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2009-07-23

Love Is Spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T

"Agape"
Image by Coolm36

The following is a guest post from Christin at Journey to a Gracious Woman.

It is no secret that men and women are different (or is it?!). God created us, men and women, with diverse roles in His creation. He chose our place because we are in no position to tell God otherwise. I find it incredibly designed that God made wives to respect their husbands and made husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:33), because those are the elements we each need to thrive. He knows this! Husbands need respect from their wives as greatly as wives need love from their husbands. For husbands, respect is love and love is respect.

A number of translations use the word respect in place of reverence. I think these two words are quite different from each other, one being at a much deeper level then the other. However, I also believe that if we cannot respect our husbands we will certainly not reverence them.

Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)
... and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

I believe one of the most common reasons it is difficult for wives to respect their husbands is because they don't understand his deep need for it. The second most common justification, that I have witnessed, is that wives wait until their husbands deserve respect before they give it.

Until I understood my husbands deep need for respect and why he thrived on it, I didn't put forth much effort to respect him. Sometimes respect can come automatically, but the majority of the time, showing respect is very intentional. It is something that often must be thought out before being carried out.

I want to take a look at 3 aspects of respecting our husbands. The first one being the impact our respect will have on our husbands, the second being the consequences of not giving respect, and finally what intentional respect looks like in action.

The Impact of Your Respect

Earlier I said I believed much of the reason why wives don't respect their husbands is because they are unaware of how it impacts them. They are unaware of their real need for it. Today, you will be without excuse ;). Now, stay with me because this is important, and in fact very encouraging. Respecting your husband shows/tells your husband:
  • where he ranks in your life
  • you believe in him
  • you trust him
  • you are proud of him
  • you love him
  • you're his biggest fan
  • you accept him [how he is]

Imagine how secure our husbands would be if we respected him in word, tone, action, and in public. We wives are a safe-haven for our husbands. They should be the most comfortable around the women they love, thus letting their guard down. We have a great responsibility, ladies.

If a man's wife believes in him, he can conquer the world--or at least his little corner of it.
For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhan


Consequences of No Respect

Picture this scenario: a husband and his wife are chit chatting after church service with some friends. Though the wife respects her husband [in her own mind], she proceeds to tell her friends how her husband tried to fix the lawn mower but somehow only made it worse and that what he should've done was just taken it in and paid the money to have it fixed. She believes to be having a lighthearted conversation about just everyday life happenings, but he has just felt cut down and made to feel inadequate simply because he wanted to try to see if he could fix the mower himself.

Not only has this woman embarrassed him [most likely unknowingly] in front of their friends, she has indirectly called him inept, suggesting he was incapable of being handy, before he even tried. She should be his biggest cheerleader and encouragement. Instead, she made it very clear to her husband and their friends that she doesn't respect his abilities.

I don't think many women realize what they do to their husbands when they show disrespect in public. This strips a man of his dignity right out there in the open. If a man cannot even be respected by his own wife, the people surrounding him will not respect him, even if it's in secret.

We have the potential to make our husbands:
  • feel inadequate (or have justification for those already lurking feelings)
  • be disrespected by others
  • feel unloved
  • just give up trying

Intentional Respect in Action

So how do we show intentional as opposed to "going through the motions" respect towards our husbands? Well, there really are an endless amount of ways. Just like there are many ways for our husbands to intentionally show us love. But let me highlight a few that will make your man feel on top of the world!
  1. Express to him you support [and respect] his decision making (even if it's not what you would do)
  2. Brag about him to your friends---and his
  3. Be mindful of your tone and wording - even if you don't intend to belittle your husband, we frequently do without even knowing it. An example of this would be constantly reminding (or nagging) them to do something (anything). We often make the mistake of believing they need to be reminded, and the more we nag, the less they want to carry out whatever it is they are "supposed" to be doing.
  4. Do not question his knowledge or judgment
  5. Encourage his abilities
In order to respect our husbands openly, we must respect them privately, in our own hearts. If you need help with this, pray. God can help! Often, when we outwardly respect them, they will respond in one way or another and our hearts will often change.

PhotobucketChristin is the wife to Jonathan and mother of 4 children. She is committed to living a life of service to God, journey's to becoming a help meet to her husband, and a devoted mother to her children. She enjoys homeschooling, reading, blogging, and doing what she can to help others. You can find her blogging transparently at Journey to a Gracious Woman.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you wouldn't mind talking a little more about what you mean when you say " Do not question his knowledge or judgement". Some men do find this to be disrespectful, but I know of others who say that they find it to be helpful when their wives offer correction or other perspectives in a respectful way.

Personally, I want my husband to value my input and wisdom and to not be offended when I ask questions about his knowledge of something or judgement about something.

Is this something you believe should only happen in private or not at all? I welcome your thoughts!

christinnjon said...

That's a great question! Keep in mind men are also individuals and some operate different than others. My husband is a bit different than many men in that he also welcomes input, that is, of course, when it's constructive and loving. There is a way to share things and there's a way not to.

But, I think in cases of our husband's insistence on trusting him with what he knows, it may be a good idea to back down and let him at it, know what I mean?

Let me give you an example from my own marriage. My husband is a very hands on and frugal guy. If he has the opportunity to save a buck by making something himself, he'll do it. For example, building a bookshelf. I may give my concern on the amount of time it would take and voice whether it may be worth it or not. If my husband insists he can do it in no time, it's my turn to trust him and let him at it. Respect his word and his abilities, rather then argue with him on his judgment AFTER voicing my concern once. Does that make sense?

Again, each man is unique. And what you said was right on:
..."they find it to be helpful when their wives offer correction or other perspectives in a respectful way."

The keyword here is respectful. :) Hope this helps!

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