The following is a true-life testimonial written to Emerson Eggerichs by a husband who was demanding respect from his wife. But God woke him up. It’s a testimony that Emerson features in his terrific book, “Love and Respect.” Afterwards, Emerson writes his comments.
This husband wrote:
“I had an epiphany experience about 18 months ago that totally changed my life and my view of marriage. Without sounding too mystical I have to say that I believe God spoke to me then, and the message and insight I was given I cannot keep to myself.
“…On a Saturday evening I threw a dish in anger that hit my wife in the face. It left a small cut. She called the police and I was handcuffed and taken off to jail. A magistrate thought it best for me to sit out the weekend there. They held me over on a LOT of bond. I wouldn’t pay it and that set my schedule for the weekend!
“After about 4 hours on a steel cot in the middle of the night the novelty wore off. I thought, boy is SHE gonna be sorry. I really started to think hard about why I was there.
“With nothing to read, no place to go and not able to sleep anymore, I basically paced and prayed for two days. One single Scripture stayed in my mind the whole time. It was ‘Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church…’
“For two days God replayed the memories I had of our arguments. In each one I was acutely aware of how I had failed to love my wife. It was like pausing a video and having someone point to it and say, ‘See, right here, you could have reached out to her. You could have reassured her, but you were too busy trying to prove your point.’
“At one point I was seeing her face, all distorted with rage as she screamed at me, but totally without any sound. …The mute button had been pushed on this memory. And then little by little the sound came up so I could hear it. Only the words were not what my wife had been screaming at me. Instead, they were replaced with other words that I needed to hear. ‘I want you to LOVE me. Why won’t you LOVE me? I’m afraid and insecure and I need you to hold me and LOVE me…’
“And that’s when I began to weep. All this time I had been so totally wrapped up in my own needs. I demanded respect instead of being respectable, to be right at any cost, to win a petty argument. But this hurt our priceless relationship. I had been so caught up in the words that I had totally missed her heart, her need.
“This was my epiphany, and this is why scripture commands me to love my wife as Christ loved the church. In my conversations with men since then I have seen the color drain from their faces as I tell them about my experience, and I see the dawning of their own awareness as they realize how they have blown it too. We NEED this command, but not many of us know just how badly.
God sat me down for two days in jail, took away all the distractions, and forced me to look at myself in a way I had never done before. By the end of it I had been totally emotionally ruined and rebuilt, and I could hardly wait to get home and share with (my wife) what God had shown me! My last evening in my cell I was freer than I had ever been, I knew the Lord had spoken to me and I knew I was going to do something about it, first in my own marriage, and then in others if the Lord allowed.”
Emerson Eggerichs, the author of “Love & Respect” then writes the following:
Although the husband and his wife reconciled, the court ordered him to attend domestic violence counseling, which he was happy to do. He waited over a year after his experience to validate the changes in his life. And then, with the blessing of his pastor, he began to invite other men to discuss the topic of marriage with him. Now he and his wife meet with couples who come to them with domestic issues like the ones they had. He adds, “I’ll forever be grieved at what I did to my wife, and forever grateful for what He has done for our marriage since.”
There are many reasons I like this man’s story. But perhaps best of all, I like that the wife was the first one to contact us when she ordered our resources. She wanted to learn more about unconditionally respecting her husband.
In her e-mail request, she said absolutely nothing about the abusive incident.
She only wrote that she was:
“… Mightily convicted about my need for learning this vital aspect of my wifely role. My husband has a men’s Bible study where, naturally, the focus is on loving and leading your wife God’s way. There is a dearth of material on the other important aspect of godly marriage, namely, wives and respect. There’s lots on submission, but not much on respect. My husband and I have been married, very badly (and without God). But now we are committed to making our relationship one that honors and glorifies His presence and grace in our lives.”
There was not one hint of how she took a dish in the face and how he had to go to jail. I was curious about the kind of Bible study her husband was conducting. Therefore, I e-mailed him and asked him to explain what he was doing and why. That’s when he told me the whole story about hitting his wife, going to jail, and figuring things out as he paced up and down in his cell. What a woman! What a man! He had changed so much that she yearned to do her part. And now they work together to help other marriages.
God commands in His Word:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25).
The above letter and commentary can be found in the excellent book titled, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs a Focus on the Family book, written by Dr Emerson Eggerichs, published by Integrity Publishers. We HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone who is married. It’s based on over three decades of counseling, as well as scientific and biblical research. This book is for people in marital crisis, and spouses headed for divorce. It’s for husbands and wives in a second marriage, and people wanting to heal. It’s also for lonely wives, browbeaten husbands, spouses in affairs, victims of affairs, engaged couples, and for pastors or counselors looking for material that can save marriage.
— ALSO —
There is a Question/Answer article on this same subject found on the web site Nogreaterjoy.org. To read, please click onto the link below:
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