Have you ever had this thought…”I don’t respect my husband”? Honestly, I had that thought quite often in my first marriage, and because I didn’t FEEL respect, I didn’t ACT particularly respectful. Unfortunately, I just went with how I felt. I rolled my eyes at his ideas. I took control of most everything in our family because I didn’t think he was capable. I corrected him a lot. And…..after quite a few years, he turned to other women for validation.
I learned many lessons after that failed marriage. One of them is that a man desperately needs the respect of his wife. He needs to know that she believes in him and is FOR him. Now, this doesn’t mean she is supposed to ignore destructive and sinful choices in his life. No, she needs to gently, but firmly, confront him if he is caught in a pattern of sin. But, even then, she can be loving and kind and respectful!
In my 2nd marriage to Raul, I began pressing into this Biblical command (Ephesians 5:33) for wives to respect their husbands. And oh my, what a difference it made! He told me many times that he wouldn’t be able to tackle the things he was doing in life and for God if it weren’t for me being FOR him. In fact, he often got tears in his eyes when I treated him respectfully because it was a new thing for him as well…and he desperately craved my respect. All men do. Try it and see what happens in your marriage. Have you already tried it? How has it impacted your marriage?
Our words are SO powerful! If you frequently tell your husband how he’s falling short, he will likely close down emotionally and search for an escape door. He may turn to alcohol, porn, excessive recreational pursuits, or even other women.
However, if you choose to tell him about the good things you see in him, he will begin to grow in confidence. I believe this is why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33, “the wife must respect her husband“. Your respect and admiration mean everything to your man. If you intentionally take note of his talents as well as the effort he puts forth, and then tell him you are proud of him, his feelings of inadequacy will fall away. He will start believing he can be successful in what he tries. He will gain courage to try tackling even bigger things.
If you notice his positive character qualities (and every man has at least one!), and tell him how much you respect him for those qualities, he will be built up on the inside. He will likely begin believing that he can become a man who makes a difference in his family and for God. A wife’s words of respect and encouragement can propel her husband forward to be an even greater man than he would ever have been without her!
I have taught women for a decade about the Bible instruction for wives to display a respectful attitude toward their husbands (Ephesians 5:33), but apparently, I have had problems over the years perfecting this myself! I still vividly remember an occasion about 5 years ago that underscored the problem. I was in the process of texting back and forth with two different women about a need within the Squadron of Sisters wives’ ministry…when my husband came into the room and stood in front of me for at least a minute. I didn’t look up right away because I just wanted to finish my text and be done with that task. My husband turned around and left the room, obviously a bit irritated. My thought was…”huh? What just happened?”
Later, I asked my husband why he was upset. In a nutshell, it turns out that he felt as if he didn’t matter to me. He felt that other things came before him. He had wanted to talk with me about something important and I didn’t even look up when he stood in front of me. He felt disrespected. Oops.
I spent some quiet, reflective time with God afterward, and I believe he showed me that respecting your husband means treating him with great honor. In fact, the original Greek translation of that word “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 means “to have reverence for” or “to be in awe of”. Wow! Those words seem applicable to how a servant would treat a king! Hmmm. Maybe God wants a wife to treat her husband as if he is as important as a king or prince. What if you tried an experiment this week? Would you be willing to attempt to honor your husband, and pay attention to your husband, as if he were a top official or a prince (without making it too goofy or weird!!). Are you willing to try this “respect experiment”? I can’t wait to hear how husbands will be impacted and how marriages may be changed for the better!
All men crave respect, and husbands especially crave the respect of their wives. In fact, the Bible even commands wives to respect their husbands! You can find this instruction in Ephesians 5:33. The question is: How can you offer respect to your husband in a meaningful way?
Here is one way to show your husband honor and respect. Ask his opinion about how he would like things to go in your home and in your marriage relationship, listen attentively, and actually carry out his requests that are within reason. When you do this, you are showing him that he matters! You are also carrying out another instruction to wives found in Ephesians 5:22 where God says “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord”.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. Have you asked your husband how he likes you to dress or fix your hair? Why not honor him by doing these things the way he likes? Have you asked your husband what’s most important to him when he walks through the door at the end of his workday? Would he like you and the kids to greet him at the door with kisses, or would he prefer to have 10 minutes of peace and quiet to unwind? Have you asked your husband how many activities he thinks is ideal for the children?
Ask him, listen to his opinion, and begin incorporating his desires into your routine. This will communicate respect, and when he feels your respect, your whole marriage relationship will likely improve!