Whenever we feel that our deepest needs are not being met, we often act in ways that will ensure those needs will not be met. Whether it’s a husband who needs respect from his wife, a wife who needs love from her husband, or a child who needs the attention of their parent: whatever it is we need, when we set about trying to get it—if we are not submitting to Christ, we inevitably push it away by our behaviors.
Imagine a husband who feels disrespected by his wife. Instead of loving his wife all the more and serving her more, and cherishing her more, he blusters about the house, demanding respect, and in so doing he makes certain that the one thing he will not get is respect.
Imagine a wife who feels unloved by her husband. Instead of respecting him and serving him, she complains and snaps at him like he’s a child and heaps nagging guilt on his head. He may very well respond to her, but the chances of his response being the genuine outpouring of love she needs are slim to none. His response will be more like an appeasement for peace.
Two applications come out of this:
First, when you are the spouse whose needs are not being met: examine your own behavior and emotions. If you need respect from your wife: cherish her. Not as a sneaky way of serving yourself, but because you are submitting to Christ in obedience. If you need love from your husband: respect him. Not because he has earned it. Maybe he hasn’t. Respect him for the sake of Christ.
Second, if your spouse is acting in a way that doesn’t call for respect or love, take it as a cue for you to serve them all the more. The moment your husband blusters is the very moment you can minister to him with respect. The moment your wife complains is the moment you can minister to her with warmth and love.
All of this will require us to put our pride on the altar and sacrifice it to the Lord. So, let’s go to him now as we confess our sins.