As my title indicates, this week's chapter deals with the subject of respecting your husband. I love the chapter title, "Respect: A Wife's Reverence."
Recently my daughter was reading a book (I don't recall the title), sort of a "what-you-should-know-about-guys" book (of the appropriate variety-I assure you!) She told me that one of the things she thought was interesting was a poll among young men in which the majority of young men surveyed said they would rather be respected by a girl than loved by a girl. I don't know exactly what all of the implications of that are, or what point the book made about it, but that shows me that a man's need to be respected starts young. It is vital.
It is so vital, that by the time that young man grows up and has a wife, his wife is actually commanded to respect him. Ephesians 5:33 says,
"...let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."
Peace gives 5 biblical principles regarding this:
1. The wife is to respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
2. The wife is to respect his position. 1 Corinthians 11:3
3. The wife is to act in a respectful manner. Proverbs 31:23
4. The wife is to reprove her husband respectfully. Colossians 4:6
5. The wife who is disrespectful may experience severe consequences. Galatians 6:1
As I read over the above list, I realize that it sounds a bit textbooky, or even perhaps rigid or unpleasant. I hate to admit it, but there was a time early in my married life that if I had read a list like that I would have said "No WAY am I reading THAT book!" I am so thankful that by God's grace, His Biblical guidelines for my life and marriage no longer read in a distasteful way to me. I can see how His plan and His design are for my good and His glory. And I have seen the fruit of this in my own marriage.
As I read this chapter and saw how she expanded on the above five points, I was reminded again how blessed I truly am to be married to my precious husband. If you are reading this and you know my husband, you can probably imagine how easy it is for me to respect him. He is a very "respect-worthy" man. In fact, I would say that probably everyone who knows him respects him. But not everyone who knows him is commanded to respect him, as I am. And not everyone who knows and respects him has blown it in this area as much as I have! In fact, I'd feel better about how often I've blown it if he were a little more of a jerk.
Martha Peace doesn't mince words. That's why I like her. She says, "Respecting your husband is not an option for you if you want to be in God's will." Just how far out of God's will do you want to be? I know I don't want to be one millimeter out of it! So, what if, for the sake of argument, he *is* a jerk and not worthy of respect? She correctly reminds us that "The respect is to the position, not necessarily to the personality. It will also help you to remember that you yourself did not have even one favorable attribute or talent that God did not give you."
Since I've been typing this entire post with Aretha Franklin's song going through my head, I thought I would "spell out" some of Peace's points from this chapter. You can hum if you want to. :)
R- Respect is not an option if you want to be in God's will.
E- Edifying words, spoken kindly and in a gentle tone of voice, are a righteous way to show respect and love to your husband if he has sinned or failed in some area.
S- "Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness." (Proverbs 16:21)
P- Positionally he is in a place of respect. (1 Cor. 11:3)
E- Emotions need never cause you to sin... God will never "allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able..." (1 Cor. 10:13)
C- Children are told to honor their fathers... if you are disrespectful to your husband, your children will likely acquire the same attitude and you could cause them to stumble in this area.
T-Treating your husband with respect is not something that your husband must first earn, it is something that you choose to show him.
For an excellent chapter summary and more thoughts from other reading group members, visit Leslie at Light Came.