–Originally published on FWB21 March 18, 2011–
Did you know that Aretha Franklin’s famous song “Respect” was written by a man? Otis Redding, to be exact. The following lyrics were lauded by the feminist movement when sung by a woman, but listen to this man’s words pleading for respect and recognition from a woman:
(oo) All I’m askin’
(oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
Find out what it means to me

Has quite a different ring to it, huh? A man pleading with his wife for a little respect.

I found this interesting tidbit in Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. This is by far the best book on marriage I have ever read (and I have read many). The premise of the book is based on Ephesians 5:33:

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

As a culture, we have the tendency to heavily emphasize unconditional love. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it! We get that concept. What we do not emphasize, though, is the last part–a part which Dr. Eggerichs argues is just as vital as the first. He asserts that, just as a husband is to unconditionally love his wife, the wife is to unconditionally respect her husband.

Whoa. Let that sink in. Unconditional respect. Mull it over a bit.

The fact that men need respect is certainly not something you’ll hear touted by popular culture. However, to illustrate that it is indeed at the core of a man’s needs, Eggerichs asks women, “Would you rather your friends love you, or respect you?” As a woman, I can tell you, women are inclined to say love. Ask a man the same question, and across the board the answer is respect.

As I began to comprehend the concept of a man’s need for unconditional respect from his wife, I was convicted of the many times I have shown disrespect through my words, actions, and attitudes. Wives, we sin against our husbands when we belittle them or cut them down or ignore their needs, and in the process we hurt our own selves by giving our husbands reason to react unlovingly.

Since love is action, I have made an effort to love my husband by communicating my respect for him in myriad ways. Some of them felt a bit awkward at first, but take my advice ladies, it’s worth the effort!

*For practical ideas on how to show biblical love and respect, get a copy of Dr. Eggerich’s book today. You couldn’t make a better investment in your marriage!