Seventy-five percent of the texts I send from my cell phone are to my husband. He'll often tell me how much he looks forward to my short notes, photos and videos, reminding him who he's working for. It's never anything earth-shattering, but these little texts help keep us connected throughout the long work day.
He's busy at work, so most times, I don't expect a response. Plus, Andy doesn't have a keyboard on his phone, so he would have to do it the 'old fashioned way' which takes forever. The text I sent the other day, though, got the response I thought he might have.
"I have so much respect for you, Andy. Thank you for being the man of our house."
He called a few minutes later and asked, "What did I do to receive such a nice text?" You see, we can tell our husbands that we love them all we want. And they appreciate it, I'm sure. But guys don't desire to be loved. They want to be respected.
Paul wrote this in Ephesians 5:22-33:
Did you catch that last verse?
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Men are to love, women are to respect.
Many women are afraid of the word 'submit' because it conjurs up images of a slave and his master or one of a dictator. But that is not what it was meant to communicate at all; that was twisted by power-hungry men who abuse their authority. The marriage relationship is an equal partnership - different duties, but all serving one purpose. Just as you can't have two people driving the same car at the same time, the marriage relationship needs one person at the wheel. (And we all know how annoying those backseat drivers are!) He's the one steering the vehicle and is ultimately responsible for the care of his passengers. It is not meant to be a relationship of oppression, but rather, of freedom.
When Paul was encouraging men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands, he was ultimately asking them to do the same thing: caring for the other person as they would care for their own bodies. But you don't have to teach women how to love, just as you wouldn't need to teach a man what it means to respect. Each sex does that intuitively - it's how God designed us.
You may think that you do a lot to respect your husband and you're probably right. But I would like to challenge you this simple task: tell you husband how much you respect him. His chest will pop up and his muscles tighten; you have just empowered his masculinity and the role God designed him to have within your family. When he acts shocked and asks where that came from, be sure to have specific things in mind to explain why you respect him. How he helps care for the kids, earns money for your family, works hard at his job, taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, etc. Do this at least once a week in a quiet moment, when you mean it sincerely. Then see for yourself how much more he'll work to show you he loves you :)
If you're interested in learning more, I highly recommend the book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. It has saved and strengthened many marriages!