Today I am in the book of Ephesians 5:22-33. It’s kind of a long passage compared to what I usually do here, but I want to talk to you about marriage and it’s one of the better passages to study for this particular topic.
Starting in verse 22, we read,
“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Hmmm. Can you say, “hot topic?” I think it’s interesting that the passage doesn’t instruct the wife to love her husband or the husband to respect his wife. I believe it is because we already give each other what we want to receive. For example, I want my husband to love me, therefore I’ll love him like I want to be loved. Conversely, he wants me to respect him, so he will respect me. It’s what comes naturally to both of us—most of the time. Yet over and over again in Ephesians, Paul urges a husband to love his wife and urges the wife to respect her husband and respect his leadership.
At the end of the day, we make a decision as women to love and respect our husbands and we choose how we will do it. It is a choice that we make, not just because we love our husbands, but because of our reverence toward God and a desire to obey His Word.
There is a blessing, mom, that comes when we yield ourselves to the way God wants things to be done. Just as much as we can choose not to respect our husbands, our husbands can choose not to love us. Sometimes, that respect is an act of obedience, not based on whether or not they are loving us the way we want to be loved at any given moment. It’s tough stuff sometimes, isn’t it?
I talk to women all over the country at conferences and different events where we are speaking. Many of my interactions are with homeschool moms. It is amazing how many men we have met over the years that feel like their wives do not respect them. Most of the time, it’s simply because the wife has not verbalized to her husband how much she respects him, or she not said “thank you” to him for what he does for his family. Little things really do mean a lot.
When he makes a decision in the home, we demonstrate our respect by our response to that decision. If we roll our eyes or make fun (or whatever) it sends a message loud and clear. It is easy to respect him when he makes a decision that we approve of. It’s not so easy when they do something that we don’t approve of.
The truth is, our respect for him needs to be unconditional. I’m not saying that we respect something that is sinful, but we respect our husbands by honoring their decisions, by respecting the gifts and abilities that God has given them, and making sure they KNOW how much we respect them by verbally communicating that to them.
If you’re struggling with this area in your life, sit down for a few minutes and read Ephesians 5 again. Ask the Lord to show you what that looks like in your marriage.
Next time you feel irritated or upset and you want to get frustrated when your husband makes a decision (like not asking for directions or whatever your pet-peeve is) remind yourself that you are honoring God when you honor your husband.
Busy mom, respect your husband. There is a blessing to be found in doing things God’s way.