By Jolene Engle, Contributing Writer
We sat across the table chatting one night and that’s when he asked me…
“Why do you respect me even when I don’t deserve your respect?”
“After all, I’m lazy.”
“I leave my stuff out all over the place.”
“And I don’t do enough for you and our family.”
“Why is it that you still respect me in spite of all my shortcomings and failures?”
I smiled and then responded to my Beloved,
“Because I’d be a foolish wife if I didn’t respect you!”
I choose to respect you for three reasons.
Because the Bible commands me to, and who am I to argue with God.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” ~ Ephesians 5:33
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?‘ ~ Isaiah 45:9
Over the course of my marriage I’ve learned something about how God intended a marriage to be…
God tells us in His Word that wives are to respect their husbands and husbands are to love their wives. Neither of these two commands are easy to do because we have to die to ourselves in the process. (And I certainly don’t always succeed in this endeavor, either!)
But God placed that command in Ephesians 5:33 because it protects our marital oneness; it provides us with what we need from one another. And when both husband and wife seek to obey these commands, our marriages become God-centered, God-fearing, God-honoring, and not to mention, absolutely amazing!
A God-fearing marriage is a true testimony of Christ-like love to a dark and lost world.
When your marriage is like that, your life is representing Christ and the Church! That God of ours is a pretty smart God! If only we had half a brain to listen to Him all the time!
Because I need to respect you and you need my respect.
I proceeded to tell my Beloved about a little switch that I have in my brain. Now, I’m not sure if all wives have a switch like this, but I sure do. I do my best to fiercely protect it because I know what will happen to me if it gets flipped!
If the switch gets flipped and I stop viewing my husband with respect and admiration, then my marital relationship would shortly turn into a platonic relationship because I wouldn’t want to be intimate with my man. (Um, yeah, I just said that! ) If this takes place, we will be just two people living under the same roof, parenting together, but going through life like mere roommates. That’s not the type of marriage I want to settle for, nor is it the type of marriage that God intended.
And if my marital relationship turns into a platonic relationship, then it’ll be easier for me to be unforgiving and bitter towards my husband. If I continue down this path, my heart would harden towards him and my marriage would be a poor reflection of the love that Christ has towards the Church. In essence, I’d be blaspheming the Word of God if I took this approach in my life.
Because I’m a selfish individual.
I want a glorious marriage! Who wants their marital relationship to be blah? I don’t know any bride who said they walked down the aisle hoping to have a mediocre marriage.
So that’s why I do what I do.
I choose to respect my man whether he deserves it or not. And it just so happens that this one intentional act causes him to want to be a better husband. It’s a win-win for both of us!
Now let me just say that taking this intentional approach to your marriage will kill you. Yes, kill you! Your flesh will not like it one bit. In fact, it’ll feel like a part of you is dying inside. And you’re right, my friend, it is! Our natural self-centered and pride-infested tendencies will be screaming ‘no-fair’ and ‘no-way’. But push through those feelings with the strength of the Holy Spirit. If you keep continuing in these ways, respecting your man on a regular basis will become much easier and you’ll come to embrace it.
New Year’s Challenge:
If you struggle with respecting your man or you’ve become complacent in this pursuit, implement as many ways listed below to start your New Year off right!
10 Ways to Help You Respect Your Man
- Be more concerned with your walk with the Lord, rather than your husband’s. You are his wife, not his Holy Spirit.
- Continue to build him up rather than tear him down. You’ll create a lot of peace in your home by doing this.
- Share your heart with him.
- Become best friends. Ask him about his day. Take up a hobby with him.
- Become even better lovers.
- Put more effort into your role as a wife, than your role as a mom. Remember, the marital relationship came before motherhood.
- It’s easy to nag, condemn and criticize. When you feel the tendency to speak like this, instead, do the opposite. Speak loving, encouraging, and uplifting words into his life. If you can’t do this then just bite your tongue.
- Forgive him like Christ has forgiven you. Keep the right perspective. Remember that you’re a sinner too!
- The two of you are one. So if he’s broken, hurting, insecure, etc. guess what? You are too! Handle him with care.
- Rinse and repeat!
If you’ve already lost respect for your husband, here’s some ways to regain it!
Now how about you, friend? Do you want to dive in and take this New Year’s Challenge? Leave me a comment below!