That’s right, I’m getting married! Ok, rewind… Life got a bit hectic this summer, but I have graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree, I’m working full time and planning a wedding! My fiancé and I are attending premarital counseling through our church, and one of the topics recently was “How to understand your spouse…”
Yeah, right. There is no way my man could ever understand me……
Actually, there is. It’s in the Bible – the difference between men and women is written beautifully in one verse.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The best part of this verse is the freedom it gives each person. Hear me out: Paul recognizes that men and women, while created in the image of God, were not created the same. Women were created to love unconditionally, and especially in the case of marriage, women do not (usually) need to be reminded to love their husband. Men were created to respect unconditionally, and its the same with them: men tend to respect before they will love. Paul writes of each person’s strength – for women, loving unconditionally; for men, respecting unconditionally – and recognizes that it is so against our tendencies to do as the other does that God needed to make it a commandment. Men do not naturally show love in the way that women do, and women do not naturally show respect the way men expect to see it. How freeing is it to know that when I as a woman don’t necessarily feel loved, its not because I’m not loved, but it’s probably because my husband is showing me his form of love – respect? How freeing is it to know that as a man, when you don’t feel respected by your wife, it is probably only because she is showing her love in a way that differs from how you feel respect? Neither person is intentionally being hurtful or disrespectful; they are, in all sincerety, giving what they would like to recieve. How many hurts could be healed because the hurt person takes a step back and realizes that the other person was honestly showing love the way they feel it???
We read through a book called Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Check it out here). This book can explain it a lot better than I can, but the basic gist is this:
Men: try to recognize what your wife needs to feel loved and give that to her;
Women:try to recognize what your husband needs to feel respected and give that to him.
It’s as simple as that. Take a step back, before our words get the best of us, and try to interpret it either through the eyes of someone who needs to feel unconditional love from her husband or the eyes of a man who needs to feel respected by his wife. Ask yourself: is what I am saying coming off as unloving/disrespectful? How can I rephrase what I am saying to convey love/respect?
Seriously – read the book. It’s a life changer.
Today I thank you for the affirmation you give me daily. Each day I read scripture, I find one more tidbit that just proves you knew me from the moment you formed me in your womb. Thank you for making a spouse specifically for me that is his own person and that you created. Thank you for giving me the key to showing him love they way he needs to feel it. I pray that any person searching for just a hint of something to save their marriage finds this verse, the book, or hears the whisper of your voice and is able to heal.
In Jesus name