If there is no objective truth or absolute moral law then human dignity, love, friendship all of these things we hold dear become social constructs, they don’t exist, except to make us feel better.
Now, before we go any further, let’s get rid of a myth. No one makes you do anything. No one makes you so angry you lose it, that’s your choice. Argue with me, rail against me, do what you will but managing your anger is your responsibility.
I can tell Karin (my wife) almost anything because she is spiritually and emotionally mature enough to handle the truth. My boundaries with her are expanded significantly, not because she’s my wife, leave off your romantic notions here, but because she is my mature, strong, helpful and most of all, loving partner.
The key to the love and respect aspect of marriage is just this, treat your partner as they need/want to be treated. To behave lovingly to a woman is to make sure she knows you love her. To behave lovingly to a man is to make sure he knows you trust him and his decision (respect).
There is a single base ethic in Christianity and therefore, a single base ethic in Christian marriage. It is love.
Married folks, tomorrow morning when you first look at your spouse, lying asleep or preparing for the day, choose. Say, “I choose you today,” because that’s what counts and that’s what brings beauty to marriage. Is today better or worse? I choose. I do. Is today in sickness or health? I choose. I do. Am I angry? Do I need to forgive? I choose. I do. This is why we have to say, “I love you,” so much, yesterdays words are just so much air. Tomorrows words are unsaid.
We are never disappointed (ideally) and never take anything for granted because when we live sacrificially for another we have no expectations. Every service and gift becomes a surprise and a delight! Every failure becomes just another challenge to love through!