Originally posted 8-5-08 (edited at end)
I’ve been thinking alot lately about how my role in respecting my husband influences our whole family and those around us. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I feel so strongly about the significance of respect and forgiveness in marriage. It really does make a difference in yours and your children’s lives. Between life and tv/movies, I am grieved by the attitudes of people towards their spouse.
I was recently with some people and the wife completely embarrassed and tore down her husband right there in front of me. It was an unprovoked attack that left me very uncomfortable (as I’m sure he was too) so I stepped out of the room.
And there is nothing like the look on the face of a child whose parents are fighting. It breaks my heart. I’ve been there. I’ve been that child. It is a horrible feeling. Parents are a child’s security blanket, they need us to be stable and strong together. I don’t care how many of their friends parents divorce…it hurts a child to see Mom and Dad not getting along. It’s unsettling and it will show up in all different ways in their lives.
I know there are men who are very hard to respect. They don’t live honestly or respond to us lovingly, but we are called to be helpmates. We are called to honor their postition in the family.
Eph 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NIV
Notice there are no “ifs” in front of this verse. No “if” he deserves it. No “if” he is a Christian (or at least your version of one). No “if” he does all the things around the house that I’ve asked him to for 2 years!
NO. God made us a team. He wants us to live like a team…not like competitors. Seeing who can be right and how we can make our spouse look foolish and ourselves seem like the honorable one.
NO ONE wins that way.
Marriage is not a competition, it is a commitment.
A commitment to love. A commitment to care. A commitment to serve. A commitment to lift up. A commitment to uphold.
I guess what I am ranting about is…be thankful for the husband that God brought into your life. Whatever the situation that brought you together, God can make a beautiful thing out of your marriage if you let Him. However, He is going to require some things of you…#1- your life.
I’ve heard it said that many women who struggle with honoring and serving their husbands have to picture Jesus standing behind him and imagine they are serving their Savior instead.
I’ve been there, I understand that, and if that helps you through the bitterness, that is great. But I want to tell you that if you will lay down your life, truly forgive your husband and respect him…you will no longer need to have that picture in your mind.
I can remember praying after a much “heated discussion” with Mark early in our marriage. I prayed with tears in my eyes and anger in my heart- “God, I know I have to forgive but I don’t want to, he hurt me…he was wrong! God HOW can I forgive THAT?!!” The response came so quickly to my heart…forgive him like Jesus forgave. Then I thought of Jesus on that cross when He said…
Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” NIV
Ok….I said it in my heart…but what does that look like? How do I act when I get home? (I had left after our argument to go to the store). And His response to my heart was, if you will forgive him, you can go home and act as if you would if he had never said those things to you.
I have to tell you…our marriage was forever changed from that moment. It was not “happily ever after” but it was different. I was different and because I was different, he changed too.
There was no longer a power struggle in our home. We became partners and have been growing together as partners ever since. Making plenty of mistakes along the way…but with a commitment that is solid as the Rock it is built on.
I am incredibly thankful for my husband, he is my best friend.
EDITED TO ADD: In light of some recent conversations and questions I’ve been asked, I want to say something about women in ministry.
If God’s called you to minister, praise God. But don’t put that in front of your calling as a wife and mother- that would be rebellion. Make sure that your husband is in agreement and standing with you. You were created to be a helpmeet first.
I’m praying for our marriages, Sue