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An Adulterer Pursuing His Spouse
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3rd Post Love and Respect, Possible Objections

Loveandrespect_2 Emmerson Eggerichs identifies three main objections he hears from women about unconditionally respecting their husbands.  See posts one and two for background on unconditional respect.  The three areas of concern are; she fears being a doormat, she worries about being a hypocrite, and she thinks she can't forgive him. 

She fears being a doormat.  The question here is what if I show respect and he doesn't show love?  To be honest, in the name of a skewed view of submission, certain areas of Christianity have done much damage to women.  For example, women have been counseled to stay with abusers in the name of submission and respect.  That isn't what Emmerson is discussing here.  Remember, he is talking about two good willed people with these concepts.  Should the husband love first or the wife respect first?  Who stops the crazy cycle?  His answer is the one who is most mature should move first.  Wouldn't we all at some level like the other person to make the first move and change?  Sure.  Maybe your husband isn't making the first move, can you afford to wait?  There is risk in seeking to respect your husband first, but there is also great risk in maintaining the status quo.  Even though your criticism of him is a way you are seeking to connect with him, he'll respond more to being respected than you pointing out his flaws.      

She worries about being a hypocrite.  A good relationship is based on truth and if a woman shows respect when she isn't feeling it (and certainly not experiencing a whole lotta love) she may feel like a fake.  She wants it to be real and genuine.  She doesn't want to go through meaningless motions which is a good thing.  She may feel caught.  Here is the rub.  She is called to respect him not to change him.  His actions may not warrant much respect in the moment (or they may be different from what she would do as a woman) and yet a woman is still called to interact with him in a respectful manner.  A woman keeps her voice and is aware of the deep and long term impact she has on her man's soul.  She doesn't lie and she chooses to relate in a way that interacts with the truer man that God has created.  In this situation it is helpful to remember that we often treat those closest to us with the least courtesy and respect.  That often tears a relationship down. 

She thinks she can't forgive him.  Maybe your husband has been harsh with you.  With your competency and intelligence he can miss how tender your heart is and treat you with the least courtesy and love.  Forgiveness isn't fair but it will touch his spirit. It is important to remember that forgiveness does not = trust, does not = lack of pain, does not = lack of grieving.  Forgiveness does mean you give up the right to get even and don't seek to punish him further.  Excellent reading in this area comes from the late Lewis Smedes, The Art of Forgiving.  Forgiveness also comes easier when we are willing to look at our own flaws, at our own deep need for forgiveness.  Connecting with our own for-given-ness at the cross, generally leads to a spirit of gratitude making it easier to offer grace to another.  Believe it or not, your husband doesn't get up and say, "How can I make my wife's life miserable today?"  He may have blown it and hurt you deeply.  We all do from time to time. 

Next, I'll highlight the concerns of a man about unconditional love for his wife.