Hi, this is pastor Ken with my Monday Marriage Message…We need different things

“I get no respect!” Rodney Dangerfield made a good living joking about getting no respect. Many men spend their entire marriages considering if the same thing is true for them. As men, every time we interact with someone, we are evaluating whether or not we have their respect.  Do they respect our words? Do they respect our decisions? Do they respect our work? Do they respect us for who we are? For a man, everything is about respect.  If we feel as though we are respected, we are able to have a relationship in good standing with that person. If we feel we are being disrespected, a relationship cannot ensue, without first remedying that problem.

When it comes to our marriages this concept is not only true, it becomes magnified. We know we didn’t hang the moon, but not only do we want our wives to say we did, we want them to tell us no one could have done it better. From the time he is a boy, every man understands intuitively that he should be respected but especially by his wife. No matter how many times this doesn’t happen, it does not dissuade him from that core belief.  It turns out God agrees with him. Ephesians 5:33 ends with this statement, “…and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

So where does this need originate? In Deuteronomy 5, we read the first of the ten commandments: “You shall have no other Gods before me.” (Deuteronomy 5:7) This is absolutely a statement requiring respect. Interestingly, when we look at the Hebrew, the words that are translated ‘before me’ in today’s vernacular, if inserted would read: You shall have no other Gods in my face. God is clearly making a statement that he must be respected above anything or anyone else. This is a requirement and in fact, the first stated requirement, for our relationship with God to be in good standing. It is God’s primary need if we are to have a healthy relationship with Him.

By God giving man the need for respect as his primary consideration for a relationship to be in good standing, God has reproduced in him a need reflecting of His own. In this way, we are partially created in His likeness.

The Beatles said it best, “All you need is love…love is all you need”. Love is the wife’s primary need.  Every woman is constantly evaluating all of the relationships she has to see that she is cared for. Whether or not she is loved will determine her ability to comfortably remain in any relationship. Again, the marital relationship does not alter this fact, but magnifies it, and shows it to be even more important to her. She is especially evaluating her marriage, to determine if she is loved for what she does, what she thinks, what she says and who she is. She knows her marriage is a lifetime commitment, she also needs to know that her husband specifically chooses to be committed to her each and every day. We have all heard of the old joke, where the husband says, “I told you once I loved you and if anything changes I’ll let you know.” A truly loving husband however, constantly lets his wife know nothing has changed. He learns to make all of his interactions with her reinforcing of his love and adoration toward her and her alone. Since she was a child, every woman has understood she deserves to be unconditionally loved, and it turns out God agrees with her. The beginning of Ephesians 5:33 says, “In particular, let each one of you love his own wife as himself…”

The way this verse is written is not only interesting, it is informative.  Men are instructed to “in particular” so love their own wives as themselves. The point made is that we love ourselves by meeting our own needs as illustrated a few verses prior to this one. However, this does not mean that we love our wives by meeting the needs we think she should have. The use of the words “in particular” point out that to love her, we need to find out what her needs are. If we want our wives to feel loved unconditionally, we do that best by meeting each and every one of her particular needs.

Jesus was once asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” which is another way of asking what is God’s primary need for us to be in good relationship with him. Jesus’ answer, found in Mark 12:30 was: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

Ultimately, it turns out, that God has two primary needs for our relationship with him to be in good standing: the need for respect, and the need for love. As finite beings, we can only put one thing in first place, so God gave to the man the primary need of respect, and to the woman, he gave primary need for love. I am not saying men don’t need love and women don’t need respect, certainly they do, but those are not their primary needs, especially during times of conflict. As a married couple, the oneness shared encompasses both of those primary needs and more comprehensively reflects the likeness of God.  Just to reinforce the concept that God is capable of placing two differing things in first place, take the example of the scripture above and the verses following it. Jesus was asked which of all of the commandments was most important to God. His reply; Love the Lord your God with all you have, and He said, the other that is equal to it…love others as yourself. Jesus ultimately made the point that all of the commandments were in first place because He said that if these two were accomplished all of the law would be kept. God can and does place differing things in first place at the same time.

Finally, I find it interesting that the disbursement of God’s primary needs of love and respect match up with his relational and compartmentalized thought processes gifted to both men and women. The scripture verses used in this entry illustrate that – the scripture used to convey God’s need for respect is a compartmentalized statement, while the scripture used to show his other primary need, love, is a relational statement.

Questions to Answer:

  1. Men: What does your wife do that makes you feel most respected? What is one thing you wish she did that would make you feel more respected?
  2. Women: What does your husband do that makes you feel most loved? What is one thing you wish he did that would make you feel more loved?

Actions to Take:

  1. Pray that God will help you recognize that when expressing your needs to your spouse, you are able to do that in His power, in both a respectful and loving way.

So now, understanding that your differing primary needs are actually gifted to you so that the oneness you share can in yet another way reflect the image and likeness of God…Go be Awesome!