In my last article I wrote on the importance of a man loving his wife. This time around, I am writing on the importance of a woman respecting her husband. I cannot count all the times through the years I’ve heard women say things like, “I ain’t respecting my husband, he doesn’t deserve respect!” or all the times I’ve heard women belittle their husbands to others. A wife’s disrespect is just as injurious to a marriage as a husband’s lack of love and gentleness.
One of the grave misconceptions in our society, as noted by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in, Love and Respect, is that love is to be unconditional, whereas respect is to be earned. However, this view of respect (and honor) is not biblical. Followers of Christ are not to wait to show respect to others until they prove themselves to be worthy. Neither are Christians granted permission by God to withhold respect to those who are jerks. As difficult as this is, He calls us to a higher standard.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church … However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:25, 33
Just as a man is not told to love his wife along with the clause, “unless she is difficult or disrespectful,” neither is a woman commanded to respect her husband with an understanding “unless he is harsh or acting like an imbecile.”
Eggerichs is correct, generally speaking, when he notes that men and women desire both love and respect. However, where women tend to desire more to be loved, men desire more to be respected. To the Christian couple, these are not arbitrary commands; rather, a Christian marriage is to reflect the loving and glorious relationship between Christ and His church.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. ~ Ephesians 5:31-32
What an amazing way Christ loves, cherishes, nurtures, and protects His church. How repulsive when men mistreat their wives! What a glorious thing when the church honors Christ by respecting and yielding to Him. Yet, how revolting when women disrespect and resist their husbands at every turn.
The breakdown of every failed marriage is a result of persons disregarding the foundational importance of love and respect (or respect and love).