The Code: Love and Respect
“To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33
Last time, we talked about how to “crack the code” in order to understand your spouse. Realizing the unique way our spouse is wired can demystify the problems that hinder a good relationship. Love and respect is the marriage code and the key to cracking it is to know and use the truth in Ephesians 5:33.
Ephesians 5:33 helps us understand:
- Women crave Love.
- Men crave Respect.
Code cracked, problem solved…right?
As someone once said: It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
The key to practicing Love and Respect is keeping your eyes on Jesus, not on the actions of your spouse. You are doing what you do for Him, and He is worthy of it…even if your spouse, at times, is not.
Love can happen regardless of respect given.
Respect can happen regardless of love given.
Like the whole Christian life, we are called to obedience — even if our feelings tell us to do the opposite. Unconditional love is not dependent on the recipient’s behavior. Christlike, God-honoring love, according to 1 Corinthians 13:
- Is patient
- Is not selfish
- Does not insist on its own way
- Is not irritable or resentful
- Bears all things
- Believes all things
- Hopes all things
- Endures all things
6 Ways to Love & Respect
In the book Love and Respect, the author gives a detailed, helpful outline of what Love and Respect can look like in a marriage. Here’s a short list of six ideas from the book that can help put Love and Respect into practice — powered by Christ in you, and with your eyes on Him:
- Closeness: spend quality time together.
- Openness: share feelings and stay connected.
- Understanding: listen well and hear her heart.
- Peacemaking: be willing to admit wrongs and keep communication open.
- Loyalty: stay committed; being her “one-woman man.”
- Esteem: give honor and appreciation sincerely and freely.
- Conquest: value his ambition to work and achieve.
- Hierarchy: appreciate his goal to protect and provide.
- Authority: support his desire to serve and lead.
- Insight: honor his need to analyze and counsel.
- Relationship: regard his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.
- Sexuality: recognize his need for sexual intimacy.
The Marriage Marathon
Like many things in life, marriage is a marathon. You may feel like you are running alone at times. There may be difficult stretches that make you want to collapse on the sidelines. But when you reach the finish line and receive the prize, you are grateful that — through it all — you kept running.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2