R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or The Wife’s Reverence)


It’s time for another discussion of The Excellent Wife. Chapter 10 is all about a wife respecting her husband. You know, it’s really all about a wife obeying her Lord. All of God’s commands are holy, righteous and good. If He says that a wife is to respect her husband, then there is a holy, right and good reason for it. It’s my responsibility to obey.

Once again, Martha Peace presents the pertinent scriptures and follows them up with some encouragement to obey the Lord.

Summary

Scripture provides both positive and negative examples of wives who did and didn’t respect their husbands. Peace mentions a few of them. Making the list of wives we do not want to emulate are Mrs. Job and Michal, wife of King David. On the positive side, Peace mentions Bathsheba (let’s not talk about what happened with her first husband), Queen Esther, and Sarah.

We know that Sarah was not always respectful to Abraham. She got her own way a couple of times, however, she learned to honor and obey him, and Peter holds her up as a good example of a godly wife.

The verse used most often in this chapter is Ephesians 5:33, “let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Peace organized this chapter around five biblical principles for why a wife ought to obey God and respect her husband.

The wife is to respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
Demonstrating respect to our husbands is not an option. It is a command from God to wives. I appreciated the verse from The Amplified Bible, “let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband — that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him, and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.”

The wife is to respect his position. 1 Corinthians 11:3
God has put us all in our places for a reason. He likes order. The husband is the head of the wife. The wife is not the head of the husband. By virtue of his God-given position in the marriage relationship, he deserves respect. “This respect is not only an outward show, but also in inward heart’s attitude of obedience to God.”

Peace also discusses several instances in which a wife may be tempted to be disrespectful to her husband. Be aware of these and rely on God for grace to obey His word.

The wife is to act in a respectful manner. Proverbs 31:23
Just as we can choose to demonstrate love when we don’t feel especially loving, we can choose to be respectful when we don’t feel like it. Christ will provide the help we need if we will humble ourselves and ask for it. He can help with the tones of our voices, and he can help with our facial expressions (Psalm 42:11).

And if we are really serious about obeying God by respecting our husbands, then we can ask our husbands to hold us accountable. “How willing you are to let your husband help you in this way will reflect your level of maturity and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting to accountability may occasionally be embarrassing or even humiliating. But, do not forget that God gives grace to the humble.”

The wife is to reprove her husband respectfully. Colossians 4:6
It’s hard enough delivering a biblical reproof, but we wives need to take extra care when we offer one to our husbands. Another important point in this section is that wives are to show respect even when our husbands sin and fail.

The wife who is disrespectful may experience severe consequences. Galatians 6:1
The consequences Peace mentions are: your husband may rebuke you, he may feel hurt, he may lose motivation to be your spiritual leader, he may allow himself to be paralyzed from taking responsibility for the leadership of the family, he may feel embarrassed or humiliated, the children will learn to be disrespectful, your disrespect may cause your husband to sin, it may cause the children to feel upset or insecure.

Peace ends the chapter with a helpful, 13-point assessment.

I think this quote is worth mentioning: “Circumstances come and go, husbands succeed and fail, some merit respect and others do not, but whatever your situation, you can by an act of your will show biblical respect to your husband and show love to God in the process.”

My Thoughts

Once again, I am challenged. I am also very thankful that God commands that we only take one husband. I have a hard enough time with the one; I can’t imagine having more than one.

Respect has been an issue for me. My mother hates men. And because she blames her ex-husband (my dad) for all of her misery, I grew up listening to a hefty amount of man-bashing. I absorbed a lot of it and treated the guys in my life accordingly.

At the same time, however, God placed men in my life who were good men. Men who did not fit the mold that Mom tried to put all men in. So, while I thought to myself that I would never marry, I did know some men who made me think that if I ever did marry, then it would be to one like them.

The ability to demonstrate respect to my husband just because of his God-given position is something God has worked in me as my mind has been renewed by His word. Otherwise, I would only show respect when I thought he deserved it. I still have moments when I want to assert myself and demand my “rights,” but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be. When I sin in that way, there is grace for that, too. I know there isn’t anything I could do that my husband will not forgive. I don’t take advantage of his grace, but when I mess up I don’t have to wonder if he’ll forgive and accept me.

Peace recommends asking your husband to hold you accountable for showing respect. I haven’t ever asked Karl to do that for me. He just does it anyway. He knows what the Bible says about husbands and wives. And there may have been one time that he had to tell me that he doesn’t appreciate coming home to disrespect after he’s been at his office all day and not received an ounce of disrespect. He knows how this godly family thing is supposed to look, and it should be better than what he gets at work. He has this look that he gives me. And really it’s something that I only see when I’m stepping out of line when the kids are around. His eyes get really big and he stares at me as if to say, “What do you think you’re doing?” So, I guess that’s kind of like accountability. He likes for me to apologize in front of the kids, too. Blech, humble pie is not tasty.

Last night I asked him to read this chapter and consider my attitudes and behaviors as he read the assessment at the end. When he finished, I asked him what he thought; if he thought I was guilty of those things. He said, “I couldn’t think of anything.”

Now if that isn’t the grace of God coming through my husband, I don’t know what is.

And instead of refreshing his memory, I just gave him a kiss.

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. Today is my anniversary. I’ve been happily married for ten years. TEN YEARS! My parents didn’t make it happily this long. Though the divorce was not final, they were already split by this time. This is huge for me. I don’t beg for comments, but I’ve noticed that on special occasions that it’s perfectly normal for a blogger to beg for comments. Please delurk in honor of my anniversary.

Oh, yeah, it’s my blog anniversary, too. That’s another reason to delurk!

It’s Your Turn

Keep reading! Click for Chapter 11.

17 Comments on “R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or The Wife’s Reverence)

  1. “And instead of refreshing his memory, I just gave him a kiss.”A great way to kick off another year, in my opinion! Happy, happy anniversary!!This chapter challenged me, too. No surprise, this book is one big bundle-o-challenges for me, and I’m SO glad to be going through it again and reading your (and others’) thoughts.

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  2. hello…my post is up…I will be back later to read…thanks-Adzele

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  3. Well then! Double congratulations to you! Double digit on the happily married is an especially big deal.

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  4. Happy 10 year Anniversary! Happy Blogiversary too – your blog has been an encouragement to me so many times and I am thankful for you.

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  5. Happy Anniversary! We share the same day. Its a great time of year to celebrate, whatever you end up doing to mark the occasion.My post is nearly completed…I’ll have it up tomorrow.Congrats!

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  6. #1 Happy Anniversary. It’s also Lisa’s at ‘Blessed’ as well. She is my sister and they are 14 years today.#2 Great chapter summary. Your husbad is too sweet. I also LOVED the quote about circumstances changing, sometimes he doesn’t deserve it, but it is an act of our will.

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  7. Thanks be to God for His blessing over the past ten years of your marriage, and may He continue to bless you together and use your union for His purpose and glory!And may He continue to shine His light through you via this blog. Grace and peace to you, Leslie!

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  8. Congratulations on 10 years! My 10th anniversary is in January. It’s definitely something to be celebrated. I hope you have a wonderful day.PS. Sorry about deleted comment – realised there were too many typos…

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  9. Happy 10th Anniversary! A happy marriage for a decade is no small feat. I hope you and your husband find a special way to celebrate.And happy Blogiversary! I don’t often comment here, but I am always out there reading away in Google Reader.

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  10. Great post Leslie, so true when you said “its really about obeying her Lord.”Happy Wedding Anniversary! I hope you get a chance to do something special together in celebration!

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  11. Happy Anniversary! We celebrate 10 years in July too – coming from a divorced family it is a BIG deal for me too and something I am so proud of. I am so grateful for God’s grace to me in this area.

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  12. Happy Anniversary…congratulations on your blog also..it is a great testimony.

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  13. Happy anniversary, Leslie & Karl! God bless you both! I’m so glad you are my brother and sister in Christ.See you soon!!!Heather =)

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  14. Ahhhhhh!!!! Happy 10th anniversary! : ) AMAZING and full of GRACE! We just celebrated our 5th, and that is amazing to me! I pray the Lord gives us 10 years of breath so that we can have 10 more years of marriage, by His grace!!! What a beautiful testimony, sister!! You are, indeed, breaking the generational sin of disrespect, and giving your children one of respect and trusting in our Lord!! What a beautiful thing, indeed!!!I loved all you shared! I am encouraged that your husband couldn’t think of anything at 10 yrs (what a sweet picture of God’s heart of us)! Maybe…..by grace!!!….at 10 Jason will say the same!! : ) But if not…like you said, there’s nothing that Jason wouldn’t forgive me of, so I can rest in God’s grace and sufficiency for our marriage even when there is sin!!

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  15. Happy Happy Late Anniversary!!! So many sweet wonderful blessings lie ahead :)Your blog is such a special place for me to visit and has been an encouragement on so many occasions. I am fortunate to call you a friend and look forward to the day we meet face-to-face.Congrats Leslie! Keep up the great work writing out those fabulous thought provoking posts. You make me think and point to Christ when my heart and soul are weary.Blessings!(thank you for that precious & sweet comment on my blog today…you have no idea….it brought tears to my eyes)

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  16. “I am also very thankful that God commands that we only take one husband. I have a hard enough time with the one; I can’t imagine having more than one.”Woman, you are too funny! Congrats on the anniversaries! I’m late on the Excellent Wife post – as usual. Still working on it.

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