“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Even a young child can quote that verse. In schools, we call it “The Golden Rule”. We all know it. And secretly, deep down in the selfish places in our heart, we don’t want to live by it. At the very least, we’d like an escape clause – “Do to others as you would have them to do to you UNLESS . . . ” But there is no such clause. We can’t get out of it. As if that statement alone wasn’t enough, Luke goes on to clarify!
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you do good to those that are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” Luke 6:32-33.
Wow. That one kind of stings.
I want the right to pout and be snippy if my darling hubby hasn’t been particularly loving. I want the right to snap at those who have been thoughtless toward me. I would like an excuse to not be good to others. Please?! But there isn’t one.
I’m re-reading a book I’ve worked my way through once – The Respect Dare. As I’m on my second “go-round”, I keep coming back to this concept again and again. I know, it’s weird to apply the Golden Rule to marriage. But respect matters A TON to my love. Way more than it does to me. He respects me? That’s nice. But my deepest need is to see evidence that he loves me unconditionally and forever. For him, the “I love you’s” are nice but I can destroy any good they might do if I’m being disrespectful. My love means exponentially more to him if he sees evidence that I respect him as well. And if I take the concept I discussed above and connect it to focus of The Respect Dare –
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Eph. 5:33
then I really don’t have an out. I am called to respect my husband the way I would like him to love me – unconditionally, even on the worst day, and without reservation.
I know, I know. We live in a culture that says respect must be earned. But I KNOW it’s a deeply felt need in my hubby. Love is a deeply felt need in me. But let’s be honest – there are days I’m not very lovable! I can get tired, cranky, grumpy, pouty, stressed, etc . . . and none of that is very lovable, I assure you. I need unconditional love. Hubby needs unconditional respect. Knowing that and knowing the principle of the Golden Rule, I need to offer him what he needs unconditionally. Didn’t say it’s easy. But it’s what I need to do for him because I value him above all others. Some days it is easy to do things that show I respect him. Other days it’s hard. Sometimes it’s really hard. But if I’m honest, there are days I’m easy to love and other days that I’m barely tolerable.
So I choose to meet his need. No conditions. No excuses. No escape clause. I wish I could say I’ve got it down REALLY well. Truth is, I’ve got LOTS of room for improvement. But I’m not giving up. Why? Because I chose him 25 years ago and I still choose him today. It’s that simple.