The Excellent Wife Lesson 37
Chapter Ten "Respect--The Wife's Reverence"
Respecting Your Husband: Biblical Principles J
The following is a summary adaptation of material from "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace. Taken from "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace, pp. 108-118. Copyright, 1999, Focus, Publishing, Bemidji, Minnesota. Used with permission for the purposes of this devotional series only. May not be reproduced or forwarded without the express consent of the publisher.
Last week we started studying the wife's responsibility from God's Word to show reverence to her husband. We were challenged to evaluate our words, actions, and even body language to see if we were conveying proper respect for our husbands.
This week we will study the five Biblical Principles that govern Respecting Your Husband.
1. The wife is to respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
This is NOT an option, but God's will for your life. The Amplified Bible gives us further insight into the meaning of this verse: "....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." What if you feel that your husband doesn't deserve respect? Does that let you off the hook in regards to this command? No, because....
2. The Wife Is To Respect His Position. I Corinthians 11:3
God is the one who made your husband the head of the family. Even though you may be smarter, wiser, or more gifted than your husband, you still need to respect the position that God has given him. Mrs. Peace says on pp 110 "If you husband is not a Christian, he is still to be respected because of his position....Your responsibility is to possibly 'win him without a word by (your) behavior (as his wife) as (he) observes your chaste and respectful behavior '(I Peter 3:1,2)....Don't preach to him, instead pray for him, enjoy him, love him, and show him respect. Take care in how you talk to him and about him. God is at work in the world to save sinners. It's critical that you follow God's commands and wait on His perfect timing."
3. The Wife Is To Behave In A Respectful Manner Proverbs 31:23
We can show our disrespect by making fun of our husbands, cutting them down, being sarcastic, impatient, short, irritated or even giving "looks that kill". We learned in our study in I Corinthians 13 that "love does not act unbecomingly". Be cautious of not only your words, but tone of voice and countenance when speaking to your husbands. They should be wholesome and edifying (Ephesian 4:29) and gentle and calm (Galatians 5:23). It would be helpful to you to ask your husband to hold you accountable for showing respect to him by pointing out those times when you use disrespectful words or tone. It might be embarrassing or humiliating but will reflect your level of maturity in committing to obey this command.
4. The Wife Is To Reprove Her Husband Respectfully Colossian 4:6
Refroofs are to be given with the motive of turning your husband back to a right relationship with God. Your husband will much more likely receive your reproof if it is done respectfully. You need to look at your husband's sin objectively, not dwell on the personal hurts. You are to respect your husband even when he sins and even when he is a failure. As important as Biblical reproof is, you need to show compassion and kindness. Your attitude will go a long way towards helping him begin to repent and to humble himself. On pp 114, Mrs. Peace tells us that, "Speaking kind, edifying words in a gentle tone of voice is a righteous way to show respect and love to your husband if he has sinned or failed in some area...If you are unkind and disrespectful, God can and will most likely put pressure on you to repent. If you do not, the consequences may be severe."
5. The Wife Who Is Disrepectful May Experience Severe Consequences Galatians 6:1
The most likely consequence of your disrespect will be that your husband will need to rebuke you because he has the same responsiblity before God to reprove you when you are sinning. Also your disrespect could hurt him, cause him to loose motivation to be the spiritual leader in the home and feel embarrassed or humiliated. Proverbs 12:4 says "a wife who shames him is as rottenness to his bones." Your disrespect could lead HIM to sin in feeling hurt, reacting sinfully by pouting, becoming embittered, angry, abusive or defensive. You are to respond to your husband "as is fitting in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18). Your sin of disrespect will also affect your children. They will likely also develop a lack of respect for their father. Your sin could also result in them feeling insecure and upset. You do not want to be responsible for causing your children to sin in honoring their father because they have seen this same example in you.
Now let's take a personal challenge. Below are listed some questions to ask yourself in assessing whether you are guilty of disrespect. Read them prayerfully and ask God to show you those things you need to work on. Perhaps you could even ask your husband to read them with you. He will likely give you a more honest assessment than you might give yourself. Let me add a caution here though. If your husband is not spiritually minded, you might not want to do this exercise with him. He might use it as opportunity to hurt or discourage you. Ask God to search your heart and "show any wicked way in me." Well, hang on, here goes:
Respecting Your Husband....A Self-Assessment
___1. Do you speak to your husband in a condescending "put down manner" ? Proverbs 21:19
___2. Do your treat your husband in private as respectfully as you do your pastor, your neighbor, or your friends in public? I Peter 2:17
___3. Does your countenance show your disrespect by angry looks, looks of disgust, crossed arms, etc? Genesis 4:6,7 ___4. Do you talk for your husband or interrupt him? I Corinthians 13:4,5
___5. Do you try to intimidate or bully your husband by making threats, verbally attacking him, crying, or in some other way manipulating him to have your way? Proverbs 14:1
___6. Do you bring up his shortcomings to others? Proverbs 31:23
___7. Do you inappropriately contradict him in front of other? Proverbs 31:12
___8. Do you compare him unfavorably with other men? Philippians 4:11
___9. Do you listen carefully to your husband's opinion, trying to understand him? James 1:19
___10. Do you respect his position in the home so much that he can depend on you to do as he asks even when he is not home? Proverbs 31:11
___11. Do your respect his requests by trying to do as he asks, even if it doesn't seem important to you? I Peter 3:5 ___12. Would your husband say that you have a meek and a quiet spirit? If you do, it will be apparent in how you treat him. I Peter 3:3,4
___13. Are you obeying God by being respectful to your husband? Ephesians 5:33
Wow, I would have to say that at one time or another in our married life I have done each of these things in not respecting my husband as God expects. I thank God that He is forgiving. We can ask His forgiveness and then ask the forgiveness of our husbands with the intent of being accountable for those things we are learning. Your husband doesn't have to earn your respect. God has already given that position to him. You need to CHOOSE to show him respect in obedience to God's command. Yes, we can do it because now as God's daughters we have new hearts that delight in obeying our Heavenly Father.
I am sorry this lesson is so long. I hope it has not become burdensome. I did try to condense it as much as possible without losing too much content. Please read the Scripture references along with each point. In our discussion this week perhaps we could take some of Mrs. Peace's questions to us and answer how we can practically apply those to our lives. I pray God is speaking to other hearts besides my own.
Dear Sister Pamm, reckon one reason you had surgery this month was because God wanted me to seriously study this lesson to apply to my own heart? Just hang a sign over my door that says, "needs improvement". A couple of weeks ago on my 42nd birthday my dear loved one wrote in my card that he thanked God for me and was "totally happy". Don't you think those words gave me an even GREATER desire to work on being an Excellent Wife?
"Please, Dear Father, forgive my sin in sometimes showing disrespect for my husband. Help me not to just shrug off this duty but to wholly embrace it. Let me be the example I need to be in front of my teenage daughters that if you one day give them mates, they will follow after your excellent way in marriage. Draw us all closer to our husbands as we draw close to You. Heal marriages that are hurting by your mercy and grace. Help us not to concentrate on the faults of our husbands, but instead search our own hearts for those things that don't reflect Your abiding presence in our lives. I ask this in Jesus' name and for your honor and glory. Amen".
Love, Sandra email@example.com