Valentine’s Day: Love and Respect

February 12, 2010

(This is my brief [300-word] Saturday column for the ‘New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung’ newspaper.)

I’m taking this week off from my current mini-series because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  As many men reading this will, I’ll be attempting to set a romantic mood with my wife, which, hopefully, will live up to Valentine’s Day standards!  (However, since I can be an insensitive clod—as most men can, I’m certainly capable of messing it up big time!)

Of course, if things are not going right in your relationship, it’s highly doubtful whether any number of roses, any amount of chocolate, any elegant dinner or night out at a romantic hotel or any lavish gift certificate for Valentine’s Day would completely right the ship.  At best, it makes for a temporary softening of the heart because of the romantic gestures, but things quickly settle back into the same uncomfortable rut… unless something is done to address the problem(s).

Now, without question, there are all kinds of marriage problems.  No two marital relationships are exactly alike.  But, in my observation as a pastor who has done a great deal of marital counseling over the years—and made my fair share of marital mistakes, also—I would say that one difficulty is the most common: men and women don’t understand, then do their best to meet, the other’s most basic need.

What, you ask, are those most basic needs?  For a woman, it is to feel loved by her husband.  For a man, it’s to feel respected by his wife.  The Apostle Paul knew this when he wrote: “Each one of you [men] is to love his wife as himself, and his wife is to respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

To learn more, the best book I’ve found is Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect (Integrity Publishers, 2004).  You can find, or order, it through any bookstore or most of the online book sources.

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