Thursday, December 13, 2012

Love and Respect

Many of my thoughts here were helped along by the great book, Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I highly recommend it to you.

 Love and respect are two sides of the coin of marriage. Unfortunately, we often call heads when we mean tails. A wife needs love and so she emotionally and conversationally loves her husband the way she needs and wants to be loved. The husband needs respect and so he values his wife for her hard work and determination, just the sort of thing he needs and wants. And then he feels disrespected and she feels unloved.

What shall we do?

First, it is not an appropriate response towards your spouse to give to them what you want from them. And this should not surprise us Christians because Jesus has always called us to give ourselves away in order to get a return.

If a wife gives emotional love in many ways, even the words, "I love you" because she desperately needs that kind of love, she is actually not investing in her man's account in a way that gets the right kind of return.

Men like to hear their wives say, "I love you," but that is not their greatest need, which may be surprising to a woman. A man needs respect and honor. His psyche is pretty fragile in this area, actually. He needs to know that his wife is proud of him. He needs to know that she respects his work, his authority in the home, his growth in grace, his ideas and dreams. If he does not get this from her, the heartfelt, "I am so proud of you," then he wonders if she really believes in him or respects him as a husband, as a man.

When a husband honors his wife for the work she does in the home, her accomplishments, he may assume that this fills a deep abiding need for his wife. Of course, she loves to be appreciated but her need is to know that she is securely loved whether she performs well or not. She wants to know that her husband is committed to her, loves her, desires to be with her, wants to listen to her and is close in an intimate, conversational, spiritual and emotional way. And while he likes many of those things, as well, it is very different from his own set of needs. So, he needs to learn what her love needs are and then meet her needs, not give her what he wants.

So, men, love your wife, even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Love her. Hug her. Listen to her. Seek to understand her. Let her know that she is completely secure in your commitment to her, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for the rest of your lives. And tell her and show her, often.

Wives, honor and respect your husband, appreciating the work he does. Be proud of him! And tell him that, from the heart, often. Are you proud of him? If not, find something to respect and be proud of in your husband and tell him. When he has ideas, listen. When he fixes something, commend him. When he does something that is recognized at work, tell him you knew they would finally notice because now they see him like you do. When he does the right thing as a father, tell him you are proud of the way he leads the children. You have to cultivate this right kind of pride, looking for concrete specific reasons to praise your husband directly and in public.

I think both of you will begin to see the wonder in this way of giving yourself away. Give your wife what she needs and guess what? She will be enabled to give you what you need. But do not keep track or you will stop giving just before the returns set in. Just give and give and give. And once your wife is filled up enough, she will start to give back to you, which will enable you to give her more than you ever thought you had to give her before.

And then you will feel respected and she will feel loved.

No comments: