Oct. 20, 2015

R - E - S - P - E - C - T

On March 19, 1977 I was preparing to marry my best friend, Tommy Archer. Wedding plans had been underway for more than a year. We were in love. Well, we were as in love as any 18-year-old and 19-year-old person has the capability to love. All expenses were paid and the rehearsal dinner was behind us. The big day had arrived. I was up and moving at 5:30 a.m. full of excitement. My mother heard me stirring in my room. Our home was filled with out-of-town guests and close family. My mother tip-toed down the hallway into my bedroom. She sat on the edge of my bed, stroked my hair, and said, “We can call it off if you are not 100% sure this is what you want.”

I suspect the look on my face was one of total bewilderment.  Call it off? We were just hours before the big event! Why would I call it off?

My mother went on to say, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” My reply was, “Mom, I love him.” Her response went something like this, “Love won’t last. You must respect him. If you don’t respect him the marriage will end when the love runs out – and it will run out.” Those were the best words anyone could say to any bride on any day before any wedding.

“If you don’t respect him the marriage will end when the love runs out – and it will run out.”

Does that mean I no longer love Tommy? Absolutely not! In fact, I can honestly say I only thought I knew what love was and my idea was shallow. I love Tommy Archer more today than I could have ever imagined at 18 years old. More than that, my respect for him has quadrupled over time.

That’s why we stay married.

Respect isn’t just important in a marital relationship. It is, however, what will keep a couple together when the love runs out and before a deeper love kicks in. Respect is needed in all dating relationships, all friendships, all church relationships, all work relationships, etc. Let’s cut to the chase. If we don’t respect someone, it is very hard to maintain a lasting relationship with them.

I encouraged my kids as they grew up to be around people who made them better people. If someone makes me a better person, I want them in my life.  If they don’t make me a better person and I don’t really make them a better person, in my opinion it is best to part ways.  Sometimes on friendly terms. Sometimes not so much.

Respect. We can love without it, but relationships won’t last without it.