Ephesians 5:33 – “…each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an internationally known public speaker on the topic of marriage who wrote the best seller Love and Respect based on Ephesians 5:33. In his book, Dr. Eggerich talks about the crazy cycle couples experience when the woman feels unloved and the man feels disrespected. Dr. Eggerichs’ point is that one fuels the other into a downward spiral of relational turmoil. The woman feels unloved and so she disrespects her husband. The husband, feeling disrespected, does not love his wife. Both grow hard-hearted over time and divorce is the common outcome.
What this common issue speaks to is that a Christian husband and a Christian wife must learn how to respond to disappointment and pain with God’s grace. Jesus said it this way, ‘pick up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Me.’ The Apostle Peter also gives a framework to this when he says, ‘since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin’ (1 Peter 4:1).
If we are to have a marriage that honors God, and is a testimony to non-believers, we must not think we are justified to hurt or neglect our spouse when we feel hurt or neglected by them. This is what is meant by men being the head of their wives as Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). They are to take the lead in imitating Jesus’ example who is not overcome by sin but overcomes sin with good. This is only accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you feeling disrespected? You have disrespected Christ and He still loves you. Are you feeling unloved? You have not always loved Christ as you ought, and He still respects you.
Heavenly Father, my Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your example, your wisdom, and your power to equip me to love my spouse in a way that reflects you to this world. Help me not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.