I just finished reading a marriage book called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. I have owned this book ever since I worked for Focus on the Family (because I got that awesome staff discount) but had never read it until now.
I have to say, it is probably one of the best teachings on the biblical relationship between husband and wife I've read (in my 3.5 years of marriage). The subtitle really says it all "The Love She Most Desires and the Respect He Desperately Needs."
The author is a marriage counselor and does marriage conferences based on his study of scripture, specifically Ephesians 5:33:
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.The basic idea is that a women's deepest need is to feel loved and a man's deepest need is respect. When those needs aren't met, we react to situations and each other in ways that are unloving and disrespectful. Making this cycle of feeling unloved and disrespect go round and round. There's also a language barrier in the way--the author uses pink and blue sunglasses and hearing aids as an illustration of how we misunderstand each other.
His book is made up of three sections where he defines what he calls the "Crazy Cycle" - where men and women don't show love or respect to each other and have difficulty communicating/relating to each other; the "Energizing Cycle" - where women learn to respect whether or not they feel loved and men learn to love whether or not they feel respected; and the "Rewarded Cycle" - the focus is really about your relationship with God and obeying His word; you are storing up treasures in heaven by loving/respecting your spouse (and in most cases experiencing a better marriage on earth) because you are obeying a command from God.
He gives examples and shares stories of how this can be done and the kind of changes that can happen in marriage when these principles are lived out (and the Holy Spirit is at work). He shares success stories and stories where it didn't work so well. He's honest; but also confident that this scripture is key to having a successful and happier marriage.
I hope to write on it more as I digest some of the things that hit home, but for now, I just want to encourage you to look into this scripture if you haven't already. Check out this book if you need a refresher on how to respect your husband (or love your wife). It's never too early (or too late) to improve your relationship with your spouse!