Love &

Question, Can We Love People, But Not Respect Them?


Apostle James R Winfree Sr, Revealing The Truth Of God's Holy Word In His Love:


They say women or ladies need love, but men need respect.” How often have you heard this or similar statements? And so often, they are met with wisely knowing nods and exclamations (“oh, so true!”), These overly simplistic notions are popular when it comes to people trying to sort out the perceived differences between men and women. It’s tempting to latch onto these statements which offer a cut and dried view of an issue,   some aspect that resonates with our experience and declares it to, therefore, be “true.”


Oddly enough, women or ladies who loudly acclaim the truth of these pop psychology and complementarian notions of male and female also often seem to be the ones who post memes with sentiments of this nature:


I know you all heard this God commanded us to love everybody, But we don't have to like them, right?


Some people find this funny. Sigh. To me, it the truth. That’s not something I want to be part of, because I believe both family and friends to be basically worthy of respect. I hate statements that put loved ones into neat boxes because they so often don’t respect me or other people I know. So I have no right to make statements, especially derogatory ones, which do the same to loved ones.


“The Bible says men need respect, women need love” – or does it?

But back to the matter of love and respect. This “men need respect, women need love” idea is frequently touted in Christian circles, and some people will add, “the Bible says.” It is an idea common in complementarian circles. Here is an example:


“Women need to feel loved, and men need to feel respected. This may explain why Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:33 that a husband must love his wife and a wife must respect her husband. Both commands are unconditional. The hard part is that respect comes more easily to men, and love comes easier to women or sisters in the faith.”


Let’s start by saying there is no verse in the Bible which says this.


Those who believe this to be true generally back it up with Ephesians 5:33, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Did Apostle Paul intend this verse to indicate that one sex has needs in regard to love and respect that the other does not?


“Love? I will or I would give my very life for my children because I love them.

Why does Apostle Paul seem to make this division? Well, let’s backtrack a little and have a look at the cultural backgrounds of the people brother Paul is writing to. It was infinitely different to our society, where we expect that two people meet, fall in love and possibly eventually get married and live in partnership (not necessarily a truly equal one, but there is some expectation that both get a say and have a share of the responsibility in the relationship). While I don’t believe our society always has a useful understanding of what love really is, it is still an expected foundation of marriage. Not so in the Graeco-Roman world.  Fourth-century orator and statesman, Demosthenes, wrote, “Mistresses we keep for the sake of pleasure, concubines for the daily care of the body, but wives to bear us legitimate children.”[3] Yes, there were more expectations of wives than simply childbearing – the management of the household staff was one such expectation. But the important point here is that for both men and women, love was not an expectation within marriage at all.


In marriages of this time, women were powerless and vulnerable. Elder Paul, in his wisdom, does not ask them to just get their act together and love their husbands. He settles for respect – a foundation without which love is, at best, severely hindered. We can respect people whom we do not love, but how often (if ever) can genuinely love and total disrespect coexist?


Culturally, in this context, men had all the power. Apostle Paul appeals to them to do something unbelievably radical when he asks them to love their wives, not just with sexual love (Eros) or with loving affection (Phileo), but with active, sacrificial agape love. I imagine that the men of Ephesus must have been affronted and perplexed by this seemingly crazy notion. But brother Paul was adamant, it was what Christ called them to. If the marriages of these relatively new Christians were to change and become truly Christlike, then they would have to be characterized by love, and that change would have to come first not from those who were vulnerable, but from a change in the attitudes and behaviors of those to whom they were most vulnerable. For husbands to sacrificially love their wives would be for them to give up their position of power in order to put the needs of their wives first. They were not to consider how they could lead their wives, but how they could serve them. Only by voluntarily yielding in love to their wives could husbands in that cultural setting hope to create the circumstances in which their wives could respond in genuine love to them.


Love and respect, Love is a given, But respect is earned.


We Are Leading One And All To The Way, The Truth, The Life, Jesus Christ.


Apostle James R Winfree Sr, Online Love Fellowship Jesus Christ Church Nations Media Ministries.


We are serving our God and Savior Jesus Christ, By serving and building up His living Church.


2 Corinthians 9:7


Obey The Holy Spirit In Your Giving & Sharing!