Marriage

Love Your Husband – Pt. 2

Wives are to love their husbands. There are many practical things to do to help establish an ongoing display of love. Next week we will talk about many of them. This week we will consider a major component in establishing a healthy marriage: respect toward your husband.

    Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. NKJ

This scripture makes it clear that in our relationship with our husbands we must take care to show respect. Interesting that Paul calls for a husband to love his wife and a wife to respect her husband. Could it be that respect is a critical component in building your husband? Were you aware that women can have an active role in building men? You, as a wife, either build up or tear down.

Husbands need our respect. Theirs is a weighty calling: to work dutifully, to seek God on our behalf, to lead us, to love us as Christ loves the church. Responding with respect creates a safer environment in which he can carry out these duties. A loving, supportive wife is a treasure. A nagging woman who spews disrespect is far from that.

When we fail to show respect for his person, his words, or his decisions we are actively destroying his confidence. Negative comments and gestures tear down his sense of personal worth and value, stunting his leadership development. Often times I hear a wife claiming to want a stronger leader, complaining that her husband is not willing to be the head of the house. I guarantee that if a man is trampled on every time he tries to lead, he will be tempted to either shrink back or leave you behind. Neither one is desirable.

“But how can I show him respect? You just don’t know what he’s done!”

I know that some of you face very difficult situations; I don’t pretend to understand your dilemma. But I do know that what God commands us to do, He empowers us to do. His grace is sufficient. I don’t say that flippantly; I realize that for some women this is an extremely challenging command. My confidence is in His ability, not yours or mine. His love is present and available for a sinner like me — surely it can meet any other sinner as well.

“Why should I show him unconditional respect? He’s sinful, lazy, fallible…”

Exactly. Wives need to be taught to show respect because when a husband fails respect is not the natural response. The fact that your husband is a sinner is no surprise. You did marry a mere man. But his sin is not beyond the Lord’s redemption. Part of His redemption plan includes our display of respect. Our willingness to walk in respect toward our husband encourages, releases, and enlarges. When a man senses that his wife is respecting him, he walks more carefully and boldly. He is free to grow because he is free to make mistakes without being blamed, nagged, and scolded.

Am I saying that true respect never speaks a contrary word? Not exactly. I am saying that respect never speaks a nagging, belittling word. There is always room for an appeal to a decision, for us to voice an opposite opinion; Godly appeals are not belittling but are full of wisdom and encouragement.

Here is a simple chart comparing honoring and belittling.

Respect Belittling
show respect for him find fault
honor scold
defer to pester
regard ignore
venerate (enlarge) diminish (make small)
esteem (rate highly) degrade
admire (highly prize) devalue (diminish his worth)

Showing respect is required both privately and publicly.

For instance, when you’re alone together he deserves to be given full respect. Don’t roll your eyes at his suggestions. Don’t jump in with a negative response before he has even finished his thought (and don’t jump in with a negative response even if he has finished his thought.) Don’t say, “I told you this would happen” if something goes wrong when you suspected it might. Why do wives expect their husbands to share their intimate thoughts and dreams if they are met with this kind of response? And why do we think they will become valiant leaders if we throw their failures up in their faces?

Now imagine this scenario. You are with your friends without hubby. Words slip into wrong directions and soon hubbies are being roasted right and left. You could jump in with that most embarrassing moment story of his, or you could join in by saying, “You’ll never guess what my husband does…”, or you might be tempted to voice your recent complaints. Don’t. Not even in jest, unless of course it is a story that has been previously approved by him. Sounds a bit extreme? Let’s remember “Do unto others”. When people tell a joke at my expense, it can hurt. When my failures become the brunt of humor, it can embarrass. It does not build. We can enjoy a good laugh as long as it in no way degrades or belittles or reveals sin. Love covers, love builds, love encourages.

Here’s another one: You’re visiting with a few other people and your husband endeavors to recount a story. A few sentences into his tale, you add a correction of his facts. He makes two more statements and another correction is made. This continues until he finally says, “Why don’t you tell the story — I never get it quite right.” Now, it may be that you have mutually agreed that he is not a good story teller. If so, that is fine. But if not, he may be feeling a bit put down. At that point you need to ask yourself, how important was it that the house was blue, not green? Did it really matter that the little boy was two and a half, not three? Maybe honoring your husband’s moment of story-telling was more critical.

    An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12.4 (emphasis mine)

When we show respect, we bring honor to him. When we cause shame, we are like the Proverbs 14.1 woman who foolishly pulls down her own house. So let’s remember once again to love our husbands by showing them the respect commanded by the Word of God.

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. so well said…thank you for being bold to share the truth.
    pauline

    Posted by pauline carere | August 14, 2008, 8:52 am
  2. I love it. I need to hear all of this stuff. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Posted by Angela Agans | August 14, 2008, 10:02 am
  3. I need this.

    Posted by Jill Grow | August 14, 2008, 11:03 am
  4. Excellent! I need to keep this in mind. That’s a great point you made about not even joking at his expense. Good stuff! Have you ever read Created To Be His Help Meet by Debby Pearl? If so, what were your thoughts?

    Posted by Jen Trelease | August 20, 2008, 5:02 pm
  5. I believe if a man wants ahis wife to respect…he needs to be like Jesus and love his wife. She will in turn very easily summit to him and respect him.

    Jesus was never abusive, he showed love.

    the reason why some women dont respect their husbands is because they dont love their wives…

    something to think about. Some believe respect first and then they will love you..but I think its backward.

    Like the song Oh how I love Jessus….Because he First Love me” that is why we love him because he turn it upon him to love us FIRST.

    Posted by vicky | October 25, 2008, 1:21 pm
  6. There was a time when everyone agreed that my husband was the one with most of the problems in our marriage, but a good friend told me that I needed to show my husband respect regardless of how he acted or treated me. I asked them why – and they told me “Because the more mature person always has to go first.” I always think about that when things get hard again. If both of us act selfishly and immaturely then neither of us will ever be happy, but if I choose to be the mature one – if I choose to reach out to him and act in love first, then his natural response is to react in love back. Eventually when you live that out day by day you don’t remember who started it, but you will be much happier living in it.

    Neither a husband nor a wife is ever perfect, and I think withholding something good from your spouse, especially your respect if you are a wife, is a marital crime against both you and your husband. You rob both partners of the chance for a happy marriage.

    Posted by Eliza | October 27, 2008, 8:53 pm
  7. Vichy presents an argument that is a common secular view. I would not discount the need for the husband to love and respect, he is called to do that. However, if we are to follow the Bible and God’s ways, we must understand that his ways are not our ways and we should not fall to human imderstanding in this manner. The scripture doesn’t say respect and submit only if you feel he is doing things how you feel they should be, but instead it commands respect and submission first. The foundations of Christ-like behavior are to love and respect even when it isn’t deserved.

    Posted by David | December 7, 2009, 7:37 am
  8. Husbands are called to do the same for their wives. In Marriage both parties must submit to one another in order for their to be unity and peace. :)

    Posted by MrsRYoung | January 18, 2010, 9:04 am