‘“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Don’t fall for the way relationships are portrayed in movies, TV shows, novels, and magazine articles. God is the Architect of great relationships. Follow the Creator’s blueprint.
Love and respect are the heart of a great marriage. The word for love in this passage is agape, which is selfless and sacrificial commitment. The word for respect is phobos, which means “fear” or “reverence.”
Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church. That means love in selfless and sacrificial action, not just emotion. Wives are directed to respect their husbands, that is, to honor the husband as head of the household. This links with the biblical command for all Christians to “fear” the Lord; that is, show the Lord deep reverence and respect.
The point is not that husbands aren’t called to respect their wives or that wives are not called to love their husbands. Scripture is clear that love should direct everything that Christians do, and this certainly includes marriage. Scripture is also clear that Christians are to be respectful of one another, and this certainly includes marriage.
The point is that some husbands tend to neglect love toward their wives, and some wives tend to neglect respect toward their husbands. When this happens, it triggers a Doom Loop.
“I will respect my husband when he loves me the way I want!” says the wife. “I will love my wife when she respects me the way I deserve!” says the husband. Doom Loop indeed! Both of these mindsets come from the old nature and are toxic to a godly marriage.
Ephesians is clear and it is adamant. I repeat Paul’s directive: “… let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” It is most important to do this when you don’t feel like it. This is because love is fundamentally a choice, not a feeling.
Trust God and do the work: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Love your wife and respect your husband.