Any strong marriage is based on mutual love and respect.
These are not gendered qualities that only one person needs! Husbands and wives both need love and respect from each other. (Just ask a happily married same-sex couple!)
Yes, Ephesians 5 tells wives to respect their husbands, and husbands to love their wives. However, that doesn’t mean husbands shouldn’t respect their wives, and wives shouldn’t love their husbands! Both traits are key to a healthy marriage.
Mutual Love and Respect in Marriage
First, how do we define love and respect?
According to Merriam Webster, love is:
affection and tenderness felt by lovers; a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
And respect is:
high or special regard; a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.
Loving your spouse includes feeling affection for them and acting upon that tenderness.
Respecting your spouse includes holding them in high regard and treating them as someone of value.
How important are mutual love and respect in a marriage?
According to Dr. Gottman’s research on marriage, “…fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial elements in a rewarding and long-lasting romance.”
Fondness and admiration sound quite similar to love and respect!
Truly, treating your spouse with love and respect should be easy. To paraphrase the second greatest commandment: love your spouse as yourself!
To paraphrase the golden rule: treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated.
Love and respect should be the foundation of all all your interactions with your spouse. That said, your spouse will appreciate gestures, both small and grand, that truly demonstrate how much you love and respect them.
7 Ways to Love Your Spouse
- Say “I love you” whenever you or your spouse leaves the house.
- Pack a little love note in your spouse’s lunch.
- Send your spouse an uplifting text message.
- Offer your spouse a back rub or foot massage (without the expectation of sex afterward).
- Plan a Date Night for you and your spouse, taking care of all the details.
- Surprise your spouse with a little treat, like their favorite candy or a new book.
- Flirt with your spouse!
7 Ways to Respect Your Spouse
- Praise your spouse in front of friends and family.
- Thank your spouse for their contributions to your family.
- When disagreeing with your spouse, choose your words carefully and keep your voice calm.
- Listen to your spouse with your full attention, with the intention of understanding.
- Encourage your spouse in achieving their dreams.
- Have eyes for your spouse only so they feel secure in your marriage.
- Make major decisions with your spouse, not unilaterally.
I hope these ideas encourage love and respect in your marriage.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your Christian marriage, take the prayer challenge!
When you sign up for the daily prayer challenge, you’ll receive two emails per week for four weeks encouraging you to pray for your spouse. In addition to daily prayer prompts, each email will also include relevant scripture verses and links to helpful articles.
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How do you love and respect your spouse?