What is it that a man really wants? Men throughout the ages have been accused of wanting only one thing. Well there is one thing that a man really wants, but it is not necessarily what you are thinking. Now I am not denying that many men can tend to focus too much on the physical aspects of their marriage, but there is another issue that is very important to a man’s heart and well-being. There is something that a woman can give to her husband that can truly convey great love.

Let’s look at what God’s word has to say about the key to a man’s heart: “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). It is interesting that the Bible never commands a woman to love her husband. The husband is commanded by God to love his wife, but God has a different admonition for the wives as they relate to their husbands — respect.

I have often wondered why God never tells a woman to love her husband, but calls her to respect him. I think I have an inkling of an idea. My wife read a book once called, “For Women Only.” In the book, the female author discussed the difference between loving and respecting one’s husband. To the woman, love and respect are two different issues. A woman may love her husband, but not respect him. For most women, this makes perfect sense. Try and explain that to a man. Ask a man if he would rather have his wife show him love or show him respect, and there is a good chance the man is going to get that deer in headlights look. It’s because a man does not differentiate between love and respect the way a woman does. A man thinks, “Show me respect and I will know that you love me.” A lack of respect is equated with a lack of love. A man can not feel the love of his wife at all if she doesn’t respect him. He simply cannot divorce the two.

I truly believe this is why God calls the woman to respect her husband instead of telling her to love him. Respect equals love in the mind of a husband. It has been said that every woman wants to be loved and every man wants to be admired.

Deep inside, a man wants to be his wife’s hero. Over the years when I would throw the ball in the yard with my kids, I would always perk up when my wife stepped outside. I would throw it a little harder and farther. I still wanted her to think I was the all american athlete, even though I am a good bit softer around the middle than I used to be. When my wife complements me in front of other people, I feel like I am ten feet tall. When she displays her trust in me to make a decision for our family, I truly feel loved and respected.

If you correct your husband in front of others or belittle his judgment, you crush him. If you learn to affirm him as a man and as a husband, you will meet one of the greatest needs of his life.

I will always ask a young lady planning to get married, “Do you truly respect this man?” Before marriage, you have a choice as to whether you respect a man or not. On the other side of marriage you don’t. God says to respect your husband. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes we are not very respectable. And yet God calls a woman to respect him anyway, just like he calls a man to love his wife even when she is unlovable. But I will wait for next week before we cross that bridge. Remember wives, respect equals love in the eyes of your man. And that’s the word.

The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@sscommunitychurch.com or 912-634-2960.