Marriage Keys: Love & Respect
By Gayla Fields, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” -- Ephesians 5:33
Guess what? God made men and women different. Of course, you know that. But, did you know He also made their individual needs different? That’s why He commanded women to respect their husbands and men to love their wives.
It’s simple. Men need to feel respected. Women need to feel loved. I’m not saying that men don’t need to feel loved and women don’t need to feel respected. They just approach these needs differently.
When a woman feels loved, she also feels respected. When a man feels respected, he also feels loved.
While it’s impossible to meet every need your spouse has, it’s helpful to try to meet the needs you can. It makes sense. When your spouse’s needs are being met, he/she is much more likely to meet your needs. Besides, the Bible says it's the right thing to do!
Husbands and wives should talk to each other about their specific needs. In general, women have a need to spend time with their husbands face to face, talking and sharing thoughts, feelings and daily circumstances.
Wives want to share. They feel connected when men just listen, without being critical or trying to solve problems.
Many women complain that their husbands hear them, but don’t truly listen because they quickly try to “fix” the problem.
What women need to remember is men have a great ability to fix problems. It’s their natural tendency. But women don’t always want this.
If you want your husband just to listen, help him out. Tell him you don’t need a solution, you just need to talk. Don’t get angry if he slips into that problem-solving mode. It’s his natural bent. God made him that way.
Husbands remember: your wives need connection, not correction. Women want to know they’re cherished and valued.
Men can fill this need by showing appreciation for their wives, acknowledging all they do to help the family, complimenting their appearance, meals, or work, and telling them they're important.
When women hear they’re valued, they feel loved. They’re more likely to show more respect for their spouses.
Men feel respected when their wives support their work and show confidence in their ability to lead and provide for the family. Men often tell me they feel disrespected (and unloved) when wives complain, make too many demands, or are critical of the way they spend time.
When a wife complains that her husband is always working or doesn’t spend enough time with her, the husband is likely to feel disrespect. His view is that he works hard to support his family.
As a result of this disrespect, he may pull away from his wife. The wife interprets this as unloving. A vicious cycle begins. This cycle can be broken if couples stop and think.
If a wife says how proud she is of the work her husband does or notices when he is working hard, the husband will feel more respected and less criticized.
In addition, men generally enjoy shoulder to shoulder (instead of face to face) time. They don’t have the need to have deep conversations during these times.
Companionship is important to men. Women can meet this need by accompanying their husbands to sporting events, or fishing, watching TV or exercising together. This time of companionship reminds men that they are liked (not just loved) by their wives.
Again, when the husband feels his needs are being met, he is then more likely to be more loving and meet the needs of his wife.
So… get this cycle rolling:
The more loved women feel, the more respectful they will be. The more respected men feel, the more loving they will be.
Usually, if one spouse will begin being more loving and respectful, the other spouse will follow. You just have to decide to act in the right way.
It’s important to know the decision to act is based on CHOICE, not feelings. You may not “feel” like doing any of this. That does not matter. Do it.
Husbands and wives can DECIDE to do the right thing. Feelings will follow action, so make the right choice.
Great Books on Marriage Relationships can be found in the Faith Family Resource Center, located at Faith Baptist Church. There are also several videos and tapes by Dr. James Dobson and others on Marriage Relationships. Call 539-3434 to reserve your book or other material.
The Faith Family Resource Center will be open Wednesday, October 27, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. Come visit and explore!
Capture His Heart/Capture Her Heart by Lisa Terkeurst.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.