However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)
Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God. They will see that you live holy lives and respect your husbands.1 Peter 3:1-2 (WE)
I imagine that at least some ladies think it was easy in Biblical times to do as the Bible directs wives to do and behave in the manner that was befitting a wife, perhaps because that was before feminism and bra burning and women’s liberation. Well, remember Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and that really is true. Human nature is what it is and has been from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and will be until the last mortal man and woman right up to the second coming of Christ and the new Heaven, new Earth and the New Jerusalem.
The Bible is for all Generation
If this didn’t need to be repeated for each generation, the admonishment of “wives respect your husbands” wouldn’t have been in the Bible in the first place. God’s thoughts are higher than ours; remember that God has seen all that will ever be done, and heard all that will ever be said for all eternity, and He has given His life instruction accordingly. The Bible came from God and holy men spoke as God directed (2 Peter 1:21). 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…”
Paul told us, and the Corinthians, that “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…” (1 Corinthians 10:11) So all that made it into the Book is as good today as the day it was written. And the instruction “wives respect your husbands” made it in at least twice. If you are not sure of the path God has laid for wives, turn to Him and His Word for guidance.
Respect, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person.” Think of someone you respect outside of your marriage such as a friend, parent, or a mentor. Now think about how you think of, but most of all, speak about this person when he or she is not in your company. What do you say to others about her? Do you respect his wishes when he is not around? Wives respect your husbands as much as, or more than, you do your friends. If the answer is no, and if you desire to be the woman and wife God made you to be go to the Lord in prayer. We don’t always understand how, but prayer changes things.
Respect Begins at Home
Let’s look at a scenario. If you are in a respected friend’s home but he is not there do you respect his belongings and the way he would want you to behave in his home, such as perhaps taking your shoes off or not eating and drinking in the living room?
How about a respected co-worker? If she is away from her desk, would you go through her drawers just to see what she might be hiding in her personal space? If you would honor another’s wishes in these scenarios, would you do the same for your husband? If you wouldn’t dream of violating the privacy or rules and/or wishes of another, shouldn’t you wives respect your husbands at least this much?
Respecting someone means behaving the same as you would in his presence as you do in his absence. Well, you might say, it’s only little things that don’t matter and they are silly things anyway, like turning all the lights off or keep the heat turned down. Leaving a light or two on or cutting up the furnace a degree or two won’t hurt him if he doesn’t know it, right? Solomon has an answer for us on this one as well. Song of Solomon 2:15 “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.” Again God’s Word gives us the answer by telling us wives are to be committed and submitted; not in bondage, but under the husband’s protection as God intends.
Build a Strong Marriage
A marriage built on God’s Word is a strong marriage. Wives respect your husbands because any disobedience, no matter how small is a building block in the wall between you and your husband. As a matter of fact, when we do these things it’s almost spiteful, yet when you think of your husband is that how you feel? Probably, not. Turn the tables; how would you feel in his shoes? If you found out that he deliberately went behind your back and did something he knew you wouldn’t like?
It’s childish and petty, but these types of things, minor disrespect, back door disobedience, this tit-for-tat back and forth is not how marriage should be, but wives go at husband bashing as if it is an Olympic sport. At some point, you need to step out of the loop and realize your loyalties are to your husband that you promised to love, honor and cherish all the days of your life. Not just when he’s around and not just when you feel like it. Wives, respect your husband, even when he is not there. The Bible promises both favor and protection for a Biblical marriage in the order He designed. Satan has twisted everything God has made to make wives feel the yoke of oppression where there once was the security of protection from her husband.