Love and Respect | We all crave it!
by ChristianCrush Team
Equality is a huge subject in politics today. All we ever seem to talk about is whether we are all equal or not, whether it’s in the workforce, at school, in social circles, or in a marriage. One of the simplest ways to gain equal footing in a marriage is to earn some kind of college degree. New studies show that equality might not be such a bad thing when it comes to marriage.
Education isn’t always about careers and learning – sometimes it’s simply about status. Having a college degree under your belt has always been a step closer to getting a better job. In the past, it has also brought women closer to divorce.
The face of marriage has changed. Think of the paradigm of the 40s and 50s compared to now: what was once a strict tradition of breadwinners and homemakers is becoming more even-handed. A lot of these changes can be attributed to education. When women began to complete college as often as men, it flipped the world end over end. In recent years, it’s even more common that the wife is more educated than her husband.
The reach for egalitarian marriages has only intensified in more recent years. Call it a generational thing or a sign of the times, but many couples are actively trying to split the responsibilities of living into equal parts.
Bringing home the bacon has always been important, but when the woman brings home most or all of it, the paradigm shifts. Having more education was great for women in social and professional realms, but in the beginning, being more educated than your husband was a sort of a marriage death sentence. It wasn’t until the 90s that education became less of a reason for divorce.
Knowing Our Roles In Marriage
Divorce is a terrible thing, and God says he hates it, but it’s not the only historical consequence of equal marriages. When a relationship splits everything 50-50, it’s easy to forget who is the man and who is the woman. I’ve heard some people explain it by saying that by trying to be gender neutral, we are erasing gender altogether. One could argue that this 50-50 split takes away the man’s chance to be a man. Many people wish they could feel completely equal in a marriage, but once the chores are split halfway and the woman is making just as much money, some couples feel unhappy with the reality that follows.
This isn’t an argument for or against egalitarianism. If you’re married it makes sense to make every effort to avoid divorce, and being aware of issues other couples face is a step in the right direction. Even though unequal education is no longer much of a factor in divorce, there are other things that may lead down that road. Equality is fantastic, but if a man or woman isn’t sure of their role in the marriage, the going gets tough.
Confidence partially comes from knowing exactly where you stand. When I feel accomplished and knowledgeable at work, I have happier days. But if I feel like someone else is doing my job for me (whether badly or well), I immediately feel frustrated. Giving up responsibilities is great when my workload is too heavy, but there’s a reason I have the job I do – I’m good at it! I see this equality issue as working much the same way. Men and women have very different wiring, and forcing them to operate outside of that programming often asks for trouble.
I think much of the issue is when one style of marriage is practiced without the other. Few things survive without compromise, and marriage is no exception to that rule. Equality is important, but so is tradition. There’s a reason all of those apostles wrote letters talking about how men and women were supposed to act as husbands and wives. It’s because they knew how difficult it was going to be without some solid direction.
A very good friend of mine once explained marriage as an eternal circle of love and respect. The woman naturally loves, so God asks her to respect her husband; the husband naturally respects, so God asks him to love his wife. You’ll notice that God asks them to exhibit traits that aren’t necessarily natural. That’s a common request of God, not just in marriages, but in life. The great majority of our Christian lives is often spent training ourselves to show the love and respect that are contrary to our human natures. When both of them are exchanging love and respect on an equal basis, you’ve got a marriage that can last through the ages.
You’ve probably seen the “wives, submit to your husbands” verses floating around the Internet and at church on Sundays. It’s hard to miss, especially since it seems to go so much against the egalitarian perspective. But if you apply my friend’s theory from above to the verses in Ephesians 5:22-31, you see an entirely different marriage. Submission isn’t about giving up the right to have a career and a life outside of the home – it’s about forging that circle of love and respect.
If you really want your marriage to succeed, it’s time to listen to more than what the science experts say. There are millions of data flying around, telling us how, when, where, and why to get married. But when it comes to staying married, education is the key to many anniversaries. These two simple actions can help your marriage stay strong, regardless of your gender.
Two Key Qualities
Both men and women need to feel loved. We all crave love by those closest to us, especially our partner. We may want to receive that love in different ways and we may talk of it differently but we are all very similar in the fact that we want to feel loved at our core.
We also all want to feel respected. We want our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors respected so we can feel fully accepted and like we have “influence” in our most important relationships. The moment we feel overlooked, overruled, and/or dismissed is the moment tension and resentment set in.
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Beyond love and respect, what else do you feel all couples crave from one another?