October 25, 2011

When It Simply Doesn’t Work – What Then?

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What is your worst fear in marriage?  Is it that you will do all you can to love and respect unconditionally but your spouse will not respond?  If so, you are not alone in that fear. I hear of this concern often from husbands and wives around the country. But 1 Peter 3:6 tells us to do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

But how should you proceed?  What if you have moved forward in good faith with unconditional love and respect, but your spouse has not responded?

As Jesus spoke of the trials and tribulations believers might have to go through for Him, He mentioned that “a man’s enemies will be the members of his household” (Matthew 10:36).  For you, it may feel just this way.  So should you simply say, “This Love and Respect thing doesn’t work”? 

When you love or respect unconditionally, you are following God and His will for you.  Ultimately, your spouse and your marriage have nothing to do with it.  You are simply demonstrating your obedience and trust in the face of an unlovable wife or a disrespecting husband.  Unconditional love and unconditional respect will be rewarded.   I call this the Rewarded Cycle.  Jesus said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matthew 5:46).  Jesus could have had your troubled marriage in mind when He said that.

I believe Paul also had your marriage in mind when he penned Ephesians 6:7-8:  “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free” (NIV).  Paul is saying that whatever we do as to the Lord we will receive back from the Lord.  In marriage, everything you do counts, even if your spouse ignores you!  This is what the Rewarded Cycle is all about:  His Love Blesses Regardless of Her Respect; Her Respect Blesses Regardless of His Love.

If you are feeling alone in your marriage, and your spouse is not responding to your efforts, will you allow this to encourage you? You are not alone. Your efforts to love and respect unconditionally are not going unnoticed by God!  He is for you and He WILL honor you for your obedience.  Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more on the Rewarded Cycle and the rewards that are in store for you.


Excerpts taken from Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I am in an emotionally abusive marriage, and I needed guidelines, beyond, love and bless your enemies, and your book has provided them. Now, with your words here, I can persevere, knowing I am doing this for God. You can't imagine, in the face of so much confusion on an hourly basis, how refreshing it is to simply focus on what God wants me to do. In many ways, it simplifies a horrifying experience.

Anonymous said...

You are persevering an emotionally abusive relationship for God? How do you think God feels about you taking on such disgrace? Does He pat you on your back and say, "That's it, keep taking the shameful remarks!" God does not mean for anyone to be belittled by another person.He does not want you to be emotionally brainwashed. He made you strong, in the face of evil. So man up and seek help! God has provided you so many resources, like Family, Friends, Counselors, Domestic Abuse Centers, Pastors, to name a few. Don't get me wrong, continue to Trust in Jesus and pray, but in order to Serve Him who died for you and Love Him forever, you must not let someone abuse you on earth.

Anonymous said...

I picked up your book a year ago with my husband with the plan that we would go through it when he finished school. I should have started it myself back then because now it looks bleaker than ever. For the last month I've been applying principles of respect to all that I do and even now that he has removed his wedding ring from his finger, I am still making coffee for him to take to work, cooking his favorite meals and trying to respect him in spite of it but it is so hard I am not perfect. I have fallen back to pushing for a response several times in the last month, anything because living in separate rooms and the fact that he is not wearing his ring is killing me. Thank you for these scripture references. I know for the first time in my life that I can only try to please God and that has been a saving grace in the midst of this turmoil. But Lord forgive me my shortcomings through this time as well.

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