I don’t have to love my husband?

This post is the first of a series about our experience in pre-marital counseling. We’ve learned that you need to plan for the marriage at least as much as you plan for the wedding, and in this series we will explore what that means. You can read the introduction here.

The Bible never tells me to love my husband.

This was shocking the first time I discovered it in my counseling homework. I’m not commanded to LOVE him– how does that make sense? He’s commanded to love me.

Well, what am I commanded to do? Respect him. Respect him? That’s dumb. I do that all the time… Wait. Don’t I?

The Bible doesn’t command me to love my husband, because I already do that naturally. In the same way, Brian is never commanded to respect me, as he already does that naturally. These are the languages through which we instinctively speak to one another. We’re made that way. Thus, we are commanded to do that thing that isn’t the most natural for us, but speaks more effectively to the other.

Turns out, I didn’t respect Brian all the time. I thought respect and love went hand-in-hand and that I must already be doing that. I was wrong.

I read several chapters about how men speak a language of respect to each other. It begins when they’re very young. And there are ways that women speak to men that men would NEVER try with each other– it would break that respect. I also learned that women who work with children all the time are a tad more prone to this disrespect.

For example, I tell children what to do all day long. It’s my job. Raise your hand. Stop running. Turn in your homework. Do this. Don’t do that. I would hang out with Brian and keep spouting orders. I didn’t think anything of it and I definitely didn’t mean to be ordering my fiance (at the time) around.

During the counseling, Brian and I were able to talk about this and he brought it to light for me. I am not the boss of him– if I want him to do something, I need to ask him, respecting that he has a life and a job and things to do as well. When I leave a TO DO post-it note, I’m ordering. When I take the time to say, “Hey babe. If you have a chance today, could you please take care of this for me? I’d really appreciate it…” I’m asking. And as you’ve read, my man loves to take care of me– so, of course he’ll respond to the latter.

There are lots of ways to demonstrate respect to my husband: supporting him as the leader in our marriage, submitting when needed, treating him as my partner and not as a child, encouraging him in his ventures (like the boat trip), taking an active interest in his activities, understanding the importance of our sexual relationship. But simply asking for assistance when needed as opposed to ordering it has made the biggest impact so far. Stuff gets done. And it gets done without nagging, strife, or conflict (for the most part).

I’m still struggling with it and I’ve messed up a bunch. Saturday’s post was all about my struggles with communication with Brian. I thought I was respecting, but in reality, I was just not communicating effectively at all. It’s a work in progress. I am still learning. But God was the one that told me to respect Brian, and He knows what that truly means. If I seek His meaning, and receive wise counsel from women that do it well– I’m pretty sure I’ll be headed in the right direction.

7 thoughts on “I don’t have to love my husband?

  1. Dear Lindsey,
    Thank you for sharing your days with us. I have been reading (catching up rather) on all your blogs. I must say this particular post hit home with me…Daniel and I are going through premarital counseling as well. I have enjoyed it so much in that it has helped me focus more on our marriage than just the “big wedding day.”
    I relate with you in two key ways- oldest sibling and teacher…both of which mean we are used to being “bossy pants” (as my siblings would put it). I know for a fact that this is one of their biggest peeves about me. Here lately, I’ve realized that I carry my “teacher tone-of-voice” outside of school (which sounds degrading when it’s directed to the wrong crowd/people)- fiancé or husband. I have been even more convicted of my wrong and want to thank you again for sharing your story. God has commanded respect from us because its the hardesr to do. I had never realized or thought of it that way until today! Love you and wish you and Brian the best!!

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  6. Ok this is confusing at the beginning of the article you say you don’t have to love your husband and he is not commanded to respect you I mean that conflicts with 2 things Jesus stated 1) we are to love our neighbor as ourselves 2) husband are supposed to Love their wives and not treat them harshly…I wish marriage was this easy it’s not. I’m dying for love but my spouse just enjoys not doing it but gets jealous. Respects goes out the window with us both. I’m hurt so bad I can’t really explain it. Talking doesn’t work nothing does. I’m at my wits end and if this doesn’t stop I’m scared something bad might happen to me. I afraid cuz I will leave 4 kids behind I’m only 26 yes old..I dunno what else to do.

    • @Michelle- Thank you for your comment. If Lindsey can, I’m sure she will respond to you as well.

      The point that my wife was trying to make is based on Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 5. In this section Paul gives husbands and wives one command each. The man’s command is to love his wife, the wife’s is to respect her husband. The reason Paul emphasizes these two points is not to contradict Jesus, but to show us how to love our spouse in the best way possible. As you have shown in your comment, women were created to be loved. Women respond to the love of their husbands, and that is why Paul told men to love their wives first and foremost. Similarly men are made to be respected by their wives, and Paul instructs women to respect their husbands.

      Paul was not contradicting Jesus in these verses, he was showing us the best way to show that love that you mention. If you are shown love directly by your husband, you will feel loved and valued. If you husband feels respected, he will feel loved too. This is how we are to love each other.

      You’re absolutely right, marriage is not easy. When you look at the whole Bible’s teaching on marriage it becomes obvious that it is the most difficult human relationship we can participate in. The Bible’s teaching on the topic is clear, but that does not mean it is not easy to follow. We struggle with it every day. For me, I have found that the best way to love my wife as Jesus and Paul command us to is by laying down my own desires, plans and preferences in order to help Lindsey realize hers. I know it is the right the do, but it’s not easy.

      I hope this helps clear up the confusion a bit. Know that you and your marriage are in our prayers.

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