Love respect and the thoughts and intents of the heart
We all know that God judges based on our thoughts and intents Hebrews 4:12. So in fact He is the only one who judges rightly. But when it comes to marriage we believe we can do the same. And this is due to one truly strange but significant reality. Love is demonstrated as a verb but understood as an emotion. Respect is shown through actions but received as a feeling. Our feelings are the gauge of our understanding of the love or respect we receive.
Now many of you might be raising your hand desiring to ask a question about now. What about history and knowledge of the relationship? You are correct we do interpret love and respect in the context of our relationships and the history we have in them but our first indicator is always feelings only after that does rational thought enter into the equation.
Ephesians 5:33 reminds us that a husband should love his wife and a wife should respect her husband. Please read the chapter to see to what degree a husband should love his wife. These two aspects of emotions are the most notable due their impact on the individual. Men crave respect and women desire love. Please do not misunderstand, yes men want love and women respect but they apparently are not the primary impact emotions.
So to bring this back to my original point, only God can see the heart and true intent of an action, we react or are impacted by the emotion understood by the action. So if an action did not elicit the desired emotion, then it didn’t. The “it should have” response doesn’t help because we are not dealing with facts and truths we are dealing with perceptions and emotions.
So getting upset because she did not like the flowers or he did not like the meal does not help or change the situation. Some other perception is in play. Are they distracted? Are they frustrated by your history? Are they leery or your intent? What was their expectation? All of these will influence their perception of your actions producing a variety of responses in their emotions.
When we assume that an action must come across as love or respect we place ourselves in the very real position of possibly being wrong. We read nuance by reflex and judge accordingly, are we always correct, no, but that judgment will always bring about our first emotion.
Let these ideas temper your reactions as well as guide your actions.