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How Do I Respect My Husband without Idolizing Him?

To me, the primary key in balancing respecting my husband but not idolizing him is to watch my motives. I want to care about his feelings and concerns. I want to treat him well. But why?

Do I want his approval more than anything?

Or do I want God’s approval more than anything?

If I idolize my husband’s approval:

  • My motives are to please him and to satisfy him at any personal cost to me. These motives are fueled by huge fear of my husband’s rejection of me.
  • I may be willing to be a doormat and very passive.
  • I may want to change to please my husband without considering if I am pleasing God.
  • I want to treat my husband well to try to get him to stay and give me the love I want from him.
  • I love and respect my husband with strings attached. I have a lot of expectations of what he should do for me in return for what I do for him.
  • I would be devastated if my husband is not happy with me, even if I am doing what is right.
  • I would be devastated if my husband leaves me or dies and feel like there is no hope if he is not with me.
  • If my husband left me, I might grovel at his feet and do anything to get him to come back, even if he was involved in serious unrepentant sin.
  • I might be willing to disrespect myself in order to meet my husband’s definition of respecting him.
  • The fruit of my attempts to respect my husband will be frustration, disappointment, fear, loneliness, worry, bitterness, and/or possibly even physical sickness because I am not acting in the Spirit, but in the flesh.

If I have Christ on the throne of my heart and His approval is most important:

  • My motives are to please God and to satisfy Him at any personal cost to me.
  • I seek to bless my husband because I know he is made in the image of God and he is beloved by God.
  • I want to treat my husband well because God wants me to treat him well and because I love him with the love of Christ.
  • I look for the good things in my husband to admire because that honors the Lord.
  • I change to please God primarily. I want to do things that please my husband to a degree – but only if I know God is pleased with those changes.
  • I love my husband unconditionally without strings attached.
  • I can be content even if my husband is not happy with me, as long as I know that God is happy with me – it wouldn’t be my favorite thing, but I could deal with it if I had to.
  • I seek to respect God first, respect myself (think rightly about myself in light of God’s Word and receive God’s truth about my new identity in Christ), and respect my husband all at the same time.
  • I measure my success as a wife and woman by God’s Word not my husband’s current mood or emotions.
  • I can stay at peace in Christ even if my husband is upset at something or even if he is in a bad mood.
  • I can even stay content in Christ and full of His joy no matter what my husband may do or not do.
  • I honor my husband’s God-given leadership because I reverence Christ and trust God to lead me through my husband if my husband is not asking me to clearly sin or condone clear sin. I do want to trust my husband as much as possible, but ultimately my trust is in Christ alone.
  • If my husband were to leave me or die, I would be very sad. I would grieve. But I would know that if I have Jesus, I have the greatest Treasure in the universe.
  • If my husband left me, I would pray for my husband. I would want him to come back and to reconcile the marriage. But my greatest concern would be his soul, not my personal happiness.
  • The fruit of my respecting my husband would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life because it is God’s Spirit empowering me to do this (Gal. 5:22-23).

Note:

It’s not wrong to enjoy pleasing our husbands. It’s very helpful to us when they give us some feedback and we know that they appreciate what we do for them. We feel so blessed when our husbands smile at us or show us that they are responding positively to our respect. But we can get sidetracked by their feedback sometimes – or lack of feedback. God can use our husband’s feedback to benefit us and help us on this journey. But not all feedback from our husbands reflects God’s feedback. We must test our husbands’ feedback against God’s Word. I hope that makes sense.

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