33, However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Reflection On This Scripture
Paul finalizes his section on wives and husband by once again exhorting the men to love their wives as himself but this time he adds, “let each one of you love his wife as himself,” meaning Paul is talking to every man in the congregation who is married. There are no exceptions! Paul then adds a new exhortation to the wives by saying, “and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” This is a new exhortation that Paul introduces and it also applies to every woman in the congregation.
Every woman is to respect her husband. This means she recognizes his headship. She understands the role that God gave him and willingly submits to his headship. Men and women are wired differently, so we must understand what respect means to a husband. This does not mean that men are to not respect their wives, and I would argue that respecting your wife is to love her as Christ loved the church, that is, taking your leadership role in your home. Respect for a husband from a woman would then be submission to his headship. As stated earlier, men and women are wired differently. Men are generally wired to want love to be shown to them in sexual intimacy. Women are generally wired to want love to be shown in loving acts and words that lead to sexual intimacy. That is not to say that women do not feel love in the act of sexual intimacy, nor that men do not feel love in loving acts and words that lead to sexual intimacy. This is to show that we perceive love and respect differently.
Men are also wired to be the leaders of their homes. That is how God designed it. And so when a wife does not respect her husband by submitting to his headship, he will either become an aggressive tyrant or a passive child. He will want to dominate his wife and force her to obey his commands, or he will sit on a couch playing video games or watching football the entire weekend instead of leading his wife and children in humble service. Women can help their man be a godly leader by respecting him. Lindsay Holcomb, a deacon at Mars Hill Church wrote a blog giving women pointers on how to respect their husbands. She lists 12 ways to respect your husband. This may seem overwhelming but it is very practical and helpful.
1. Tell him you respect him. Be specific about what you respect.
2. Apologize when you’re wrong. Expect him to apologize when he’s wrong.
3. Ask his opinion. Include him in your decisions and thoughts.
4. Pray earnestly for your husband. Some may be prone to instruct, and it can become nagging when it gets to a certain point.
5. Speak kindly and lovingly of your husband in front of family, kids, and friends.
6. Affirm every good thing that you see about him. Be verbally affirming of the work of grace in your husband’s life.
7. Listen to him—don’t dismiss him.
8. Be aware of the power of the tongue: ladies, we can be passive aggressive, snippy, sarcastic, and make snide remarks and criticize.
9. Have high expectations of him. God does, and so should you.
10. Let him know what you’re thinking and feeling. This fosters trust and healthy communication.
11. Ask God to show you how to care for and love your husband well.
12. Be honest and repent to God and your husband if you don’t respect him. And ask God to cultivate the fruit of the spirit in your life.
Women, you have a very difficult task in submitting to your husband, but you are not left alone to do it on your own. Your divine call to submission is not given without the power to carry it out from God. Begin to practice these steps in your home and you will begin to see your husband take the loving role of the head of your home more enthusiastically. If you respect his leadership he will naturally want to serve, protect and provide for you and your children. He will step up to the role because you recognize his role as the head. Let your man lead and trust God that his design for roles in marriages IS far better than our presuppositions. Let your children know that he is their head and that they are not to come to mom for second opinions. Fathers, when your children come to you for a second opinion remind them that you and your wife are one and her decision is as good as yours. Wives, let him take control in the discipline of the children.
It is my hope and prayer that this week’s devotionals have dispelled distortions of the roles of marriage that beset our culture in the world and in the church, and that the beautiful truths of God’s Word shined and transformed your minds, so that your marriage may first and foremost display the glory of the covenant between Christ and his church above anything else.
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