The Love & Respect Marriage Message (Part II)

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Love & Respect

Love is still love in any language

It speaks unconditionally

among friends and lovers

while giving no penalty

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Respect is still respect in any language

It speaks unconditionally

among friends and lovers

regardless of whether we agree.

~

Wendy/2016

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The Love & Respect Marriage Message (Part II)

Is it fair to demand unconditional love from a husband but then turn around and tell him he must earn our respect? I’ve never met a perfect person, and I doubt you have either. It’s possible to respect someone you don’t always agree with. In fact, if you state to someone the specifics of how you disagree with them, and you do it respectfully, the person is more likely to listen.

Giving unconditional respect is a win-win in marriage.

I rebelled against this notion when I first heard Emerson Eggerichs speak about it on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast. At the time it aired I was mopping my kitchen floor while my three young children played outside, and as he spoke I literally took my frustrations out on the mop and bucket. How dare he say I should respect my husband when my man hasn’t always earned it.

But then Mr. Eggerichs quoted Scriptures that made it more than obvious he was speaking truth. I stopped swinging the mop across the patina-rich, fir floor and scrunched up my face. Lord, are you telling me I’ve been going about this all wrong?

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My husband and I had what you’d call a roller-coaster marriage. We loved hard, we fought hard. Thankfully we rarely dipped into a dark place as far as the words we flung at each other. But we could have done much better. The love and respect message on the radio was particularly timely as we’d had a falling out the evening before.

And we’d let the sun go down on our spat.

Neither of us was giving into grace, and my tied up stomach was suffering from the tension of a not so peaceful marriage.

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I continued cleaning and listening to the message while I gripped the mop until my knuckles whitened with irritation. But the more I heard, the more my conscience awakened and squirmed until I realized my behavior had fueled our latest fight.

The author described what he called the “Respect Test” and then he explained how a wife’s attitude of unconditional respect encourages her husband to extend a generous helping of unconditional love in return.

He also reminded women not to put on respect as a manipulative tool but to practice it out of obedience to Jesus Christ. Emerson then proved through Bible verses that our treatment of our husbands reflected our relationship with God.

If we love God,

 then we should love our men in the way

we’re commanded to—through respect.

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Frustrated, I shook the mop and then shoved it back into the bucket. I’m not sure I like this message. Why should I be the first one to change? 

I stared up at the vintage chandelier hanging from our nine foot ceiling as I mulled over what I’d heard. My heart ached with guilt and sorrow regarding the events of the night before, and I craved release from all the anger boiling up inside me.

Finally I heeded the Spirit’s nudge and shoved my smoldering feelings aside. “Alright, God, I’m going to need your help. Sorry I’ve been so disrespectful to Ian. Please help me to make it right and help me act better with my heart, words and deeds towards him.”

My shoulders relaxed as peace displaced the tension in them. Suddenly I knew the radio program was exactly what I was supposed to hear.  Compassion for how hard it must have been for my husband to endure my contemptuous behavior replaced my anger as I thought over what I’d just heard. And since I’d been in the habit of recording broadcasts, I was able to listen to the message again and again while I waited for a copy of the book to arrive in the mail.

And when my husband returned home that day, I greeted him so warmly and so respectfully that our roller-coaster marriage cart soared to a height rivaling Mount Everest.

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Yes, we still hit some low spots. But as I practiced what I’d learned the lows came less often and were shorter lived. Just ask my kids—actually don’t—they’ll roll their eyes and groan like they always do when they catch us kissing in the kitchen.

Love & Respect Blessings ~ Wendy

P.S. Please remember that the Love & Respect message is intended for good-willed couples and not for abusive relationships. Abuse and addictive behavior must be addressed. A spouse needs to be safe. And that may require a separation and/or divorce if an abusive or using partner is unwilling to seek help.

Do you have any questions or anything to add? I’m nosy-to-know.

Our roller-coaster marriage cart soared to a height rivaling Mount Everest. #faith #marriage Click To Tweet

If we love God, then we should love our men in the way we’re commanded to—through respect. #faith Click To Tweet

Giving unconditional respect is a win-win in marriage. #faith #marriage Click To Tweet

15 thoughts on “The Love & Respect Marriage Message (Part II)

  1. Both of your posts on marriage are spot on, Wendy. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and patience with us as we learn the art of living together in marriage. It takes time and effort to get it right. Too many throw in the towel too soon. Loving and respectful feelings toward our spouses come through acting like we love and respect them–even if the feelings aren’t there. Often we want to act only after we ‘feel’ a certain way. We really can’t trust our feelings — not completely anyway. God’s blessings on your marriage and family!

    1. You’ve nailed it, Nancy. We must act first and our feelings will follow. This was hard for me to learn–but so rewarding to practice–abundantly rewarding–once I got used to it. Blessings back to you, dear friend.

  2. Another wonderful post on this topic, Wendy, and excellent advice contained therein, though given gently (the best advice falls like a gentle rain, I’m told). So glad you had that moment of revelation, as it is that kind of thing that helps to set married couples on a good path. Marriage demands a lot of each partner, and if we are good partners, we will realize that we have to give a lot – even at times when we least want to do so. took me a good long while to learn, but I’m so glad I did. (But arguments haven’t stopped, thank goodness.)

    1. Thank you, dear Cynthia. I like the quote: “the best advice falls like gentle rain”. I agree that “marriage demands a lot of each partner”. Good marriages don’t just happen. 🙂 By the way, I’m so excited to read your new book.

  3. I believe its a two way street Wendy I love and respect my husband because he is kind. loving and respectful. If the partner is not respectful. i would find the respect would not be there either. I start with gratitude and never take what he does for our family for granted. He does the same. We are lucky we make a good team. Have a wonderful day.

    1. So true, Kath. It takes two to make a great marriage. And thankfully it only takes one to take the first step towards it. A two-way standoff would only keep the marriage stuck in mediocre-land. 🙂 Blessings on your weekend, friend.

  4. I understand and appreciate this post. I respect my husband a lot more than I did when we were young. I believe it is an answer to prayer. One of my prayers that I have prayed through the years is that the Lord would have his way in me. I believe that as a result, He has opened my eyes to many things about my husband that has caused my respect for him to grow.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

    1. I love your testimony, Theresa. What a blessing to grow more in love and more respectful of one’s own husband. He’s a rich man–very rich. Nothing compares to a peaceful home. xo

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