A guest post from a precious sister in Christ who is very new to this journey:
Thank you!! I was ready to quit when I stumbled onto your site. When you responded to my anger with such kindness and affirmation something clicked for me – if I could be kind to my husband when he’s angry or stressed, I thought it could soften him, too. And it has.
When I read your blogs about how you used to be and God opened my eyes about how I was, your transparency helped me be brave and face the truth. If God would help you then He would help me. If you could die to self, so could I.
I love how you post stories from women who don’t have it all together. We aren’t through yet. Often times, we walk in many doubts but still we are seeking, applying what we are learning. It’s SO encouraging. So please feel free to share my small part in this journey. I love being a part of it. Again thank you for your kindness to me when I first posted. It’s strange but at that time even though I knew God was pointing to respect and I knew He wanted to keep our marriage together it’s as if the world’s voice even in the church to just leave your marriage was so strong, I needed permission to stay and keep trying. Your blog and all those other women helped me be brave and stay.
My husband and I have been separated for awhile but he has been coming to the house more and more often now. He was to come last night and then it looked like he wasn’t going to with work (he works a lot). At first I said it was okay even though inside I was hurt and angry. Since reading your blog I was able to take it to Jesus.
- Instead of playing the martyr and then blowing up I called him back and very calmly and respectfully stated how much I was looking forward to seeing him but I really did understand his work is busy. I didn’t get angry but I didn’t stuff either.
He said he was glad I told him I wanted to see him. He doubled his efforts and made it to the house by 8:00pm. Played with the kids. Helped me with some things. And even stayed here. I don’t know why I’m shocked – LOL – but I continue to be amazed at how he is responding to me and how respect energizes a man.
Clear, direct, respectful communication is moving the mountains that all the begging and crying in the world couldn’t! I’m sad it had to take this long. But I’m glad God didn’t make changes in the marriage until I started to change. My heart is just gushing with gratitude! Thank you Jesus and thank you April and all the wives at your blog!
I, too, believed showing more respect (to my husband) would be demeaning (to me). I felt I had respected my husband and he just treated me as a doormat. This is why your advice to really seek Jesus is so imperative.
When I put my husband to the side and simply began seeking God for Him, to be in His presence, and to ask for His guidance – I immediately saw several things:
1. One was that we are deceived as women into thinking that respecting our husbands will make them arrogant. The truth is it often humbles them and touches their hearts.
2. Another thing God showed me was my “respect ” was polluted with what I hoped to get in return. It wasn’t pure unconditional respect given simply because my husband is a child of God, fellow heir, and my husband.
3. Then I saw how demanding and rude I was to God. And yet God still loved me.
So I had to repent of those things and as I did, the lies slipped away. However, telling this to a woman who hasn’t spent that deep time with the Lord, she will have a hard time hearing how this is actually empowering not demeaning. Telling my husband how I felt last night (about wanting him to come home earlier from work) and letting him decide was empowering to me and when he came to me it was a celebration. Once we find that path of true respect it’s a whole different ball game. My marriage is still insecure but I know God is guiding me on ways to keep energizing my husband. I now look forward to my husband being my covering and discovering ways to bring out the leader in him. I see that man again. So, so, so much I have to learn!
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Some women believe that if they show genuine respect to their husbands, they are disrespecting themselves. That is not the kind of respect God is talking about. The truth is that we can honor, respect, and love God, ourselves, and our husbands all at the same time! These are not mutually exclusive concepts.
In fact, for respect and love to be godly and healthy, we need to be able to give them in all of these directions. If I respect or love my husband but not myself, that is self-hatred. I can’t love and respect God and others if I hate myself. I must be able to receive God’s love and my identity and worth in Christ before I can share God’s love and honor with others.
Love, honor, and respect should flow back and forth in all of these relationships. Of course, the love and respect I have for God is much greater than my love and respect for people. And the way God shows us honor is different from the way we show Him honor. We worship Him, He does not worship us. But He does make us His beloved children. He clothes us with worth and dignity and makes us co-heirs with Christ!
The way I treat myself, my husband, and others is about my character and my relationship with Christ. I can act in the power of God’s Spirit, treating all people with love, dignity, honor, and respect regardless of what others do. This is the Fruit of the Spirit living in me.