Colossians 3:19 commands a husband to agape-love his wife (love unconditionally). Obviously, she needs to feel loved.
Imagine that the wife has an air hose that goes to a love tank. She needs love like she needs air to breathe. When her husband stands on her air hose — buying a birthday card for their anniversary — she’ll react negatively!
When the husband sees the spirit of his wife deflate, he should realize he’s stepping on her air hose and get off it. Though she may react in a disrespectful way, she is crying out, “I feel unloved by you right now. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.” If, in response, the husband heads to the “office,” she’ll feel even more unloved.
Likewise, the husband needs respect, just as he needs air to breathe (1 Peter 3: 1-2). He, too, has an air hose to a tank labeled “respect,” and as long as the air (respect) is coming through, he is just fine. But he deflates when his wife steps on his air hose by saying things like, “You don’t care! You are so unloving!” If she shows disrespect in an attempt to motivate him to be more loving, it hinders the relationship. A destructive cycle of feeling unloved and disrespected easily starts.
Husbands and wives must learn how to recognize when they are stepping on each other’s hoses and respond appropriately. (See Love and Respect for practical tips.) When a wife is careful to show respect — in obedience to God — her husband will stay connected and teachable. When a husband shows his wife love, her spirit will be reaffirmed. Then both will have the air they need to breathe.