This past weekend our church hosted a marriage conference called Love and Respect. So many light bulbs went off for me, it was like a fireworks display in my head. If you get the chance to read the book or go through the material, jump on it. Several people had told me how good it was, and I believed them to a degree but was also skeptical. I’m dumb; it was better than they said it would be.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, and since I need to blog about something, let me share an overview of the conference and a couple of the big takeaways for me.
Women need love the same as they need air to breathe.
Men need respect the same as they need air to breathe.
In Scripture, husbands are commanded to love their wives. Wives are commanded to respect their husbands. Interesting, right?
The marriage relationship was uniquely designed by God so that these two different needs would best be met within this relationship. A husband can meet the wife’s need for love in a way no one else can. Likewise, a wife can meet the husband’s need for respect in a way no one else can (with the possible exception of Chuck Norris. If he respects you, you’re pretty much set for life!).
It’s brilliant and simple. Of course, the difficulty lies in that women speak and hear through the filter of love; men through the filter of respect. So there is a constant issue of misunderstanding each other. Mutual understanding is more important than communication alone.
Over the course of the typical marriage between two good-willed people who love each other, what commonly occurs is both spouses seeing him/herself as right and the other as wrong. Misunderstanding abounds, wounds are given, and distance grows.
This is called the “Crazy Cycle,” and the point was made we can never totally get off this cycle because we are fallen people. But we can limit the length of time we’re on it and make things better. We can learn to recognize when we are standing on each other’s air hose, and then we can move forward.
It is not a matter of being wrong. It is a matter of being different. Not wrong, but different: I can’t tell you how many times they said that.
One other “aha!” moment for me was in regards to respect. We live in a culture that predominantly filters things through the eyes and ears and voice of love. Love is a given, love is prioritized (take this happy day for instance) and it should be unconditional.
But our culture does not see respect in the same way. Respect must be earned.
And we bring this way of thinking into our marriages, which creates an imbalance right off the bat. A wife should not need to earn love. But neither should a husband be striving to earn her respect.
Society has been creating this culture, and it is most clearly seen in our media. How many shows depict men as immature idiots? How many of the messages we take in daily are imbalanced towards love and away from respect? Men are being deprived of the air we need to breathe.
Furthermore, think about the current state of our country. There has been an erosion of respect. It is a rare commodity, hard to find. We should not only be concerned by what this is doing to marriage and the family, but what this is doing to us as a nation and to our leaders.
Men, love your wives.
Women, respect your husbands.
That will make this a Valentine’s Day to remember.