All you need is love....and RESPECT

A couple of weekends ago I attended a friends wedding and had a blast!  Of course, I was very sad that my own little family couldn't attend the wedding (which was 2 hours away) with me, however, my lovely sister and I made a nice little road trip out of it.

The weekend was fun and full of excitement, as wedding weekends should be!  The beautiful newlyweds rode off into the sunset to their honeymoon in Cancun and lived happily ever after, etc etc.  But the one thing that I couldn't help but notice were the other relationships around me...whether they were blossoming, steadfast or sadly....failing.

There was one couple in particular who caught my attention that weekend.  The love that they shared was absolutely astounding.  It made everyone around them happy, or jealous....one or the other.  Me?  It made me happy and giddy.  And it made me miss my husband who was sitting at home eating junk food with our 2 yr old son :)

What made me happy and giddy about it?  It was the fact that for the first time in a while, I saw a young couple in love....TRULY in love.  Unconditional love.  The respect that this young man had for his fiance was absolutely astounding.  He didn't hang all over her (nor her on him) as if she were his trophy.  In fact, just the opposite.  He marveled her very being.  He complimented her, respected her, pined over her....but he also cherished her, loved her unconditionally, and never once belittled her or made her feel insignificant.  She respected him in the same way.  He treated her as if she were a bride being prepared for a kingdom wedding.  They didn't have to draw attention to themselves to prove that they were in love.  Their love overflowed from their hearts, so that everyone around them could feel it.  Christ is truly the center of their relationship and above all materialistic things....even their love for each other.  To see a couple like that, not yet married, but who've been together for awhile....it amazed me.  It made my heart happy.  It made me think that there is still hope for marriages in this world. Especially for our younger generation.  For MY generation.

There were other couples that stood out to me during the weekend as well.  There were the young married couples with little babies; the older married couples with or with out children; the newlyweds who still think they know it all; the dating scene; the flirting scene; the people I wished I could play match maker with...etc.

But there was another couple who caught my eye that weekend as well, and not on a good note.

**Short disclaimer: neither of these couples that I'm referring to were the bride or groom! ha :) Just wanted to get that out there!! **

I don't know how long they've been married, what their marriage is truly like, or how they live their lives.  But actions speak so much louder than words, and their actions were pretty loud that weekend.  Maybe they were just having an off weekend?  But I saw a  wife and mother longing for her husbands love and affection.  And I saw a husband completely ignoring his wife's needs, as he disrespected her, because he felt disrespected by her (maybe she had too much spunk? But I love a girl with spunk :) ). 

I couldn't help but think back to Emerson & Sarah Eggerich's book, Love & Respect.  They teach about the 'vicious cycle' of men not showing love to their wives because they feel disrespected, and women not showing respect to their husbands (sometimes with out even knowing it) because they don't feel loved.  And I truly believe that Emerson's book and Gary Chapman's book, The 5 Love Languages, go hand in hand. 

In Ephesians 5:33, we are clearly told that the husband should love his wife and the wife should respect her husband.  There's a reason for that.  That's how we tick.  That's how our love tanks (used in Gary's book) are filled.  However, we also need to learn what our spouses love language is -- it will give us leverage and help us understand their emotions slightly better.  This will also allow us to be more aware of when we're loving or not loving, respecting or not respecting.  In this case, her love languages were clearly words of affirmation and physical touch.  She longed for him to cherish her and pine over her.  She longed for him to tell her how wonderful she was.  Maybe that's a little to the extreme, but you get the point.  You could tell just by looking at them what their love languages were.  I imagine his love languages were probably acts of service and words of affirmation as well. 

However, the one thing I have come to realize about some men is that they don't want to show public affection or public words of affirmation. But if there is one thing I know about women, it's that they enjoy their husband hugging them in public, kissing them on the forehead, holding their hand...the simple things.  You don't have to make out (in fact, please don't).  But you can show simple signs of affection for your spouse when out in the public eye. I don't know what it is about women, but we truly enjoy that.  To us, it's like you're saying, "look at me world, I am such a blessed man to have this woman by my side!".  And that is exactly how you should feel husbands....blessed! (hint-hint, wives, make him feel blessed!)

On the other hand, wives, respect your husbands.  To me, this seems more complicated than loving your wife unconditionally.  Maybe that's because I'm a woman.  But my biggest issue is not even knowing when I am disrespecting my husband.  I think my biggest disrespect to my husband is jumping on him or snapping at him for no reason (or for reason, but still, none the less, jumping his case).  If I were to react differently to him, in a respectful manner, I feel as though it woulc make it easier on him to play his role in loving me.  And, why do I feel the need to jump his case about stupid things anyway?  That's silly and childish.  However, I also have an issue with knowing when exactly he feels disrespected.  As wives, we need to cue into that a little better than we have been (hence, why we should know our spouses love language as well).  The underlying issue in most marriages is that we as human beings are too bullheaded to think about how we are treating another human being -- and the people we love the most, we hurt the most.  This doesn't mean wives don't need respect as well, and husbands don't need love -- but through out scriptures, men are to be respected, and women loved.

Back on track -- at one point, this wife basically attacked her husband with a big wet kiss -- and understandably so, as he had just complimented her in public. But at one point....he pushed her away from him and even walked away from her.  Did this young wife go over kill on the PDA?  He would hug and kiss her sometimes (ok, rarely, but he still did it), but did she take it too far?  Did she want more than should've been expected?  Did she disrespect him by feeling and reacting the way that she did? Did he find her disrespectful to others?  Did he only publicly compliment her because of his own ego and everything else went out the window?  Did me mean what he said?  No one really knows the answer except for them.   ......And the vicious cycle continues.

It truly is a vicious cycle -- as Emerson says.  No one person is to blame.  But if you keep tallies of who does what and who loves or respects more....you'll get nowhere in your relationship with your spouse.  However, if you do what you know is right -- husbands, love your wives just as Christ loves his bride....and wives, respect your husbands and their feelings and decisions! -- then it is as simple as that.  If you're doing your part, then let your spouse worry about their own part.  And chances are, the more you worry about your own role as a husband or wife, the more your spouse will fall into their role.  But eventually, someone has to take the higher ground and do what's right in the marriage....and who are you to say that it's not supposed to be you?
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. " [ Philippians 4:8]

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