Genesis 2:20-24 says,
“The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Here we have the only recorded human words spoken before the fall. It takes place at the first wedding. God brings his daughter, Eve, down the aisle and presents her to Adam. And what does Adam do? He says something to his bride. He speaks poetry to Eve while praising God. She is his wife, given to him by God for his good.
So, the first question we must ask is this: does your wife know that you believe she is God’s gift to you? Does she hear your praises to God for her?
Why do we feel so inadequate communicating to our wife? That feeling of inadequacy is a result of the fall. In Genesis 3, we see that God holds Adam responsible for Eve’s actions. Why? Because Adam was charged with leading his wife. “The husband is the head of the wife, as the head of every man is Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3). We still feel that failure.
What happened in the fall? Satan, in the form of the serpent, came to Eve and spoke anti-gospel words to her. He posed questions: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1,4). Adam should have spoken the word of God against Satan’s lies.
We’ve all seen the sitcoms where the wives can’t get their husbands to listen or to talk or to remember things. The men are buffoons. But I wonder if those caricatures are not just the longings of our wives made visible – a husband to engage and lead and speak. No matter who you are or what you do or what you know, your wife thinks you’re the most amazing man in the world. What you say carries immense weight. So does what you don’t say.
All effective communication reaches the heart. That’s why it’s so hard. And we have so much sin in us, and our wife sees and knows so much of it, that we can feel completely unworthy to be used by God. Let’s deny that thought. Where is that in the Bible?
So what do we say? Let’s speak the gospel. To speak the gospel to your wife is to deploy the army of God's word to do its work in her heart. When we as men communicate to our wife, she rejoices. When we communicate the word of God to her, she rejoices all the more.
Early in our marriage Sarah and I were driving one night and she was crying over the hard things in our life at that time. I was trying to be helpful and giving tips and plotting schemes to take away the difficulty. Suddenly, she stopped me, and through her tears said, “I just want someone to talk to me about Jesus and you won’t do that.” I was stunned. I had failed my wife. But her calling me out was not a way to silence me. It was an invitation to start talking.
Here’s a scary but life-giving challenge: ask your wife what kind of husband you are? Don’t wait until she’s forced to say this like my wife was. Ask her. Take the first step of humility and find out where you stand. Then you can respond and change and grow.