This is a guest post from Beverly of Alive & Living. I know — it’s technically the day *after* Valentine’s Day. I had so many awesome posts to share with you this month that I didn’t have time to put this one up a day or two earlier! It’s still a great reminder, loving your husband has no season, and I had been hoping for an excellent post about marriage to put up today. Plus, even though I’ve been married almost 7 years now, we are *still* working on this! It’s a life-long effort. Thus, this is perfect.
This isn’t your standard Valentine’s Day post. It isn’t about what to cook, buy, or how to look for your husband. I wanted to give you some tips that you can practice for the rest of your married life. Valentine’s Day would be a great time to start implementing these tips, but they are really meant to be used in the future as well.
I am so thankful to have learned of Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in premarital counseling! He shares truths found in scripture to help you communicate and relate effectively and lovingly to your spouse, and how to meet each other’s needs. I was so blessed by his teaching that I never turn down a chance to share it. So, this Valentine’s Day let’s focus on how we can meet our husband’s needs instead of what we think he should do for us.
Love Is Not Enough
Just as we as wives need love, our husbands need respect. We may wish that our husbands would love us as much as we love him, but in reality he doesn’t need love. And without receiving respect from us, it can be difficult for him to love us enough. This is actually a circle concept called the Crazy Cycle.
The Crazy Cycle
Without love from him, she reacts without respect; without respect from her, he reacts without love.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
~Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV
Unconditional Love & Unconditional Respect
We can grasp the concept of unconditional love, but what about unconditional respect? Often we think that respect needs to be earned, but that is not the case in marriage. Respect is a man’s deepest value; it is the key to motivating a husband. Saying that you love your husband, but that you don’t feel any respect for him is like him saying to you, I respect you, but I don’t love you.
Men are commanded to love because they don’t love naturally, and on the other side, women are commanded to respect because they don’t respect naturally. Giving your husband unconditional respect is the clear path to receiving unconditional love from him. The way to get off the Crazy Cycle is to get onto the Energizing Cycle.
The Energizing Cycle
His love motivates her respect; her respect motivates his love.
Dr. Eggerichs offers 6 ways you can show respect to your husband to get the Energizing Cycle spinning.
6 Ways To Show Respect To Your Husband
1. Conquest – Appreciate His Desire To Work And Achieve
If you can start to understand how important your husband’s work is to him, you will take a giant step toward communicating respect and honor. If a wife even implies, unknowingly, that her husband’s work is not that important, she has just called him a loser. He wants a woman who believes in him.
Your husband will feel you appreciate his desire to work and achieve when…
- you tell him that you value his work efforts.
- you express your faith in him related to his chosen field.
- you listen to his work stories as closely as you expect him to listen to your stories.
- you don’t dishonor or subtly criticize his work to get him to show more love.
2. Hierarchy – Appreciate His Desire To Protect And Provide
Your husband will feel you appreciate his desire to protect and provide when…
- you verbalize your admiration of him for protecting you and being willing to die for you.
- you praise his commitment to provide for and protect you and the family.
- you empathize when he reveals his male mind-set about position, particularly at work.
- you never mock the idea of “looking up to him” as your protector to prevent him from “looking down on you”.
- you never, in word or body language, put down his job or how much he makes.
3. Authority – Appreciate His Desire To Serve And To Lead
Your husband wants your acknowledgment that he is the leader, the one in authority. This is not to grind you under or treat you as inferior. It is only to say that because God has made your husband responsible (Ephesians 5:25-33), he needs the authority to carry out that responsibility.
If you want to work with your husband to reach mutually satisfying decisions most of the time, follow this principle: Go on record with your husband that you see him as having 51 percent of the responsibility and, therefore, 51 percent of the authority. Tell him that you see him as having more authority because he has more responsibility before God — the responsibility to die for you, if necessary.
He will feel you appreciate his authority and leadership when…
- you tell him you are thankful for his strength and enjoy being able to lean on him at times.
- you support his self-image as a leader.
- you never say, “You’re responsible but we’re still equal, so don’t make a decision I don’t agree with.”
- you praise his good decisions.
- you are gracious if he makes a bad decision.
- you disagree with him only in private and honor his authority in front of the kids.
- you give your reasons for disagreeing quietly and reasonably, but never attack his right to lead.
4. Insight – Appreciate His Desire to Analyze And Counsel
If you aren’t happy with your husband’s leadership, ask yourself these questions:
Do I send him a message that I do not intend to follow him if he makes a decision contrary to what I believe is correct?
Do I send a message that says, “I want you to lead but only when it carries out my desires?
Your husband will feel you appreciate his insight and counsel when…
- you tell him upfront you just need his ear; don’t complain to him later that he always tries to “fix” you.
- you thank him for his advice without acting insulted or like he doesn’t care about your feelings.
- you realize your vulnerabilities, especially among males, and value his protection.
- you counsel him respectfully when you differ with his ideas.
- you sometimes let him “fix things” and applaud his solutions
5. Relationship – Appreciate His Desire For Shoulder-To-Shoulder Friendship
Your husband will feel you value his shoulder-to-shoulder friendship when…
- you tell him you like him and you show it (he knows you love him, but he often wonders if you really like him.)
- you respond to his invitation to engage in recreational activities together or you come along to watch.
- you enable him to open up and talk to you as you do things shoulder to shoulder.
- you encourage him to spend time alone, which energizes him to reconnect with you later.
- you don’t denounce his shoulder-to-shoulder activities with his male friends to get him to spend more face-to-face time with you. Respect his friendships, and he will be more likely to want you to join him shoulder to shoulder at other times.
6. Sexuality – Appreciate His Desire For Sexual Intimacy
The rule that never changes is: you can’t get what you need by depriving you partner of what your partner needs.
He will feel you appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy when…
- you respond to him sexually more often and initiate sex periodically
- you understand he needs sexual release just as you need emotional release
- you let him acknowledge his sexual temptations without fearing he’ll be unfaithful and without shaming him.
- you don’t try to make him open up to you verbally by depriving him of sex.
When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we can step off the Energizing Cycle onto the Rewarded Cycle.
The Rewarded Cycle
His love blesses regardless of her respect; her respect blesses regardless of his love.
The Goodwill Of Your Husband
As portrayed in the 6 ways to respect your husband, we need to assume that our husbands are not trying to harm us. Most of the time they are trying to do their best to love us, and we need to recognize this! It will be easier for us to forgive them and help them see how to love us, instead of getting angry at them and thinking that they will never understand how to love us.
It may seem awkward at first to tell your husband all the things you respect about him, but it is essentially the same as him telling us all the things he loves about us!
How Will You “Love” Your Husband This Valentine’s Day? What Do You Respect About Your Husband?
Beverly and her husband have been married for five years. She worked as an Electrical Engineer until 2011 when she was laid-off. With God’s guidance she determined to be a homemaker and started researching the best foods to eat. During her research she came across the WAPF and began to understand the importance of “real” food in her diet. She recently started blogging to share what she is learning on her “real” food journey. Check out her blog, Alive & Living for articles about living and eating the way God intended.
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!