The end of Ephesians 5 sums up the duties of husbands and wives in verse 33 saying, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Colossians repeats this counsel in chapter 3 vs. 18 and 19 – “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them”
Nowhere in the Bible is the woman told to love her husband. Titus 2 vs 4.tells the older women to “train the younger women to love their husbands”. That is the closest reference to women loving the husband. In comparison, the husband is repeatedly told to love his wife.
Why aren’t women told to love their husbands? It seems inconsistent to our worldly views of love. When we look at our needs, though, the main need of a woman is to feel loved and for a man, to feel respected. God did not inspire these verses casually. They were intended to clearly remind us of these essential needs of our spouse. And so, women are told to respect their husbands, and men are told to love their wives.
I know I’ve written about this often before, but I think it is a key point we need to remind ourselves of frequently, daily even. The problem in all marriages is that when one spouse is lacking in this key area, say the husband isn’t showing his wife enough love, her display of respect towards him will soon fade, and they will quickly build a wall between them. Couples don’t realize how important these two actions are to a marriage. We have to keep the cycle going. Women must respect their husbands in order to receive the love they need, and men must love their wives in order to receive the respect they need.
When Rick and I went through our marriage crisis, and I didn’t tell him I loved him for about a year and a half, he said not hearing “I love you” wasn’t what bothered him the most. It was the look of adoration and respect he used to see in my eyes that was missing and caused him pain.
While the entire Bible can be applied to marriage, God doesn’t give us a lot of specific counsel about it, but He definitely tells men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands. If those two guidelines are fulfilled, the marriage will run smoothly.
Respecting your husband doesn’t mean you are a slave to him, it means you listen to what he has to say and discuss it if necessary. You value and don’t hesitate to ask for his opinion. Nagging your spouse and putting him down with words is the most disrespect we can show to our husbands, along with refusing to have sex with him. (More about that later.)
God has made marriage to make you holy, not to make you happy. God wants your marriage to be blessed and happy, but that is not the purpose for it. The purpose is to draw close to our spouse as we draw nearer to God. They should be our top two priorities/relationships that uniquely parallel each other.
The closer you draw to your spouse and to God, the easier it will be to keep the devil and the influences of the world out of your lives. You should create an oasis with your spouse where nothing can touch you. Finances, children, work, illnesses should not affect your relationship with your spouse if you are both working together in your spirituality and in keeping your marriage holy.