Turned around from our previous post, how successful is it for a wife to decide, “I am not going to be respectful until he earns my respect. He needs to be more loving like me. Until then, he doesn’t deserve my respect. He deserves my disrespect”?
A wife cannot be dark-eyed, sour-faced, eye-rolling, finger-scolding, sigh-oriented, and disdain-speaking as ways of arousing her husband’s romantic love. She can argue that he ought to respond humbly, caringly, and empathetically, but most husbands withdraw and stonewall.
A wife said to me once,
“I would go on communication overkill. I tried and tried to get him to talk to me about what he was feeling. . . . But often he saw our discussions as ‘arguments’ and he got tired of having to work so hard to ‘get along’ in our marriage. On top of everything . . . when I get the slightest bit emotional, my voice goes up ten decibels. . . . And, he absolutely cannot stand it when my voice gets loud.
“So, every time we had a discussion, he would retreat from me which made me work even harder to communicate and pull him back into the conversation. A useless cycle, for certain. . . . How could I be so blind? Better yet, how could I be so deaf to what had been going on? I realized that I had been treating my husband disrespectfully.
A Husband’s Unloving Reaction Does Not Motivate a Wife’s Respect!
How effective is it for a husband to resolve, “I will be unloving to teach my wife to show me more respect”? That doesn’t make sense, does it?
Bottom line, a husband cannot talk to his wife in harsh, angry, and unloving ways to get her to show him more respect. He will only set off her complaints and criticisms.
In my book Love & Respect, I explain how to spell love to a wife with the acronym C.O.U.P.L.E. A wife needs closeness, openness, understanding, peacemaking, loyalty, and esteem. When she receives these, she feels loved.
I told this story because a while later, I was still struggling with my identity.
Would I be left in the shadows as a nobody compared to all the students who excelled at everything way beyond me? Did I have value? And most of this centered on my relationship to God. Did God really love me? Was I fooling myself about how God felt about me? Was I really a reject in God’s eyes as I struggled with my failings and and immaturity? There were times I’d awaken in the middle of the night wondering about how God felt about me. One such time as I laid there it was as though God Himself spoke gently to my heart, “If Evan Welsh, a mere man, could love you that much, would I love you less?”
The answer hit me deeply. Of course God loves me more, far more. Infinitely more!
That realization set in motion a new awareness of certain Scriptures that revealed to me what God felt about me. As I got into those scriptures I began to realize that I had incredible worth to him. This profoundly affected the way I looked at God in prayer, how I saw myself in His eyes, and how I relaxed about God’s unique will for me.
I began to realize He was fully capable of acting on my behalf, and that He intended to where He called me to participate in His purposes. What I need to do was trust and obey Him during the seasons where it seemed nothing much was happening other than the mundane fulfillment of one’s duties.
As a child of God who has confessed your sins and chosen to follow Jesus, have you ever asked yourself what all exactly this means? How did this decision change your identity? How did it change your position, now, here on earth and in eternity?
Because of your belief in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you, it is extremely important that you recognize exactly how God the Father now views you and what this means for you personally.
For me personally, early in my Christian faith, I had to face off with these things.
When I entered Wheaton College, a Christian school, I had only been a Christian for some 24 months. When I stepped on campus the first three people I met stunned me with their gifts and genius. I met an All-America football player, a concert pianist who played in recognized venues, and a national merit scholar who had his own radio program.