A husband can wound his wife’s inner spirit when he comes across as unloving. A wife can wound her husband’s inner spirit when she comes across as disrespectful.

My son, David, went to Harlem. He was 20 something. He umpired Little League baseball.

One day a father of one of the little boys showed up drunk at the baseball field. It so happened his little eight year old son lost a lens from his glasses in centerfield and was searching for it. As the father wandered onto the field nearing his boy, he began screaming at his son for losing the lens.

David called “Time.” My son and others went out to center field to look for the lens. However, the dad kept shouting threats and obscenities at his boy. Then, the dad cocked back his fist and punched the little boy in the face. The boy went down.

As David painfully observed, he saw the precious little one lay there stunned. Then the boy sat up, fighting back the tears. He would not cry.

Immediately, David went to him. Putting his arm around him, David gently said, “Don’t worry, you didn’t mean to lose it. We’ll find the lens. It will be ok.” The boy burst into tears.

My heart broke when David told me this. The minute David touched him, this little boy sobbed. His little spirit responded to love.

Do you recall what it is like to be eight? At a moment like that, this tiny boy was confused. In his little mind, he had done a bad thing in losing his lens. He knew he didn’t mean to, but “motives” aren’t understood at that age. Because he lost his lens he was bad. After all, his dad was mad, so he had to be bad. Then, when everybody came out to look for the lens, but no one said anything to the little guy, he had to be naughty.

He had no idea what others felt. As far as he knew, they felt the same way his dad did. Oh, the insecurity this little one must have felt at that moment. He lacked confidence in his own thoughts. Then when his dad hit him, “I must really be bad.”

But he also felt another pain: a crushed spirit from the screaming, a broken heart from the fist. Just a few years back, he was a baby. As a baby he would cry and feel sorry for himself when in need. That little baby was still inside him. He wanted to cry. He felt sorry for himself. Deep within he was created by God to be loved, but no one loved him. He was designed to be valued and treated as significant. So, he held back his tears. If he cried, it could get worse. Everyone might turn on him. Oh, his heart hurt. He felt so alone and scared. He wanted someone to comfort him. Then a hand was placed on his shoulder and then an arm came around him. He heard the soft voice of a kind man who had been playing baseball with him. “Don’t worry, you didn’t mean to lose it. We’ll find the lens. It will be ok.” The boy burst into tears. It was love. It was honor. He was rescued. Oh, if only dad had joined in and said, “Will you forgive me?”

Friends, every human spirit longs to be loved and respected. Every human spirit cries out, “Does anybody love me? Am I significant to anyone?” This little boy experienced a crushed spirit. Then for a brief moment, he heard words that healed.

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The Bible says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (PRO 16:24)? My hope for this boy is that he’ll find, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit (PSA 34:18).

Looking beyond this little boy, what about you?

May I suggest to you that the Bible reveals something. There is a Scripture that implies that a wife can be wounded when feeling unloved and a husband can be wounded when feeling disrespected.

Ephesians 5:33 says, “each one… must love his wife… and the wife must respect her husband” (NIV).

This verse shows a wife needs love and a husband needs respect. I infer that when a wife feels unloved and a husband feels disrespected each can feel deep hurt. A wife is wounded if she hears her husband exclaim, “Nobody could love you!” A husband is wounded if a wife shouts, “Nobody could ever respect you!”

Are you wounded in spirit from an unloving husband? Recently a wife said to me, “When you described it as a wounded spirit, I thought, that’s how I feel.”

A husband experienced a contemptuous tongue lashing by his bride. It was so severe, she wounded his spirit and he shut down on her sexually for years. She came across to him as mother, not lover. Frankly, he lived in fear of her tongue. He would never cry but he wanted to. One wife wrote, “My husband has a wounded spirit. This article helped me understand my part in the woundedness.”

A husband can wound his wife’s inner spirit. He can do this when he comes across as unloving. A wife can wound her husband’s inner spirit. She can do this when she comes across as disrespectful.

If you need healing or want to bring healing, I show you how this can happen in my book Love and Respect. In the meantime, would you consider this truth? When the spirit of a woman deflates, she is feeling unloved in all probability. When a husband deflates, he is feeling disrespected.

Healing comes when a loving wife meets her husband’s need to feel respected. Healing comes when a respectful husband meets his wife’s need to feel loved.

Copyright © 2006 Love and Respect Ministries Inc Emerson E. Eggerichs Ph.D.