Ephesians 5:33-Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. NKJV
In my previous blog, I wrote about some of the things my husband and I put into practice to create a strong marriage and family unit. In today’s blog, I want to talk about two things in light of the Word of God; love and respect! Love and respect are companions that no marriage can survive without! If you are married or are planning to get married, learn that love and respect go together in building and maintaining a lasting relationship.
I have been exposed to a lot of teaching on marriage over the years, but in those first ten years or more, I sought out teachings. As I mentioned before, my husband and I were committed to attending a couple’s fellowship after we got married, something his older brother and sister-in-law raved about. Secondly, we invested in teaching tapes and books on marriage and attended marriage conferences. Lastly, after hearing things that impacted us, we agreed to implement those things in our relationship because we understood hearing wasn’t profitable if there was no intent to obey what we heard.
Ephesians 5 is a familiar passage that is used to teach on the subject of marriage relationships because Paul expounds on the correlation between a husband and wife and Jesus and the Church. Then he ends his comparison with this statement:
Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.Ephesians 5:33 NKJV
On the day of the wedding, most couples believe they are madly in love with each other and love will take them to a happily ever after. However, the truth of it all is that marriages are built on more than feelings of love. Strong marriages are built on a decision to love.
In Ephesians 5, Paul gives us a closer look at what love within a marriage looks like:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for herEphesians 5:25 NKJV
Husbands are exhorted to love their wives as Christ loved the church. So what does that type of love look like?
- It’s a life of sacrifice. (See Ephesians 5:2). Jesus gave His life to demonstrate that He loved and was committed to us. Husbands are to imitate Jesus in this type of love. I remember my husband left the Navy and gave up flying when we started our family. He wanted to be home to witness his daughters grow and be a part of their everyday lives. He sacrificed something he loved doing to love us. I didn’t ask that of him; he made that decision. There have been times when he wondered if life would have been different if he had continued with his flying, but he has never regretted being with us! Wives are not asking for husbands to die for them, just to make them feel as if they would if they had to!
- It’s unconditional. (See Romans 5:8). Jesus doesn’t love us because we are always so easy to love. In fact, He loves us when we are unlovely! Unconditional love means that you have decided to love your spouse whether they act like you want them to act or not. I’m not the same woman my husband married. I know that’s shocking! When we married, he asked me to stay at home because it meant so much to him to walk into the house after school and see his mom at home. So I did. I was at home for about 15 years, but when our youngest went to kindergarten, I returned to the workforce. Well, I couldn’t keep up with cleaning the house, cooking, ministry, family, and being available to him. Things had to change around the house for all of our benefit and my sanity. Notice, I said things changed, but not our commitment to loving each other!
- It looks like the love you give to yourself! (Ephesians 5:28). Paul says that when a man loves himself, he nourishes and cherishes himself. Every spouse wants to feel cherished and taken care of. My husband and I do this in ways that may differ from you, but we know when we feel nourished and cherished. For example, he and his brother worked in construction together. His brother would stop and buy flowers for my sister-in-law, so my husband would buy some for me. I don’t love flowers like that. So, after a couple of times getting flowers, I told him I would rather have a break from cooking. My sister-in-law loves flowers so much she can receive them every day!
Was Paul saying that love is a one-way street? No! He addresses the fact that a wife is to love her husband in another letter:
That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children..Titus 2:4 NKJV
I believe this is easier for women to do. I have seen women love some men that I would have never given the time of day! But they loved their man! I’m happy for them! When I counsel a woman who is having issues and realize that she loves her husband but not his behavior, I encourage her in her love for him! I talk with her about forgiving him, not taking everything so personally, picking her battles, and so forth! Because love covers a multitude of sins!
I believe people can handle a lot of things when they feel loved! Husbands, wives, and children alike benefit from the unconditional love that says I love you when you make me happy, and I love you when you don’t make me happy! I have chosen you as the object of love and my affection; nothing you say or do can change that fact! Ever!
If you struggle to understand how to make your spouse feel loved, I recommend the book, “Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman! It was written many years ago, and there have been other books written as a follow-up on the subject, but it’s a great resource if you need support in this area.
Through the book, my husband could see why I didn’t like flowers and why he blesses me when he mops the floor. My love language is acts of service. His love language is quality time, so when I am off, and he is running around doing errands or looking at jobs, I hop in the truck with him to spend some extra time together. Small investments like this, taking the time to find out how your mate ticks, reap great benefits!
Wow! I’ve already deleted half of what I’ve written and haven’t touched the surface of loving one another! Not only that, I have not even begun to deal with respect! So in my next blog, I will continue the conversation on respecting one another. Until then, stay encouraged! Understanding how Jesus loves us helps us to understand how we are to love others. It’s a lifetime of learning, but it’s worth the work! Wonderful Jesus!