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

The Proposal

    …. and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

Have you noticed that in many of our television shows the husband is portrayed as inept if not an outright fool? From The Flintstones, to Married with Children, to The Simpsons, to Home Improvements and Phineas and Ferb one could draw the conclusion that the least respectable and capable person in any home is the husband or father.

The idea of respecting authority, let alone one’s husband, seems very Victorian. We don’t respect authority, we undermine it. We don’t listen, we speak our minds. But Paul is emphatic on this issue (1 Peter 3:2), and calls for wives specifically to “respect their husbands.”

To respect your husband means holding him in esteem because of his position and character, and honoring him in private and public.

Why is respecting our husbands important?

There are two reason why I  believe Paul emphasizes the need to show respect to our husbands: 1) men have a built in need for it, and 2) women are often slow in giving it.

So, Paul is pushing us where we need it. While a wife may love and remain committed to her husband, she may lack respect for him because of his shortcomings. For example, often times a wife will disrespect her husband by openly complaining about a lack of leadership in the home. While it is his responsibility to lead well, a wife’s disrespect only makes the matter worse. It neither helps him (which is what wives are called to do – Genesis 2:) nor makes for a happy home or marriage.

You see, we are called to respect our husbands whether we feel like it or not. It is a command, and a ministry that God has given to us. We are called to show respect because it is right, and because it produces fruit. It is not our calling to merely focus on what our spouse is or isn’t doing, but on how we can help our husbands be who God has called them to be. This means that you should show respect to your husband even when he fails. Think about it, a husband is called to love his wife whether she is being godly or difficult. Nancy Wilson asks the question, “Do you only want to be loved when you are being lovely?” I am positive we would all say “no”.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 12:4

Do you want to be considered a disease in the life of your husband? When you disrespect him it is like a disease that eats away at his strength and causes discouragement.  It tears him down and saps his motivation. As wives we have the power to build or destroy. Our words and attitudes matter. They can make the difference in the man you love; in the man you are called to partner with in life!

What does respect look like?  How can we obey the commands of Scripture practically? Here are a few ideas.

 

Things NOT To Do

1. Don’t Go Off in Public

While you may not physically tear down your house, you can tear your home apart with your tongue, even when you are not at home. Do not share your husband’s shortcomings, failings, or poor decision making with anyone (and don’t try to sneak it into a prayer request). This public form of disrespect will only encourage others to think less of him, and maybe even less of you as well.

The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Proverbs 14:1

2. Don’t Go Off in Private

Don’t talk to  your husband in a rude, condescending, or mean tone of voice. No one is perfect, not you and not him. We all fail, and while we need to address failure, there is a big difference between heckling and helping. Instead of eye rolling, nagging or mocking him, seek to constructively and biblical address the problem. Also remember that we are called to be self controlled with our words and with our tone.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 16:24

3. Don’t make yourself the boss.

Whether you are thinking about leading a Bible study group, buying new furniture, having another baby, or changing your children’s schooling, talk to you husband first. God made him the head of the household (Eph. 5:22), which means as a way of respecting his authority we should run things by him before we make major and even some minor decisions.

 

Things To Do

1. Praise Him
In private and public, wherever he succeeds. Men need this. For example, if he held onto his temper during a particularly trying moment, let him know that you noticed and that it was great. Let him know that his hard work at his job are noticed by his family.

2. Pray for him
How do you feel when someone tells you that they have been praying for you? Good, right? Pray for your man and let him know. Send him an e-mail or call him just to tell him that you prayed for him and his day.

3. Encourage him
God has given you the most influential position in the life of your husband. This means you need to speak up to help him see what he might be missing. But, to do this effectively requires a “voice” that he can hear. When he fails, acknowledge the failure with care and point to a better way. You have to use the proper tone of voice, wisdom in your timing, and know what the best way to approach your husband is.  If you point out his failure the second it happens with a harsh, holier-than-thou attitude, I guarantee you the conversation won’t go well.

4. Work hard
Be a hard worker.  A lazy woman disrespects her husband by virtue of remaining idle. Stay at home moms especially need to make sure that their husbands can go to work and not have to worry about what may or may not be going on at home. He has full confidence in her abilities, time management and godly work ethic.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:11-12

Respect can actually equip a man. Respect will encourage him and bless the whole family. May God give us the grace to live as he has called us, that we might help our husbands.

Looking to Jesus,

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Comments

  1. Wonderful advice Jen! For most of our marriage I didn’t do these things, but something happened over two years ago that forever changed our marriage. We had hit rock bottom and there was only one way to go…up into the arms of our Saviour. Its been a long, hard climb but His hand has always been there to guide us and out of brokenness came something even more beautiful.

    I felt so blessed this week when my husband called because he had a problem at his workplace and felt overwhelmed and his words to me were that he was calling me because I always give him strength and consolation and point him back to Jesus. I must be on the right track…Praise God!

    Thank you for these words of truth and encouragement. God bless you and have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Ohhhhhhhh yes!!! This is great biblical advice!!! I have had to learn the art of respecting my husband (even when I think he doesn’t deserve it)… and my obedience to this has been such a blessing to our home and has “won him without words,” so to speak. Thanks soo much for sharing….

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! There is so much truth here that I want to share this with all married ladies!! Our church is getting ready to do the book Love and Respect, and this is an excellent article to share w/ the wives!!! Thank you again…God bless you abundantly!

  4. Brooke Richardson says:

    Jen,

    Thank you so much. I have really been struggling with this one, but the Lord has used you to really speak to me about the way I talk and handle situations with my husband. I have a really hard time with it because, He works and I work and I feel like we should both split the job duties in the house and things should be equal because we both work…It also may be that i resent not beingable to be a stay at home so I’m a little harsh it seems… I will work it out thought, because with the Lord nothing is impossible

  5. Man, I have so far to go in this area!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! These are TRUTHS that all women need to hear and obey! Thank you for the reminder… Blessings!!

  7. So true! Thanks for sharing what was on your heart! In a society where marriages are breaking down like crazy, it’s important to remember what God says about the roles of husbands and wives in marriage :)

  8. I will never forget vaccuming my house one day when the Lord spoke so directly to me about my marriage. He laid this verse on my heart: “He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” (Prov. 22:11)
    At that point in our marriage, I could honestly say that I felt my husband and I were not “friends”. But in just applying that simple word: working to have a “pure heart” toward him by putting on love-colored glasses AND in using “gracious speech” that builds up the hearer according to his need . . . well, the king (of our home) became my friend.
    Just wanted to share this brief testimony as an addendum to your beautiful post here.
    God is good!

  9. I thank you for writing this, it has blessed me, and in return will bless my husband.

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