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Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

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Husbands have a God-given need for respect.

If I can’t trust the perfect and only God who completely loves me and died for me, if I can’t submit fully to Him as Lord and reverence Him, if I don’t know my infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t know my husband’s infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t understand what the concepts of respect or submission are, or what character qualities are even worthy of respect – I am in big trouble. There is no way I can genuinely honor, respect, and biblically submit to my imperfect human husband – even if he is the most amazing man on earth.

This isn’t because there is nothing to respect in my husband, but because there is so much spiritual work to do in my own life. Whether I am too controlling and disrespectful, or too passive and “overly respectful and too submissive” toward my husband… we all need God’s healing in our own souls as the first step of this journey.

  • I had a lot of work to do with God before I could begin to be capable of truly respecting and honoring my husband.

I talk a lot here about that our motives for respecting our husbands and honoring their God-given leadership must be our desires to:

  1. please God
  2. bless our husbands

BUT – If you say to your husband, “I will respect you, Honey, because God commands me to,” that would feel very hurtful to him.

As wives, we would be horrified if our husbands said, “I love you because God says I have to,” right? We want our men to think, “I GET to be married to her and to love her!” Not, “I have to be married to her and I have to love her.” Our men want to know that we genuinely respect real things about them and that we honor their leadership because we trust them – not just because we love, reverence, and submit to Christ. Of course, most of us can’t really start here  – this is the goal, but there are many steps we must take to get to the place where we can really become godly wives who know how to do all of these things and have the power to be able to do them.

I need to be able to be a whole and healed woman (or at least, beginning to heal) – before I can respect or honor my husband properly. My primary purpose is to know and love God and to bring glory to Him. One secondary purpose is that I have the ability to be a godly wife because of Christ living in me. But even then, I can’t meet the deepest needs of my husband’s heart. Our deepest needs as people are met by Christ alone. I can’t be God to my husband. What I can do is come to the marriage from a position of great strength in Christ, knowing my identity, filled with God’s Spirit – then I can bless my husband and begin to breathe God’s healing and life into the marriage because then I have the power to do the things God calls me to do. I hope this makes sense.

As one husband shared, “Husbands don’t like ‘duty sex’ or ‘duty respect and submission’ from their wives.” Can we blame them? Wouldn’t we feel the same way if our husbands said something similar regarding their love for us?

Sometimes – with our husbands – less verbal/written information from us can be better about this journey… especially at first. Honestly, most husbands would probably be appalled to know how difficult it is for us wives to learn to respect them and honor their leadership. This isn’t because of any faults in them, generally, but because of the battles and struggles we face ourselves. Unfortunately, a wounded husband may not be able to see this – and would likely take it very personally that his wife doesn’t or can’t respect him.

WHEN WE ARE FIRST LEARNING, OUR WORDS MAY MAKE THINGS WORSE

Sometimes, there are ways we could share with our husbands that would be very hurtful before we begin to speak the masculine language of respect fluently. If you say things like:

  • This blogger lady says I shouldn’t tell you how dumb I think your ideas are.
  • God doesn’t want me to take over for you, even though I really don’t think you can handle this situation. Wow! It is so hard not to just jump in and do all of this myself!
  • I’m trying to figure out what things I can respect about you, but I can barely think of anything.
  • I am going to try to start respecting you now. Man, this is going to be TOUGH!
  • I’m going to try to stop being mean to you so that you will do more things for me.
  • I’ve decided I am going to try to respect you more even though you don’t deserve my respect.
  • I don’t actually trust you, but I am trying to trust God to lead me through you. So, I am going to cooperate with you even though I really think your ideas are terrible.

… try to guess how disrespected and insulted a husband might feel and the massive chasm these kinds of words could create in a marriage.

If these things don’t make you cringe – try imagining a husband saying these same things about loving his wife. That might help put it in perspective a bit more.

DON’T TALK ABOUT IT – JUST DO IT!

Most husbands don’t want to hear about what we “are going to do” or why we are going to do it or why we don’t want to do what God commands us to do. They just want to see our transformed attitude and life as God works in us. They don’t need a verbal play-by-play of what God is teaching us.

There may be exceptions – super spiritually strong husbands who understand the complexity of this journey and who don’t get offended when wives are struggling at first to understand who may be able to help their wives process these things. Or, God may prompt a wife to share something about what she is doing if a husband is continuing on in unrepentant sin. God may give you a very respectful way to share this. That’s fine. Please listen to God’s voice much more than my suggestions!

If you have a husband who is deeply wounded from years of disrespect and control from his wife and who may even be drowning in shame himself – adding more insults does not move things forward, it just sets you back many more weeks or months in healing his soul and the marriage.

(By the way – husbands have a very similar journey to make with God to learn how to truly love their wives that causes them to have to go through just as much contortion and changes as we do on our journey. All believers go through this painful, but necessary, process of sanctification where God refines and prunes us to make us more like Christ.)

One day in the future, when the marriage is much more healthy – you will probably be able to share more about your journey with your husband. And by then, you will be better equipped to share about it in ways that don’t insult him but actually honor and delight him. Then you can celebrate – together – all the miracles that God has done in your lives and in your marriage!

Much love to each of you!

NOTE:

  • We reverence Christ first as Lord and King.
  • We respect ourselves as daughters of the King and find our identity and worth in Christ alone.
  • We respect our marriage covenant.
  • We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

Sometimes, it seems that women think that if they respect their husbands, they must disrespect one or more of these other things. No, not at all! And please remember that we are to hate sin, as God does… we don’t have to respect our husband’s sin. We can respect our husbands, God, ourselves, and our marriage while we stand against things that the Bible calls sin.

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

My Husband Can’t Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!

The Respect Knob

To Speak or Not to Speak?

GENERAL DISCLAIMER FOR MY BLOG

If you are a wife who has severe emotional/spiritual scars, your husband is extremely controlling, you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, or you think that “respect” means, “I have to do whatever my husband says and never say what I need, be quiet all the time, give up my personhood, smile in a fake way, and suffer,” – please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. There are some wives who misunderstand what respect and biblical submission means – and my words – in very destructive ways because of the filters and severe wounds they have. Things that a healthy wife would be fine hearing and understand in a good way may crush the spirit of a wife who hears it incorrectly. That breaks my heart!

If you think that I am saying you “just need to take abuse” and you “shouldn’t get to ever share your concerns, needs, and feelings” with your husband, or “you aren’t as valuable or as important as your husband,” or “you aren’t a real person” – you are misunderstanding me greatly. These are not the messages I am trying to convey to anyone! If you think that is what I am saying, please stop reading my blog and seek resources that will better help you understand God’s Word and His design in your particular situation.

Ultimately, we must always each test anything that anyone else says (including myself) against Scripture. And we must each make our own decisions about what we believe God desires us to do. If you believe you are hearing destructive messages from me, leave a comment and let’s talk about it to be sure there is not a misunderstanding. 🙂

46 thoughts on “Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

    1. RamonaQ,

      Yep. When we still don’t really understand the difference between disrespect and respect, we can THINK we are being respectful and not even realize that we are still oozing with disrespect. That was me, too. That is why it was better for me not to try to explain what I was doing. I wasn’t used to “keeping secrets” – and it felt strange not to constantly tell Greg every thought I had. But it was a MAJOR step in healing for my husband when God empowered me to stop saying the unwise, destructive things. That was the first step, actually – to try to stop the massive bleeding that my hurtful words were causing.

      1. I can totally relate to “not wanting to keep secrets and not being able to tell my husband every thought I have” but i can understand how important that major step would be for healing in my husband.

        1. fam6,

          As we learn to develop godly discretion and wisdom and how to filter our thoughts and remove the sinful or disrespectful ones – then we can share more of our thoughts with our husbands. But until those filters are in place, it can get tricky.

  1. Great post. Unfortunately my own husband had to say this to me several times, “I love you because God says I have to.” It was a bit hurtful but necessary. There were several times I gave my husband nothing to love and all he really had to hang onto was commitment, his honor, a desire to please God. I suppose many marriages will experience moments like that. It was very convicting however, to realize this man was going to do the right thing by me no matter how he “felt.” He really taught me something there, that love exists beyond feelings and emotion. In the face of that kind of integrity I just kind of crumbled and realized I owed him something in return, I needed to do things that would be pleasing to him.

    That is not unlike my relationship with Christ, although it’s on a totally different level. When confronted with the love and mercy of Christ, you just have a desire to seek His favor, to be pleasing to Him.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      We all will have plenty of opportunities in marriage to learn to give respect and love even when the other person doesn’t deserve it. I’m glad your husband decided to do what was right, even though he didn’t feel like it! I praise God that God used this example in your life. That is awesome!

      One spouse’s obedience to God – even when the other is not obeying God – is a vessel to bring healing and God’s power into the marriage.

      Love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. We reverence Christ first as Lord, Master, and King.
    We respect ourselves as daughters of the King, finding our identity and worth in Christ alone.
    We respect our sacred marriage covenant.
    We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

    But our respecting our husbands does not mean we disrespect Christ, ourselves, or our marriage covenant. And we are never commanded to respect sin.

  3. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your marriage.

    I’m 42 and in my first year of my first marriage. It is my husband’s 3rd! I could go on in a lengthy email about us but I won’t.

    Your blogs are encouraging and make me feel not alone:)

    I know God is working in our lives.

    Wendy Jones

    >

  4. A book that has some powerful real-life examples of wives respecting God and their husbands but not their husbands’ sin is the book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas.

    1. I discovered our public library has Gary Thomas’ book. I thought I’d remind those of you fortunate enough to live near a good library to check there if you can’t spend money on books now. I’ve found a number of books from April’s reading list at ours.

  5. Hi. How does one respect her husband if he uses coarse language and name calling? He’s sworn at me, and called the kids and I names like stupid, idiot, dumb, moron….He’s always sorry, but it happens again. He is really struggling(kinda having a mid life crisis, dealing with a harsh childhood), and when he gets anxious, he gets angry and harsh with his words. Its really affecting the kids and I. I love him, but sometimes don’t know if we can stay together, I am really worried about the impact this has on the kids. How do I respect him, and yet get him to change the way he speaks to us as times.

    1. aquamama,

      That is a wonderful question! You don’t have to respect the language and name-calling, of course. But you can respect him and realize that there is a lot of pain and dysfunction behind those harsh words. I love the real life example in Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas of a husband who began to berate his son when they were skiing – and the wife calmly skied over to her husband, lovingly put her hand on his chest, and said something to the effect of, “I know what you had to deal with when you were a boy. It was tough on you. I know you will choose to be a better kind of father for our son.” Her husband softened and changed his approach with his son.

      I read the book a few years ago – so, the quote is not anywhere near word for word. But it was a very sweet moment, and a glimpse – for me – of what a wife’s respectful approach and gentle touch can do.

      Another great resource is Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

      God will give you the exact words and approach as you seek His wisdom and are filled with His Spirit. It may be a totally different approach than this. That is fine! Follow what God prompts you to do, my sweet sister!

      Much love!

  6. Hi April. I don’t understand why a husband would feel bad if his wife said she was only obeying or respecting him to serve the Lord. Wouldn’t he want to know that she would do her duty to him no matter what he does or doesn’t do? Isn’t our submission all about Christ and has nothing to do with our husbands? Or is this more about our attitude towards our husbands and having a joyful and willing spirit? It seems prideful to want our husband’s to love us for us and vise versa.

    1. Lara Hazzard,

      For many men, they haven’t done a lot of studying on this subject. Some may not even be believers. Or some may be faltering in their faith, or even drowning in shame – as we talked about last week.

      Men know they need respect. Some men who are Christians realize it is a command for wives to respect their husbands. But they may not have examined all of the intricacies that are involved in motivations with this. They may just want the reassurance that their wives see real good in them. It can sound like an insult to a man if the only reason his wife wants to respect him is because “she has to.” He wants to know that she supports HIM and admires HIM and that she respects him because she wants to and she values him.

      In the future, he may see all of the “behind the scenes” stuff that is involved in a wife being right with God first.

      But most husbands simply want their wives to really respect them. Just like most wives simply want their husbands to really love them.

      Does that make sense?

      It is not wrong for a wife to long for her husband’s love. The marriage covenant is supposed to be reciprocal. The problem is when we want our husband’s love more than God’s love or we are willing to sin to try to make our husbands love us or we try to control them or manipulate them into loving us. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife’s respect. It is a matter of where that desire is in his priorities. But that is something that is between our husbands and God.

    2. Lara Hazzard,

      Oh! AND… the awesome thing is that what God empowers us to do is to have REAL respect for our husbands that is genuine in our hearts and that feels and looks genuine to them. So – when we are walking in obedience to God – our husbands do get to feel truly respected and honored by us because we have God’s eyes, His love, and His perspective for his son – even if the son is a prodigal.

    3. It just seems like respect should be automatically given because of a husband’s position because its a commandment from the Lord, and the good feelings that we feel towards our husbands because of their many wonderful qualities make it easier to do that duty. It just seems like if our level of respect has anything to do with things that they do or don’t do or qualities they have or don’t have that it would greatly dishonor the Lord because it wouldn’t be fully for Him. And our husbands shouldn’t feel slighted to know that they dont have to earn our respect. So is it a need for men to feel like our motivation is about them? I hope I’m not totally misunderstanding your point 🙁

  7. A note, ladies,

    If your husband is involved in severe unrepentant sin – there may be some times that God will prompt a wife to gently, humbly, but firmly confront her husband. She may need to say, “I’m going to continue to honor our marriage covenant out of reverence for God. What you are doing is destructive. Please stop. Let’s start over and rebuild and make our marriage strong together. I want to be the wife God wants me to be and that you need. I want to respect and honor you. I don’t want our marriage to fall apart. I know that you have your own choices to make. But my choice is to continue to seek to honor you and God in our marriage covenant.”

    There are other times God may prompt a wife to be silent and wait.

    The main point of today’s post is that sometimes, when we are first learning, we may inadvertently try to explain ourselves in a very disrespectful and counterproductive way.

    Listen to God’s voice above any suggestion I ever make!

    I hope this makes sense!

      1. Lara Hazzard,

        Respect should be unconditional in marriage just like love is. We do respect and honor our husbands because we respect and submit to Christ. But there is another facet to respect, just like there is another facet to love – which is the interpersonal facet. There are specific things that I truly do admire about my husband- his work ethic, his talent with renovating the house, his intelligence, his kindness, his parenting abilities, his patience, his faith in God, his creativity, his artistic abilities, his technological skills, etc…

        A husband wants to know that there are specific things about him that his wife does admire and respect – and that she could admire and respect those things even if God didn’t command her to respect him.

        I hope that makes sense.

  8. Don’t talk about it – just do it…..

    That is probably the very best advice I have ever seen you give to women regarding their dealings with men. Women respond to conversation, men respond to action. What a lot of people forget is that, in a man’s world, talk is very, very, very cheap. Cheap to the point of being one of the worst currencies on the planet. Here’s why.

    1. Actions speak louder than words, by orders of magnitude.
    2. If you say something that you can not live up to, you break our trust.
    3. If you say one thing, but do another, you are a hypocrite, and break our trust.
    4. If you are doing something, and feel the compulsive need to talk about it, it feels like you are either bragging or trying to rub our nose in it, depending on the context.

    Some scriptures to keep in mind. (Matt 5:33-37, 6:1-7, 21:28-32; Mark 7:6 (referencing God, but the principle applies); 1 John 3:18; James 3:13)

    1. ravaught,

      I’m so thankful you shared this!
      You know – you have this way of just cutting to the chase and explaining a masculine mindset and perspective very clearly.

      I would love to quote you from this comment, if you would please allow me the honor. 🙂

    2. I’m pretty sure my husband would totally agree with everything you said if he read your post. Thanks for clarifying to me what he probably can’t express to me right now. He uses the phrase “more than words” to explain this concept (from the song by Extreme).

  9. Interestingly, I was just listening to a John Piper sermon today about desiring God (as I’ve mentioned before, HOW to experience joy in and desire God passionately is a real head-scratcher for me), and his words about God insisting that we experience joy in who He is resonated strongly with your words today about husbands wanting their wives to respect them, each for his own sake, not just as a generic or symbolic leader of the marriage covenant. Marriage really is a reflection of how God wants us to know Him! How good God is, that He made men and women for each other, to help us understand Him better!

    I can guarantee you, I don’t want to be a mere duty to my husband… especially since he’s not a believer and we’d only be relying on his emotional whims of duty, not on a scriptural command that he love me. I DO get the point that actions of love and respect are owed to a spouse despite how one happens to feel, but surely duty is only for (hopefully!) brief periods when you just can’t muster up genuine respect for your spouse? It’s the spirit of joy and desire that makes a marriage good and vibrant, and our marriages are to be reflections of our relationships with Christ. Seeking pleasure in God and His commands is the best way to glorify Him, and finding joy in your husband is the best way to satisfy him!

    1. peregrine042,

      Oh, this is REALLY good!

      I LOVE seeing how learning about being a godly wife teaches us about being better in our relationship with God and teaches us about God. And I love how learning more about relating to God properly helps us better understand God’s design for marriage.

      This is so neat. 🙂

      Thank you very much for sharing!

  10. Betsy,

    I’m so very sorry you’re going through so much pain this morning. Keep steady in your faith and love, and know you are in my prayers. Elizabeth

  11. In reading this, along with the comments, I had a couple of thoughts I’d like to share.
    First April is absolutely right that as men, we need real respect not lip service. This should not be as impossible as some make it sound, otherwise you would not have married him in the first place.
    Secondly,this has more to do with a heart and attitude change, than a to-do list.Even if your husband, is weak in his faith, or not even a Christian, God can and does work through him to lead you. I know many of you wives are hurting, and I don’t want to minimize that. Your husbands are hurting too. So many times, i think Satan gets us to view our spouses as the enemy, because of X,Y, or Z. Like or not, when we become husband and wife, we become one flesh. Unequally yoked or not, we are still one flesh.

    Both I and my wife have been guilty of behaving as if we are separate entities within our marriage. Meaning if I felt she was being manipulative, I felt justified in disregarding her needs, because of how she was expressing them. Likewise my wife has distanced herself from me, because she felt I was far from Christ. I would encourage wives to adopt the point of view, that rather than I’m hurting, look at it as WE are hurting, as husband and wife.

  12. April, thank you for the recommendation of ‘A Grace Filled Marriage’. I just got ahold of a copy…it’s been on my to-do list for awhile. I’ve learned how to love (that was easy), I’m learning to understand respect (not so easy) and I see the dire need for learning how to give grace when our spouse gets to a place of trusting again with his mistakes, vulnerabilities, etc. HUGE and who knew? I think my spouse assumed I would know how to do these things since I presented myself as a happy Christian. We all have so much to learn.

    1. Refined,
      How I long for all of us as believers to know how to extend grace like this! I think this is a book every Christian spouse needs to read. So glad it is a blessing! YES! We all have much to learn and we will continue to learn as long as we are here – and probably we will get to learn an awful lot in heaven, too!

  13. PW,
    You asked me to weigh in yesterday. I took off the morning this post went up and have been traveling with my family since but I’ve tried to follow via my phone but am not comfortable posting from there.

    As always, good post. It did address some of what I was trying to say on a couple posts previous.

    I do agree that actions speak louder than words- this is a biblically accurate statement to it’s core. So it wives actions will carry more weight than empty promises and certainly more than hurtful, disrespectful words. But, scripture also teaches us the power of words- not just in the negative sense but in a positive sense. Both Proverbs and Paul’s letters are heavy on this teaching. So while I agree that if like your momma taught you, you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all, it would be far better once you can get to a place to use your words to build your husband up.

    I will simply say this, without hoopla, I am the most respected man I know. Both from my wife, children and in my work. I am very blessed. And yet most days are a battlefield for me and my respect tank barely stays above empty. The daily life of a man who loves his wife, leads his family, provides and protects & all the things that go into that are a soul trying, crushing, battle that society and most every institution & authority(often including the church) is all to willing to try and crush, humiliate, defeat and undercut at any opportunity or turn in the road. To say it’s a thankless job would be the understatement of the century in America 2015.

    I know many men. Men from church. Men from business. Men who do work for me. Neighbors. I know for a fact most receive far less respect than I do and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure how many of them make it through the day. I see how their wives, children and society treat them. I know the ones who I interact with daily, whether above me or below me on the business food chain are deeply loyal to me because I show them respect with my actions AND with my words because I have learned how important that is and both what it does to a man and what kind of behavior and loyalty it brings out. Most will rarely get but a taste of it. I get far more and as I said, I barely stay above empty.

    My wife is the most respectful and submissive wife of any wife I know. She is a true treasure beyond words. But she is not very vocal. And the words I usually hear in my head echo from the many years she was not respectful- words that cut to a man’s heart and tear him to the core. All these years later I still hear those words- not because they are repeated anymore but because my nonvocal wife only became vocal when screaming mad. So the words I’ve heard and the words stuck in my head continue to haunt me because they have not been replaced with respectful words no matter how her actions speak otherwise.

    Twice in the last month, as she met with other wives and encouraged them to treat their husbands respectfully, she later relayed the dialogue to me and twice she stated to these wives and telling me without thinking anything about it, “Yes, it’s difficult to be a submissive wife, but my marriage is so full of peace and joy…” And even that simple statement cut at my heart. I know I am overly sensitive because of those voices in my head.

    Even though I know I am a difficult man to live with, being one of those ornery “command man” types. But I also know that I have given my life, quite literally risked it many times over and laid down my life for my wife and family. No amount of blood, sweat or tears has been spared to love, serve, provide for, protect or care for them. So even though I know life is not easy and quite frankly, I am not easy. It’s hard to hear how difficult it is simply because no matter how many actions I see from my wife, without words to outweigh the hard words on the scale of my heart and mind- it’s a tough thing for a man to hear. Even to one who is the most respected man in & out of his house that he knows. Let alone to the many men who have barely tasted respect due to the culture we live in- in marriage, in family, in church, in society.

    Words are powerful, use them to build and not to tear down. Mean them most certainly because your eyes give you away if you don’t and then we don’t trust your words even when you get around to saying them. But only stay quite as long as you have to to not tear down. For our wives words cuts us in places that no one else can ever touch and they can heal & build us up in places that no earthly person can ever touch also. It’s your choice and with irony I will end it by saying, “Yes I know it will be difficult.”

    God bless-

    1. Anonymous Today,

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I appreciate your perspective so very much.

      It is interesting to me to see how different men receive and perceive respect. Makes me kind of smile to read your words – because I tried so hard to give my husband respectful words in the beginning of my journey – and he hated it! I am a words person (I am sure that is a shock) – and gave him tons of words of affirmation and respect, and he didn’t seem to care or even notice. Greg is NOT a words person. Although, I am sure he does appreciate some sparing words of honor, respect, and appreciation. But I try to force myself to keep it to just a sentence or two per day. He does not like me to gush over him verbally. I am glad to know that some men do appreciate and need words of respect. That is going to be very helpful for some wives.

      Thank you for sharing that even those words, that I am SURE your wife did not mean with any disrespect or malice whatsoever, were cutting for you. I think that submission to Christ can be painful and difficult many times – that alone makes being a submissive wife difficult. But there are scary things in submitting to our husbands that don’t really have much to do with our husbands – it is just the feeling of not having control that is scary. Not to say we don’t trust our husbands, or God. It can just be difficult to think you see the way that is best and then to have to go a way that you don’t agree with and can’t see how it might work out. It is VERY faith building, though, I can say that. And it is GOOD for me as a believer to learn to depend on God to lead me through my husband even when I don’t understand. This really tests my faith and helps me grow. I am so thankful! I don’t know if that makes sense.

      But I think it is good for us to know how our husbands might take that. It is also important for us to realize how painful our disrespectful words can be – even years later – even after we have changed. I think most wives would want to erase those words from their husband’s memory so that he never had to replay them ever again.

      In the beginning of this journey, a lot of wives still really do not “get” disrespect and respect – and inadvertently say very hurtful things. That is what I want to prevent. But then, as they learn to stop the disrespect and begin to build up an arsenal of ways to positively show respect – they can absolutely begin to share affirming, respectful, encouraging, positive, honoring words in the way their particular husband receives best.

      I love this:
      Words are powerful, use them to build and not to tear down. Mean them most certainly because your eyes give you away if you don’t and then we don’t trust your words even when you get around to saying them. But only stay quiet as long as you have to to not tear down. For our wives words cuts us in places that no one else can ever touch and they can heal & build us up in places that no earthly person can ever touch also.

      Thank you for sharing, our brother!

      1. PW,
        In my experience most men respond positively to words of respect. For some like Greg they could take it or even leave it- but interacting with hundreds of men a year I know that for most they do react to them as long as your actions and intentions line up with them.

    2. Anonymous Today,

      Thank you for weighing in. I was especially touched by your reaction to your wife saying being a submissive wife was difficult but rewarding. I understand how that could be painful to hear. I agree with April’s response on that.

      From my perspective, it doesn’t matter who I would have married, there are moments where submission is hard because it means relinquishing my will, my ideas, my control. It does come down to trusting God to lead through my husband when we disagree, and that’s an ongoing test to my faith because I know people are fallible–so do I trust God to override that or not? You probably already understand all, but I wanted to respond anyway.

      Also, what you shared about your work and how you give your life for your family, that was well-timed for me. My husband gets beat up regularly at work. I hear the conversations when he’s on the phone. He will get more of my verbal encouragement this week because of your reminder.

      Thanks again for sharing.

    3. Thanks, Anonymous Today, for sharing again.

      Again, your post from several days ago was really used by God to show me that my heart was not truly respecting my husband …. since that time, I’ve been asking God to change my heart so that the respect is sincere and effortless and while I’m at it, I’m asking Him to give me sincere love for my husband as well. (Romans 12:9). The fact is that I have been so focused on my hurts that even though I was going through the motions of trying to love and respect, they have not been sincere or from the heart. I am aware that my husband has felt that they have not been sincere. And normally, I would just run to him with a bunch of words telling him I’m sorry and try to change, but I have done that so many times in the past. I just need to show him and am counting on God’s grace to come through to do that. So, I’m very thankful for your perspective.

      I’ve thought of your posts a little bit the last few days – thinking about the flip-side of this issue from a man’s standpoint. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church, to live with them in an understanding way (1 Peter)….in Proverbs, they are called to delight in the wife of their youth. I was thinking that as much as it hurts you to hear the words from your wife that she struggles with submission, I *think* (I could be wrong!) that you could see how sometimes you naturally probably don’t understand your wife (especially when she frustrates you) or delight in her the way you did when you were dating, etc. I only bring that up because sometimes seeing how you struggle with meeting God’s demands in your own strength in relation to how you should treat your wife can help you not feel so hurt when she says those kinds of comments. As always, God gives us commands that don’t flow naturally and can only be lived out as His Spirit empowers us. (He supplies what He demands).

      Also, was thinking of how just as wives will always be let down in some way if we are looking to our husbands to meet every need of ours (security, love, emotional fulfillment, etc.), it seems like men struggle with really needing respect and honor and we wives will never be able to fill that all, either. We are called to do it, yet, only God will be able to meet that fully in a man. I ran across this verse this morning in Psalm 62:7 “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

      That got me on a path of thinking, too, that we wives should absolutely respect our husbands, but we can also put a lot of pressure on ourselves thinking that if we “get it perfect”, certain results will be obtained. So, in some ways, this was freeing, too, to remember that just as God alone can meet my needs fully, I will never be able to provide enough respect for my husband on my own – he will only be totally fulfilled in that area as he understands his identity in Christ, too.

      I hope none of this as coming across as disagreeing with you or arguing a point. It’s just that your posts got me thinking through some of this and it seemed like I should share.

      Thanks again for your perspective that helps us to understand our husbands better. I know we all appreciate the perspective from our brothers in Christ that we get in the comments section.

  14. This requires caution – most people can’t really fake admiration or respect, since it needs to be sincere to be meaningful.

    It is a thin line to walk, because someone may WANT to show respect or admiration but they do not feel that way inside yet. Best to do this in very small steps, no matter how you may want to suddenly send a wave of admiration someone’s way.

    Small things and small amounts will be more believable, otherwise you run the risk of appearing to be patronizing “good boy!!” – like a puppy. You can see how this could backfire.

    I think the best way to change ourselves is to work on the inside thoughts – the narrative, the story we tell ourselves about our situation, and our spouse. When the inside view changes, the outside, observable will change, and more believably.

    It takes longer, but will be much longer lasting. I pray that I am able to take my own advice on changing the inside first. 🙂

    1. Jack,

      Oh man! I am not good at small changes and slow changes. I like to try to change everything at once. But even in my own family the past few weeks, I am learning that big sudden changes stress out my family. This is good advice. 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Hi April!

    I just want to say I’m truly thankful to God for bringing you on my path. I have been listening to you for about a year now on YouTube and have been reading your book the last few weeks. I was already a Christian seeking “biblical submission” when I was led to your posts. God has greatly used yours and Greg’s testimony to open my eyes to what respect means to men and I’m grateful. In the last few weeks I’ve really had my eyes opened more and more to the hurt I’ve caused my husband in being disrespectful to him, and even though it grieves my heart to think about it I know God chastens us in love as the wonderful Father He is to work it out for our greater good. Now that I know the truth I’m looking forward to allowing the healing to begin even though I feel satan now wants to try harder and harder to get me to stumble. I need strength through Jesus and I just ask that you would lift me up in prayer.

    God bless your family.

    1. Ashley,

      Oh, yes, Satan will attack when you are beginning to surrender more to God. I’m so excited about what God is doing in your heart!!!! WOOHOO!

      I pray for God to continue the good work He has begun in your life and in your marriage and pray you will continue to invest in Christ and in finding all of your contentment, purpose, joy, peace, and strength in Him alone. I pray you will be patient with yourself and with God through this long journey and that you will enjoy each step and yield fully to Christ and His wisdom. I can’t wait to see His plans for you!

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