The Bible consistently commands husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. This doesn’t mean that husbands do not need to respect their wives or that wives do not need to love their husbands. But it does tell us that wives need the love of their husbands and husbands need the respect of their wives. It also suggests that husbands are tempted in various ways not to love their wives and that wives are tempted in various ways not to respect their husbands. It also stands to reason that since women need love, they tend to give what they want, and so they try to think of ways to love their husband, but the Bible says that the main thing you need to give thought to is how to respect your husband. Likewise, since men need respect, they tend to give what they want, but the Bible says that your wife needs your love.
Sometimes this can feel a bit like giving someone a gift that you don’t understand. Perhaps you aren’t much a wine connoisseur and somebody gives you a bottle of really nice wine. You open it and taste it, and it tastes, to your uncouth mouth, the way red wine always tastes to you. And you wonder what all the fuss was about, and couldn’t you have just spent a lot less money and had the same experience? But what happens when you give that same fancy bottle to somebody who knows his wines? It makes his day or maybe his year. Sometimes it can seem this way when the Bible tells you to love your wife or to respect your husband. You wonder what he could possibly want with that? What could she possibly need that for?
Now, the first answer to that question simply needs to be that it is always best to obey God. If God were to offer you the secret to being happy in your marriage, wouldn’t you want to know? But He has: husbands love your wives; wives respect your husbands. Love means sacrificing for your wife, laying your life down for her good, taking trouble for her, being thoughtful of her needs and concerns. Respect means thinking highly of, praising, asking for counsel and advice, and cheerfully obeying. But here’s the thing: when you love your wife it’s giving her the best wine, and when you respect your husband, you’re giving him the best wine. And it’s the kind of wine that makes both of your hearts exceedingly glad.