I had a talk with Greg this past week and, out of curiosity, asked him if he would rank my level of disrespect earlier in our marriage on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the MOST DISRESPECTFUL wife he had ever seen. He said, “You were probably about a 4 or a 5.” I knew that many women were much more disrespectful to their husbands than I was. I didn’t have eyes to see it if there were women who were more respectful than I was to their husbands. So, I thought I was respecting Greg just fine. He never complained or told me I was not doing a good job. I didn’t know I was disrespectful at all for those first 14+ years of our marriage. I thought I was the best Christian wife, ever! I mean, I didn’t:
- throw things – except for that ONE time that I threw a pair of clean panties at Greg the first summer we were married. They didn’t come anywhere near hitting him. So, that surely doesn’t count, right?
- threaten divorce
- call him names
- purposely disrespect him
- hit him – although, I really wanted to sometimes
- cheat on him – but, I did become infatuated with another man early in our marriage, and allowed myself to daydream about what it would be like to be married to him instead of Greg. So dangerous!
- humiliate him on Facebook – of course, it hadn’t been invented yet!
- act like the women on Jerry Springer
- refuse to cooperate with him if he led in a direction I didn’t like. But, I would argue for hours about how right I was and how wrong he was and then when he still insisted on doing something a certain way, I eventually conceded to him. But I made sure he knew I was not happy about it and I held on to bitterness and resentment. I did not joyfully honor his leadership. Most of the time Greg didn’t tell me what he thought if he disagreed with me, because (I found out later) he felt it wasn’t worth trying to fight me on things.
Our marriage was not awful. There were some happy times. I remember Greg often saying, “Our marriage is a lot better than most.” He said that especially when I was trying to “improve” things. There were times when I often felt lonely, stressed, worried, afraid and unloved. I wanted our marriage to be the BEST it could be, not just “above average.” Unfortunately, I didn’t see my pride, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, critical spirit, people pleasing, perfectionism, idolatry, lack of faith in God… I thought I barely sinned at all and that I hardly owed God anything. Wow. Was I wrong! How thankful I am that God opened my blind eyes to my sin.
We both always loved each other. Divorce was never an option for us. We were committed to each other and to God. I didn’t think Greg loved me at times because he was so unplugged and passive. But looking back, I know now that he did always love me. He just shut down because of my attitude and behavior toward him. I knew I didn’t know what Greg needed, and I knew that he wouldn’t/couldn’t tell me what those things were when I would ask him. I also had very little idea what respect actually meant to a husband and what biblical submission should look like.
Even small to moderate amounts of disrespect on a wife’s part can cause damage to the marriage. That is what sin does, it hurts people, hurts relationships and separates us from God. Any sin is destructive.
MY THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS TOWARD MY HUSBAND ARE BAROMETERS OF MY LOVE FOR GOD:
Until I am willing to reverence and fully submit to Jesus Christ as my Master and Lord, I am incapable of being a godly wife. My level of respect and biblical submission for my imperfect husband are just a tangible indicator of my level of reverence for and submission to Jesus. He is the Perfect Bridegroom. Until I am able to relate to Him properly and understand who I really am (a wretched sinner with no good in me) and what I really deserved (hell), and until I understand what Jesus has done for me, the phenomenal price He paid for my sins on the cross and who He truly is and how much He loves me because of who He is – I cannot be a godly wife to my imperfect earthly husband.
If I can’t or won’t respect and trust Jesus, I cannot respect or trust my husband. It is only as I am right with Christ that He empowers me to be able to walk in obedience to His commands for me as a wife. Then, I am able to respect my husband and trust his leadership because my trust is ultimately not in my husband, my trust is ultimately in Christ and His goodness, love, faithfulness and sovereignty to lead me through my imperfect husband. From that position of strength, I can learn to genuinely respect, honor, trust and bless my husband.
Jesus must be the source of my life, power and motives. He must be my greatest desire. Then He enables me to be right with my husband and other people, too. My prayer is that God might show us His beautiful design for us as women and for marriages so that we might learn how to greatly bless our husbands and honor Christ, our Lord. I pray we will do our husbands good, not evil, all the days of our lives and that the hearts of our husbands might safely trust us. (Prov. 31)
My Story – how God woke me up to my sin and what I had been doing that was disrespectful
Some Things are Unconditional, Some Are Not (Love, Respect, Forgiveness, Trust)