Community Group Questions 2/12/12

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Sermon Title: Together, Part 1: Love and RespectMain Text:  Ephesians 5:21-33Topics:

  • Verse 33 commands the husband to love his wife.
    • Husbands are to love their wives as themselves.  This means that just as he is naturally attentive to his own life, in the same way he is to be attentive to her life.
    • This is not a conditional command. He is not only to love when she is lovable.  It is a command to love her unconditionally.
  • Verse 33 commands the wife to respect her husband.
    • She is to admire him.
    • This also is not a conditional command. She is not only to respect him when he is respectable. She is to respect him unconditionally.
    • This does not mean that she condones all that he does.  This does not mean that she is dominated.  It simply is pointing out the deep need that every man has.
  • These two commands reflect the deepest needs that men and women have.  Women long to be treasured and to be the object of affection that consumes her man.  A man longs to be admired and looked up to.  He deeply wants to know that his wife respects him.
  • These two concepts play off each other in a profound way.  The more a husband shows love to his wife, the more she naturally respects him.  The more he feels her admiration, the more affection and love he naturally feels for her.
  • In the same way, the more a husband neglects his wife or is distracted from her, the less she feels respect for him.  The less he feels like she looks at him admirably, the less instinctual it is for him to show her love.
  • Love and respect play off of each other positively and negatively.  They feed off of each other, so a couple can be feeding the relationships are starving it.
  • It is like a tandem bike, the couple can either be pedalling forward together, or pedalling backwards.  But one spouse has to catch a vision for their unconditional calling to love/respect and start the momentum the other way.
  • Love and respect also create momentum in another way.  The more a husband stops to intentionally think about how much he treasures his wife, the more his love will swell for her.  In the same way, the more a wife focuses on the admirable parts of her husband, the more her respect for him will grow.  Love creates momentum to love more, respect creates momentum to respect more.
  • Get Practical:
    • Make the commitment to start pedalling in the right direction, even if you feel like you are pedalling alone.
    • Get some time alone:
      • If you are not currently in a relationship, spend some time thinking about habits or expetations that are selfish that may be an obstacle to you showing love/respect.
      • If you are in a relationship, spend some time intentionally thinking about what you respect/love about the woman/man you are with.  Then find a way to communicate it to them that they will receive.
    • Sit down and talk about it.
      • If you are not currently in a relationship: talk to a trusted, godly friend - of the same gender - to gently tell you about selfish habits or expectations you have towards people. Ask for their accountability.
      • If you are in a relationship: ask them about the good and bad habits you have that are communicating or not communicating love and respect.
    • Set boundaries that you are not accidentally creating intimacy with someone other than your spouse by giving them love/respect they are starved of.

Key Questions:

  • What are some evidences you have seen that men deeply desire respect?
  • What are some evidences that women deeply desire love?
  • What do you think it means for a man to love a woman as himself? Why did Paul word it like that?
  • How will a man feeling respected by a woman inspire him to love?
  • How does a woman feeling loved make her instinctually want to respect the man who is loving her?
  • Why is it hard to show unconditional love?
  • Why is it hard to show unconditional respect?
  • What is a hypothetical scenario where someone can accidentally create too much intimacy with someone other than their spouse by giving them the love or respect that they are starved of?
  • What are some good boundaries that can be set up to avoid getting into that type of situation?
  • What are some ways you are challenged to love/respect?

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