photo by: Shirley/Missouri/December 2017
Not Optional
originally written 16 Dec 17

posted 19 Dec 17
Why do we view love and respect in marriage relationships as things that are options?
Scripture is very clear…these two factors are not optional, they are requirements!

Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church: Unconditionally and sacrificially, providing for her vital needs.
Wives are to respect their husbands as the authority of the home just as the church is to respect and recognize Christ’s authority as head of the body.

To point out that this is not the message the world feeds us constantly would be an understatement.  

There is no compromise here and either side not fulfilling their side of this holy relationship brings much grief.  
Selfishness and pride rips a family apart faster than anyone ever realizes.  
Love and respect sprouts so many other blessings when allowed to be the priority. When both husband and wife are yielding to the Holy Spirit, He helps couples build upon a foundation of joy and peace, stronger than any storm that may batter their home as they journey life together.  

Married couples: How you speak to your spouse matters. How you speak about your spouse matters just as much. The words used AND the tone used when speaking those words can either tear down relationships or build them up. 
Ask yourself when thinking of your spouse, “Is this loving? Is this respectful?” because our thoughts become our words and attitudes.

May our spouses find safety in us whether they are in our presence or away. 

Love and respect are foundational needs humans have and He knows this because He is the Creator. If we are to wear the name of our Lord, we must obey His Word.  

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 this 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

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:17-32

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As this lightbulb moment was forming along my drive to Altus, an advertisement came on the radio about a series of interviews talking about this same topic!  I could hardly wait to get to my next stop so I could look up the full story on the radio website. 
I was so encouraged when I found much confirmation in it! 
If you'd like to hear what others say on this matter of love and respect 
being vital to healthy marriages, 
please click here.