Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.In his video series “Love and Respect” Emerson Eggerichs makes the case for a man to unconditionally love his wife and for the wife to unconditionally respect her husband. On his website Emerson writes, "You may remember how the Beatles sang, 'All you need is love.' I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of ten marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband's need for respect. This Love and Respect message is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs -- respect. And the husband can fulfill his need to be respected by giving his wife what she needs -- love. Does this always work? No. But if one is married to a person of good will, I would bet the farm that it would work!"
Unconditional respect is a concept that is pretty foreign to me but unconditional love is not. As a Christian man I want to give that kind of love to my wife. But as a man that has made mistakes and sinned I am not so sure about unconditional respect. To that Emerson points us back to the scriptures. I guess we can’t say that Christ loves us unconditionally and also say that our respect for him is conditional.
Maybe this is the heart of our problem in relating to God. When we don’t ‘feel’ that unconditional love we have difficulty giving him unconditional respect. I guess that is the heart of faith … respecting … honoring … and trusting in God’s unconditional love even when we don’t ‘feel’ it.