“Let . . . the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
As our culture becomes increasingly secular and humanistic, Christianity stands in stark contrast to the rest of the world. Men are discouraged from loving their wives and leading their wives and homes. Women are encouraged and expected to be domineering and to challenge the men in their lives. The outcome on both fronts is shipwrecking many marriages on the shores of our modern culture.
The world promises equality and promotion but delivers neither. God’s Word offers a far better alter-native to the world’s culture. A husband should love and lead his wife, not as a controlling and condescending dictator, but as Christ loved the church. Likewise, a wife should respond to her husband with respect and adoration in the same way that the church responds to Jesus. Our culture ridicules the Christian idea of a wife submitting to her husband or even respecting him. These are seen as weaknesses rather than strengths. However, a wife’s gentle and loving respect is a vital piece of the happy Christian family puzzle.
What does it look like for a Christian wife to respect her husband? Consider three matters.
Partner with him as he leads the home. A wife partnering with her husband is not diminishing to her! A wife respects her husband when she looks to his leadership and works with him and their children to attain the goals her husband has set. She follows him. She asks him for direction. She encourages him to lead. She listens to his leadership and then helps implement the goals. Respect for a husband means partnering with him.
As a side note for men, this is why the husband is to lead. We men often assume that our wives will take care of things, and likely they can and will. However, for our wives to respect us in the way Ephesians 5:33 teaches, we have to make decisions and communicate our desires from a platform of love. It is called leading!
Respond to him with a Christlike spirit. Respect in Ephesians 5:33 is really just genuine Christianity being lived out in our homes. It is a spirit of gentle-ness and kindness. It is revealed in the way we talk and respond. Respect does not raise its voice, and it isn’t irritable or nagging. It asks for leadership, then listens and follows. My wife is an incredible example here. She asks me how much she should spend on food or clothes or Christmas gifts. She calls me about purchases and asks if I think they are a good idea. She texts me questions about matters regarding the kids. She even asks my approval regarding the clothes she wears and buys and the hairstyles she chooses. Her Christlike spirit encourages me to lead and makes our home a happy place. A wife’s spirit toward her husband makes a huge difference.
Build his masculinity. Wives should be aware of how they respond to their husbands. For you wives, do you tend to be sarcastic? Do you roll your eyes and sigh about your husbands’ faults? Do you point out your husbands’ weaknesses and tear them down? One of the worst ways a woman can disrespect her husband is to tear down his masculinity! Conversely, one of the greatest ways to respect him is to build him up as a man. One year my wife celebrated the twelve days of Christmas by writing me twelve notes expressing gratitude for some area of my life. She tells people often how “wonderful” I am, even when I am not present. One of the most powerful things a wife can do for her husband is to show her respect for him behind his back. Chances are, her words will be shared with him, and he will thrive as a result. Women should look for ways to encourage their husbands’ masculinity. That is a great way to show them respect!
Some husbands are difficult. That is tough, for sure! However, showing them respect is powerful and may be the very thing God will use to provoke them to be better husbands and dads. Either way, the wife will be pleasing to God, and the home will be happier.
- As a wife, what is the greatest way you have shown respect to your husband?
- Evaluate your responses to your husband. Do your responses evidence a genuine Christlike spirit? If not, what could you change?
- Build up your husband’s manhood. Show him respect by asking his opinion on things. What steps could you take this week to let your husband know that he is a wonderful man?
Written by Evangelist Dave Young
This chapter is taken from Home Improvement – Keys to Building a Happy Home