You will find no better story or example than in the below e-mail to illustrate better the marriage-saving, life-impacting power of learning to love and respect each other according to God’s Word.
Stories like these is what motivates us at Love and Respect Ministries to continue plowing forward teaching and sharing God’s not-so-secret “secret” to marriage found in Ephesians 5:33:
As I think of how I should start this e-mail, goose bumps and chills are creeping up and down my chin and neck. I pray that God will give me the words to convey just the right message that is in my heart. Over ten years ago, I was a young, broken wife; in pain and distraught. I was guilty of contemptuous and hateful feelings toward my husband, the man that I claimed to commit to honor and respect for life. (There are those chills again . . .) However, I didn’t really know what respect or honor looked like or what that really was. I found myself searching for God more than ever; I wanted to save my marriage and even myself, but didn’t have the tools or the resources to even begin.
The Bible commands us to give thanks as a sacrifice of praise.
The writer of Hebrews penned, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name . . . for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:15–16).
When our prayers are answered, when healing comes, when financial blessings rain down upon us, most of us are liberal to give thanks and praise to God (as we certainly should). But that is not what is meant by a “sacrifice of praise.” Hopefully, it is not much of a sacrifice to give praise for the great things in your life.
But how do we respond when our prayers are not answered as we had hoped, when healing does not come, and when we are let go from yet another job? When we give thanks in the face of things we do not understand, we affect God’s heart.
“God is pleased,” as Hebrews says.
“This book saved my marriage,” a man recently wrote me.
He went on:
I read your book Love and Respect, and I felt the need to reach out and say thank you. I’m a thirty-year-old man who has gone in and out of several addictions. Sex, porn, drugs—legal and illegal—and alcohol. I’ve totally burned my wife’s trust and for several years now we have been on the brink of divorce. This book opened my eyes for why I do what I do, what I’m looking for, and most importantly, what I need to be giving.
As much as I loved to hear this man’s testimony, and certainly was flattered by his statement concerning the effect of my book on his marriage, the truth is, his “180-degree turnaround” as he would later put it himself was not a result of my book but rather of the Book. More specifically, he is referring to what I call the “secret” hidden in Ephesians 5:33.
Over the years, God has used the Love and Respect message to minister to countless couples who had picked up the book or attended a conference, perhaps even as a last-ditch effort, to try and save their marriage.
By God’s grace, I have heard story after story from many whose marriages began taking a drastic turn in a positive direction after they learned to submit to God’s message of Love and Respect in Ephesians 5:33.
In the same way, thousands of healthier couples have been introduced to the Love and Respect message and shared with me the multitude of ways that their relationship with their spouse began flourishing even more than they thought possible after being exposed to the joys of Ephesians 5.
But is the Love and Respect message only for the struggling couple or the veteran or newlywed couple looking for some “continuing education”? Everywhere I go, I hear people say things like, “If only I had learned about Love and Respect before getting married . . .” or, “Why aren’t singles ministries teaching this message so as to better prepare us for the relationship ahead we are all desiring to have?”
We all know that the choices we make today will affect our tomorrow.
A little bit of overtime today can give us the money we need for those new shoes at the mall tomorrow. Or eating the extra slice of pound cake before bed might give us a tummy ache in the early morning.
Good or bad, we make our choices and own up to their consequences. What we don’t think about, however, nearly as much as we should is how the choices we make today not only affect our tomorrow, but possibly many others’ tomorrows as well.
When a husband and wife choose to take the hard path and intentionally commit to better love and respect each other per Ephesians 5:33, despite this not being part of their natural makeup, this God-honoring decision greatly affects not only the two of them but also their friends and family observing how they will respond in tumultuous times.
Even more importantly, their decision to stay together and strengthen their marriage affects their children immensely, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren, and so on and so on.