During the month of July, we attended a 4-week marriage conference at Fellowship Alliance Chapel (FAC) in Medford, NJ.
There were many takeaways that we got from the conference. The most tangible were:
1) Matching T-Shirts (mine not shown)
2) A book entitled, "Love & Respect"
The philosophy of this book is based on Ephesians 5:33, which reads:
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (NIV)
According to the author, this is the secret (and God given instructions) to a happy marriage.....or at least a marriage that is pleasing in God's eyes.
RULES OF THE GAME:
- Women have an innate need to have someone love them, to make them special and to make them the most important one in their life. Men have the need to feel respected and admired by the woman in his life.
- When women do not feel love from their spouse, they tend to be disrespectful towards them. When the man feels disrespected, he tends to withdraw his love. This is called the "Crazy Cycle" because it goes on an on in a downward spiral, unless someone decides to make a change.
- Who should make the first move? The one who sees himself or herself as the most mature.
Taking the role of the mature mate and moving first may be risky, but it is very powerful. The fear, of course, is that you will show love or respect to your spouse and get a bad response. However, holding back your love or respect will just keep the Crazy Cycle spinning away. Being mature and making the first move could slow it down or even stop the crazy cycle.....and take you to the "Energizing Cycle. "
The basic principle of the Energizing Cycle is as follows:
HIS LOVE MOTIVATES HER RESPECT; HER RESPECT MOTIVATES HIS LOVE
What if your spouse is unmotivated, no matter how you act towards them?
A HUSBAND IS TO OBEY THE COMMAND TO LOVE EVEN IF HIS WIFE DOES NOT OBEY THE COMMAND TO RESPECT, AND A WIFE IS TO OBEY THE OMMAND TO RESPECT EVEN IF THE HUSBAND DOES NOT OBEY THE COMMAND TO LOVE, UNCONDITIONALLY.
This brings us to the "Rewarded Cycle."
HIS LOVE BLESSES REGARDLESS OF HER RESPECT; HER RESPECT BLESSES REGARDLESS OF HIS LOVE.
Throughout the book, the author emphasizes that if the husband and wife are both people of basic good will, they can use Love and Respect principles to make a bad marriage into a good one and a good marriage into a great one. However, even if your wife does not show you respect or your husband does not show you love, God commanded men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands.......unconditionally!
Unconditional love and unconditional respect will be rewarded.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (Matthew 5:46 NIV)
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. (Ephesians 6:7-8 NIV)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church--for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33 NIV)
What you do matters to God. Nothing is wasted.
*This book can be purchased on Amazon.com