Years ago, the topic of Love and Respect and all it has led to stemmed from this one question to 7,000 people: When you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved at that moment or disrespected? In response, 83 percent of the men said they feel disrespected and 72 percent of the women said they feel unloved.
However, I am always quick to point out two caveats regarding these statistics. One, we are always talking about a bell curve here. Certainly, every man and woman is different and do not necessarily respond to conflict in the exact same ways. Two, both men and women need love and respect equally.
Despite what the numbers overwhelmingly say about the felt needs of men and women when in conflict, God has designed everyone to need both love and respect, especially from their spouse.
Yes, Ephesians 5:33 does say, “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.” But we must be careful to not infer that this instruction to love your wife and respect your husband negates our needs to also respect our wives and love our husbands.
When we surveyed a 1,000 people who had had premarital sex with the partner they eventually married, we found that the degree of sexual involvement directly correlated with dissatisfaction in communication.
The more sexually involved the couple was prior to marriage, the more they now feel:
- disregarded in their views and opinion by their spouse.
- judged by their spouse.
- controlled by the spouse.
- interrupted when talking to their spouse.
- dishonesty in the marriage.
Likewise, the more sexually involved they were before marriage, the less they feel:
- their spouse makes time for them and cherishes them.
- they can calmly discuss something in the marriage.
- they can share anything with each other.
- they share a deep sense of trust and understanding in the relationship.
- they always encourage each other.
- they guard themselves from bitterness and anger in the relationship.
- they resolve their problems quickly.
Why would premarital sex correlate with the above?
We offer a free 15-Day Marriage Plan in which participants will receive seven e-mails over a span of 15 days, each with a quick and easy action to take that day intended to help your marriage, whether you are currently in a crisis or not.
Challenge #2 for all participants is called the 60-second test, in which readers are asked to take 60 seconds that day to fill their spouse’s emotional air tank. I ask wives to take 60 seconds and simply share with their husband some of the things that she respects about him. Husbands are instructed to take a moment to tell their wives some of the things that he loves about her.
To conclude the 60-second test, I suggest they leave the room and watch how their spouses follow them out to talk more about it all, with positive energy filling their spirits. But as with most things in life, and certainly pertaining to married couples throughout the world, not everyone responds in the same way. However, just because one’s immediate response to something such as the 60-second test is not the same as I predicted or one had hoped does not mean the same impact in him or her is not being made.
Sadly, over the years I have received many emails from husbands who have committed the worst of marital offenses—adultery.
Fortunately, those writing me are doing so because they have confessed their sins to their wives, as well as to God, have repented of their iniquities, and have recommitted themselves to the sacred vow they had previously made to their wife. However, just because they have made such strides does not mean their wife has accepted them fully back, and they often write me and ask for advice in navigating through this desert of distrust from their wife.
One word picture I like to give them is that of two marine generals who were also best of friends. “I will die for you,” they both vowed to the other, “and remain loyal always to our cause.” But when things got tough, not only did one general fail to support his fellow general and friend, but he also jumped to the other side for a while, giving all his energy to the enemy.