I think showing respect to our husband is an area that is hard to live out because so much of the culture around us tells us that we should only show respect if it’s deserved. Watch TV for five minutes and you will see husbands treated like they are stupid buffoons. They are portrayed as weak, spineless, and lack any kind of authority. It saddens me, and it has set an example for women to disrespect their husbands.
As I have taught the importance of respecting your husband, the comment I hear most often is, “What if He doesn’t deserve my respect?” My answer is always the same. I take them to 1 Peter 3:1 and 2 which says “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedience to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”
In what way was I to be respectful to my husband?
In order to understand the answer to that question I had to go back to Chapter 2. We are to show honor to all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king. (v17)
We are to be respectful to those over us regardless of their attitude toward us. Verse 18 says to be respectful to those who are unreasonable, not just to those we are good and gentle.
Wow, that’s a hard one! I mean it’s easy to show respect if someone is deserving but to show respect if they are undeserving! Why would God ask us to do that?
Verse 19 tells us why. “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”
So if I understand that correctly I find favor in the eyes of God when I do what is right regardless of how the other person might treat me. Whoa! Wait a minute! That’s just going to far! I mean the world tells me I have a “right” to be pursue happiness. I have a “right” to live in comfort. I don’t have to suffer under harsh treatment from anyone. So why would God tell me to do something that is just too difficult?
Why? Because as Christ followers we have been called to suffer as Christ suffered. Jesus left us an example to follow. He suffered unjustly when He was ridiculed, reviled, and put to death for our sins. And in the midst of it all He uttered no threats, He kept silent.
I remember asking the question as I read, how can I keep silent through suffering? How can I be chaste and respectful in the midst of suffering at the hands of others? 1 Peter gives us the answer in the last part of verse 23, I am to keep entrusting myself to Him who judges righteously.
So how can I possibly show respect “in the same way” to my husband even if he doesn’t deserve my respect? I am to follow the example that Christ set. I am to live a life of obedience to God and entrust my life to Him. I am to allow God to work in the life of my husband without me trying to be his holy spirit.
Ladies I know this can be a hard one. I learned early in our marriage that my role is not to try and “convict” my husband of anything. I don’t always know what is right, even on those times I am convinced I am! I am called to be obedient to Christ. To live a life of respect to all those God has placed in my life. I can do this because I follow the example of Christ.
In light of what I’ve shared I would like to ask all of us to reflection on a few questions…
Is it ever okay to be disrespectful toward our husbands?
It is ever okay to get caught up in “husband bashing”?
Do I find myself talking negatively about my husband in front of others or my children?
Do my words lift him up or tear him down?
What about my attitude when speaking with him? Does my voice tones also show respect?
Prayer: Father we come to you today and confess that there are times we may have been disrespectful toward our husbands in word and by our actions. Forgive us and help us to show them the proper respect whether or not we think they deserve it. Help us to be obedient in this area out of our desire to please You and do what is right according to Your word. Amen
Photo courtesy by David Castillo Dominici, at freedigitalphotos.com