Note: Today’s post is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can find the introduction and links to the posts in this series right here.
Whom do you have respect for in life? Is it a parent, a pastor, a friend? Do you respect your your country’s leader, your teacher, or even a fictional character? There may be several people in your life that you hold in high regard.
It’s good to have people we look up to, who inspire us, and whom we can imitate. But one of the most important people in our lives we should respect is our spouse. And depending on your current relationship with him, this might be an easy thing, or it may take some personal growth on your part.
Whether or not we find it easy to respect our husbands, I’m fairly certain that this is an area where we can all improve.
Why should we respect our husbands?
If we’re going to develop respect for our husbands, it might help to think through the reasons for doing so. We should never dive into something just because some random person on the internet told us to! So, why should we respect our husbands? What good will it accomplish? Is it worth the effort?
God commands us to do it
The greatest and most compelling reason we need to cultivate respect for our husbands is because God’s Word commands us as Christians and wives to do so. In Ephesians 5:33, we read, “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (NKJV, emphasis added).
If we need more encouragement than that, the NIV translation of 1 Peter 2:17 commands that we “show proper respect to everyone.”
Whether or not we find it easy, God clearly commands us to develop respect for our husbands!
It strengthens the Body of Christ
Showing respect to our own husbands not only shows obedience to the Scriptures, but it also strengthens the Body of Christ. Romans 14:19 reminds us, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (NKJV). Respecting our husbands will certainly make for peace and will edify them! And when we work together to edify the Body, we will also be strengthening the Body as well.
It represents Christ to unbelievers
I mentioned yesterday that, sadly, our current society doesn’t seem to hold upstanding men in high regard. Whether it’s the commercial depicting the smart wife working circles around her inept husband or a woman getting miffed when a gentleman holds the door for her, there simply doesn’t appear to be much respect for men.
So when we develop respect for our husbands, it represents Christ to the unsaved world. We will stand out as being very different (in a good way) from those around us. While not everyone will appreciate our efforts to respect our husbands, it will be noticeable, and a few people may even be curious enough to ask us about it. What an excellent opening for presenting the Gospel!
How should we respect our husbands?
Just because the Bible commands us to respect our husbands and because we can see the benefits of obeying, it doesn’t mean that we all naturally know how to go about developing that respect. And if your husband has ever been involved in less-than-Godly activities, it can be all the more difficult to esteem him.
(Note: I’m not saying that we need to respect sinful actions or ungodly behavior. If our husbands are believers, however, there should be evidence of their salvation even if they’ve made unwise choices in the past, and it is the Godly living we’re choosing to appreciate here.)
I don’t always know how best to develop a respect for my husband, either. It’s something that I will continue to learn how to do as I mature in my faith and in my marriage. But below are the things I’m doing to help, which might inspire you as well.
Pray and ask for help
One thing I really, really struggle with in my Christian walk is remembering that I can only grow with the Holy Spirit’s help. I’m SO guilty of trying to do things in my own strength, including respecting my husband!
We all need to pray and ask for help. Whether it’s help to love on and respect our husbands or help with spiritual growth or help with sharing the Gospel, we cannot forget to pray!!
Keep a short account of his mistakes
God promises us that He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12) and remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). Although I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that commands us never to remember someone else’s sin in the same way that God does (though I’ve not studied this topic in depth), I think we would be prudent to keep a short account of our husband’s mistakes. Wouldn’t we want him to do the same?
When we choose to move beyond our husband’s past failures and mistakes instead of stopping to dwell on them long past their due, it will also help us to develop respect for him.
Choose to dwell on his respectable attributes
No one here on Earth is perfect. We all have areas that we’d rather hide and wish that other people would forget about. When it comes to respecting our husbands, we need to deliberately choose to dwell on their respectable attributes and to set aside their shortcomings.
Again, I’m not saying that we need to bury our husband’s sin or pretend it doesn’t exist - not at all. But cultivating respect for him will come a lot easier if we focus on his best qualities.
Do it as unto the Lord
As much as I wish it weren’t true, many husbands, including Christian ones, have made some grave mistakes in their marriages. And, humanly speaking, they may not be worthy of their wives’ respect.
If you are in a situation like this, I would simply encourage you to develop a respect for him because of your love for the Lord, not because of your husband’s merit (or lack thereof). Remember, we’re doing this challenge for God and not for anything we might personally gain as a result.
And if you are blessed with a husband who is on fire for God, who has made wise choices, and who is worthy of your respect and admiration, still develop respect for him as unto the Lord, too, and not unto man. Everything we do as believers needs to stem from the sole motivation of serving and honoring God.
Developing respect for our husbands will always be a work in progress while we’re here on Earth, but it can - with the Spirit’s help - be done! And when we as wives choose to place our husbands in high regard, not only will it bless our husbands, but it will bless our marriages and the Body of Christ as well.
What an amazing testimony of God’s grace it can be!