Unconditional Respect. Say WHAT? Is that really a thing?
This was my exact reaction when I was first introduced to the idea of unconditional respect through the book Love & Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. My husband and I recently read through his book with our Lifegroup and, I’ll be honest, it was uncomfortable, yet eye-opening. This post won’t be as detailed as a book review because I really want you to go read this book, but I’ll give you enough that will definitely motivate you!
Wives Respect Your Husband
Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33
Sure, I’ve read that verse before, but this book showed all new meaning to it. If I expect my husband to love me regardless of my behavior or how I look, shouldn’t I also be respecting him regardless of these same criteria? Before I read this book, I would have still said no. Respect is something you earn. Outside of marriage, I still believe that to be true. But after reading this book, and hearing from the husbands in our group, I now understand that respect is something that our men need to survive and thrive in our marriage. The way I need to be loved.
Growing as a Wife
This book has been life changing for me. I’m not saying our marriage went from horrible to perfect. We weren’t in a horrible place to begin with. Things were “fine”. We all know that fine is, well, fine, but who wants to settle for fine when you could have AMAZING?! Am I right? This book challenged me and made me take a deeper look at how I was playing the role of “wife”. When I read Dr. Eggerichs seemingly extreme examples, I saw myself. I heard my own comments, reactions and responses to my husband. Needless to say it hurt. Throughout the book, I felt like I was getting gut-punched. One right after the other.
I think the husbands in our small group even felt a little uncomfortable, feeling like the book was a little hard on the wives. But let’s be real — how many books are available on the topic of “love”? Too many to count, right? And as we see in Ephesians 5:33, that is the thing a wife needs most. But what is odd is that there are far fewer books on respect, and when you look at that same verse, isn’t it clear that is what the husband needs most? So why do we expect our husbands to love us unconditionally, but we can’t respect them unconditionally?
Your Marriage WILL Benefit
That was a hard question for me to even take a look at. However, I’m the kind of person who is always up for a challenge, so I started applying some of the suggestions and philosophies I was reading in the book. Here’s the awesome thing: not only have I seen my husband respond well, but I feel more confident as a wife. I feel like I’m actually doing what God tasked me with when I committed to this man. It goes against everything in my controlling, stubborn, just-let-me-do-it-all nature, but, to be honest, I’ve grown tired of living like that.
So, if you are ready to take your marriage up a notch (or maybe your marriage is in need of saving), I recommend reading this book. Do it together or on your own, whatever you two can handle right now. Don’t put it off. You can’t afford too. This lesson of respecting our husbands is something all of us need to learn and apply. So, let’s glorify God together, wives, as we learn to love our husbands well through unconditional respect.