This should be a simple statement, “men and women are different” but ever since the 1960s there has been a cultural agenda to minimize the differences.
When our country moved from an agrarian society to a manufacturing (and service) society, dads began to work outside the home. This removed the primary male influence from boys and took the picture of a man, one who works hard and loves his family, out of the home.
Then the feminist movement, which began as a great thing to provide equal rights, grew into a push to make men and women the same… they are not.
We need different things, we are different, not better or worse, just different.
Let each one of you [husbands] love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Both men and women have a need for love and respect. However, a woman’s primary felt need is love whereas a man’s primary felt need is respect. This is why we [men] do what we do. We want our fathers to be proud of us, we want our children to look-up to us, and we want our wives to think we are the greatest. When we feel like they don’t, we act out and are unhappy.
The initial reaction that people have to this idea is usually something like “well, you’re just into yourself, get over your ego.”
This reaction is a product of decades of the feminist movement trying to strip masculinity from our society, don’t fall for the trap.
Just about every “marriage study” or “communication workbook” teaches men to become more like women. Become more loving, learn to share your feelings, talk with you wife, etc… This isn’t wrong, but it’s only half right.
Men do need to be more loving, that’s what the Apostle Paul commanded of us in Eph 5:33. But the other side of the coin is that women need to be more respectful.
“But wait” I can hear you saying “what if he doesn’t deserve respect…”
Can’t you hear my response? “what if she doesn’t deserve love?”
Why do we love someone? If you said anything other than “because Jesus loved us” you are incorrect and overly sentimental. And that’s part of the problem. Most of our “marriage counseling” centers around tricking ourselves into feeling better about loving another person. Helping you to see that you should love the other person.
Well, guess what, they might not deserve it. They might treat you terribly, they might grow into hatred of you… are you still supposed to love them? Yes!
The secret to marriage is coming to the realize that you love someone because of Jesus (not because of you or them). But that’s only half the secret, the other half is that you respect someone, not because of you or them, but because of Jesus.
It’s not “unconditional love” that we give, that’s a made-up word that we use, it’s love conditioned on the work of Jesus. In the same way, we give respect, not conditioned on how our spouse acts, or whether or not they “deserve it” (because they don’t), but it’s conditioned on the work of Jesus.
Don’t love someone so that they will love you back, they may or may not. When they don’t then you’ll say “it didn’t work.” If the reason you love is to receive love, then love is your idol. If you love because of Jesus, then Jesus is your Lord.
Don’t respect your husband only when he impresses you, show your spouse respect because of what Jesus has done. Let your man be a man, understand that he needs your approval, he needs you to “look-up” to him, not because of ego, not because he wants to “look-down” on you, but because he’s made that way, it’s what he needs.
By the way, the Bible tells you to.
If you’re a man and you’re having marital problems, ask yourself “am I showing love to my wife? Does she know I love her and always will?”
If you’re a woman and you’re having marital problems, ask yourself “am I showing respect to my husband? Does he know I believe in him and I always will?”
It sounds wrong, it sounds hard to our ears, and it’s because we’ve bought the propaganda. Women need love, men need respect. No matter how it sounds, it’s what the Bible says and I believe it, my marriage is built upon it, and we’re in our 11th year (and counting).