Scripture Reading: Isaiah 65:17-66:24 / Ephesians 5:8-33 / Psalm 113:1-9
Tina Turner recorded the song, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” in 1984 and it became a #1 hit. The song reflected a love deficient and failed marriage with her abusive husband Ike Turner. Love had evaded her as a young child and as a married woman. Aretha Franklin made the song, “R.E.S.P.E.C.T” one of the greatest songs of the Rock and Roll era. The song was written and originally sung by Otis Redding in 1965. He wrote the song as a man’s plea for respect and recognition from a woman.
These songs are steeped in worldliness and sensuality but there is a truth that cannot be overlooked. These two songs speak about a woman’s desire to be loved and a man’s need to be respected. They didn’t have original thoughts as the Apostle Paul writes about the need for love and respect to be the foundation for marriage.
Paul speaks of a wife submitting to her husband and a husband loving his wife. He summarizes his thoughts by saying, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) These foundational marriage elements are not man made but God inspired.
Husbands are to, “Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (5:25) The world has no concept of this divine love because this type of love is not found in a promiscuous and lustful society. This world loves in order to get whereas Christ’s love – loves in order to give. As Christ gave himself for us who were undone and undeserving, a husband’s love is not to be given to his wife based upon a merit system. A husband’s love is not to be conditional but unconditional.
Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. God is not requiring them to enslave themselves to a life where they lose all sense of identity, voice and purpose. God knows that her identity, voice and purpose is important and a wife is not a second-class citizen. Yet a wife will never know her full and valuable potential until it is developed within her husbands protective, nurturing and loving care. God designed man to provide the very best and to bring out the very best in his wife.
When a husband loves his wife the way Christ does, she will submit and respect him with great joy. She knows her husband will protect and care for her at all costs… even if it means the sacrifice of his own desires, wishes or life. When a wife submits and respects her husband in a way where Christ is honored, he will love her with complete devotion. He knows his wife believes in and is totally committed to him.
Love and respect can work when only one is present and active. But God has designed that both of these flow together in order to bring purpose, strength and joy in marriage. God’s desire is that a man and woman discover the complementary and completing component in their life… a marriage of love and respect.