Love and Respect (Pt. 2 of 2)
Are you glued?
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 KJV) We quoted the King James Version here because it uses the word “cleave.” Great word – “cleave.” It means “to be glued together.” God’s design is that you, as a married couple, be glued together and become ONE. That makes sense – when you glue two things together, they become one thing.
The Divine Design of the Gluing Process
Jesus repeats this gluing process in Matthew 19, and adds, So they are no longer two, but one (v. 6). And then the Apostle Paul repeats it in Ephesians 5, and adds, This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (vv. 32, 33 NLT).
God took the trouble to give – not a general command – a specific command to husbands…and a specific command to wives. Last month, we focused on the command to wives and how they can respect their husbands in very practical ways. Guess what, guys – it’s your turn! How can you cooperate with God in His “divine design of the gluing process,” and learn to love your wife as you love yourself?
We’re still referring to Emerson Eggerichs’ book Love and Respect, and want to start by repeating a profound statement he makes (which we completely agree with): “You can’t get what you need by depriving your partner of what your partner needs.” The reason we start with this is because we’ve heard a lot of husbands say, “Well, if she treats me right [translation – If she shows me the respect I need…], then I’ll treat her right [translation – THEN I will show her I love her]. So right up front, we have to tell you THAT WON’T WORK! Never has…never will. It doesn’t work when a wife waits until she feels loved by her husband before she gives him respect. And it doesn’t work for a husband to wait until he feels respected by his wife before he shows her love.
The question that remains is: who is mature enough to go first? Since Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, mentions husbands loving first, perhaps you would like to start this “loving thing.”
Why is Love So Important for a Woman?
Your wife’s deepest need – above all else – is to be loved…not because of what she does or doesn’t do, but just because you love her – YOU LOVE HER. When you were courting, you two talked and talked, and then talked some more. You opened up to her and talked about your life and your dreams. You warmed her heart with your attention, and, in response, she thought you were Mr. Wonderful. You made sure she felt your love, and she responded with love and admiration back to you.
See how it works? You warm her with loving attention – she responds back to you with love and admiration. Dr. Eggerichs suggests six love-needs that hide in every woman’s heart. We would like to give you some practical ways to meet your wife’s love-needs and get the divine design of the gluing process revved up (or perhaps started again) in your marriage.
How Can Husbands Show Love to Their Wives?
- Your wife desires CLOSENESS. She longs to feel connected with you, like she felt when you were courting. So show her she is still the most important person in the world to you. Make time for her. Hold her hand. Look her in the eye and listen to her. Ask for her opinion, and respect it when given. Make sure you have a date alone with her once a week, no matter how busy your schedule.
Remember Genesis 2:24 – “cleave to your wife.” Be glued to her. The first thing God said to that newly married (newly made) couple was, “Be glued together. Be one!” In God’s design, the “Big O” is not orgasm…it’s Oneness!
- Your wife desires OPENNESS in your relationship. She longs to feel a part of your life. She wants to see your heart and let you see hers. So make time to talk about your day together. Tell her about the frustrations, as well as the successes at work. Sit down and discuss the children with her. Talk about future plans and dreams. Pray with her every day.
In Ephesians 4:15, we are commanded to “speak the truth in love” with each other. And what’s more, God says that when we speak loving truth, we will grow “in every way more and more like Christ.” Your willingness to be open with your wife is tied together with your growth in Christ. Hmmmmm
- Your wife desires your UNDERSTANDING. She longs for you to try to understand where she’s coming from…to empathize with her. If you try to “fix” her every time she comes to you to talk about a problem, she’ll begin to believe you think there’s something wrong with her – something that needs fixing. So here’s the easiest solution you’ll ever get: Ask her right up front, “Do you want me to try to solve it, or do you want me to just listen?”
God gives a clear directive about this in 1 Peter 3:7: In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together (NLT). God knows the secrets to a happy marriage. He’s worth listening to.
- Your wife longs for PEACE between you. She has a deep need for feeling connected with you. When conflict arises between you, she wants to get it settled so you two can reconnect. Sometimes husbands tend to shut up and go into their cave when there is conflict, and the more their wives move toward them, the more they retreat. Remember, absence of conflict and PEACE are not the same thing. So, even though you’re tempted to stonewall, don’t shut down. Simply meet her half way. Say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” for your part in the conflict. And be willing to forgive her for her part.
Here’s God’s formula for harmony: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18 NIV). When you are willing to talk things through, your wife will, in all likelihood, meet you halfway, and together you will find a deeper peace than you had before the fight.
- Your wife desires your absolute LOYALTY. She longs to know you are completely committed to her and to your marriage and family. She needs to be sure in her heart that no matter what happens, you will still love her. So make your wife and your marriage your priority in life. First, God…then your wife and family…before career, before golf, before CSI, before the ball game. Don’t correct her in front of the children and don’t let them get away with disrespecting her. Keep your commitments with her. Don’t let “other things” keep you from time with her. And let her know you’re a one-woman man!
Malachi 2:14-16 is a dramatic reminder of how important marital loyalty is to God. He concludes verse 16 with “I hate divorce! says the Lord, the God of Israel.” Loyalty and commitment warm a woman’s heart like nothing else.
- Your wife desires you to honor and cherish her. She longs to know you have her in your heart and mind first and foremost…that you respect her and honor her. So let her know you treasure her…that you’re proud of her. Never try to get a laugh at her expense, but speak only highly of her in public.
Proverbs 31:28-29 says, Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also rises up, and praises her. He says, ‘Many women do noble things. But you are better than all the others’ There’s not a woman in the world who wouldn’t want to hear that!
So, we’re back to the original question – Are you glued? Are you cooperating with God in His divine design for the gluing process? We gave you a few simple, practical suggestions about how you can show your wife you love her like you love yourself…like Christ loves the church. You will never get what you need (your wife’s respect) by depriving her of what she needs (your love). BUT…you will generally get the respect you need by giving her your unconditional love.
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