Mike and I have been married for just over two years so I am certainly not a marriage expert, but I am learning more each day about what it means and why it is so important to demonstrate respect for my husband.
The Bible tells men to love their wives, but it tells women to respect their husbands.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)
Respecting your husband is loving your husband in the way God commands. God has wired men and women differently, and one way God has wired men is with a need to feel respect from his wife.
It is my hope and prayer that each of you have loving husbands who make respecting them easy, but unfortunately I know that many women struggle with respecting their non-respectable husbands. We have to remember that God doesn’t tell us to feel respect for our husbands, He tells us to be respectful to our husbands. Our responsibility is to obey God, not our feelings (see more on this topic here). Easier said than done. But in my opinion, the one thing that is so often withheld from men – respect, is the one thing they need the most. Here are six ways to respect your husband:
- Do not interrupt him in public. Speaking over your husband tells other people that you do not value what he has to say, so why should they? I’ve noticed that sometimes we as wives interrupt with honest intentions of adding to what our husbands have to say or to be more a part of the conversation. I encourage you to be aware of this and simply try to let him finish his thoughts before adding your two cents.
- Don’t speak badly about him in front of other people. I mean this in two ways: when he’s there, and when he’s not there. It’s easy to complain to others about your husband or to express frustration with a decision he’s made when it’s just you and the girls. Instead of telling others about your frustrations, tell God. I heard someone once say, “Tell your spouse the things you like about them, tell God the things you don’t.” The second way I am referring to is when you both are around other people. We’ve probably all been guilty of at some point telling stories where he is the butt of the joke or pointing out his failures in front of others. It may make us feel good for the moment to vent or have something funny to say, but it damages your relationship because it communicates disrespect.
- Don’t belittle him. Treat him like the adult he is. The media often displays disrespect for men as common practice. For example, the husbands in the shows ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and ‘King of Queens’ are portrayed as children or dogs. They are incompetent, foolish and require supervision. But God did not create men to act as or to be treated as bumbling idiots. Demonstrate that you trust your husband to protect, provide for, and lead your family. Let him be the “big man” that God has wired him to be.
- Never yell at him (and he shouldn’t yell at you either). Understand that when the person your husband is leading, protecting and caring for (you) yells at him, he feels immediately disrespected. After discussing this further with Mike, I have come to realize that it has an effect on our husbands that is different than the effect it has on us. We’ve all the heard the phrase, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Disagreements will happen in marriage, but exchanging opposing views in a healthy manner will benefit your relationship (and he will be much more likely to listen to what you have to say). Nothing positive comes from yelling.
- Show appreciation. Tell him “thank you” for mowing the lawn or fixing your car. Express gratitude when he helps you carry in the groceries. Even though these small tasks may be a part of his daily responsibilities, showing appreciation can go a long way. Be intentional, it’s important.
- Pray for him. Our culture says to find a wild man and then domesticate him, but why not let God fix him instead? Families are under attack. Our husbands are influenced by the world and tempted in a thousand ways. It is our duty to pray for our husbands, that they would look to God, seek His wisdom, and lead our families as the man God wants him to be. And, if you are like me, you will probably find that God fixes you in the meantime as well.