I’m back, folks! I’m sorry for sadly abandoning my blog-posting…I had a crazy-busy summer that concluded with me getting married to my favourite person at the end of September. And now that the wedding, honeymoon, and work craziness is over…ROUTINE. Finally.
Great. So now that she’s married, she thinks she can give marriage advice. But this is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot throughout my 3-year relationship with William. In the months and days leading up to the wedding, I asked myself (a lot), how do I know if I really love him? My love for William hadn’t really been tested a whole lot before the wedding. We hadn’t gone through any tragedies. He had never broken my trust. What if I just thought I loved him and we couldn’t make it when stuff really did happen?
I agonized—and by that I mean that I let worry ruin my whole week on more than one occasion—over this. I finally came to this conclusion: I wasn’t 100% sure that I loved him.
But I did know this: there was (and is) no other guy in the world that I respect more than William.
Respect or Love?
Ask someone who is getting married why they’re getting married, and you’ll probably hear, “Because I love him.” But is that really a good enough reason to marry someone?
A lot of us have heard the marriage mantra “Women need love and men need respect”. And it makes sense. Most guys want to be looked up to, while most women have a deep need to be cherished. But have you ever looked at this from a Biblical view?
The passage of Ephesians 5 is a popular one for marriage. You can check out the whole chapter here, but I’m going to just reference the last verse of the chapter:
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
God created men and women, and He created marriage. So He knows what it takes for a marriage to work. And yet, God doesn’t actually say that I need to love William. Of course, we all are to show each other the love of God—but in the marriage context, Paul points out that men need to make it a priority to love their wives sacrificially, and women are to respect their husbands unconditionally.
As a woman, I need to feel loved first. If William provided for me and respected me consistently but I didn’t feel love, nothing else would matter to me. As a woman, I naturally tend to stay in that “love first” line of thinking, since that’s what my needs look like.
But the reality is that in regard to my husband, I need to be thinking “respect first”. When I respect him, everything else flows. When I respect William, I want to please him. I want to check with him before making a decision because I value his wisdom and input. If I have a problem, I go to him first because I look up to him.
The S-word: submission.
Respecting our husbands is especially important because in a Christian marriage, we as wives are commanded to submit to our husbands. I know, some of us don’t like that word. But submission is necessary in a healthy, God-honouring relationship.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
(Eph. 5:22 – 24)
Submission doesn’t mean not having a brain and letting your husband make all the decisions. God gave you a brain—use it! Give your opinion to your husband. Help him to make the decisions. But at the end of the day, you need to support him in whatever decision he makes. Don’t complain about the decision for the next five weeks and refuse to let the matter rest.
When we submit to our husbands, good things come out of it. They feel respected. They know that we’re looking up to them and trusting them to make the right decision. They also feel empowered to do what’s best. When I submit to William, I’m saying “I trust you”, and his response is appreciation and then love towards me.
It’s a cycle that I have the power to start or stop. When I respect William, his natural response is to love me more. When I feel loved, I want to respect him.
Finding someone you respect.
Often we confuse love with infatuation. We think whoever we have the strongest emotions towards is the one we should be with. But the problem is, sometimes those emotions are born out of pity or solely physical attraction. We feel bad for the guy who can’t keep a girlfriend, so we go out with them. Or we chase after the guy who has the best looks without looking at his character.
When I told my dad that I liked William, the very first question he asked me was, “Do you admire this guy?” At first I was like, “Uh, yeah…I like him, so…” But as I thought about it, I realized there was a lot about him that I respected. My dad followed that question up with the comment, “You’ll never be able to respect a guy you don’t admire.” And that has proven to be so true in our relationship.
So look around you. Who do you look up to? Who do you respect or admire? Is there someone in your life who has an incredible servant’s heart? Does he love others unconditionally? Is he the hands and feet of Jesus to the people in his life?
Find someone who you can respect, and the other factors will fall into place.