By Kyle Idleman

As the story goes, a few years ago a wife answered the door, and a man asked, “Is this the home of Robert ‘Rusty’ Stevens, who played Larry Mondello on Leave It to Beaver? We’re trying to locate him because we’re making a reunion show for the Disney Channel.”

She looked at the man as if he were crazy. “This is Robert’s home, but I’m afraid he’s never been a TV star.” Disappointed, the man went away. She was familiar with Beaver’s pudgy best buddy, who always had an apple in his back pocket. But her husband Robert? Come on.

“Who was it?” asked Robert. She laughed and told him. “Oh, he had the right house,” he said. “I played Larry in sixty-seven episodes of Leave It to Beaver.”

“What? And you never saw fit to mention something like that to me?” Her husband shrugged; no word on whether he pulled a fresh apple out of his pocket and took a bite.

“It takes time and effort, but to deepen your desire for your spouse you need to deepen your understanding”

— Kyle Idleman

It’s probably unlikely that you unknowingly married Topanga or Urkel, but ask yourself how well you really know your spouse. Have you recently taken the time to genuinely ask questions and attentively listen?

Some of the best marriage advice I ever received was to become a student of my wife, to intentionally spend my life studying and understanding her. It takes time and effort, but to deepen your desire for your spouse you need to deepen your understanding.

“Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect. ”

— Song of Solomon 1:5–6

In these verses, Solomon’s beloved offered a kind of disclaimer. Today it would be, “Please forgive my appearance! I came straight from work.” In fact, she was explaining that she was a bit too tanned for the day’s standards of glamour. She had been working in the field; she had been serving her family to the neglect of her own needs. How would that strike you?

I would think, ‘here is a girl who has no sense of entitlement, no pampering. She gets things done and she’s willing to break a nail or two doing it.’ And frankly, I’d find that attractive. It’s one of the things I really love about my wife.

I remember the first time I held hands with her. We were at the theater watching The Lion King. She had placed her hand on her leg closest to mine giving me the green light to grab it. I interlocked my fingers with her and noticed right away that her hands were much rougher than mine. I married a farmer’s daughter who grew up raising pigs and driving combines. She may have been self-conscious, but I loved these things about her.

The more we are genuinely interested in getting to know our spouse, the deeper our desire for them will be.  Some of the vulnerability and insecurity that your spouse may be reluctant to share has the power to draw in your heart.

As we’ve discussed, romantic love may begin with a little eye candy, and that’s natural. We’re human, and God made us to admire and appreciate beauty.

But what are some surprising things you have learned about your spouse along the way that have deepened your desire? What are some of your spouse’s insecurities where a few words of encouragement from you might go a long way to make them feel desired? Instead of paying them the same compliments as usual, think through what affirming words they need to hear.

Instead of paying them the same compliments as usual, think through what affirming words they need to hear.

What are some of the ways God has made you different from your significant other? Solomon grew up as the privileged son of a king. His experiences and background were very different from the girl he loved.  Instead of assuming that your spouse needs to be more like you, take a few minutes to affirm and value what makes you different.

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