Before we focus on the subject of respect in marriage we should recognize the general loss of respect in society. In general, have you noticed how disrespectful people have become? One can hardly step out in public or turn on the television without witnessing acts of disrespect. It is easy to point out the behavior in others: the guy who cut you off on the freeway, the lady in line with "more than 10 items", the kid who ran across your flowerbed. Are you one who finds the behavior appalling?
If you find such behaviors appalling in others can we assume that you do not disrespect people around you? We do not appreciate disrespect of ourselves or of others. While we find it appalling in other we often feel helpless to change our own behavior. We may not even recognize the many ways in which we also are being disrespectful.
When it comes to respect and disrespect, we all want to change the world, but we are powerless to do so. We can, however, make changes in our little corners of the world; in ourselves and in our families.
Children are being raised without examples of respect that they can follow. We all know that children do as we do and not as we say. If we fail, as wives or as mothers, to respect our husbands we can expect nothing better from our children. If we do not model unconditional respect (for our husbands), our children will feel justified when disrespecting others who do not live up to their expectations. We will find ourselves with little justification for our dismay when they disrespect the rights of others. There will be no one to blame but ourselves.
Have you noticed the kids who dart across the street to greet a friend, seemingly oblivious to their impact on traffic? Have you heard the language used by teens in public spaces as if their elders had no ears? No matter how upsetting it is to witness, are you absolutely sure that you have set a better example of respect in all things?
Have you been heard demeaning your husband when he failed to live up to your expectations? When he failed to take the trash to the curb did you berate him because he deserved it? Do you roll your eyes when you disagree with him? Do you speak disrespectfully about him to your children or to others? Do you snap at him about his discarded dirty socks or because he hasn't mowed the lawn yet?
If it is difficult to examine your behavior without becoming defensive then try this. While watching network television, identify the times when one person disrespects another. Especially notice when the disrespect is that of a wife for her husband. You should quickly become of aware of the subtle ways our children are being taught. You might also notice that for a wife to disrespect her husband is society's "norm".
Once you can admit that you do, on occasion, outwardly disrespect your husband you are ready to effect a change. For many wives it has been difficult to know how to change. As women, it is hard to just turn it off! Exercising our quick wit and rolling our eyes has been our habit for as long as we can remember. God help us!
Seriously, God will help us. He has instructed us, as wives, to respect our husbands. (Ephesians 5:33b).
God did not say, "If the husband does well, the wife should respect him."
No, God expects the wife to respect her husband unconditionally. When He has asked us to do something, He will help if we will let Him. Successfully overcoming the insidious habit of disrespect is possible with God's help.
Remember that God loves your husband unconditionally. Commit to learning how to also respect your husband unconditionally and then tell him the truth. Tell your husband that you are learning to respect him unconditionally. If a conversation is uncomfortable, tell him in writing or give him a card that expresses exactly that.
When you respect him unconditionally, you are fulfilling your husband's deepest desire. To be respected is your husband's deepest desire.
TO READ THE MESSAGE FOR YOUR HUSBAND