Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Respecting My Husband

For a marriage to be successful, the husband must feel respected and the wife must feel loved. This is wisdom that has become culturally accepted and touted by talk-show hosts and marriage counselors. However, in most of these instances, the one aspect the "experts" are missing is that this is a Biblical mandate (see Ephesians 5). It is a wonderful thing to see God's ideals for marriage cross over into the secular world. He created us, He knows what we need, His is the only true wisdom of the ages that really works.

It all makes perfect sense when you examine it. Men and women are different, and so of course we would need different things to satisfy us. And while that is all well and good on paper, let me just say that it can be awfully hard when put into practice.

I struggle with it as a wife, not because I would ever purposefully disrespect my husband, but because we both see things differently. (As we should. Because we are different.) Eric and I tend to be very similar-minded on most things, but we express them differently. Whereas he tends to know what to say in any given situation, I tend to live in a constant state of "at a loss for words." This does not serve me well. The end result is that I often come across as disrespectful when what I truly feel is the farthest thing from disrespect.

So this brings me to my point: if something that we say is received as disrespectful, does it really matter what our true intentions are? I am more and more coming to realize that no, it does not matter. What I say is not nearly as important as how it is interpreted. Unfortunately for me, who struggles with saying the right thing already, this puts even more pressure on me to examine the words that come out of my mouth before I actually speak them. But I realize it is something I need to overcome in order for my husband to truly feel respected by me.

If I say something in such a way that Eric takes offense and feels disrespected, I need to apologize for making him feel that way. It really is not my job then to defend my actions. It doesn't matter if that is not what I meant. What matters first and foremost is that I have said something that hurt my husband and I need to be accountable for that and make amends before I even think about myself. I've realized that I can come across as selfish when I defend myself first and apologize second. I am told by my Creator to respect my husband, not to make myself right and then respect my husband.

I want to share something from my journal back in 2004, shortly after we truly began this simple walk of living God's word. "Submission is difficult. I want to be submissive to Eric - to truly let him be my head, as God is his head. Our world has such a different standard though, and I have been such a child of the world and not of God for so long that it is hard to relinquish all of my worldly ways. Too many women's magazines and not enough Bible. Now I want to undue all of that. I want to know everything God prescribes for marriage. I want to change my mind. My heart is already in the right place but now I need to get my head in accordance with my heart. So, I am turning to prayer and God's word. There is no better book out there for this."

When I read that now I see just how far I have come, but also how far I still have to go. As wives, I believe it is important for us to continually re-examine our hearts and make sure they are lined up with God's standards. It is so easy to become stagnant in our way of doing things, especially as it relates to our husbands, that we may not be willing to take the time to either make the changes that need to be made or to even acknowledge that something is amiss.

I am learning to respect my husband in the way that he receives respect, although it is a sloooow process. (Just ask Eric, he'll vouch for me on that.) It is just yet another element of dying to self.

Graphic courtesy of allposters.com

3 comments:

Joy 11:48 PM  

Fantastic post, Kate. Wonderful, Biblical insights. Makes me really examine my own attitude about it.

Nancy 10:24 AM  

Very well written and definitely food for thought.

Niki 9:05 AM  

what an inspirational post..thanks!

:)

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