Give everyone what you owe him:
If you owe taxes, pay taxes;
if revenue, then revenue;
if respect, then respect;
if honor, then honor.
~ Romans 13:7
Respect: To treat with special consideration and/or high regard.
The very first thing that I was brought to when I was researching the word "respect" in reference to husbands and wives, was Queen Vashti. Do you remember her? The picture that the Bible paints of her is pretty small. In fact, she is only in a few short verses in the first chapter of the book of Esther. Do you know who she is now? She was King Xerxes' disrespectful wife. Her husband wanted her to do something, and she said no. Thankfully, we live in a very different culture now-a-days, because I must admit that I have told my husband no more than once.
King Xerxes' advisers were worried that if the King's own wife didn't respect him, that all of the women in the country would start disrespecting him as well. Can we apply that to our lives as well? If we disrespect our own husbands, how will others treat him? Have you ever been around a wife that disrespects her husband in public? All of her friends do the same thing - trust me, I've been there (on both sides of it). King Xerxes' had a right to be concerned. That doesn't mean that I agree with the actions that he took, God said that what He has brought together that no man should separate. When we get married, we don't have instantly perfect relationships. Our husbands are no more perfect then we are - and we are all far from perfect (Rom. 3:23).
Respect is a hard thing to learn. Especially when it's learning to respect someone who's life is laid open before you. We know our husbands better than anyone else on earth, that means that we see all of the faults that he has. We know all of his short comings. Yet, if we don't respect him, others will pick up on that. They will see that the person who knows him the best, doesn't think that he deserves respect, and they will follow our lead. But on the flip side, when we do respect our husbands, others will see that too and will be more likely to offer him that same respect.
Not only will others see it and implement it, our husbands will see it. Shaunti Feldhahn dedicated an entire chapter in her book, "For Women Only" about the impact that a wives respect has on her husband. The massive research that she put into that book showed that "Men would rather feel alone and unloved than inadequate and disrespected." The best way that we can show our husbands that we love them, is by respecting them. To quote Shaunti Feldhahn one more time "If a man feels disrespected, he is going to feel unloved."
So do you think that maybe we ought to put a little more effort into respecting our husbands?
As Elizabeth George would say: "Yes, but how?"
The answer to that is so massive that I couldn't possibly cover it here. But here are a few ways that we can respect our husbands:
- We can respect his decisions, opinions, knowledge and judgement. - To me that means not questioning his decisions and not always adding my own two cents worth when he has clearly already made a decision. That doesn't mean that I have to be silent and lose myself as a person, that would NOT make my husband happy. He didn't marry a doormat, and he didn't want to. But he also shouldn't have to listen to my "infinite wisdom" every time he wants to do something or tells me what is on his mind.
- We can respect our husbands with our thoughts and words. - Respecting our husbands by choosing to assume the best from him instead of the worst. Choosing to only think and say positive things about him. Nancy Leigh DeMoss's 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge was a HUGE help to me in this area. Quite honestly, that challenge changed my entire marriage, just by changing the way that I thought.
- We can respect his abilities. - When the girls were little, Mr. Amazing would try to help me out by getting them dressed, and I often didn't like the clothing that he picked out for one reason or another (it was too cold for short-sleeves, or maybe I had already set out clothes for the day), so I would change them. After a while, he stopped dressing them. When I inquired as to why, he said that I would just re-do it anyway, so why should he bother... and you know what? He was right. The same thing goes for re-folding clothes after he did the laundry, or re-doing anything that he has done. That does not show respect for his abilities in any way shape or form, and it tears our husbands down more than we will ever realize.
What are some ways that you can choose to respect your husband this week?