What Does a Christian Marriage Look Like?

Part 6 – Love and Respect

Somehow in this age of gender confusion, we have tried to make men and women be exactly alike. Women clamor for equality (sameness) with men. They, we women, want the same pay and treatment and opportunities and expectations on us. Nothing wrong with that. But they/we also want men to be like us: more in touch with their emotions, more nurturing, less aggressive. In all this equality talk there has emerged this unspoken idea that women and men are the same. But I must protest on this one. A simple conversation with my male friends, sons, or husband quickly reveals that there are innate and inherent differences in men and women.

This shouldn’t surprise us. God’s word has it written clearly In black and white that there are differences. Although there are variations in extremes according to personality, women tend to want to be loved and men want to be respected. Our Creator God told us this before our enlightened society tried to make us all unisex.

Ephesians 5:33 instructs us to meet each other’s most important need. It states:

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

In his book Love & Respect Emmerson Eggerichs discusses these differing needs in the sexes and offers ways to live together in ways that offer understanding, respect and love that allows each gender to live to their fullest potential that their Creator made them to be. Upon reading this book several years ago, my husband and I had a discussion. It was more like a “Do you really feel that way?” kind of conversation. I had always assumed that every human in the world wanted to be loved more than anything. But he reinforced Dr. Eggerich’s research with his own anecdotal evidence; he could know I loved him, but if I acted in a way that he felt disrespected it ate away at him even though he was loved.

Ladies, I encourage you, do not expect the men in your life to be like you. Study men. Study their needs and reactions. Ask them their preferences and wishes. Respect them.

So what does a real Christian marriage look like in this respect? I’m afraid far to many of them are like mine was before I read this book – they are well-intentioned, but uninformed and misguided. They go on assumptions that the other spouse has their same needs, but this is not true. Men need our respect.

But ideally, men need us to see them as individuals and see how their personalities and longings and dreams play into the way they want to be treated. Isn’t that what we women want from them –  to be seen for who we are and treated honorably? Men want to be treated well and respected for their contribution to the world whether they work hard physically doing construction, or they seem to play at work coaching, or if they are an esteemed doctor, a truck driver, a hard-working contributor in a gigantic corporation, a craftsman, a journalist, a mechanic, or one of a thousand other things. Whatever they are, wise godly women should seek to give respect to the men in their lives.

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