Husbands, this post is written to wives, but these things hold true for you as well–read on!
et’s talk about the word respect. As wives, we are called to respect our husbands, but what does this actually mean?
In the early months of our marriage, I really struggled with the word “respect”. To be honest, when we were going through all of our struggles, I didn’t feel respect for Adam. I was angry and didn’t think he deserved my respect.
Here’s the thing though…it didn’t really matter what I felt. I was still called to treat him with respect as my husband.
The truth is that we won’t always feel respect, but we are still called to be respectful. This doesn’t mean being a doormat or being passive to our husband’s sin, but it does mean that we should do our best to treat him in a way that honors God. (Romans 12:18)
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
– Ephesians 5:33
This isn’t a tit-for-tat situation. God doesn’t say, “treat him with respect only when it’s easy or when you feel like it.”
And let’s be honest, when it’s easy, we want to show him respect. But God commands us to show respect to our husbands, no matter how frustrated we are with them at any given moment.
Respect is an action done out of obedience to the Lord.
Our respect will build trust and love into our marriages. Active respect is what will encourage our husband to embrace his God-given calling as the leader of our home.
But how do we actively respect our spouse?
- Watch what you say.
- Let him know when he has done something well.
- Say “Thank you”.
- Recognize that he isn’t perfect.
- Watch your non-verbal language.
- Seek to understand.
- Be trustworthy.
- Pray for your husband.
- Have a gentle spirit.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
– Colossians 4:6
Wives, we need to watch the words we say to and about our husbands. Think before you speak. Our words need to edify him and build him up.
Our husbands need to hear when they have done something well. He needs to know that we notice him and the steps he’s taking.
These two little words mean SO much. This says “I see you” and “I appreciate you”.
There may be times that we don’t agree with a decision or direction…and there will be times that we were right. Don’t rub this in his face. Choose grace and humility.
Did you know that non-verbal language makes up about 93% of our communication? Our tone of voice and body language are huge indicators of our respect level. Do you roll your eyes? Do you cross your arms? Do you look away when he is trying to talk with you?
This is one I have to constantly work on and need to keep reminding myself of. It’s hard to get right, but it’s so important that we do.
Don’t assume the worst. Assume the best and seek to understand his heart. Rather than seeking to be understood, we need to truly hear where our spouse is coming from. It’s often a much better spot than we think.
While this needs to be in all areas, I specifically want to talk about finances. There have been many wives that I have talked to who hide purchases and packages from their husbands. This is dangerous. How can our husbands feel respected (or even trust us) if we are willing to be deceptive in this (or any) area? When this happens, trust begins to exit.
Pray for his heart and for his mind. Pray that God would protect him and cultivate a man who loves the Lord and is obedient.
God is the only one who can transform our hearts and we need to trust that God is in control. Praying for our husbands recognizes that we are not in the driver’s seat, God is.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
– 1 Peter 3:3-4
Cloak yourselves with gentleness, grace, and humility. This is what will speak to your husband’s heart.
“Gentle spirit” here doesn’t mean meek, but it does mean a spirit filled with humility and love.
Respect means calling him to step up to his potential
This doesn’t mean being your husband’s Holy Spirit, but it does mean encouraging him to step up into the man that God has called him to be. Respect means caring enough to have difficult conversations that call him to draw closer to Christ. It means believing in who he is and who he can become.
Pray that you would be able to show respect, even when it’s difficult.
There will be times where showing respect isn’t easy. In these times we need to make sure that we are walking hand in hand with the Holy Spirit, having him guide our tongues, our thoughts, our actions, and our hearts.
Pray that God would give you wisdom. Pray that he would give you a gentleness of spirit, courage, and His strength. Pray that He would help you to discern situations and that he would give you clarity and purity of mind and spirit.
When all of our struggles came into the light, when we began dealing with the hurt, when we were in the thick of the ick… I chose to actively respect Adam. This was NOT through my own strength, but through God working in my heart. Believe me…this wasn’t easy. After all of the hurt, God called me to respect him. This meant refusing to stay in an unhealthy situation. This meant pursuing healing. This meant dealing with my own sin. This meant watching my words and working towards unity. This meant believing in him.
There were many factors that went into our healing process, but this respect thing was a large part of us being able to heal. Active respect is what gave Adam the safety to let his guard down and gave him the courage to pursue healing and to dig into his own wounds.
Just like with love, respect is a verb. It’s an active choice.
Wives, we have the ability to build our husbands up or tear them down. When we choose respect, we set a gracious tone to our home and our marriage.
Now, I do want to nod to the fact that respect is not synonymous with passivity. If there is a lack of emotional or physical safety, God does not call us, as wives, to stay in that situation perpetually. Showing respect to our husband in these circumstances might mean setting boundaries and taking a stand for our marriage.
For more on taking a stand or setting boundaries, check out these posts:
Taking a Stand Against Abuse in Your Marriage
Dear Hurting Wife…
How are you doing at respecting your husband? When you have chosen respect, how have you seen that influence your marriage?