“The holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (1 Pet. 3:5–6).
The biblical teaching of submission in marriage is not a foreign concept to most Christian women. However, there is another equally important responsibility that is often overlooked. At the very end of Ephesians 5, we find this admonition: “the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Perhaps you are thinking, “But, you don’t know my husband! He doesn’t deserve reverence!” It is vitally important to understand that Scripture not only teaches us to honor our husbands but also to respect the position of authority that God has placed them in as the head of the home.
But the big question is, “How?” How can you show respect to a man you don’t feel deserves it? I’m not implying that abusive or criminal behavior be overlooked. Rather, I am speaking of demonstrating respect to a man who isn’t living in an honorable way or possibly isn’t even a believer.
You may be surprised to learn that the means of conveying respect toward an undeserving man is a deep trust in God. Look at the example before us. Sarah not only obeyed Abraham, she also showed him honor by calling him lord, a common title of respect at that time. You may assume that this was easy for Sarah. After all, her husband was one of the eminent patriarchs. And he’s listed in Hebrews 11 for his great faith. But he wasn’t always a man of such impressive faith.
In Genesis 12, we read that Abraham feared the Egyptians would kill him in order to take his beautiful wife. So, he lied about Sarah being his wife and allowed her to be taken by Pharaoh. We see his cowardice again in Genesis 20, when in a very similar situation Abraham permitted Sarah to be taken by the king of Gerar. How could she possibly respect a man who in order to save his own neck would not protect hers? Talk about a man who didn’t deserve respect!
But Sarah could respectfully submit to Abraham because her trust was not in her husband. Her confidence was in God, and He protected her on both occasions. In the first instance, the Lord sent plagues upon Pharaoh and his household, after which Pharaoh couldn’t get Abraham and Sarah out of Egypt fast enough. We don’t find Abraham riding up on a white horse to rescue his damsel in distress at Gerar either. Once again, it was God who delivered Sarah. Before Abimelech ever came near her, the Lord told him in a dream that he would die for taking another man’s wife. After pleading his innocence, the monarch heard God Himself say these amazing words, “I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.” The Lord kept the king from even laying a finger on Sarah!
I used to read, “whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well and are not afraid with any amazement,” and wonder what in the world not being frightened had to do with obeying and honoring my husband. Then one day it was as if a light bulb came on! Sarah chose to submit to and honor Abraham when the natural reaction would have been to defy him in absolute terror.
Just like Sarah, the holy women of old were adorned with a meek and quiet spirit as they obeyed their husbands while trusting in God. In the same way, you dear sister, can respect your husband, even when you don’t feel he deserves it. You can do this by refusing to focus on him, but rather fixing your eyes upon the One who is orchestrating everything in your life for your eternal good and His glory. You can honor God by placing your full trust in Him, knowing that He will always faithfully and lovingly protect you, even when your husband doesn’t.
- Ponder how God would have you submit to your husband (even if he may not necessarily deserve it).
- Trust God in your submission to your husband, remembering that He will always lovingly and faithfully protect you.
This chapter was written by Cindy Currin, wife of Evangelist Don Currin. She and her husband work with HeartCry Missionary Society.
This chapter is taken from “The Extraordinary Wife”. CLICK HERE to order a copy of the book.