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  • Larissa Bell

Love and Learn

By Larissa Bell

I Peter 3:7b, “… dwell with them according to knowledge…”

We’ve all heard the saying, “You live and learn.” This often pertains to making a mistake and (hopefully) learning a lesson to help you not do it again or to grow your character. I’m sure we can all think of an example right now of “living and learning”- maybe a hairstyle you tried or a clothing trend you look back on and shake your head about or even trying a new recipe that was a flop.

On this day after Valentine’s day, I’d like to put a positive spin on the saying and talk about “loving and learning.” I know 1 Peter 3:7 is written to husbands specifically, but the concept of increasing your knowledge about how your spouse “ticks” can apply to any relationship. Whether we’re married or single, parents or barren, young or old, have saved or unsaved spouses- God wants us to love others as He loves us (John 13:34; 15:11-13). God loves us with a perfect love and knows us better than we know ourselves as eloquently voiced by David in Psalm 139. Verses 1-3 start with, “O, Lord, Thou has searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” Unfortunately,we aren’t perfect and omniscient like God in our relationships, but He did give us His holy Word full of instruction, wisdom, reproof, and examples to teach us how to “love and learn” to bring glory to Him.

I know Pinterest has exhaustive lists of “get-to-know-you” questions, but these are just a few of the questions that come to my mind when thinking about “loving and learning” my husband and other loved ones:

Love and learn spiritually

Do you know your loved one’s favorite verse? Bible story or character? Hymn or song? Have you ever asked them why that verse or song is their favorite? Do you ask them about their Bible reading and devotions and how God is speaking to them? Do you know the weaknesses and faults that they struggle with and intentionally encourage them with verses or let them know of your prayers for them in that area? 

Love and learn emotionally

Have you asked recently how your loved one is feeling emotionally? Have you asked them what makes them feel happy and loved, and do you try to nurture those things? Or have you asked them what makes them angry or upset and try to avoid doing those things or protect them from being in situations that you know irritate them? “Dwelling in knowledge” isn’t just a head knowledge, but intentionally being wise and prudent with your actions to help and not hinder your relationship (Proverbs 22:3, Psalms 34:14)! Have you asked them what they are afraid of? What they are excited about? Learning these things gives you better insight into how you can pray for them, encourage them, and love them.

Love and learn physically

Learning and loving physically can be figuring out your loved one’s food, clothing, and cleaning preferences like the amazing lady described in Proverbs 31. It could be learning preferences for romantic likes and dislikes as described in Song of Solomon. Physically loving and learning can also include knowing and being aware of needs in their health. If you are in a stage of life where there are no major health conditions, are you encouraging regular check-ups to make sure no chronic issues are developing? Are you asking about and keeping accountable with each other to treat the temple of God with reverence and care including good nutrition and movement so it can keep running well for the Lord’s work (I Corinthians 6:19-20)? If your loved one is going through a health trial, do you research and try to find ways to help them feel better or help them manage the appointments and medication lists? Do you ask them for ways you can help lighten their load?

Love and learn recreationally

I’ll end with one that is more fun to think about! Do you know what your loved one and friends like to do for fun? What’s their favorite game to play? What kind of hobbies do they have? Where is their favorite place to take a walk? What fills their love tank? When was the last time you had some downtime together with no responsibilities? Plan it! Set a date and block off time for each other. 

Little things go a long way to letting your loved ones know you “get them” and they’re worth your time to learn what makes them tick. It doesn’t have to be a major event or cost a lot of money - sometimes just texting a funny joke, hiding a note on the dashboard of their vehicle to surprise them when they go to work, or putting a pack of their favorite gum or mints in the pocket of their coat at church with a note on it that you love them and are praying they have a “refreshing” day means more than a fancy Valentine’s Day date night!


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