Husbands desire to be respected, but wives do also. If you are a husband, does your wife feel respected by your actions?
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (I Peter 2:17) NKJV
The general admonition to honor all people—to value and treat everyone with respect—is not a difficult concept to understand. But how easy is it to pass over this instruction without a single thought of one’s wife? Over the course of centuries, the Christian church has somehow made much of a wife’s duty to respect her husband, while at the same time focusing little on a husband’s equal duty to treat his wife with honor and respect.
A wife who is genuinely respected is a wife whose heart is open and ungrudging to the leadership of her husband. Conversely, a man who doesn’t respect his wife is in the process of destroying his marriage. It really is that simple.
There can be no true, wholesome oneness or love in a marriage without mutual respect. And it’s not just a practical reality; it’s a biblical imperative.
When a husband takes the time to consider his responsibility (and beautiful opportunity) to treat his wife with respect, suddenly every verbal and nonverbal interaction takes on the potential for immense positive power in the marriage.
Mutual respect is at the very heart of unity in your home. And the power of this wisdom, missed by so many, can be deployed in a moment by your kind, respect-filled conversation and your consideration of your wife’s thoughts, ideas, opinions, and needs.
Communicating Respect to Your Wife
Communicating respect to your wife is not difficult but neither does it happen without purpose and intention. It’s natural to think of respecting others in terms of the ways and categories that cause you to feel respected. It’s here where the careful consideration of your wife is needed. Have you taken the time to think about how she may be very different from you? In many cases, feeling respected is as straightforward as believing you have been genuinely heard and your perspective valued.
Yes, you need to have your wife’s respect, but she has a need to be respected by you as well.
If we are to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in 1 Peter 2:17, the “honor all people” inclusiveness of this teaching must begin with the closest relationship you have this side of heaven. It’s not just about respecting all the people you may encounter “out there.” It’s about—especially about—the woman at your side, who has not only a deep need but the biblically sanctioned right to be honored and respected by you.
Ask your wife these questions:
- Do you feel respected by me?
- Can you think of an experience in which I made you feel honored and respected?
- What can I do to contribute to your sense that I have a deep respect for you?
Establish your mindset: Cultivating respect in marriage is accomplished by seeking out your wife’s thoughts, perspectives, and opinions instead of unilaterally making decisions that affect her and/or your family. A respected wife knows her husband genuinely cares about her perspective, her preferences, and her desires.
This week, purpose to seek her out on these matters and tell her, directly, that you have a deep, abiding respect for her.
Another way to make your wife feel respected is by following through, following up, and taking action after she has made a desire known or requested that something be done or changed.
God my Father, I desire to grow and mature as a loving, godly husband. I know my wife has a need to be respected in our relationship. Please help me to understand my wife’s heart so I can truly seek and value her perspective. Help me to have Your perspective on my wife—that she is Your gift to me and that You have uniquely equipped her to be a blessing in my life. This week, I purpose to walk in obedience with 1 Peter 2:17, starting in our home, with our marriage. I ask Your blessing on our marriage this week as I seek to communicate respect to my wife. In Jesus’s name, amen.
*This is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released marriage devotional, Loving Your Wife Well, by Matt Jacobson
A 52-Week Devotional for the Deeper, Richer Marriage You Desire
An intimate, loving marriage is so much closer than you think
Imagine if, at the end of the year, despite your busy schedules and all the demands on your time and attention, you and your husband were more in sync, more connected, and more in love than ever before. Sounds amazing, right?
That kind of marriage is what is waiting for you as you read through the fifty-two weekly devotions in Loving Your Husband Well. Each entry includes a specific theme, related Scripture, a powerful devotion, thoughts for further reflection, practical ideas, and a prayer, all designed to help you love, cherish, and serve the man who shares life’s journey with you.