I like it when Michael shows how much he loves me by spending time with me, buying gifts of chocolate, or taking care of little things around the house. My husband has learned how to speak my love language and he does it so well.
In fact a few weeks ago he came home with a bouquet of chocolate bars. It was so sweet of him! I think he figures that they’ll last longer than flowers. Ha!
I love that man.
While Michael also deserves my love in return, time has shown me that he needs something else–my respect.
He needs to know that there are qualities about him that I admire. He should be told that he’s doing a great job leading our family. And he deserves to know how much we appreciate the job he does outside of the home.
Those are a few of the ways that I can show him how much he’s respected.
There’s a popular mindset that tells us, “Respect needs to be earned.” In other words it’s conditional on someone’s behavior toward us.
The problem with that way of thinking is that the minute we show disrespect to someone their admiration toward us naturally goes down. The more their admiration toward us goes down, the less we respect them. See the negative cycle there?
Dr. Emerson, author of “Love and Respect” writes, Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict. For example, when a woman feels unloved during conflict, her natural reaction is to respond disrespectfully. And when a husband feels disrespected during conflict, his reaction is to respond unlovingly. We call this the Crazy Cycle: “Without love a wife reacts without respect, and without respect a husband reacts without love.”
For most couples it doesn’t happen over night, but many get caught up in the cycle and find that over the years their love and respect for each other is chipping away.
Long before marriage counselors discovered a woman’s desire for love and a man’s need for respect, the Holy Spirit inspired these words:
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:33, NIV
It’s true that we might not respect every thing that a husband does or says, but we offer respect by showing him the things we admire about him and loving him with a humble heart.
Why do we do it?
Our respect isn’t for the purpose of stroking their ego, or gaining their love in return (that is nice however!) we do it to glorify God and reflect the relationship between Jesus and his church. That’s the reason that marriage exists the way that it does.
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. We’re talking about an imperfect church that didn’t deserve the grace of God. The Bible tells us that God demonstrated His love toward us while we were yet sinners.
If husbands are called to show that kind of love, shouldn’t we be expected to offer grace in return?
When we love people from that point of grace, we reverse the negative cycle. We respect them for the men that they, and they admire that quality in us.
Today’s Vow: To Show You Honor and Respect
The Challenge: Show your husband how much you respect him by telling him the things that you admire about him. Notice the little things as well as the big things.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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