In this post, I will talk as if the reader is married. If you are not married, make sure to apply these concepts of your future husband. After talking about what unconditional respect is in our previous post, let’s talk about what respecting our (current or future) husbands is not:
Respecting our husbands is not taking abuse. If your husband is physically or emotionally abusing you, it is time to seek outside help. When abuse is present, it is not a matter of disrespect to seek shelter and protection elsewhere and also require counseling before moving back in. Discuss the situation with your pastor or church elders to see what course they recommend. Additionally, if a man is physically abusive before marriage, studies have shown that such behavior increases four-fold after marriage. Women, this is a deal-breaker. If he is physically abusing you before marriage, you need to figure out a way to terminate the relationship, period. A man is supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the church… Christ never abused, and will never abuse, His bride. Ending the relationship may require help from outside assistance – whether it be civil (which may be more unlikely with someone physically abusive), whether it be a group of guys from your church, or whether it be assistance from your local police force. Seek counsel from your pastor or a trusted older friend (at least 20 years older than you) to determine what is necessary.
Respecting our husbands does not mean staying quiet at all times. Some women consider it respect to agree with everything their husbands say while keeping their real feelings on those matters to themselves. This is not respect; this is copping out. Our husbands need our thoughts and opinions. They don’t need sarcastic deliveries of our opinions, but they need to know what we think. “An excellent wife, who can find? Her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” (Proverbs 31:10-11) How can he trust in her if she never respectfully speaks her mind? Leading a family is an exhausting job. Men need support and it benefits them to have multiple viewpoints when coming to making decisions for the good of the family.
Finally, respect is not patronizing our men. If we are not careful, our delivery of what we consider “respect” can come across like a kindergarten teacher praising little Johnny for his sailboat painting. Patting our husbands on the head and saying, “Good job, honey!” might not give them the sense that we view them as strong, courageous leaders. Speaking to him in a baby voice or talking to him like you would one of the kids is not usually considered respectful (even if the intention is not disrespectful) – this is especially difficult when you’ve been working with your kids all day; however, it goes a long way for your husband when you put away the parent role and put on the wife role. Showing respect is not always in what you say, but is often in how you act and respond to things. If your husband is running late and is in foul disposition, not showing defensiveness for your difficulties that day is a form of respect. Showing him honor in front of the kids, even if it’s simply serving him first at dinner, is a form of respect. It may be hard to believe, but you will be amazed at the way a man changes and is encouraged when he is given continuous, pure, unvarnished respect. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (NASV) Respect him to the glory of God.
Women: take some time this week to discuss with other godly women, who have been married at least five years, the topic of respecting one’s husband. Learn what women who are successful in respecting their husbands are doing.
Men: do the same with other married men (again, at least five years) on the topic of loving one’s wife. Learn what men who are successful in loving their wives are doing.
What myths have you believed about what it means to respect your husband?