In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the apostle Paul reminded the church in Thessalonica, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (5:18). This is one of four times in which Scripture clearly tells us what the will of God is. I call these the four universal wills of God, and I have written about them extensively in my book, The Four Wills of God, and how our following these four universal wills of God can lead to learning His unique will for us in our individual lives.Read More
In the near future, I will be going deeper on the topic of sex in marriage for all of our Love and Respect friends. The title? Love and Respect (and Sex): Coming Together as Husband and Wife.
Interested in learning more? Would you like to add your stories to the content? Read on, and I’ll show you how.
One of the questions I hear the most is some variation of, “Are you telling me I have to unconditionally respect my husband’s bad behavior and become a door mat? Everyone knows respect must be earned!”
Interestingly, in our culture we don’t have a problem understanding unconditional love… in fact, we see unconditional love as the right of every human being. Imagine expecting our children to “earn” our love! We would disapprove of such parenting. Most of us have no problem separating the person from their behavior when it comes to love. Love the person, hate the sin. Right?
If there were ever an issue that isn’t really the issue, it is sex. But boy can it become an issue, can’t it? And yet, it’s rarely, if ever, the issue. Allow me to explain. Sex is a shared act, between husband and wife, as an expression of love to each other. God created sex not only as the means for multiplication but as a gift of pleasure to enjoy within the boundaries of marriage. Sex was meant to be a wonderful experience for both husband and wife.Read More
I was once talking with another man about his marriage, and he shared with me that whenever he and his wife would get into a fight, she would get “historical.” Curious at his choice of words, I asked him if he meant “hysterical.” He replied, “No, historical. She keeps dredging everything up from the past.”Read More
One day I received the following message from a husband that encouraged me greatly, as do so many letters I receive from people who have discovered the Love and respect message: The reason we came to the conference was because my pastor found out that I had filed for divorce. And he asked if I would go see you. I was so bitter at this point, I told my pastor that I would apply it in my next marriage. He said, “Okay, I'll pay for the weekend. Just go!” And I really thought nothing you would say could change my mind. It was the most eye-opening weekend of my life. [My wife] and I both wanted the divorce but we really had no good reason, just unhappy. Your conference turned on all kinds of light bulbs for both of us. And it saved our marriage. Emerson, God is using you in a big way. I just wanted to say thank you.
If only this couple had taken to heart Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12, which says, “let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”Read More
There’s a stand-out moment in the Old Testament story of Job that almost definitely has caught the eye of every married person who has read it. In Job 2:9, Job’s wife tells him to “Curse God and die.” Curse God and die? What awful thing had Job done to her? Infidelity? Physical abuse? Verbal assault?
No. None of these or anything else like it. Her condemning anger toward her husband was in response to all the horrific things that God had allowed Satan to do to their family—including loss of children, destruction of property, and excruciating boils covering her husband from head to toe.Read More
In my book Love & Respect, I conclude that wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love. Alternatively, their husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect. However, I am always quick to point out that, though these conclusions have been based on years of research, studies, and polls with thousands of subjects, we must still view them as on a bell curve—there is certainly room for women to lean less on love and more on respect than other women do, and for men to place more importance on love than they do on respect.Read More
Oftentimes, a husband or wife recognizes where he or she has not been loving or respecting their spouse as they should and honestly seeks to be intentional about getting off the constant Crazy Cycle they feel they have been spinning on for a large part of their marriage. They make significant changes in their previously harsh and unloving tones and words, they pursue peace with their spouse at all times instead of seeking only their own will, and they learn how to better communicate to their spouse’s pink or blue “hearing aids.”Read More
In my book Before You Hit Send, I quote a woman who said, "You know that little thing in the back of your brain that tells you not to say something before you say it? Well, I don't have that little thing." I suppose all of us wonder occasionally if we lack that little thing in the back of our brains. We know that we are to think before we speak, but we end up saying something that we should not say.Read More
I once stayed in the home of Bernhard Langer, two-time winner of the Masters, one of the PGA Tour’s four major tournaments. As a result of the positive effect my Love and Respect ministry had on their marriage, he and his wife, Vikki, asked me to spend several days at their home, and during that time, he shared his personal story with me.
In 1985 when he won the Masters for the first time at Augusta, Georgia, the announcers ushered him into the infamous cabin where one of them asked him, “Did you look at the leaderboard?” Bernhard replied, “I was trying not to look, but I saw it for the first time at the ninth; and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, I am playing well, and I am four shots behind!’”Read More
In your experience, have you found that any of the following approaches have worked to influence, motivate, and energize your spouse? Keeping track of the other’s wrongs with resentment, nagging and criticizing without seeing any good, judging and shaming from a spirit of self-righteousness, getting angry to the point of showing hostility and contempt, manipulating to achieve a selfish or worthy agenda, blaming without any acknowledgment of one’s own faults, and fighting for control, not for win-win.Read More
Husbands, I know that you love your wife, cherish her beyond measure, and wish every day (and tenfold on Valentine’s Day!) that you could figure out how to better express that to her and in return feel her love and respect for you in all new ways as well. Though we should not dismiss in the least the importance of showing your love to your Valentine through acts like bringing home flowers, surprising her with dinner out, cleaning the house for her, and other ways that express to her that you’re thinking of her and you want to serve her, gaining your wife’s long-term admiration and awe for you is actually much less complicated than finding the perfect combination of small acts of love and service: let her see you become vulnerable and depending completely on Jesus.Read More
The Bible truly is the marriage book to base all marriage books on. All the answers for every husband and every wife and every single marital argument or issue can be found within its pages, summed up perfectly in Ephesians 5:33: “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
“What does the Bible say about how to handle going through dozens of surgeries with your spouse who suffers from debilitating conditions?”Read More
In Ephesians 5:33, the apostle Paul wrote, “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” As God does not command things that are unnecessary, we can then infer that a woman has a need to feel loved (which no one ever disputes); but in the same token, we must then conclude that a man has a need to feel respected. And of course, the man’s need for respect has been largely glossed over by many throughout history, including in the church.Read More
One night as Sarah and I were driving home from a small group Bible study, Sarah expressed some strong feelings that had been building up in her over several weeks.
“You were boring in our Bible study tonight,” she said, almost angrily. “You intimidate people with your silence. And when you do talk, you sometimes say something insensitive. What you said to the new couple came across poorly.”
“This book saved my marriage,” a man recently wrote me. He went on: I read your book Love and Respect, and I felt the need to reach out and say thank you. I'm a thirty-year-old man who has gone in and out of several addictions. Sex, porn, drugs—legal and illegal—and alcohol. I've totally burned my wife's trust and for several years now we have been on the brink of divorce. This book opened my eyes for why I do what I do, what I'm looking for, and most importantly, what I need to be giving.Read More