Love and Respect
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:33
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I want to end this week’s emphasis with the apostle Paul’s words that describe one of the main differences between men and women. I am indebted to Dr. Emerson Eggerich and his book, “Love and Respect” for this truth. I highly recommend that you buy this book on marital relationships. The moment I read Dr. Eggerich’s premise – it rang true in my heart and with my many years of counseling couples. Men, indeed, desperately desire respect from their wives. Wives, without question, long to be loved by their husbands.
Interestingly, most of us have taught and understood the unconditional love that men should have for their wives. Our wives should not need to earn our love… just as we cannot earn God’s love. Both are freely given – unconditionally. What most of us have missed is the much-needed teaching on unconditional respect that must be given by the wife to her husband. It is true that he won’t earn it – all the time. That is true of the wife… she won’t earn or deserve the husband’s love all the time. But, as both husband and wife learn to offer what the other partner desires most, without conditions, they find true fulfillment in their marriage.
Dr. Eggerich’s book gives great practical instruction on how to deal with these two needs daily. If we can simply appreciate our spouse’s values and needs that are different from our own, we will take a huge step toward a “good” marriage. I may never agree with my spouse on some issues, nor value some things with the same intensity, yet I can learn to appreciate his/her opinions and values.
Father, help me not to think my spouse is ‘wrong’ because of our differences. Give me the wisdom to see them for what they are…different than me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.