However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

“You’re a stupid-head,” my son said to my daughter.

“Oh yeah, well, you’re a pig-nose,” she replied.

“Both of you, stop it now,” I butted in.

“But he started it,” one quipped.

“No I didn’t, she did,” the other replied.

“I don’t care who started it, but I’m stopping it now.”

I cringe every time we have this exchange as I hear myself echoing the words my mom used with my sister and me. But I also wince as I realize I play out this juvenile conversation in my marriage.

If my husband gets too involved in his hobbies and doesn’t spend what I consider to be enough time with me, I don’t feel loved. Within days or hours, I stop respecting him, mentally reducing him from the fantastic man he is to someone who couldn’t care less about anyone around him. “Well, if he just loved me better, then I’d respect him more,” I find myself thinking.

Without meaning to, I minimize my sacred covenant to nothing more than the age-old banter between two kids: “You started it.” “No I didn’t, you did.” You see, the times I feel less loved often result from my husband not feeling respected, whether that is my intention or not. But just like with my kids, it doesn’t matter who started it or why. God’s Word is the voice that ends the cycle.

Women, respect your husbands. Men, love your wives.

Stacy Voss loves to run, play with her two young kids, and hike in the mountains with her husband outside their home in Colorado.