And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40 ESV)
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, in his book "Love and Respect," says we can learn a basic principle about marriage from this verse. He said, "whatever I do for my spouse, I do it to Christ as well." Wow, what an powerful statement. I want to expand on that some.
A husband showing unconditional love to his wife is showing unconditional love to Christ. It might not be easy, but keeping this thought in our mind allows for us to properly show our wife the love that she deserves because she is made in the image of God. I know that I have an unconditional love for Christ, therefore, I need to show my wife my unconditional love even when I might not think she deserves it (which usually is my wrong thinking rather than her not deserving it). Therefore, I need to show her the same love that I am willing to show Christ.
A wife showing unconditional respect to her husband is showing unconditional respect to Christ. I know for my wife, she respects the Lord unconditionally. Being that we are told in Matthew that how we treat others is a reflection of how we treat Christ, she should show an unconditional respect for for me even if I don't deserve it (which can be often). Why? Because Christ deserves it.
I hope that while you read this you understand that I am not saying my wife and I have this all figured out. We are learning and growing everyday. What I am hoping is that you understand that it is up to the individual to decide whether to love your wife unconditionally or respect your husband unconditionally. Make the effort to do so and you will reap the benefits of loving or respecting your spouse as we would Christ. God bless!