“This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:32-33 (NLT)
The first clue to solve the marriage mystery was in the kitchen. It involved filling our mate’s emotional tanks with positive words that evoke her beauty and give life as well as loving actions designed to bring out the best in her. Paul gave us that clue in Ephesians 5:25-26. The second clue may be found in the library. That’s where we study our mate’s needs. Love is meeting needs. To meet my wife’s needs, I have to understand what they are. That’s a life-long discovery because needs can change over the course of the relationship. Too often, I make the mistake of thinking that her needs are the same as mine. They’re not. That’s part of solving the mystery of marriage. I have to study my wife to really understand her needs. Love makes the effort. Love takes the time. For most men who are clueless about their wives’ needs, the Apostle Paul helps us out. Note carefully what he says in our key passage today. He gives specific clues as to the unique needs of the wife and the husband. At first glance, you may miss it and think he is saying the same thing. To the husband, he says, “… each man must love his wife….” Most women will say that their number one need is to be loved, cherished, and valued. Guys, this means your wife needs to feel treasured above anything or anyone else in your life. Does she? If you have the courage, you may want to ask her if she does. Then, ask yourself what you can do that would increase her value. How could you respond to her in a way that makes her feel treasured, highly prized, and cherished? Take the initiative and demonstrate your love for her in those ways. Ladies, take a look at what Paul says to wives. Notice that his counsel is different for you in your relationship to your husband. His clue for you is this – “… and the wife must respect her husband.” Just as a wife longs to be loved and treasured, a husband’s greatest need is to be respected and honored. While most guys might say it is really sex, Paul adds a little more dignity for us and says that deep down, even more than sex, our need is to feel respected. Ask yourselves, ladies, how you can best meet that need in your husbands’ lives. What can you do that would show your husband how much you respect and honor him? One simple suggestion is with words of thanks and sincere appreciation for what they do in providing, protecting, and helping support you and the family. When a man feels respected, he will sacrifice anything without even considering the costs. It’s his love language. Be creative and sincere in the way you express your respect for him, but take action and do it even if you don’t feel like he may deserve it. People often change when we change the way we respond to them. Remember, the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. The grass is greener where you water it. Chris likes to say that she wants the grass so green in our marriage that everyone else’s yard looks brown!