My wife and I experienced the Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs video series and book by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerich.
The following are some of the scriptures that relate to their message.
Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29, 33 (NASB95)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29, 33). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
(The following is inspired by the “Love and Respect” series. However, these thoughts are not necessarily endorsed by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerich and should not be construed that they are).
Jesus commands the husband to agape-love his wife. However, not based on her actions, this is not a reward for good behavior. He is to love his wife because she needs it. No woman will tell you that she wants her husband to love her only if she meets his standards of behavior. That is not stable. That is frustrating and anxiety producing. It is demeaning. That is not love. She always needs her husband’s love and will wither without it.
Now we move to the less obvious. Jesus commands the wife to respect her husband. Not because of his actions, this is not a reward or acknowledgement of good behavior. She is to unconditionally respect her husband because he needs it. No man will tell his wife that he only wants his wife to respect him when he meets her standards of behavior. That is not stable. It is anxiety producing. It is defeating. That is not unconditional respect. He always needs his wife’s respect and will wither without it.
Now let’s move to what is sometimes difficult to accept and do, for both husband and wife. The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the Church. (See Is Jesus a “Feminist”? Part 1 and 2 https://i-m-4-u.com/2018/06/01/is-jesus-a-feminist/ https://i-m-4-u.com/2018/06/24/is-jesus-a-feminist-part-2/ ). As being the head, like Jesus does it, the responsibility of the husband is great – he must give up what he wants for his wife’s best interest. And that means serving his wife to the point of daily dying to what he wants to do, in order to do what she needs; and being willing to literally die for her, if she so needs. For a man to best do this he needs collaboration from his wife. Her thinking, wisdom, and strengths are necessary gifts from God to walk along side of her husband and “help” him serve her. And the root word in the Greek for “help” is the same root word as for one of the Names of the Holy Spirit, that is, “Helper.” Her husband is to give up his life for her best, and she is to help him help her.
The word submission is scary. Men are imperfect. And to submit to a husband “as to the Lord” does not mean you are to submit to evil. Women are not asked to submit to abuse: physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. Women may leave those situations and heal. They must protect their children, if they too are in danger. The Lord is the wife’s Helper and He will guide her with His wisdom and strength if she seeks Him.
Given a husband of good will, a man with the responsibility to serve his wife’s best interest must have the authority to do it. If he seeks to honor God and his wife by seeking her highest good, and does not have the support of his wife, he will be frustrated at best and will reject his responsibility at worst. He may slide into passivity and say if his wife wants complete control she can have it.
By “support her husband” I don’t mean checking her brains at the door to agree with him. He needs her best thoughts, wisdom, intuition, constructive challenges, etc., to help him serve her. But in the end, he is responsible to God. And there is no responsibility without authority.
The husband does not have license; He must give up what he wants and love his wife and serve the best interests of his wife, trusting God to work out everything for their best.
The wife does not have license; She must respect her husband and help her husband serve her best interest; and give up ultimate control, trusting God to work out everything for their best.