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The Respect Dare, Day 20 – Loving Our Husbands with a Sacrificial Love

Robertson McQuilkin
Robertson McQuilkin

booksPS – you can still read my posts even if you aren’t “officially” doing The Respect Dare.  The topics will still be extremely helpful for any wife – in my view!

DAY 20 of The Respect Dare

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

– Philippians 2:3-4


Robertson McQuilkin was the president of a Christian college here in my town of Columbia, SC for many years.  He and I go to the same church!  His wife developed Alzheimer’s and he quit his prestigious and important job to take care of her at home.

Here is an excerpt of his resignation letter to Columbia International University:

…recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just “discontent.” She is filled with fear—even terror—that she has lost me and always goes in search of me when I leave home. So it is clear to me that she needs me now, full-time…

The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel “in sickness and in health…till death do us part.” So, as I told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of her debt.

Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more: I love Muriel. She is a delight to me—her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of that wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. I don’t have to care for her. I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.

For more of his story, please read here. It is WELL WORTH your time!  Muriel has since died, and Robertson McQuilkin wrote a book about his time caring for his beloved wife, “A Promise Kept.”


I would like us to spend a moment examining our motives for WHY we do the things we do for our husbands.

God is VERY interested in motives.

  • If I do the wrong thing for the wrong reason – that is sin.

If I want to hurt my husband because I am hurt and feeling unloved, so I verbally emasculate him, tear him down and try to emotionally and spiritually attack and insult him – that is sin in God’s eyes.  I have definitely done that many times in those first 14.5 years of our marriage.  I feel hurt, so I want him to hurt.

Romans 12:17-21

  • If I do the wrong thing for the right reason – that is sin.

If I  want my husband to be “closer to God” so I try to verbally drag him to God, lecture him, nag him and scold him when he is not doing what I think God wants him to do – that is sin in God’s eyes.

I Peter 3:1-6

  • If I do the right thing for the wrong reason – that is sin.

If I clean the house, do the dishes, do the chores, learn to be a respectful wife, smile a lot at my husband, give him lots of compliments and try to meet all of his needs so that I can control him and make him love me the way I want him to – that is sin in God’s eyes.

Please catch this.  If I am serving and loving and being a “good wife” with “strings attached” that is sin.  It deeply grieves God’s heart  and – it repels and wounds our husbands.

In fact, it is probably better NOT to serve my husband at all than to serve him and “love” him with expectations that he better do “X” for me.  “He owes me.  Look at ALL I did for HIM!”

This is where many of us live.  This is where I lived before – all 3 of these sinful ways.  It is time to repent of anything that offends God and seek to do things His way alone.

Philippians 2:3-4 (at the top of this post)

  • If I do the right thing for the right reason – that pleases God.

If I desire to become a godly wife and to treat my husband respectfully and serve him sacrificially and humbly in order to please Jesus – THAT makes God smile.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6

So, I have to be VERY careful and check my motives OFTEN – and allow God to check my motives.

(Please keep in mind, husbands are called by God to do these same things – I am just not writing for husbands – but all of Scripture still applies to them, as well. They have even more accountability and responsibility before God than we do as wives.)


If I find that I have resentment/bitterness or disappointment in my husband – that is my BIG RED FLAG to see if I am making something more important to me than Jesus.  Am I trying to find contentment in how my husband treats me, or in having my needs met?  Am I trying to find my identity in feeling loved by my husband?

  •  Am I seeking to find contentment in anything other than Christ alone?

If I am, I get on my knees and ask God to forgive me and nail those sinful things to the cross.  Then I set my heart and mind and spiritual eyes on Jesus alone – and seeking to please Him.  I ask Him to weigh my motives and show me any ungodliness that I might be blind to.

THEN, and only then – I am ready to begin to love and serve my husband humbly and self-sacrificially.

  • I keep in mind that this life is SO FLEETING.  Today is a gift.  I have no idea how much time I have left with anyone I love.  I try to look at everything with the perspective of eternity.  In what will seem like just a few days, I am going to be standing before Jesus.


Have no expectations of your husband saying or doing anything for you.  Just seek to please Jesus by blessing and loving your husband well.  Jesus counts your behavior towards others (including your husband) as if you were doing those things for and to Him!!!!!!

If you begin to feel “used” or resentful – use this opportunity to think about the sacrificial love of Jesus.  He died for us when we were still His enemies.  The people He came to save not only did not recognize Him, thank Him or appreciate Him – they mocked, tortured and killed Him.

What if loving my husband without him thanking me gives me a glimpse into the sacrificial love of God for me?

– Nina Roesner, The respect Dare – Dare 20


Christianity Today Interviewed Robertson McQuilkin

How I Handle the Toilet Seat Being Left Up – and Other Quandaries.

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

To Speak or Not to Speak

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do.

14 thoughts on “The Respect Dare, Day 20 – Loving Our Husbands with a Sacrificial Love

  1. I do ok when things are going well. But when I’m tested, I fail miserably.

    This post contains two principles that I need to remember every moment – do it for Jesus and have no expectations!

    – To get him off my back
    – to feel that i am “good enough
    – so he will love me more
    – so I can feel self respect

    – to worship in Gods house and sing his praises
    – to understand forgiveness as Jesus forgave me
    – to have Christ as my focus and motivation

    It is a constant and conscious decision to focus on godly motives. I am still entranced with my own idols and motives. Sometimes seeing that my motives are impure is not enough. I choose to actively pray and read scriptures in order to train my brain to focus on godly things. It’s been hard cause there is so much immaturity.
    My selfish motives do out way the pure ones. But I’m trying real hard to change that. Every time I feel I’m getting closer to wisdom, something comes along and knocks me down a few pegs.
    Keeping my eyes on Jesus, each time helps me get back up. .

    I realise that I do have unrealistic expectations. Most recently I realised that my greatest expectation was that I was not good enough and that he would soon tire of me and leave. I have been waiting for this event for 17 1/2 years. Yet DH has remained loyal and true despite the hurtful things I’ve done to him. I don’t understand.
    In Deuteronomy God says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).
    So I’m gonna place my hope on that.

    Thank you April you are so encouraging. I appreciate your prayers and support.

    Much love Tam

    1. Tam,

      This is the kind of heart changing transformation God wants His children to have! 🙂

      It is PAINFUL and HARD. But this is exactly the stuff God wants us to see so He can change us. BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  3. Hi April,

    Good Sunday afternoon April. This is Missy Sue here. I just completed day 20 this week, I am about six weeks behind, but I am taking the Respect Dare at my own pace in hopes that I will glean more from it and really work carefully at applying the principles in my own heart. May God’s spirit guide me and lead me daintily and tenderly through the remaining 20 dares.

    I feel good to have gotten half way through Nina’s book. I was a wife whom from the beginning didn’t know if I had it in me to complete the dares, yet alone work on becoming a respectful wife.

    Dare 20 was a hard dare for me. I thought I was getting it, I wrote down four things that I wanted to do to show my hubby sacrificial love, and then I did some of those things.

    One of those things was to clean his bathroom (the downstairs bathroom that only he uses and calls “his throne room” jokingly). I braved this task and did it cheerfully and didn’t mind it. I had fun killing about six different spiders and cleaning the yucky “needed to be cleaned for the past two months!!!” bathroom. I did it without expecting anything in return and knowing that it needed to be done.

    The second thing I forget what it was now, but I did it, cheerfully and willingly.

    The third thing I wanted to do to show hubby love was to make him a big breakfast. My hubby likes eggs and sausage, biscuits and gravy, the works! The desire to make him this breakfast came from a heart that had wanted to make him a big breakfast since his birthday in May or since our anniversary in June. I gave him a raincheck and wanted to make it for him. So I bought the needed groceries.

    Hubby came home late from a baseball game that he went to with his work. He got home around 1:00 a.m. He woke up at 8:30 and didn’t fall back to sleep. I tried to be very quiet and to let him sleep. Once he came downstairs, I started making breakfast. I was discouraged since I couldn’t get our digital music player to play in the kitchen. I asked him for help but he didn’t know how to help me. So I ended up making the breakfast and sang some songs to worship God and to make my own joyful noise.

    So as I am making this breakfast my hubs is sitting down at the kitchen booth table. He is tired, drained, and is trying to communicate to me about the game. I was trying hard to listen to him and to finish things up.

    Well I got everything made and served up. And then came the sitting down at the table.

    And out came the junk (the sinful motives and attitude) that I didn’t know would come out.

    Before we prayed, I complained. I complained about the music player that I HAD WANTED him to fix so I COULD listen to music to get ME (or try to get us) in a better mood since I knew it would be a hard day to talking with hubby since he was out of it (ON top of working two 12 hour days previously during the week of overtime, which God so graciously allowed).

    Then I complained that my husband didn’t appreciate me. AND THE HEART OF THE MATTER WAS, I was complaining because I expected him to be SO APPRECIATIVE of the sacrificial act of love I was doing for him.

    We had a talk. I told him about my desire to be affirmed by words and appreciated. I told him my desire to be cherished and appreciated. BUT THE FACT WAS….

    That I guess I was stewing some of the time I was preparing the food, because I wanted so much to be appreciated while I was cooking. Just one comment.

    I expected my husband to react in a certain way, the way I thought he should. I wanted so much to make it perfect, but I was the one who made it hard.

    I know hubs would have said thank you, but I didn’t give him time to say anything. I just jumped in, critized him about the lack of fixing the music player, and then was drowned in my desire and need for appreciation.

    SO I ended up asking for forgiveness. He prayed for our food.

    Then I got overly emotional. I could only pray to God. Help me Jesus. I just wanted to please God. I just wanted to feel appreciated.

    Hubby said it would have been better that I hadn’t cooked the big breakfast if I was going to EXPECT HIM TO REACT IN a CERTAIN way at a CERTAIN point of time.

    So I was overcome by tears. Tears that knew I had sinned. Tears of my deep emotions and desire to be loved, cherished, appreciated, adored, but also tears of repentance. I completely understood what my husband was saying.

    I was being disrespectful by my expectations.

    Wanting his words of affirmation when I thought he should give them.

    Not waiting on hubby’s response time.

    Wanting hubby’s approval more than God’s approval.

    I did serve hubby with love. But it wasn’t a sacrificial perfect love like Jesus’. I wanted recognition, admiration, praise, and compliments at the right time, but Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross didn’t come with recognition, admiration, praise, and compliments. It came without any rewards. It came with humility and obedience. It came with a desire to please God and not man.

    That is where I failed. That is why I am writing this.

    To encourage those who have stories similiar to mine. To proclaim that Jesus forgave me of my selfish, changing motives for praise and recognition, and to give Him the glory for beginning to change my mindset.

    Thanks April for allowing me to share.

    1. Aww, Missy Sue!

      I can relate!!!!!!!

      I know that each wife on this journey has had days like this! Many days like this.

      I am glad you recognized what was going on and apologized! That is a big improvement!

      I wonder if you might allow me to share this as a post?

      I believe it would bless many other wives who are starting on this journey. 🙂

      THANK YOU for sharing your story!!!!!!!

      Sending you a huge hug!

  4. April,

    Thanks for your comments. I don’t mind you sharing this with other wives. 🙂 Thanks for allowing me to share my story.

    God bless you,

    Melissa Shova

    PS> Thanks for your huge AIR HUGS! They mean a lot to me. We can all use hugs. 🙂

Comments will be closed for Lent from 2-14-18 through 3-28-18.

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