At the end of Ephesians 5 Paul tucks this challenging command in, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)
Love & respect
Men and respect are like magnets. Men will always lean into where they’re receiving respect. This is why a lot of men love to be at work and hate to be at home. At work, they are respected, they receive praise, at home they can’t seem to do anything right. Men see nagging as a form of disrespect. Many affairs begin with a seemingly innocent relationship where a woman shows respect to a man who may not be getting that kind of respect at home.
In the same way a woman longs to be loved. Not just with words, but with actions. She wants to be pursued, just as Jesus pursued us. Love is always an action in the scriptures, never just an emotion. Women get into affairs because a man is showing her attention, showing her love, pursuing her, telling her things that only a husband should tell a wife. She wants to be loved.
I once heard it put this way…
If I came home one night and said to my wife, I really respect all that you do with our kids, the house and your career, but I don’t love you. It would be like punching her in the gut. She would feel so deflated.
Likewise, if she came to me and said, I really love you, but I don’t respect you. That would deflate me. This is the model we see on TV. Husbands are lovable in a goofy kind of way, but hardly ever respected. It’s become the norm in our culture.
It’s not that women don’t need respect and men don’t need love. Paul understood that men and women are different and at their core are slightly different desires. If these are our core desires, then our role and desire as spouses’ should be to determine that we’d meet these needs in our spouse. We can never abdicate these responsibilities!