Two Necessary Ingredients in Marriage: Love and Respect
Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33).
The basic need of a wife is love. The basic need of a husband is respect. The husband’s main responsibility before God is to show agape love to his wife. The wife’s main responsibility is to show respect to her husband.
In Ephesians 5, Paul compares the husband and wife relationship to the relationship we as the church has to Jesus. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). The Greek word for love in this verse is agape.
The two main characteristics of agape love are that it is unconditional, and that it self-sacrificial. Agape loves another regardless of their actions, words, or choices. Agape love puts another’s needs above its own. This agape love is a love of action, not feeling. Husbands are to show by their actions that they love their wives. Wives need to hear I love you frequently and then need to see I love you demonstrated in practical ways. Helping with the dishes, the laundry, house cleaning, and taking care of the kids so the wife can have some “free” time can be tangible expressions of love.
Agape love is unconditional and self-sacrificial. A husband walking in agape love will express love in tangible ways regardless of the response he receives from his wife. A husband walking in agape love will put his needs last and his wife’s needs first because agape love moves him to be self-sacrificing. Nowhere in the New Testament is the wife commanded to Agape her husband with the unconditional, self-sacrificing love. Once in Titus 2 the wives are commanded to love their husbands, but the word for love there is the Greek Word phileo (friendship) and not agape. But the wife is commanded in verse 33 above to respect her husband. Husbands need to hear words of encouragement like: You did a great job with…or I think you’re the best at…or I like the way you…A man needs the affirmation that his wife values him and what he does for the family. And that’s the major responsibility of the wife. Don’t nag your husband for what he’s not doing, thank him for what he is doing right, and you’ll see a husband that is motivated even more to do acts of love for his wife and family.
Let’s believe God for our marriages to be strengthened by the Father. He instilled a strong desire in a woman to be loved and nurtured. The Father instill a strong yearning in a man to affirmed. So husband, love you wife, and wife, respect your husband!