Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5.33
In a few verses (from 22 to 33), Paul reveals the secret to a successful marriage. And his entire explanation boils down to two factors: love and respect.
Love and respect. Two simple words that have become real cliché: while they lost their original meaning in the minds of most people, they make the same people roll their eyes and think, “as if I didn’t know this or practice this…” The concept, which is processed automatically, prevents a deeper reflection on these words, and this is precisely why many marriages are ruined.
In arguments between couples, when the wife demands attitudes that demonstrate love from her husband, he will usually answer: “Of course I love you”. In the same manner, when a husband demands more respect from his wife, she defends herself by saying, “But I do respect you!” The truth is that if their answers were true, there would be no demands. If the demands are real, the absence of these factors is also real.
This often happens because the husband, who claims to love his wife, also puts her on the backburner, never yields to her preferences or is willing to give up his single life. And likewise, the wife, who says she respects her husband, also allows her parents to interfere in their relationship, makes decisions on her own and does not consider her partner’s opinion. What they say they do, and what they actually do, does not match. This is a very superficial concept of what love and respect truly is.
For those who aren’t very familiar with the real meaning of these words, the Bible gives us an explanation and demonstrates how to practice them:
– Love: give
…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. Ephesians 5.25
– Respect: submission
Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5.22
This advice makes it very clear that everyone – man and woman – has their role, since each one also has their own needs. If these roles are fulfilled, their needs are satisfied. Man needs respect, while the woman needs love. When one offers the other exactly what he needs, then there is a successful marriage. So Paul instructed each one to focus on what they should do for their significant other, instead of what the other person should be doing for them.
Love and respect. From these two words, keep the one you need to give, not the one you should receive.