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As married couples, we can find ourselves in negative cycles of conflict. We argue, and can’t seem to get past it. It’s easy to think that the answer lies within the details of who was right and who was wrong, but typically, we’re not really arguing about what we’re arguing about.

It’s not really about the towel being left on the floor again. It’s not really about her coming home late from work again. It’s about something deeper.

Paul reveals this deeper dynamic in Ephesians 5. In verse 22, married couples are commanded to mutually respect each other, because both men and women need and crave respect from their spouse.

Later in the chapter, Paul speaks to wives and husbands separately. Wives are called to unconditionally respect their husbands, and husbands are called to unconditionally love their wives.

Without respect, husbands tend to react without love. Without love, wives tend to react without respect, and around and around we go. That’s a negative chase that married couples get into often.

The great news is there’s a positive chase. When wives feel loved, they tend to react with respect. When men feel respected, they tend to react with love, and around and around they go. This is a positive chase of respect and love, and it can help us to become our best us.

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