I teach women about the Bible instruction for wives to display a respectful attitude toward their husbands (Ephesians 5:33), but apparently I haven’t perfected this myself! The other day, 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. 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’ve been discussing this with God since that time, and I believe he’s showing me that respecting my 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 me to treat my husband as if he is as important as a king or prince. I’m going to try an experiment this week. I’m going to attempt to honor my husband, and pay attention to my husband, as if he were the president or a prince (without making it too goofy or weird!!). Are you willing to try this “respect experiment” too? I can’t wait to see how my husband will be impacted and how our marriage may be changed for the better!
Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life! Whether we realize it or not, every time we criticize our husband or correct our husband or point out flaws in our husband’s ideas, we are crushing his spirit. Every time we crush his spirit, we are making him feel like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying. I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”. When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat. He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father. He no longer even believes that’s possible,
On the other hand ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father. He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well. A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!
Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.” One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager! Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures. Choose to encourage him instead. Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness! You’ll both be happier!
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 respect and honor. Ask his opinion about how he would like things to go in your home and in your marriage relationship, listen attentively, and actually incorporate his opinion 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 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/sports he thinks are 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!
It’s actually a really awesome thing when you talk about your husband in public! Well, it’s really awesome IF what you’re sharing is complimentary! In fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do for your husband. Men are wired to crave respect and affirmation. That’s why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to “respect their husbands”. I have seen my husband begin glowing (in a masculine sort of way!) when I affirm him in front of his friends or our family members.
However, there is a flip side to this business of speaking publicly about your guy. My husband tells me one of the very worst things a wife can do is to disclose some of her husband’s failures, character deficiencies or mistakes in front of friends and family. He says when a wife shares her husband’s personal failings, he’s absolutely devastated and emasculated. Don’t emasculate your man! If he begins feeling that way, he will likely subconsciously gravitate toward another woman who will build him up instead of tearing him down.
One other note: Obviously, if your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin, it’s appropriate to disclose those kinds of personal failings to a counselor or pastor as you two are seeking help in your marriage. Just don’t go broadcasting his mistakes and failures during gatherings with friends, family, co-workers, or church members!
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 to 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 command this week. I am going to strive to treat my husband as if everything he says is really worthy of my complete attention. Yes, I’m actually going to pay attention when he speaks and treat his thoughts and 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? Are you even pivoting from what you’re doing to greet him when he comes home at the end of the day?!
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, and be more courageous in seeking to honor God!
My husband and I have had some interesting conversations lately. 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.”
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.
We all know that women are greatly concerned about their body image….maybe even obsessed about it! But did you know that men are also hyper-sensitive about one aspect of their body image? Almost every man really wants to be perceived as strong and muscular. This means your husband yearns for you to notice and appreciate his muscles! He’s not going to tell you that, but he really wants to be perceived as strong!
Perhaps this is why the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs continues to tell her groom over and over again how she values his strength and muscular body. Here are some examples of what she tells him: Song of Songs 2:8-9 “Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.” Song of Songs 5:14-15 “His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.”
When’s the last time you verbally admired your husband’s strength? When is the last time you noticed his biceps and made a little comment about how impressive they are? Your husband craves those comments! He feels respected when you notice his strength and masculinity. As you vocalize your appreciation for his physical strength, he will be drawn to you!
Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride. I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
But here’s the thing. I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves. He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant. God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility. However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them. That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant. It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient!
In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action. When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband. He longs to hear those words. It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm. Our men need our encouragement!
This hit home for me recently. My husband took the time to tell me that he feels tremendously encouraged when I occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife. That tiny little statement builds him up. It helps him press back into the challenges that await him. It helps him feel like he can slay dragons. His wife is proud of him. She believes in him. He has the courage and confidence to keep moving forward. Your words are powerful! Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately? Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?
If you’re a wife and a mom….life can get pretty busy! If you’re a wife and mom and you work outside the home, well then life can be pretty chaotic and crazy!!
Sometimes in that busyness, we can get so caught up in chores and children that we unintentionally ignore our husbands! So, here’s something I’m trying to remember to do. When my husband enters the house after work, I’m trying to remember to actually pivot toward him and make eye contact. I even try to throw in a smile as an extra bonus! Sometimes, I even take the 3 extra seconds to run over and give him a little kiss. J
I know this isn’t rocket science, but we often are so intent on our children or cooking or cleaning, that we don’t even glance our husband’s way. That leaves him feeling unimportant and disrespected. Remember, respect is a really big deal to men. That’s why God instructs us in Ephesians 5:33, “The wife must respect her husband.”
So, give it a try. Make eye contact with your husband when he comes home from work, and actually any time he enters a room you’re in. Smile. Make him feel happy to be in the same room you. You will draw his heart to you and strengthen the bond between you. J