the rest of their lives.
This means that we must be willing to share our needs with our spouses. Of course, we must make sure that our needs are not inauthentic. Nevertheless, God has provided marriage as a way to meet many of our authentic needs and desires, and we must share them with our spouses and work to meet their needs, as far as we are able.
When we do not share our deepest longings with our spouses or, as we are able, serve our spouses by meeting their needs, we make it tempting to meet these needs outside of marriage. We must be willing to be vulnerable with each other and respect the needs of our spouses even if they are needs we do not fully understand. If you are married, spend some time today discussing your needs with your spouse. If not, pray that God would provide a way for your needs to be met.
Passages for Further Study
Gen. 4:25 Song 6:4–7:13 Eph. 5:33 1 Peter 3:7