It seems as though God has designed men and women differently, where one has a strength the other might have a weakness. If she says to him, ‘you look fat in those jeans’ he might go get changed or just say ‘so what?’ but if he posed the same thought to her you are not likely to get the same response. The problem is that there’s an issue under the issue… researchers tell us that women are far more sensitive regarding body image than men are. In the book Love and Respect (Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs), the author states that… when the issue isn’t the real issue, it is crucial to understand that one thing is going on in the spirit of the wife and an entirely different thing is going on in the spirit of the husband. It’s like women have a different life view filter to that of men. They may see and hear the same thing but they get much different messages.
This isn’t wrong God designed us this way. In living with another person, our failings and weaknesses are highlighted giving us the opportunity to be humbled and to realise that we’re not complete and we need to rely on other people’s strengths to make us better. If you are single then I want to remind you of our greatest relationship in life with our Father God, He’s the King who is above our gender differences and He hears and speaks to grow us to be the greatest form of who we were always meant to be and He has the ability to fill any shortfalls we might have in our character.
In Ephesians 5: 33 the Apostle Paul makes a distinction between how the different genders need to treat one another… the husband needs to love, the wife needs to respect. Men are designed to live by a code of honour, built to protect things that are vulnerable and to get a sense of worth out of the work they do through achieving things. Men are fixers of problems and they get in trouble for this all the time, because they don’t understand that there are a lot of problems that women don’t want them to fix. Men provide for families and they express their appreciation and worth for someone through how they respect them as their natural response. Paul tells men to love your wives, a command they need to be told to do, because it’s not as much in their nature to love, they don’t get love like a woman does, but they do have a high value on respect, that’s how they’re designed.
Women on the other hand, have been designed to love. They feel comfortable with emotions, they interact to find solutions, they need to talk things through to make decisions they’re more relational in that way. So women naturally love and when they’re unloving, it’s probably because they’ve been hurt or damaged in some way they love and want to want to be loved in return. So what does she need to be commanded to do?… to respect because love will come naturally. However when he’s feeling disrespected by his wife or respect is being withheld then three things happen; she’ll deflate him and he’ll be wounded and as a result he’s not going to be giving her the love that she so desperately desires and importantly she will be ignoring the biblical command for wives to respect their husbands. The bible tells us in 1 Peter 2:1-2 that there’s a need that men have to be respected and for her to act honourably, that’s what pure conduct means. When she acts in that way then his heart will be able to be opened and he will be softened. You’ll be speaking his language if you respect him.
She needs to be assured of your love that’s one of her vulnerabilities. She needs to engage with you emotionally, he needs to share the stuff that’s going on, not just bottle it up. He needs to know that she respects him and are grateful for what he does he wants to see that she genuinely appreciates what he does. When we take it back to the beginning of our relationships we remember that we thought and saw that our partners were generally good? So why don’t you give them the benefit of the doubt and keeping their goodness in mind, respond to them like they actually love you, despite what they have just said, because when a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife and when a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband. Your partner, deep down, is good. Let’s be sure to give them the benefit of the doubt and rely on their goodness and love and respect each other in a new and better way this week.
Find the full sermon here: Love Sex Marriage: Love and Respect