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.
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.”
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.