Thursday, August 28, 2008
Unconditional Love, yes. But unconditional respect?
A book review and a concept to ponder...
Okay, the truth is this is not really a book review per se, but definitely a concept to ponder from the book I'm currently reading. I know, I know I said I have the attention span of a flea... truth is it is VERY rare for me to read entire books. I'm more of a blog, newspaper, magazine-if-I'm-bored, rss feed kind of reader. But every so often it's nice to curl up in bed and read something of the printed and bound variety.
I'm currently reading Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It's based on the theory that what men and women actually need out of a marriage differs. Now, you might think, "Well, duh!" But the truth is, as humans, we generally try and offer people what it is we want from them, rather than offering them what they need. The result is that each can be left without the fulfillment they're seeking and, thus, the painfully high divorce rate.
The foundation of Dr. Eggerichs' theory comes from scripture:
Ephesians 5:33 states: "Nevertheless, 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."
When I got married, I thought what we were doing was committing to living together because we loved each other. What I didn't realise at the time, is that God's plan for marriage involves more than that. Firstly, the commitment is not to exist in the same space with one another, but to act. The commitment is to act with love towards one another, whatever form that really needs to take and so I've recently decided to dive in to figuring out exactly what that means.
The Ephesians passage above is interesting. Notice it doesn't say the wife is to love her husband. Huh. Men are commanded to love their wives as he loves himself! Wow. That's quite a tall order. But women are commanded to respect their husbands.
The truth is, we women and society as a whole, really expect unconditional love from our husbands. We believe its our right... whether we get ugly or fat or don't keep the house well enough, don't earn enough money, don't dress nicely or use enough wrinkle cream... we expect our husbands will love us no matter what. Unconditional, right?
Well what about the concept of unconditional respect?
Often we consider respect to be something a person earns by making right decisions, doing the right things, saying the right things. That's how a person earns respect, right? It can't just be given no matter what, right? Well, it would seem that's exactly what this scripture is saying. In the same way that women are still worthy of love from their husbands no matter what they do or how they behave, our husbands are worthy of our respect for who they are as individuals whether we agree with all their decisions, actions or convictions or not.
It's a great book and I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to figure out why their marriage isn't exactly what they signed up for. It's funny how more and more I find the words written in the bible just make sense when put into practice. Ironic?
Just a thought to ponder...