I have been thinking a lot lately about wives respecting husbands and even discussed it a little in the comments of a recent blog post.
Ironically, during my contemplation of this topic, I was given a book to read, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
The entire book is based on one verse, Ephesians 5:33. "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."
The author proposes that these are the two things that each spouse most needs in a marriage, unconditional love for the woman and unconditional respect for the man.
"The Crazy Cycle" is what he calls the way we go around and around waiting for the other one to treat us right so we can respect him or love her. He illustrates this with a circle in perpetual motion. On the outside of the circle are the words, "Without love she reacts without respect he reacts without love she reacts without respect..." and on and on it goes.
The wife waits to be treated with love before she will treat her husband with respect, but he needs to be respected to feel loving toward her. And the downward spiral continues.
The book addresses how couples can break "the crazy cycle" and replace it with "the energizing cycle". This illustration is another circle in perpetual motion, but this one has the words "His love motivates her respect motivates his love..."
The author states that if you are wondering who should go first in the energizing cycle, it is the spouse who is most mature. That person will have to act in good faith that his or her actions will create the desire in the spouse to join in the energizing cycle. If the crazy cycle has been going on for years in a marriage, it may take a while before the spouse responds.
A good portion of the book is spent convincing women that, yes, respect really is something that men need and, oh, by the way, the word of God actually tells women to "see to it that she respects her husband."
That wording tells me two things. 1) It is important, and 2) It may take some will power on my part.
Dr. Eggerichs talks about how most marriage books lean heavily on loving one another without including the respect that men need and women are commanded to give. He also mentions how women tend to bristle when they hear that they ought to respect their husbands unconditionally. (Remember, "See to it..") He says that women have admitted to him time after time that they had never heard of that concept before.
His assertion is that when men feel respected, they react lovingly.
I think this is SUCH a valuable lesson that would save a lot of marriages from doom and destruction.
I highly recommend this book! It is a great reminder of what God intends marriage to be.