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 remember being convicted several years ago when I overheard my husband tell some other men that he sometimes does things for me that he doesn’t feel like doing…just because he knows I will appreciate it. This was news to me! I hadn’t thought about it that way. I thought he WANTED to do those things! For instance, for years, my husband gave my feet a little massage every night before I went to sleep. I thought he enjoyed doing that! He also ran ALL the errands that needed to be done for us. I thought he liked to run errands! He also made sure there was always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one ran out. Nice!
Here’s the thing. We often take for granted our husbands. Could it be that your husband is doing things he doesn’t really want to do just to please you? Could he be acting selflessly, and you just didn’t realize it? Is he more noble than you thought? Hmmm. Could your husband be doing kind things for you that you didn’t even realize were a sacrifice for him? For instance….if he comes home from work exhausted and yet takes time to play with the kids or help you with some chores, that’s something to truly appreciate! Think about it and ask God to show you ways that your husband may be more noble than you thought.
Bottom line: Maybe your husband is really doing a pretty good job fulfilling God’s command to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 where he tells men to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her“. The question is: How are YOU doing in fulfilling God’s command to wives in Ephesians 5:33 where he tells women “the wife must respect her husband“?
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!
Did you know a huge majority of men struggle with feeling inadequate on almost every level? It’s true. Since God designed men to be leaders in revealing the nature of God, it’s to be expected that Satan would try to destroy that mission by making men feel like they’re not up to that challenge! Satan is constantly whispering to your man that he is a failure, that he’s not good enough, that he’s not smart enough, and that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a godly leader, husband, father or provider. These are all lies! Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is “the father of lies“.
Unfortunately, when a husband starts believing these lies, he often decides to either give up trying to be a good husband or he may numb out by using pornography or alcohol, or by becoming a workaholic.
However, a man’s wife has the ability to counteract the voice of Satan! Ladies, why don’t you start telling your husband that you believe in him? Tell him that he CAN do it. Let him know that you see good qualities in him. Remind him about his unique talents and spiritual gifts. Show him the respect that God commands wives to display in Ephesians 5:33. As you affirm him and esteem him, you may likely find that your man becomes more confident and becomes an even better man than he is now.
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!
Here’s something to ponder. The Bible instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to respect their husbands. But what does that really mean? Well, when I looked up the original Greek word for respect, it means “to be in awe of” or “to revere”. Oh my! I love my husband, but I confess I don’t usually treat him as if I “revere” him!
I wonder how my marriage would be impacted if I really sought to revere my husband? Hmmm. Well, first we need to better understand the word “revere”. Webster’s dictionary says revere means to treat with deferential honor or regard as worthy of great honor. Ok, I’m starting to get the picture.
Here’s how I’m going to try to press into this Bible instruction this week. I am going to strive to treat my husband as if everything he says is really worth my complete attention. Yes, I’m going to actually pay attention when he speaks and treat his thoughts, feelings and ideas as very important. That’s how a person should respond if they think someone is worthy of great honor. Are you doing this with your husband?
I wonder how your marriage and my marriage would be impacted if we started showing respect to our husbands (whether we FEEL like it or not)? I have a sneaking suspicion that our men would stand a little taller, feel more confident, enjoy emotional intimacy with us much more, and maybe even be more courageous in seeking to honor God!
My husband and I have had some interesting conversations a few months ago. One of things he mentioned several times is how devastating it is for a man to hear his wife criticize him or make fun of him in front of other people. Even if she is trying to be funny, and even if he seems to be laughing along with everyone else, most men are quite offended by this and feel disrespected by the one person who is supposed to be for them…their wife!
So, this is just a brief reminder for all of us to be ever so careful with our men’s fragile hearts. Even though I think my husband’s little quirks are funny, it’s probably not a brilliant idea for me to share those quirks with other people. Even though I thought one of his blunders was hilarious, he’s going to feel disrespected if I share that funny story with others. Let’s all be vigilant in protecting our men’s hearts. They so desire our respect, especially in public. Maybe we all need to quote Ephesians 5:33 every morning before we start our day. It very simply says, “The wife must respect her husband.”
You want to know a sure-fire way to soften your husband’s heart toward you? Be humble and quick to apologize when you have been disrespectful toward him! I say “when” instead of “if” you are disrespectful because ALL wives gravitate toward being disrespectful from time to time! Much of the time, we don’t even recognize that we’re being disrespectful.
Let me give some examples. You roll your eyes when he forgets to do something. You sigh dramatically and shake your head about his “cluelessness” when he doesn’t meet your expectations. You ask his opinion about something but then point out the flaws in his thinking. You might even be disrespectful by giving him the silent treatment when he fails to eagerly pitch in to help with the household chores.
When a wife acts disrespectfully toward her husband, he often hardens his heart toward her as a means of self-protection. So, if you would like to soften your husband’s heart toward you, ask God to help you catch yourself the minute you say or do something that communicates disrespect. Then, be quick to sincerely and humbly apologize. A powerful apology contains these words: “I was wrong to ….” and “please forgive me”. Your humility will go a long way in softening your man’s heart. Humility is a virtue we need to intentionally put on every morning. Colossians 3:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Did you know most men really like to be needed? I know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle. But you know what? Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask. Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed. Remember, men don’t think the same way women do! They usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!
This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us. They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills. They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem. They want to be our heroes. The problem is this. We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”.
Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply. Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through. I bet he will love being your hero.