Many wives find it hard to understand why they have to respect their husbands, especially when the husband does many things that hurt them. They don't understand why the man that God gave them seems to demand respect at every turn.
Why does a husband ask for respect, anyway?
It's simply because he needs it.
Respect as a life-giving factor.
Ladies, as a husband myself, let me humbly admit to you: we need respect.
Respect is simply defined as "a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements." It's a certain feeling that someone gives to another person in view of who he is, what he does, and what he has done.
All husbands want to be respected by their wives. Regardless of race, age, career or vocation in life, husbands long for their wives to show them some appreciation and admiration.
It's a Give-and-Receive Relationship
Marriage is a God-ordained give-and-take relationship. More accurately, it's a give-and-receive relationship where both the husband and the wife both continually give to each other.
Think about what the Bible tells husbands and wives with regard to this matter:
"Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)
In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul tells all husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This is not a walk in the park. If Christ had to die to fully show His love to people, just think of what that means for all husbands: All husbands have to die to themselves to fully love their wives.
That's a very difficult thing to do!
In the same chapter Paul also tells all wives to respect their husbands. Note that he doesn't explicitly say that all wives should love their husbands the same way he expects husbands to love their wives. He simply said that wives should respect their respective husband, period.
A man's needs
Sister, your husband needs all the respect he can get from you. It's how he was made by God.
And yes, he's imperfect. At times he makes mistakes, and can even commit sins. At other times he does some things that offend you and hurt you, even insult you.
But that doesn't mean you should get back at him and take revenge:
- While you should rebuke your husband for his mistakes and sins, you should encourage him to make the right choices.
- While you should (gently) tell him what he did wrong, you should never keep a record of his wrongs.
- While it's true that your husband is imperfect and has many flaws, it's also true that you shouldn't put him down by focusing on his mistakes. You should focus on the positives and build him up with your words instead.
So why do men need respect?
It's because we all want to be important in our wife's eyes. We all want to know if we are good enough regardless of our shortcomings. We want to know if we make our wives happy, and that they are satisfied with us. We want to know that our wife believes in us and approves of us even if no one else does. Even if the husband never says it out loud or even acts like he doesn't care, that is what he is secretly always hoping and longing for in his heart. In other words, feeling respected is how we husbands feel loved.
Have you ever noticed God telling Eve, "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" in Genesis 3:16?
From that point on, woman had a longing to show man that they are equal. And yes they are. They are equal, but were given specific roles and responsibilities that God wanted them to fulfill.
In marriage, God wants all men to lead their wives. Wives, on the other hand, should in humility respect their husbands' role no matter how imperfect they may be. And for this reason, a man needs his wife's respect: so that, while he does his best to serve his wife, his wife helps him do so.
The respect you give your husband - most especially when he's undeserving - tells him that you love him and want the best for him. Sooner or later, with much prayer, the respect and love that you give to him will help him in his walk with the Lord and he will become a better Christian and a better husband.
So many husbands become defensive, distant and even cold if they feel like they are being disrespected but deep down, it's not what they want. Just like you, they long to have a close and warm relationship. So don't be easily deterred or angered by such behavior, see them instead as a cry for your love and your respect.
My sisters, I want you to remember this: the unconditional respect you give your respective husband empowers and encourages him to love you better, to be a better dad (if you have kids), to be better at his work, and to be a better child of God.
I leave you with this exhortation from 1 Peter 3:1-6,
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror."