Husbands commanded to love their wives

February 12, 2012

in Aff Link, Her Needs, Understanding Her

Ring and Bible © Foxtrot01 |

Love? Naw, she needs respect.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church … In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” [Eph 5 25 & 28]

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.” [Titus 2:3-4]

Have you ever noticed the inequity in those two passages? We men are commanded to love our wives, while older women are told to teach or train the younger women to love their husbands. It’s a fairly significant difference, and I figure it must mean something. Whatever else it may mean, it tells me God sees men and women, husbands and wives, as different. They have different needs, different strengths and weakness, different temptations, and so on.  

But why the difference we see here? Either women need to be loved more than men do, or men are less given to being loving than women. I think it’s a combination of the two.

Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect deals with this issue. The subtitle of his book is “The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs” – indicating love is more important for her, while respect is more important for him. This is a biblical thought we see Paul sharing:

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” [Eph 5:33 ESV]

Here men are commanded (yet again) to love, while women are commanded to respect.

Sounds simple, but human nature gets in the way. We tend to give what we want. In most situations, the Golden Rule works well, but when two people have different needs and priories, doing unto them as you would have them do unto you does not work out so well. You get a man who is half killing himself to show his bride respect, while she is doing all she can to show him love – and both feel neglected and think they are the only one working on the marriage. 

Bottom line: She needs you to love her. If you are not doing that well, you are failing her as a husband, no matter what else you are doing.

Links may be monetised
Image Credit: © Foxtrot01 |

Shop to give links page

Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:



Care For Your Wife—Start With This Question: This is a great article – read, apply, repeat.

Black and Married with Kids

Money Monday: Why It Pays To Study Your Bills: Who does this in your marriage? If no one, you may be losing money!
Who Comes First In Your Marriage?: God, spouse, kinds. Anything else will end badly!

Couple Things Blog

You Know What They Say : Forget about “they” – this is better!

”husband”, a user’s guide”

Does Sex Really Begin in the Kitchen?: Goes hand in glove with my post from Saturday.

Journey to Surrender

It’s Time! V-Day Anxiety Cure #4: A nice link round-up of great Valentine’s ideas.
National Marriage Week – Free E-Book: I’ve only skimmed it, but it looks to be a very good resource.

One Flesh Marriage

Sexual Banter : Talk it up during the day so you can enjoy it more at night.
Kissing Day: Yes guys, she wants more kissing.
Out of the Box: Mix it up to get out of a rut.


Romantic Act of the Day

What do you need to Learn to Overlook?: This. Do this.
A Drive-in Movie: A great date if you can find one!

The Romantic Vineyard

If Love Is In The Air… : A great argument for celebrating V-day.

Stupendous Marriage

Stupendous Marriage Show 032: Happy Valentine’s Day!: What to do, and not do, on Valentine’s day! 

Your Christian Marriage Restoration Station

Valentine Date Ideas : Great ideas – it’s not too late.


I would be interested in an article comparing and contrasting love and respect, because, to me, they are so similar, I can't see how you can have one without the other. Even as I'm writing this, I'm trying to work it out in my own mind, and I just can't see the difference. All I know is I want both love AND respect from my husband, and I want to give both to him as well.


I did some research on the word "respect." Primarily because I think that there is a lot of emphasis put upon a wife to respect her husband but little or no emphasis placed upon men to respect women. I thought the Greek definition of the word "respect" used in the Ephesians 5:33 would be helpful. PHOBOS - panic flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror This definition was very different from anything that I could have expected. I actually found the Greek definition for respect as used in the verse to be a bit overwhelming and discouraging. I have an idea as to why Paul would actually encourage wives to be afraid of their husbands, but I'll refrain for now. Given the Greek definition of respect (PHOBOS), why do you think wives would be encouraged to fear or be afraid of their own husbands?


Love the post, and the blog Stu. Let me Take the liberty to deviate from the "normal" response to these truths. Since God commands husbands and wives to love each other - why would He only tell the huzbands to love and the wife to respect. I think it is because husbands have a natural bent toward respecting their wives, but are ridiculously ignorant and apathetic about how to "show" love like "Christ loved His bride". Women have a natural bent toward love ( even battered wives think the jerk is going to change) but struggle with unconditional respect. We are commanded to love, by our sacrificial life, God's daughter. She is commanded to respect the "office" her husband has been given by God, in spite of his performance. Sounds like an impossible task....indeed. He already told us that too...John15:5. Keep up the good work bro.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

moderator - What you says did happen, but it was not the norm by the time of Christ. In theory the wife to be had no say, but a loving father would not wed his daughter to someone who she would hate. In places where there are both arranged marriages and "love" marriages the arranged have a lower divorce rate. There are some cultural reasons for that, but the reality is arranged marriages tend to work out very well. I certainly would not want to do it, but I can see how loving parents would often make better choices than star crossed young lovers! All that said, it does offer a good thought on why women were to "learn" to love.


I think we need to consider the time and context in which this was written. This was written in a time when fathers arranged their daughters' marriages. Throughout the OT and NT, women had very little say in who they married. It was all the father's and prospected husband's choice (1 Cor 7:38). I think you could find many OT examples. Therefore, I don't believe the women likely loved these men; they probably didn't even know them. Women were often married to men old enough to be their fathers. Some may have had different religious beliefs - Timothy's Jewish mom was married to a Greek. They might not have even been sexually attracted to the man. However, although they might not have felt romantic love ( the sort of love that a wife would feel for her husband) they still had to respect the husband. I think the older women would then teach these newer wives how to "show" love to those husbands. Love is purposeful. It is an action and not a feeling. As a result, love can and has been cultivated within even arranged marriages. Like I stated above, love is an action. It is purposeful. I simply don't believe that men are very concerned about love. Men are very self motivated and power driven. Love is not on the top of their list. Like women, men have to purpose in their heart to "show" love to their wives. Spouses (men and women) can only learn to show and express love through Bible study, prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


The Golden Rule works for this. It is not that we give our wives respect because that is what we want, we give them what they desire because we want them to give or they gave us what we desire. We give what the other needs from us.


Here's anotherthought as to why the difference: Women are easier to love than men. So God can just tell men to love their wives, knowing it's not that difficult. But men are often not so lovable, so he softens his command and instead tells wives to go learn to do this. In the meantime, respect keeps the marital harmony intact. (And yes, all believers are commanded to love each other and all believers are commanded to submit to one another; just trying to think through why the different emphases with respect to marital roles.)

Previous post:

Next post: