In hopes of obtaining more wisdom on the subject of love, I struck up a casual conversation with my pastor. Below is how the conversation transpired.
Me: After all year these years of counseling troubled married couples, what are some practical insights you might be able to pass onto me that I might not already be aware of?
Pastor: The biggest and most interesting thing I have come to understand over the years is that a man needs admiration. A man doesn’t want respect from his wife/partner, he needs it. When a woman tells a man that she loves him, rarely does it strike a chord in him in the same manner in which these same words impact a woman
Me: Admiration? How would admiration impact men differently then women?
Pastor: Because a man doesn’t need love in that same manner. But, a man most certainly needs respect to fell loved. Men interpret being honoured and held high with love. When a woman tells you she loves you, it doesn’t shake you to the core in the same way it makes you feel when you know your partner shows you the utmost respect, think about it!
Me: You know, I had never really taken that into consideration, but it does seem to resonate with me.
Pastor: A man does not need love in the same way a woman needs love. Nowhere in the bible does it ever say, a woman should love a man. You can look for it, but you won’t find it in scripture.
Me: Are you telling me that Jesus never once suggested to women that they should tell their husbands that they love them? I find that hard to believe.
Pastor: I’m sure he probably did in person, but not in scripture. Ephesians chapter 5 says, Husband love your wife. It says that a man needs their wife, it never says that a woman must love their husband, but it does clearly say that wives must respect their husbands.
Me: Maybe you could clarify exactly what you mean when you speak about the word respect.
Pastor: The word respect means to speak highly of. Respect means to hold in high regard. Respect means to praise. The average man gets zero, to very little praise these days. Don’t laugh, it’s not funny!
Let me tell you what I’ve seen to be the most destructive force taking place in relationships and marriages in the church. Women put their pastors on pedestals and show their pastors more respect and honour than they do to their own husbands. The vows they gave at the alter command more significance and value than the words of another man.
Me: I hate to say it, but, I too have been guilty of putting a pastor or two on a pedestal of their own over the years. Unconsciously I guess there is a part of me that thinks these men of God have a more secure or direct line to God than I do. I guess its a little bit of an erroneous blindspot a lot of us carry. But praise? Isn’t that stretching things a bit?
Pastor: Listen, I am not naive, and I know it might be challenging for these ladies to find something to admire in their husbands day after day, but that is exactly what they are called to. Sure we aren’t perfect, but the bible is very clear about how and what relationships are suppose to look like, even in this age of swipe left and right. By no means is this something that can be put into practice all day every day, but it is a worth goal to strive towards. Why? you may ask. It’s simple. God knows precisely how the car runs and what kind of gas it needs to be fuelled up with, if you catch my drift!