The Importance of a Woman Respecting Her Husband

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).

The Importance of a Man Loving His Wife

In the outcry against sins of society, a Christian man can neglect to decry his own sin in his own home—namely, the sin of neglecting to love his wife as Christ loves His church (which a number of other sins can be attached to this: pride, anger, harshness, sexual withholding or abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, etc.).

Too many Christian men have perverted the passage that reads, “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” (Eph. 5:22-23), meanwhile totally ignoring the command just a few verses later:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. ~ Ephesians 5:25, 28-29 (ESV)

Regardless if a man is a simple layperson or a preacher with theologically solid and polished sermons, he can give a thousand and one reasons why he might disrespect and mistreat his wife, all of these reasons are inexcusable before the Lord who calls him to love his wife and honor his vows to her (before Him and witnesses).

Does a man think the Lord ignores or treats flippantly a man treating his wife poorly? The apostle writes,

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. ~ 1 Peter 3:7

Understand, the Bible is not at all saying the woman is lesser or inferior. In fact, her qualities are to compliment the man’s, just as his are to compliment the woman’s. A man is to love, nourish, cherish, and honor his wife. To neglect these is to both neglect himself and have his prayers hindered. As Christian men decrying the sins and corruption of society, may we also be all the more vigilant in decrying any sin of our own where we might be dishonoring, harsh, and demeaning to our wives. God is just as condemning of these as He is of any sin we might cry out against in society.