Ephesians 5:33 (NLT) So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I remember reading Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and learning some valuable truths. The author pointed out that everyone thinks love must be unconditional, but respect must be earned, yet God’s Word tells us otherwise. Notice the verse doesn’t say that the wife respect her husband IF he loves her or IF he deserves it. It says the wife MUST love her husband…period! It was very eye opening to say the least. Men are commanded to love their wives whether they deserve it or not, and women are commanded to respect their husbands in the same way. Yikes!
That was something I didn’t know how to do when all my life I’d been taught/shown otherwise. However, the great news is that God can change our hearts to align to His Word. Boy, I’m so glad! Sometimes it’s in leaps and bounds, but other times it’s baby steps. We just have to succumb our will to God’s. In that way, it’s really not about our husbands at all (what they do right or wrong), but looking to God to do what’s right when we give it to Him. I remember crying and screaming to God it wasn’t fair to respect him after all he’d done to me and our marriage, but after my fit throwing, I chose to do it His way. After that, it wasn’t an issue anymore! God took all the struggle away and replaced it with His love for my husband! Wow!!
I have found, when we respect unconditionally the way God commands, God changes our husbands into someone worthy of that respect. That’s why it became a non-issue for me. Not only did I see God change me, but my husband too!
So, life lesson learned: Unconditional love for my husband is great, but unconditional respect for my husband is commanded by God, because, truly, it’s what men require!