Can Sharing Love and Respect Transform What Seems Impossible?
Have you applied the message of love and respect, found in Ephesians 5:33, to your marriage and reaped the benefits of a fruitful and rewarding relationship with your spouse? If so, as you probably have done with a wonderful recipe or a highly effective diet, you most likely look to share this message with all of your married friends and desire that they, too, would discover this not-so-secret “secret” and have the flourishing relationship with their spouse that you have with yours.
Unfortunately, though, it’s not always as simple as we hope it would be. You will constantly hear from friends things like “I’m glad respecting your husband unconditionally worked for you, but you don’t know my husband . . .” and “Loving your wife is easy, with her temperament. But have you ever met my volcano of a wife?”
Other marriages around you will fall apart, as they did for one woman who emailed me recently. But as I encouraged her, continue to pray for them, to speak truth into them, and to model a love and respect marriage for them at every opportunity. After you read the email below, think about how you would respond to her. What advice would you give her as her heart breaks for her friends?
As I sit and type this to you at 2:30 a.m., I'm exhausted! I just arrived home from a dear friend's home. Tonight I had to break up a fight between her and her husband. I had to ask him to leave because it was starting to get really bad and I didn't want someone to end up physically hurt.
This woman has been my mentor in the Lord for many years. A powerful woman of God who has pulled me through my own trouble times. Even in my own marriage. And tonight I have so many emotions as I sit and reflect on how your book and your ministry has totally changed my own marriage.
God led me to your book following marital counseling that my husband and I had attended (led by my above-mentioned friend and her spouse). She had not given me your book. But after finishing our counseling sessions, I wasn't satisfied. So I asked the Lord to give me what I was missing. That is when I came across your book. I have tried my best to live out what I learned. And our marriage is happier than it's ever been.
As I sat with my friend tonight, my heart ached for both her and her husband. I've tried lately to tell her of the "power struggle" I have seen in her marriage. I've tried to share the things I've learned that have saved my own home. But it's as if I'm talking to a brick wall.
I'm just exhausted tonight. I see the issues of love and respect, or lack thereof, as clear as my hand in front of my face. But when I try to share it, it's not received. There is such anger, hurt, and resentment and it's completely blocked their vision.
Tonight she said she's deciding to walk away from her marriage. And my heart hurts because I'm so passionate about what I've learned and I know it is the answer. I have seen how quickly and easily it can transform a bad marriage into a great one. I don't get it right every day. But I choose respect as a lifestyle. I choose to go back and walk in it again even when I get it wrong.
I know you have had so many testimonies of stories like mine. And I know you've been just as hurt to see so many people trample the message of love and respect God has given you. To not be able to save some from divorce when you could see it was such an easy fix!
I look back at my parents' marriage and I think to myself, "If only they had learned this!" My memories of my parents are mostly of them always fighting. When I was ten, dad passed away. Although they loved each other, they never knew a fulfilled marriage.
Thanks to you and to our Lord, I don't have to walk in those footsteps. I just really desire with all of my heart that my friend would hear and receive the truth and allow God to transform the "impossible."
Please pray with me that it will happen for them.
Thank you so much for all you've done for me.