Even though my husband & I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this summer I still feel inadequate to give advice on marriage. Maybe because individuals are all different, the dynamics of each relationship is different; people are at different places in their lives and walking different paths. But one thing that has gone through my mind over the years is the two guidelines I’ve found as the basis for married life. Just two guidelines, but within those guidelines is everything that makes a marriage work, in my view. And they are complex but at the crux of marriage. They are from the Bible:
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
I realize that in the intricacies of life and marriage this is too simplistic. But then again, much of how we react, how we interact with each other as a couple on a daily basis is a reflection on our ability to remember those Scripture verses and live by them.
Women desire to be loved by their husbands. They want to hear it, see it, feel it, and experience it. Men need to feel respected just as much as women need to feel love. To a man, respect is love. Women often times do not feel that their husbands are worthy of respect. Maybe they’ve made some poor choices, maybe they do not feel loved by them, maybe, maybe, maybe.. the list is long as far as what ‘could’ cause a wife to lose respect for her husband.
But then again, I may not be the most lovable person at times. I may be cranky, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, speak harshly and unloving, you name it… and my actions may not be something that can easily be loved.
However both of those Scripture verses never give conditions; only love her IF she does lovely things. Or only respect him IF he does something I can respect.
What I’ve learned over the years is that the Lord is asking us to give, give of our love, grace, and respect to our husbands, and I believe He is asking husbands to do the same.. give love unconditionally, but I am ultimately only in control of one person.. that is me.. So every day in every way I strive to show my husband the respect that he deserves, simply because he is my husband and the Bible has said this. I remember that love is an action. It is not always just those sweet romantic feelings, which are wonderful but not what daily life is always made of. If you look for ways your husband is showing love you may be surprised to see it in ways you never realized were love.
So in honor of the month of love this is just a reminder, in my inadequacy to give advice, to simply show love/respect every day in many ways. Keep the Scripture verses in mind as we interact with our husbands. The beauty of what I’ve learned over the last 30 years is that love is a choice. It is a choice I make every day no matter the situation. The more I give the more it affects him and he desires to show love to me in so many different ways. It is a win/win kind of situation. If we wait for our husbands to earn our respect, we lose and he loses too. Love & marriage is a daily choice to make our marriages the best we can.