Love Your Husband

Posted by  | Sunday, March 22, 2009  at 10:44 PM  
" Older women teach what is good, so that they may encourage the younger women to love their husbands. " Titus 2:

Hugh and I are about to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary, and although we have so, SO much more to learn in our marriage, we HAVE learned a great deal about how to love one another. We all have our "stories" describing the beauty of the first or second year of marriage, as we're adjusting to the expectations and quirks of our loved one.

I can't help but think back to an "ah-ha!" moment Hugh and I had during our first year of marriage. We were riding in the car listening to a Dr. Dobson Focus on the Family Broadcast. This was one of my most favorite things for us to do together. Long story short, the speaker shed light on how women long to hear "I love you," while men long to hear "I respect you." As we listened on, Hugh turned down the volume and said, "He's EXACTLY RIGHT. He hit the nail on the head." I was so perplexed. "Respect?" I asked myself. "I DO respect Hugh, but I LOVE him. Respect is so much more inferior to love. These two are not even close to being equals in my book. I just don't get it." We went on to talk about how we each differently defined "love." This was revolutionary! As the glitter and sparkles of the wedding day wore off and the bumpy road of reality set in, I sure was glad that I knew this one secret, yet very essential tid-bit to expressing my love for my husband.

So, what do I really mean by respect? Focus on the family described it like this. Since women need love like she needs air to breathe, men need RESPECT like he needs air to breathe as well. Are you saying to your husband things like, " You don't care!" " You're so unloving." Or are you verbally comparing your husband to your friends' husbands, so that he might get a hint and change this or that? Are you speaking "unbelief" into your husband? Are you belittling him, either in the privacy of your home or in front of people? Are you bringing up past offenses and holding them against him? Are you reaffirming his leadership in the home? "If you show disrespect in an attempt to motivate him to be more loving (or put whatever you'd like in place of loving), it hinders the relationship."(Focus on the Family, Emerson Eggerichs) Before too long, you have this endless cycle of the wife feeling unloved and the husband feeling disrespected. Both of you are utterly dissatisfied with how things are going in your relationship.

Here's an excerpt from an article on Focus on the Family written by Emerson Eggerichs:
"This may explain why Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:33 that a husband must love his wife and a wife must respect her husband. Both commands are unconditional. The hard part is that respect comes more easily to men, and love comes easier to women . . . A wife can feel unloved, but appear disrespectful; a husband can feel disrespected but appear unloving. This is why things get crazy! Our negative appearances work against us. God's Word protects us from that mistake." He continues, "Really, all you have to do is learn this crazy cycle, and when you see the spirit of your spouse deflate, trust . . . that you've said something that appears unloving or disrespectful. Then go back and say, 'Did I come across as unloving/disrespectful? I'm sorry, will you forgive me?' That works almost every time."

To sum all this up, are you truly LOVING your husband the way he perceives love? Are you respecting him? By avoiding demeaning words/actions does not exempt you from being deficient in the area of respecting/loving well. You must be proactive and speak words of encouragement and respect over your husband. Build him up! Love him well! In Titus 2, the Word tells older women to teach what is good, SO THAT younger women are encouraged to love their husbands. The "so that" is an integral part of the verse and joins together the teaching and encouragement that takes place. One is dependent upon the other. This is just one more example of "mentorship". I sure would have loved to have had a mentor with whom to talk candidly during the first and second year of our marriage. Is there a young wife that you're mentoring or tucking under your wing with regards to teaching her how to love her husband well?

These are all great questions to ask ourselves and keep at the forefront of our minds. One thing is for sure, this has been a GREAT reminder/refresher for me!


Shannon said...

Good word, Hollie. So true. I would love to hear from some readers different ways they show respect to their husbands - to help out those of us for whom it doesn't come naturally!!!

Shannon Bradley said...

Hollie, thanks for your encouraging words! This is EXACTLY what we learned in our marriage class at church last night :) It is so comforting to know that God knows our hearts perfectly as men and women and he clearly tells us how to "work that out" in His Word!

Chris, Crystal, and Weston said...

I would highly recommend the study "Love and Respect" by Emmerson Eggrichs. I "facilitated" this bible study at our church last fall. It is wonderful for couples about the marry, newlyweds, new parents, or couples that have been married for years. The study at my church ended up being all women (due to our all men's bible study that grabbed most of our husbands)...but I think it would have been even more powerful to have couples attend together and hear the "man's side" of the story. My husband and I watched them together as I prepared each week and had many "ah ha" moments!

Clare said...

Although I do not deny that women desire love, and men respect, one must exercise caution in asserting that God endorses the view that men desire respect while women desire to be loved. I am a Christian woman, yet I believe this philosophy encourages unhealthy gender constructions of women and men. Exercise care. Men and women alike.

Clare said...

also, in response to Shannon. While it is good to encourage your husband, and to support him, your need to go beyond what comes 'naturally' to you may be an unfair and unproductive expectation for yourself. A man who respects himself and is CONFIDENT in his own abilities does not require aggressive affirmation from his wife. Oftentimes women protect men's feelings, while neglecting their own. We must be sure to remind ourselves that while God wants us to be faithful and loving to our partners we must also recognize the need for self-care.

Leah said...

Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I hesitate to say that we should only act up to a point where it is "natural" for us. If we did that, we would only be acting in our flesh and not in the Spirit. We are commanded in Ephesians to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. This is not something that comes "naturally" to almost any of us - this is part of sin's curse. I believe we honor God and our husbands when we actively seek ways to honor and show respect.

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