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Let’s Be VERY Careful with Respect, Ladies! MOTIVES COUNT!

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If we are not careful, we may just add respect to our arsenal of ways to attempt to control our men. 🙁

Yes, God wants me to treat my husband with respect and honor. But –

If I am just respecting him to make him change or to get my needs met – that is manipulation – not real respect.  And it is sin.

The only motives that please God are if I am showing respect because:
– I want to please and obey God (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3)
– I want to bless my husband

No strings attached.

No matter what the outcome.  I am not tied to a particular “result”or “what’s in it for me” but rather – I want to do this because Jesus is my Lord. That is enough for me. He wants me to do it. I want to find favor in His sight and hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” when this life is over.

I cannot do this “godly wife thing” in order to feed the idol of me wanting to feel loved, or my having control or me getting my way. If those are my goals – I am not acting in the love of Christ – I am sinning against God and my husband.

(Reminder – I write primarily for women who tend to be controlling. My blog may not be as helpful for women who are abused or who are “too submissive” – please seek godly counsel if you have severe issues in your marriage.)

RG’s COMMENTS  (a single Christian man) ON YESTERDAY’S POST on www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com from a young Christian woman who is just now beginning to learn to respect a new man in her life for the first time:

“I joined an online dating site and “met” an incredible guy (haven’t met him in person yet). He is my practice material for me to apply everything I’ve learned so far in the Bible and your site and I need to say, things are going awesome!!!!”

Please be very careful, not for yourself, but for him .

There is nothing wrong with the actions of “practice,” but the motivations for that “practice” need to be right.

  • Don’t “practice” to obtain any of the outcomes you desire. That is very manipulative and painful for men. (And I’m not suggesting that you are.)

Become a trustworthy, open, honest book – no secrets, no games. Put all of your cards on the table (with wisdom), and let him decide what he wants without you resorting to using these new tools of “respect” as a means to control him.

  • Only do respectful things to honor him and God, not to win points.  Any positive outcomes are the SIDE-EFFECT of your respect, not the intended purpose to be respectful. Your purpose is to honor him and God.

Always remember, if you do want to become married, and you think this could be your potential husband, then your goal is not just to become married; your goal is to become a biblical wife and to honor, respect, trust, encourage, and cooperate with both him and God for the rest of your life.

You should know that most single Christian women don’t do these nice, respectful things (at least not intentionally) for the men they date. He will probably find it VERY different from any other dating experience he may have had in the past.

Dating from our perspective is pretty much always “give, give, give, without any expectations to receive anything in return, and women often have things they want from us, but only do nice things for us a small fraction of the time (or at least the things (actions) that register as “love” (respect) to men.)

Dating is a slow process of dying on the cross for us. Imagine a magician laying down on a “bed of nails” – that is what dating/marriage is like for Christian men. It is a very difficult, painful, and slow process at times, and requires the correct wisdom, timing, forethought, precision, and patience to execute well. Now compare that with Christian women who are often impatient and want their desired results NOW. They are, in effect, figuratively, using all of their weight and muscle to press and push him farther down onto that “bed of nails” before he is ready (before it is wise or even safe for him to do so), and they really do hurt the men they say they love. Christian women sometimes don’t think about or even realize the pain and damage they are causing men, because they are usually too focused on their own desires and outcomes – their wedding rings and dresses, the flower arrangements, or the joy of receiving so much personal praise from other women on their wedding days. His “slowness”, then, is seen only as a obstacle to her “happiness,” but her “happiness,” indeed, comes at the price of his “death.”

Please try to remember, respect, and appreciate this process in the men you date.

I believe that if some men here are willing to share valuable VULNERABLE information with you ladies about how to understand and meet our needs/desires as men, then women should take note of this OPEN, TRANSPARENT, HONESTY, and TAKE THEIR OWN STEPS to appreciate all that men take to make ourselves more TRUSTWORTHY to women.

And I REALLY DO HOPE that women here might HONOR THE OPPORTUNITY/RESPONSIBILITY given to them to respect men by never taking advantage of our willingness to become vulnerable or trustworthy to you. Please always be trustworthy yourselves.

“I realized that respecting him gives me self esteem and a sense of security, and it certainly takes a lot of pressure off of me.”

Women should be thankful for the new freedoms and reduced stresses they experience when becoming godly, respectful women. They should enjoy those things! But EVEN MORE, they should direct that thankfulness to God and their men. All of those burdens and stresses they had in life didn’t just disappear, they were transferred to the shoulders of God and your men. When Christian men date and marry women, we also take on many of the increased burdens and stresses that allow women to become more free and at peace. There is always a weight and a measure; there is always a personal cost.

We don’t do this for nothing or without reason! We do it because we love you! We want you to enjoy new peace and freedom. We want you to be happy – not for a mere moment, but for the rest of your life! But your peace and freedom comes at a significant personal cost to us as well. We pay a great price – for love – for you! And we don’t want that price to become worthless – meaningless. We only have one life to give! So, we NEED to know on a deep personal level that it (our one life/our investment into you and your life) has real worth to you! Not just because it makes you happy for the moment, but because we pay such a huge sacrificial price for love – for you – for your well-being – and for your life – and it must not count for nothing. It must not come to a mere breath of laughter. We want to see happy smiles on your faces because it shows us that our lifetime of sacrifices for you are not in vain. You mean that much to us!

I guess, to be fair, this realization/sentiment (quoted above), is very encouraging to men as well. We love hearing these types of comments from the women we date/marry, because we do genuinely want what is best for them. Hearing this comment of hers is wonderful, not just because those are all good things in her life now, but because it shows that she is learning to trust and submit to something that we already knew would be very good for her, and likely that only her unbelief in God/men was preventing her from choosing and accepting before.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE TO THE GENTLEMEN:

Just like we can’t know who God is unless He reveals Himself to us, we can’t know who men (in general) are or who our husbands are (specifically) unless they reveal themselves to us. We have absorbed so many lies about men (and women) by our culture and upbringing. We make many inaccurate assumptions. We as women need the input of godly men and our husbands to help us understand and know your hearts.

Most Christian women I know WANT VERY MUCH to understand men and WANT to be able to meet our husbands’ needs. Most of us are willing to change if only we knew what to change. We just don’t know what we don’t know.

When Christian women have the chance to understand  our men, we are able to learn and grow. We are able to begin to understand and learn to appreciate real masculinity and we love learning about your world. It is such a surprise to most of us that this whole foreign world of masculinity exists right under our noses, and we never knew about it.

God is able to change us. I am SO THANKFUL!

Thank you for being patient with us as we try to break through all the wrong thinking and poison of our culture and our own sinful natures. This is a long journey that we must make to become the women you need us to be and to become the women God wants us to be. Women who are embarking on this journey today are pioneers in many ways. This is all brand new territory to us. We don’t understand your language – but we want to! It takes time for us to become “fluent” in respect and biblical submission. I know it is hard to wait as we struggle to figure things out. We need the godly leadership, wisdom and perspective of our loving husbands and Christian brothers.  Thank you for sharing your hearts with us. I pray we will be godly stewards of the treasures you are entrusting to us.

19 thoughts on “Let’s Be VERY Careful with Respect, Ladies! MOTIVES COUNT!

  1. I love reading all of this every morning. I find it difficult for Biblical submission. Even though my husband says and sometimes practices our Catholic faith, he sees Biblical submission as being a bully. Therefore what I read is sometimes painful because I want to do what’s right. I feel unloved. Our marriage is not what it should be and he really doesn’t care or wants to work on it. Sometimes I think that I should stop reading these article. Where do I go from here?

    1. RC,

      Check out “Spiritual Authority” – godly leadership is NOT AT ALL about being a bully. 🙁

      Are you safe?

      What is your husband doing and demanding of you, my precious girl?

      If you tend to be too submissive, and your husband is extremely overbearing, my blog may not be the best fit for you. I am writing from the perspective of a wife who was very controlling and disrespectful with a passive husband.

      Let’s talk about this together! 🙂

  2. As always, April, this is such good stuff!!!! And many thanks to you RG for sharing your heart here. It is so very valuable to us to understand what’s going on inside of our men. As you said, we are too often focused on the praise of the WOMEN around us. . .

    I have noticed that when I think of my husband as my brother in Christ it is much simpler to serve him without my own expectations getting in the way. I am more concerned to never make him stumble.

    When I think of him dreamily as my hero or rescuer (which is way more romance novel than biblical), I tend to lean on the “he should”s that the culture/my sinful nature would have me believe.

    It’s such a beautiful picture, the vision of Our Lord as marriage’s main focus. As our savior, He takes away the need for us to be that for one another.

  3. This post really touched me, talking about the sacrifices men make when they decide to marry. Aren’t “good men” remarkable, that they sacrifice so much for the women they love??

    My husband and I dated several years before we married nearly 21 years ago. I was ready long before he was. Hearing it articulated so well why it’s so scary for men (in part, I’m sure there are other reasons, too) was eye opening. Although I don’t know why it wasn’t more obvious before this moment.

    This many years into our marriage, my husband deals with chronic pain and other physical challenges, but he works so hard to make a good life for us. Never makes me feel it’s a chore to do so. In fact, he’s even said it’s a privilege.

    Thank you to all the Godly men out there who sacrifice for their women. You are heroes.

  4. Men make sacrifices for their wives so the wives can make sacrifices for the children. When you have been awake for 36 solid hours, there is vomit in your hair, and one of the toddlers has knocked down a book case, it’s nice to have a husband in charge of the finances and going to work. I think birth control has caused us to lose sight of how the husband and wife role affects the family. If the mother has 10 children she is feeding and teaching (public school is relatively new and doesn’t exist world wide) then she really doesn’t have time to be in charge of much else. I’m not really sure the purpose is so the wife can have a more “peaceful life”. We both have the bed of nails and both ultimately serve the children. Breast feeding a baby through the night and then waking up at 4:30 with another child isn’t exactly a vacation. People like to talk about what a short phase of life this is, and it is if you use birth control for many years. It’s not so much if you have a larger family like most of humanity did until recently.

    1. Lisa,
      So true! I think birth control has dramatically altered our concept of masculinity, femininity and marriage – and some of the consequences are surprising to many of us.

      Yes, it works well to have each spouse in charge of specific areas to work together as a team for the benefit of the entire family. 🙂

  5. Thank you April. it was a good reminder for me that the whole respect and submission shouldn’t be done for personal gain. but done because we love Jesus and want to honour and serve him in everything 🙂

    1. mumof5,
      That is one of the HARDEST things to keep in mind – to watch our motives and not allow those desires for “our way” and the outcomes we want to sneak in. It requires constantly taking every thought captive for Christ!

      Much love!

  6. I would be interested in learning more about what men go through when they are in that process of dying to self, and what it means for them. April, you mentioned in another post how we cannot expect our husbands to understand how excruciating the process is of giving up leadership and control over our lives, and humbling ourselves. It is very easy, for us to see and feel our own “death”, in submission, in becoming a mother and putting husband and family above our own wishes and desires, every moment of every day. Although I can make guesses, I find I am a lot more blind to how this “death” occurs in the other half, and what men go through in becoming husbands and fathers. That is sad. I wonder if we understood more, if we, as wives, could be a lot more compassionate when our men are going through these challenges, or more easily have patience to wait and welcome them during some of the times we feel less of their love. Could it also help us fight the temptation to doubt or feel resentful of our husbands when things seem less than fair in our eyes? Might there be some men who would be willing to open our eyes up to this a little more?

    1. This is a touchy issue, because for as long as I can remember society as a whole has viewed men as existing solely for the purpose of giving women ant their children, what they want, and whatever it costs them doesn’t matter. If you complain, even other men regarded you as a whiner, and did not respect you. Which Satan has used to destroy the right order in marriage. Women are not only taught it’s OK to disrespect their men but encouraged to do so. And men are taught they they are disposable for all practical purposes,and if your wife doesn’t respect you, or treat you the way they should, it’s your fault. I know very few men who do not accept the idea they ought to lay down their lives, even physically for their wives and children. The issue of fairness, only came into play when women were convinced that their roles as homemakers was not valuable, and that they were being enslaved, even though many times men would work for years at jobs they hated, because to not provide for one’s family was considered dishonorable. Even when dating, the concept of earning or winning a woman’s heart is accepted as truth, yet God’s word says that she is a gift from God. So feminism has tainted both men and women in the way they view marriage and relationships. It’s the same old line Satan used in the Garden of Eden. Just do this, and you’ll become equal to God. You can probably even do a better job, than He can ! Nowadays, it’s you have to take control,your husband can’t be trusted, you’re smarter than him, and by implication smarter than God. The best lies are always half-truths.

      1. Ted C,

        Thank you for being so open on a touchy subject. It is so hard to see the other side when we cannot experience it ourselves.

        It is true that men are not appreciated or recognized for the sacrifices they make, and are even maligned for doing what they need to do. Men supposedly get “recognition” and “freedom” in their careers, but who is more thankless than a money craving corporation? I see that we, as wives need to provide recognition, respect, and appreciation for our men, at home.

    2. Stephanie,

      I actually believe that men have equally, if not more, excruciating dying to self to do as husbands. I definitely agree that if we understood more about how difficult and painful their “dying to self” experience is, that it would give us a great deal more compassion for them.

      That is a great question.

      I think that we will have to combat some things we have largely embraced in our culture that:
      – Men don’t have feelings.
      – Men owe us and are here to serve us.
      – Men should have to make sacrifices for us to make us happy.
      – Life is only about what I want as a wife.
      – Any perspective other than mine (as a wife) is wrong.
      – I’m always right and my husband is always wrong.

      We as wives must lay down our sense of entitlement and embrace humility and realize that, yes, our husbands are stronger physically and maybe even in other ways, than we are. But they deserve our appreciation, thankfulness and cooperation as they seek to serve, lead, provide for and love their families.

      Godly husbands are called to lay down their lives for their wives as Jesus laid down His life for us. They are to put their wives’ and families’ needs before their own, knowing they are ultimately accountable to God for all of the decisions and their leadership in the family. That is a HEAVY weight of responsibility and accountability. Sometimes, they must make choices that we, as their wives, do not like and vigorously disagree with. They want us to be happy – but they have the responsibility to please God above pleasing us, even if we get upset with them about it. It takes great strength, conviction, backbone and leadership to lead in what a man truly believes is right when his wife opposes him.

      I have some posts about how men think and men and emotions and why it’s hard for our husbands to lead. Here is a post about why husbands sometimes don’t protect their wives from their extended families.

      Respecting Our Husbands as Fathers – has a long quote from a husband whose wife did not honor him as a father and the consequences he and his children are facing now

      A man in my Sunday School class said that for a man to become the husband God commands him to be, it requires changing his entire constitution as a man. It is every bit as counter-intuitive for a husband to learn to obey God’s commands for him as it is for wives to learn to obey God’s commands for us. This is the process of sanctification and regeneration. God will use these struggles to make us holy.

      I hope that several husbands might share. This is a great question!

  7. This is not a question based on the posts above but I have been wanting to ask you something, April, for some time now. I love your blog, the books you mention here and your deep passion for helping women. You have helped me (and some of my friends) to not only experience dramatic changes in our marriages but more importantly to become the women God intended us to be and for that I am forever grateful. My question is this…My husband does not feel we should attend church regularly. We are members of a church and if I want to go and express that desire he will oblige but only one Sunday morning service. He has also visited new churches at my request and has yet to find one he feels comfortable taking us too. Occasionally he will lead bible studies with us on Sundays but not often. He feels the family time together (because Sunday is his only day off) is more important than getting dressed up and going to a service. He does not want us attending services without him and made that very clear. He is a Godly man and I do not question his faith at all. Do you think that I should attend church anyway against his wishes because my not attending services is against scripture? I don’t personally feel that it is as I have yet to find a specific verse saying we have to attend “church” every week. My kids and I do attend a weekly ladies bible study in our community which he supports. Here in the south the Christian community thinks if you don’t attend church every time the doors are open that you are not where you need to be with God. I would be grateful If you could help me address this issue.
    Thank you and God bless you

    1. Anita,

      My view, for whatever it is worth, is to follow your husband and tell him you trust him to make the best choices for your family before God.

      I vote to church when you can, when he is glad for you to go, but don’t blatantly defy him, especially when he is willing to go sometimes to church right now.

      You can tell him you really want to go, but that you will choose to honor his decision.

      If you go against his will, then it will probably drive a wedge between you and him and he may resent your commitment to church over him.

      You have a covenant with him, this is one way you can show him he comes first in human priorities. Of course, God comes first overall. But you can still be close to God and abide in Christ even if you are not at church every single time the doors are open.

      This will probably help him feel the spiritual leadership weight on his shoulders more and make him think more about what would most honor God. Then, God can speak to him more powerfully than if you go against him.

      But most of all, I pray for sensitivity for you to God’s spirit. 🙂

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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