How well do you respect your husband? Sometimes we can be blind and think we're doing a pretty good job when truthfully we're not even coming anywhere near being respectful to our husbands. If you haven't picked up your Excellent Wife book in a bit (or if you don't have it yet – stop and go get it here now) dust it off and take a moment to re-read it and at least today read chapter 10 on respect.
Did you know that God didn't call you to change your husband? He did call you to respect your husband.
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ~Ephesians 5:33
Shaunti Feldhahn in her book, For Women Only shared a story from a retreat she was on that was focused on relationships. During the retreat, the speaker asked the group to choose between two bad feelings. His question was, “Would you rather feel alone and unloved or inadequate and disrespected?” Every man in that room chose that he would rather feel alone and unloved instead of inadequate and disrespected.
“for women, the highest need in general is to feel loved and cherished. But the highest need for a man is to feel his wife’s respect and trust and admiration and honor.” ~Shaunti Feldhahn
The big question that most women ask is “How do I show respect for my husband when he doesn't deserve it?” Let me ask you back, “How would you like it if your husband only showed you love when you deserve it?” The reminder is we were not worthy or deserving when Christ came and died for our sins – when I am reminded of that truth and the example Christ was of laying down His rights and putting the needs of others above Himself I am reminded that as a Christian I am called to do the same.
Choose to respect your husband today. When you find your heart and mind focused on what he is doing wrong, pray that the Lord would continue to help you focus on what he is doing right. Don't be critical but praise and encourage him in those areas where he does get it right.
In The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace gives a self-assessment to let us be aware of where we may be showing disrespect to our husbands. Take some time to review the list of questions and pray for the Lord to reveal these areas to you and help you to show respect in areas where you have been showing your husband disrespect.
This series of questions will go well with Podcast Ep 36 – Showing Respect to Our Husbands in our series on marriage (you can subscribe to the podcast here). We've covered in the series, God's Design for Marriage and Our Role as Women and what it looks like to Love Our Husbands and Respect.
Read through the questions below (taken from The Excellent Wife, pages 115-117) and note what areas you are struggling in or where you are weak (there is a PDF download of the quiz at the bottom of the post for ease of printing out).
Respecting Your Husband – A Self-Assessment:
1. Do you speak to your husband in a condescending, “put down” manner?
– “What's the matter with you?”
– “Anybody could have done better than you did.”
– “My Dad would have never done that.” (or fill in the blank with whoever else you may compare him too)
– “Can't you do anything right?”
– “I should have known better than to depend on you.”
– “Don't' be stupid.”
– “What you just said is ridiculous.”
– “You old fool.”
– “You're too slow. I'll do it myself.”
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. ~ Proverbs 21:19
2. Do you treat your husband in private as respectfully as you do your pastor, your neighbor, or your friends in public?
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. ~1 Peter 2:17
3. Does your countenance show your disrespect by angry looks, looks of disgust, crossed arms, etc.?
The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:6-7
4. Do you talk for your husband or interrupt him?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
5. Do you try to intimidate or bully your husband by making threats, verbally attacking him, crying, or in some other way manipulating him to have your way?
The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. ~Proverbs 14:1
6. Do you bring up his shortcomings to others?
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. ~ Proverbs 31:23
7. Do you inappropriately contradict him in front of others?
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. ~Proverbs 31:12
8. Do you compare him unfavorably with other men?
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. ~Philippians 4:11
9. Do you listen carefully to your husband's opinion, trying to understand him?
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; ~James 1:19
10. Do you respect his position in the home so much that he can depend on you to do as he asks even when he is not home?
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. ~Proverbs 31:11
11. Do you respect his requests by trying to do as he asks, even if it doesn't seem important to you?
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, ~ 1 Peter 3:5
12. Would your husband say that you have a meek and a quiet spirit? If you do, it will be apparent in how you treat him.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. ~1 Peter 3:3-4
13. Are you obeying God by being respectful to your husband?
and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:33b
(above quiz taken from Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife – A Biblical Perspective, Focus Publishing 1995, pages 115-117)
How Did You Do?
If we checked any of the questions above, then we're not as respectful to our husbands as we should be. Confess and repent of any areas where you are not respecting your husband to the Lord (1 John 1:9). Seek your husband's forgiveness in those areas too. Have a softened, teachable heart and be able to let him share with you when you're not respectful towards him.
By God's grace, we can have a respectful attitude towards our husbands.
“Circumstances come and go, husbands succeed and fail, some merit respect and others do not, but whatever your situation, you can by an act of your will show biblical respect to your husband and show love to God in the process. It is important to God. Treating your husband with respect is not something that your husband must first earn, it is something that you choose to show him. It is an underlying heat's attitude that is to be prevalent regardless of your circumstances and in spite of your feelings. how hard are you willing to work at it?”
~ Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife
You cannot respect your husband in your own strength it is only by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit within you. Pray that the Lord would help you today to dwell on the good things you see in your husband. As you continue to be faithful in this area, you will begin to see him anew and realize there is much to give thanks to the Lord for in the gift of your husband.
“So marriage is like a metaphor or an image or a picture or parable that stands for something more than a man and a woman becoming one flesh. It stands for the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s the deepest meaning of marriage. It’s meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each other.”
The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective by Martha Peace
For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn