The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Eph 5:25-33
As a wife you may read this and try to get more ammunition against your husband. You may say, “Faith, nearly every verse in this passage is addressed to the husband and how he is to love me! And my husband just doesn't do that. So even though the last sentence says I should respect him, he hasn't earned it. So I'm not doing it.”
Maybe you wouldn't be that blunt, but I've felt this way before. I've read this more as a mutual agreement between couples rather than what it is: A command from the Lord! This is NOT a passage that says, “Wives, if you husband lives out verses 25-32 well, then you should obey verse 33.” Giving our husbands respect isn't an option. It's a command.
Is it easy to always be respectful when our feelings are hurt? Nope. But we don't do it in our own strength, we do it through Christ who lives in us.
I'm blessed to say in all my years of working I have only had one boss who was completely disrespectful to me day after day after day. And let me tell you, the time I spent at that job was one of the darkest periods in my life. I began to believe the things she said about me. I began to believe the lie that I was incompetent and ill-equipped for ministry. Then this thinking began to creep into all areas of my life. I was driving to job interview that normally I would have walked into confidently. I had to give a five-minute how-to speech. I love speaking, it is one of my favorite things to do. But rather than be excited that the interview seemed right up my alley, I heard the voice of this woman and thought to myself, “I'll never get this job.”
Right then, God grabbed my attention, and helped me see that I had started believing the lies that were told to me. I did get the job and left the berating boss behind.
I tell you this story because I think we need to be extremely careful how we speak to and treat our loved ones. Even if your husband seems tough or unaffected by your words, he is not invincible. He needs your respect. He needs to know that you believe he is capable of leading your family and that if he messes you'll still be right there beside him supporting him whole-heartedly. He needs to know that your love isn't based on how well he can meet your needs or fill your love tank, but your love for him is based on the fact that he was created in the image of God. He is important to God. If your husband was the only man on earth, Christ would have still died for him. That's how much Jesus loves him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Do you believe that your husband deserves the same grace God gives you? Are you willing to respect him enough to give him that grace?
None of us have married perfect men. So don't compare your husband to anyone else's. God made him unique. Your job isn't to find all of his faults. Your job is to respect him. To be his biggest fan. To build him up. And to love him and Christ loves you.
This week, I encourage you to do some soul-searching. Is there a way you have been disrespectful to your husband? Has it become a habit like rolling your eyes? Or belittling him either to his face or to your friends?
Let's choose this week not to give the devil a foothold in our marriages. Rather let's respect our husbands and build them up. Let us not hold their faults against them, but love them with the love Christ has shown each of us.
I'm praying for you. Will you pray for me?