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It is generally accepted that men and women view love and respect in a marriage differently. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love & Respect and founder of Love & Respect Ministries, interviewed 7,000 people with the question: “When you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?" His results showed that 83 percent of the men said they felt disrespected, and 72 percent of the women said they felt unloved. (http://loveandrespect.com)
Obviously, the need for love and respect in a marriage isn’t exclusive to one gender or the other. We each desire to be loved and respected—though it is clear to see that one affects a person more deeply than the other. It is also clear that if one or the other is missing or abused in a marriage that that marital relationship could be in big trouble.
At the heart of this issue, both husbands and wives want to feel that they’re important to the other. A wife wants to know that her opinion matters. She wants to know that something during the day made her husband think of her. When a husband shows this kind of thoughtfulness or sensitivity to his wife, she feels loved. A husband wants to know his wife is “proud” of him and his efforts to provide for the family—not that this excludes him from participating and contributing to things at home, as a lot of husbands seem to assume.
Contrary to what some people may believe about marriage, it is not a license for husbands to tromp all over their wives’ feelings or self-esteem and do whatever they want simply because they’re the “head of the household and bringing in the bacon”. Husbandry is not about absolute rule and control over everything. It does not mean free rein to do whatever he wants or go wherever he wants. It’s about making decisions that are in the best interests of the family, while taking into consideration the opinion and feeling of the other significant person in running the household. This may mean giving up or compromising on what he ultimately wants, but he should be wise enough to know when he needs to hold his ground and not for selfish reasons.