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He Doesn’t Deserve My Respect.

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We continue our series this week into FAQs.  If you have a question that I have not addressed, please let me know! 🙂

  • This seems like more than I can handle (part 1)
  • When do I get to the “peaceful” part? (part 1)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice in my marriage. (part 2)
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (part 2)
  • I feel so lonely. (part 3)
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all. (part 3)
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.   (part 4)
  • Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (part 4)
  • But I’m right! (part 5)
  • I’m so scared to give up control!  I should be in charge. Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge! (part 5)
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect!
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage.
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)

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11. He Doesn’t Deserve My Respect

The world says, “Respect must be earned.”

There is a lot of truth to that statement.  In business, at school, in the neighborhood and in the world, men and women do have to earn the respect of others.

But what about in marriage?

God gives specific commands to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33.

  • He commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it.
  • He commands wives to respect their husbands and to submit to their husbands as to the Lord.

These commands to husbands to love and to wives  to respect are unconditional and completely independent of each other.

  • God does not say, “Husbands, love your wives IF they are respectful or IF you think they deserve love.”  It is just, “Husbands, each of you must love his wife as he loves himself…”
  • God does not say, “Wives, respect your husbands IF they deserve respect in your opinion.” or “Respect your husbands when they are respectable.”  It is simply, “the wife must respect her husband.”
  • The submission command does have a caveat “in the Lord” –  which Greg and I believe to mean that if a husband asks a wife to clearly violate God’s Word, she must obey God rather than her husband.  (Spiritual Authority)

In marriage and as believers in Christ – we do not treat our spouse with love or respect because they “deserve” it.  We treat people with love and respect because of the Spirit of Christ living in us and because JESUS CHRIST DESERVES it.  Obeying Him is not optional.  He is LORD.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25

Jesus goes on to say, “Whatever you did NOT do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did NOT do for me.”  Jesus counts everything we do for other people, including our spouses, as if we were doing those things for HIM.

  • This doesn’t mean we must respect sin or condone sin or follow our husbands into sin.

Check out this post about Spiritual Authority, Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband is Always Right and When My Spouse is Wrong for more on these topics.

GOD COMMANDS US TO RESPECT OUR HUSBANDS NOT BECAUSE OUR HUSBANDS “DESERVE” OUR RESPECT EVERY MOMENT BUT BECAUSE:

  • God deserves our respect, obedience, submission and reverence.  He is our LORD.  We do not look Jesus Who died for us in the face and say, “No, Lord.  I refuse to obey You.”
  • People in positions of God-given authority need respect from those they lead in order for them to be able to lead. God commands all believers to submit to and respect those in God-given authority over us in the government, at work, in church and in the home.  Romans 13, I Peter 2
  • God has wisdom.  He designed marriage.  He knows what makes it work.
  • The same God who said wives need their husbands’ love also said husbands need their wives’ respect.  I know we don’t want to throw out God’s commands for our husbands to love us!  God understands what men and women need in marriage.
  • Our husbands NEED our respect if they are ever going to be able to become the men God desires them to be.  Our respect and willingness to follow their leadership are necessary ingredients for them to hear God’s voice and become godly men.
  • Our disrespect and control could easily crush our husbands’ souls, paralyze them spiritually and stunt their spiritual growth.  My disrespect and control certainly deeply wounded my husband in these ways.
  • Our disrespect and control make it very difficult for our husbands to hear and obey the voice of God themselves. (I Peter 3:1-6)  Then our husbands are focused on our voice and our sin instead of God’s voice.
  • Our respect for our husbands and our willingness to honor their leadership are necessary for a healthy marriage according to God’s wisdom and His design. (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3:1-6)
  • Our respect for our husbands and biblical submission to them (unless they ask us to clearly sin) demonstrates to our children and the world what our relationship with Christ should look like, it is a witness for the gospel of Christ.
  • Our disrespect of our husbands and our usurping their control maligns the gospel of Christ (Titus 2:5).
  • God wants our children to respect their fathers and mothers and all of those in God-given authority over them.  If we don’t respect their dad, they won’t respect him either – or anyone else in authority over them. (Spiritual Authority)
  • God wants our children to have an accurate picture of God.  Children receive their first understanding and primary experience of who God is through their fathers.  If we as mothers destroy our children’s respect for their fathers, we also easily destroy their reverence for and respect for and understanding of God. (Spiritual Authority)
  • God gives us people in positions of spiritual authority over us to bless us, protect us, provide for us and guide us into His will. (Spiritual Authority)

BUT MY HUSBAND IS SINNING

God does not call us to respect our husband’s pornography addiction, alcoholism, gambling, flirting with other women, greed, idolatry, unloving behavior, lust, affairs or sin.

I have seen wives attempt to respect their husbands when they brought home women off of the street took them to their bedroom while she was home.  No!  No!  That is taking “respecting our husbands” WAY TOO FAR.

A wife in that position needs to do a lot of praying and probably needs  to say something like, “This is not ok at all.  You are breaking our marriage covenant.  Adultery is wrong.  I can’t stay here if you are going to do this.”  She doesn’t have to scream and cuss at him to do this.  And then she probably needs to leave or ask him to leave and they should be separated until the husband clearly repents, is willing to rebuild trust, be accountable and transparent and receive godly counsel.  I personally vote to have him tested for STDs as well before a wife would even consider being intimate with him again.  (Keep in mind that it takes 6 months after the last sexual encounter before HIV/AIDS would show up in a test – but he could be contagious way before the test would show positive.)

Now – let’s talk about less severe situations…

  • We can respect our husbands for their position in the marriage even when their behavior is wrong.

This is similar to the way that people in the military are taught to “respect the uniform.”  And it is similar to the way we as believers are to respect those in authority over us in the government and the church whether we agree with them or not and whether we voted for them or not.  It is not right for us as believers to slander or disrespect our leaders.  God commands us to show them proper respect.

  • Then there is also the aspect that we purposely look for the good in our husbands that we can genuinely respect.
  • We may need to respectfully, carefully, gently, prayerfully confront our husbands’ sin – just like members of a church may have to gently, prayerfully, respectfully confront a pastor who has fallen into sin.

We may have to say how much his sin hurts us.  We may have to give boundaries and consequences for serious issues – always with an eye toward praying for eventual reconciliation for our husband with Christ and for our marriage if at all possible and for God’s will and His glory. (Some passages that deal with confronting a fellow believer’s sin are found in Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:14-16)

We will be called upon often in marriage to give overwhelming and undeserved grace, forgiveness and mercy.  If trust has been broken – it must be rebuilt.  There may need to be boundaries and consequences for certain sins – with prayer for our husbands to be reconciled to Christ and for healing so our marriage will glorify God.

Our husbands are still sinners – just like we are.  None of us are “better than” anyone else.  We are all on level ground at the foot of the cross.  Our husbands need Jesus’ grace, mercy, blood and forgiveness just as much as all of us do.  We can approach them as if we are on their team and to face and tackle the sin together with the power of God.

Our husbands WILL sin against God and against us at times – and we will sin against them and against God, too, at times.  God can give us the power and strength of His Spirit for us not to respond to their sin with sin of our own.  He may use us to gently restore our husbands into right relationship with Himself and with us.

  • There are times when separation may be necessary if our husbands refuse to repent or get the godly counsel they need.  Sometimes that is the only thing that might wake them up.  Sometimes we may have to remove ourselves and our children from  dangerous or very ungodly situations.

**  If you are dealing with very serious issues in your marriage – please seek godly, wise counsel and get the appropriate help!  If there is severe emotional/spiritual abuse or physical abuse, addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, severe spiritual problems – please find  godly counsel and the help you and your husband need.

  • Celebrate Recovery – a Christian program for drug addiction
  • AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • The Salvation Army – has Christ-centered programs to help people with drug/alcohol addictions and may have resources for abused wives
  • There are women’s shelters, I know there is one in our area named Sister Care – for abused wives
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Al-Anon – for spouses of alcoholics

12. My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage.

Sometimes we as wives THINK we know that our husbands feel like this.  Some of us may be right.  But – many of us who believe this is true – are actually wrong.  I sure was!

I was convinced my husband didn’t love me and was far from God and didn’t care if I was there or not.

  • I was wrong – about so many things!

I didn’t understand his heart.  I assumed a lot of evil motives where there were no evil motives.  I didn’t “get” how men think, feel and process emotions.  I expected Greg to be exactly like me.  He’s NOT!  That is a good thing. 🙂  He did love me.  But he shut down his heart to protect himself from my verbal attacks, disrespect and control.  I interpreted that to mean he didn’t love me.  He was actually just trying to protect himself from me.

Thankfully, even if your husband truly doesn’t love you and is not on board with working on the marriage – that is not a problem for God!

It only takes ONE spouse to have faith in God, to obey Him, to live in the power of His Spirit to open up the flood gates of heaven to pour in the healing power of God into the marriage and into the other spouse.  I have seen God do MANY, MANY miracles in situations like these.

When God is your partner – nothing and no one can stop Him.  Nothing can thwart His plans.  Nothing can take you out of His sovereign hands.  God is able to change people in ways we never could.  God can bring your husband’s heart back to Himself and back to you.  He may want to change you first – to get you out of His way so He can reach your husband.  That’s ok!  God can change people’s feelings.  He can change their convictions.  He holds your husband’s heart in his hand and can change his mind.

So – I am not really worried if your husband isn’t on board.  If he is involved in serious sin – I would encourage you to find appropriate,  godly help.  But if he is shut down emotionally, seems far from God, doesn’t want to touch you or talk to you – that is not a big deal when God is involved.  What I am most concerned about is if you are on board with God.  He is the power source.  If something is His will – that is the important thing!

God loves marriage.  It is a picture of the profound mystery between Christ and the church.  He intends to use our marriages to draw people to Himself.  God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:10-16)

Seek God’s will and His glory with all your heart for your life and your marriage.

  • More than seeking reconciliation for your marriage – seek to please and honor Christ in everything!  If your husband is not a believer, seek to pray for his salvation even if the marriage does not recover.

It is my prayer that God might heal you, your husband and your marriage.  But most of all I pray for God’s greatest glory in your lives.

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RELATED:

What is Respect in Marriage – husbands share what is respectful to them

Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them

I have Youtube videos if you are interested:

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve MY Respect!

My Respect for My Husband Has Nothing to Do With Him and Everything to Do with My Relationship with Christ

29 thoughts on “He Doesn’t Deserve My Respect.

  1. Reblogged this on Simple Musings of a Pastor's Wife and commented:
    This sweet lady has some amazing thoughts and I have enjoyed conversing with her via the internet. I’m sharing this today because I was struck by the concept that my husband qualifies as “one of the least of these.” Now, the word “least” has nothing to do with my husband at all. But the Bible says that my treatment of others – including my husband – reflects my attitude toward God.

  2. Love this post! So, so, so, so, so, true.

    Funny, I often will ask our children, “Does the Bible say ‘Be kind and loving to one another UNLESS ABC?’ ” or “Does the Bible say, ‘Children obey your parents UNLESS XYZ?’ ” And the answer is of course it doesn’t. . .we have a personal responsibility (i.e. freedom!!) to be kind, loving, obedient, (etc.) regardless of the circumstances and/or emotions involved. .. Yet I, their wretched, sinful mother, have modeled this for them! Ugh!

    Gotta go – I have some work to do!!!

    God bless you, April, for being a willing voice to bring His truth back to light in our Christian marriages!!!!

    1. Fallenshort,
      I am convinced one of the reasons God allows us to have children is so that we have to step back and look at what we teach our children and realize it applies to us, too! 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing!

      You are so right – we do have responsibility and FREEDOM in Christ to be able to do these things.

      Rev. Weaver, who taught our Spiritual Authority class at church this fall said
      “The world/Satan defines ‘freedom’ as being ‘the ability to do whatever you want to do.'”
      “God defines freedom as ‘the power to do what He wants you to do.'”

      LOVE IT!

      I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you, your marriage, your hubby and your family!!!! 🙂

  3. So much to be thankful for in finding your blog and I have been following your posts almost daily for encouragement and support.
    I am on board with Christ, and in my heart hope remains. However, my husband and father of our two kids (age 6 & 7), left us 3 months ago. He has been shut down emotionally and almost every other way for the majority of our 9yr marriage. He has completely isolated himself from any of his and our friends, he spends very min time with his kids now, even more less than I imagined, with his constant demanding and busy work lifestyle. I am the constant in the kids lives, I attend each sport event, gathering etc. He has rarely shown any interest in partaking of the kids lives. We have been living in a loveless marriage for years. I have ‘put up’ with the arrangement and now I feel motivated to do something. We have no dialogue, and any interaction is unpleasant.
    It’s a state of denial I now have decided to stop living. Have I allowed God to use and change me, have I any slight dignity left in myself, as a follower of Jesus the thought of making this permanent legally disgusts me. What have I left but to protect the children and myself.
    Have I missed a post of yours on this topic and what direction I should be moving towards? Trusting Him each day, and each hour.

    1. mumdoss,

      I have a post entitled, “I Want a Divorce” – that I believe would be something to prayerfully consider before taking any action. 🙂

      Is your husband depressed? Are there mental illnesses going on? Does he have any addictions?

      What was his parents’ marriage like?

      What was your parents’ marriage like?

      Does your husband say what has been the problem in the marriage for him?

      What kind of tone of voice, words and facial expressions do you use with him when you are upset?

      What kinds of things does he say? Then how do you respond?

      This would be extremely difficult. And painful!!!!! I am so sorry for the pain you are going through! I sure wish I could hug your neck!

      Praying for God’s wisdom and His intervention and His greatest glory in both of your lives and in your children’s lives.

      I believe there can be hope. I have seen God turn situations completely around. 🙂

  4. Just a thought the command to respect and submit in marriage, as well as love, was put there for when we aren’t love-able and don’t agree. The command is not for when we are loving and agree. It is easy to submit when we agree and are loving toward one another. What credit is it to you; to love those who love you, even the heathens do that…

    1. David,

      So true! We don’t need the commands when things are going well. It is for those difficult times, the times we don’t agree, the times we aren’t lovable, the times when the other person needs grace and mercy, that God gave us these commands.

      Thanks!

  5. April, words cannot express my thanks to you for this blog and commenting back to us. I would like the opportunity to reply on your questions.
    Yes, he is going through a state of depression, after having two unsuccessful surgeries to his neck, he has been on regular pain medication and the struggle is chronic pain.
    His father passed when he was a young boy, so mom was the only caregiver.
    My parents have a challenging relationship, it works for them, but my mom is very dominating and calls all the moves, I feel disappointed for my dad in many ways.
    The problem he has stated is that we have different goals in life and that I am not the person he thought I was when we got married.
    Clearly when I am upset, just as humanly painful as it is, I have raised my voice, been disrespectful and not handled things well. There have been other times when I have, but those are fewer.
    Over the past few years, I feel confident to say I don’t know this person and his character based on his actions and words tell me he is not reasonable. He has lied to me, hidden things from me, not been forward on the truth and leads a single life in a marriage relationship. He puts extremely long hours into his time away from our home 5am to past 10pm most days. He never looks at my face and has no ‘grace’ left for me based on a recent conflict we had.
    How is it possible someone has no grace towards you, he says I killed any grace he could have towards me.
    Most times when I respond to him, I simply do not respond. I have a hard time finding my voice and feeling very insecure in myself, rarely able to stand strong.

    Please pray April, and I know He is in the business of miracles. Thank you

    1. mumdoss,

      If he is in that much pain and is depressed – he may need medical help from his doctor. Do you know if he would consider talking to his doctor about his depression?

      My prayer is for you to focus on Christ and to get rid of any bitterness or idols in your own heart, to get rid of any pride and to humbly allow Jesus to change you. Seek to please Christ and to bless your husband.

      What kinds of things has he lied about?

      If he is not living in the power of God’s Spirit, he is living in the power of his sinful nature – the sinful nature doesn’t have grace for anyone.

      I pray God will work in his heart, the best way for you to help with that is to focus on Gods’ assignment for you in I Peter 3:1-6.

      If you would like to join a support group for wives that I have for wives who have been abandoned or whose husbands are committing infidelity, you are welcome to join. There are wives in similar situations as yours there in that group.

      Of course I will pray – for God’s will, His healing, His miracles and for your husband and for you to be reconciled to Christ and to each other for His glory!

      Much love,

  6. I love your point about respect being unconditional! I think sometimes our society has taught us everything has to be earned. But that is not true with God’s grace and love. Which in return does not mean that in our marriage. Great reminder! Thank you.

  7. I have been on this journey for about 4 months now. I am not where I need to be but I am so thankful I am not where I was! I firmly believe that our husbands are hard wired to love us fiercely and protect us fiercely. I believe that we as women have bought into what we have seen on tv that men need to be told what to do, that they are incapable of strong leadership in a family. I have several friends whose husbands are distant and unloving towards them. This makes them even more disrespectful towards their husbands. I find that they don’t want to hear about respect. They don’t “buy” into God’s way. The modern thinking is too well ingrained. I think God everyday that he showed me the way to His perfect plan. My husband is still distant and unloving at times but I can see change. I look forwarded to giving my husband the room to grow, the room to lead and the room to love me like God designed.

  8. At times i didnt know i was disrespectful and at other times i really was deceived to believe he didnt deserve respect. My husband is giving everything he can, but i was blind to that fact, because i wanted him to give love as i wanted him to give it. How i have hurted my man so often with harsh words and a cold attitude. I tried always to be a very good Christian, doing all the right things, but being full of judgment to him. All the others thought so great of me, but i could not convince my own husband. He knew me better. I feel so much shame. But am extremely grateful for Gods incredible grace and a bright future ahead. My husband becomes more and more the father and husband God wants him to be. He has many mental issues from a past of experiencing mobbing (what a shame that i did it to )… But the more i learn to respect him as the head and leader he seams to get courage to stand up against the depression that wants to pull him down…

    1. Sorry! “Mobbing” is not the English word i meant. Is it bullying?
      To tease somebody/ to put down etc. Hope you understand what i meant. Sorry, i am not a native English speaker. 😉

    2. daniella,
      I am so excited about what God is doing in your heart! And that God is beginning to heal your husband. This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!

  9. This was so helpful. I wish I had all this in a book printed out that I could flick to and underline 😉

    1. GWTB,
      I am close to getting it finished. Need to find about 10 more hours, then I pray I might be ready to send it to an agent who is interested in possibly representing me and see what he thinks. Please pray for me to allow God to speak through me. It has to be all about Him and His message and His Words, it can’t be about me or my strength or my wisdom at all.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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