Respect. So often it’s a word that is thrown around in the context of demanding it from our spouses. But how often do you put forth effort to ensure that you are respecting your spouse? In a world where the motto is “me, me, me” this is kind of a taboo idea, isn’t it?
But, as with many other things, what the world will tell you is true is so often the opposite of what the Bible tells you is true. And this is why making an effort to show your husband respect is important. Because the Bible says that this is what we are to do and this is how we should act. A popular Bible study on marriage called Love & Respect put it perfectly, “my response is my responsibility”. No matter how your spouse acts towards you, it is your responsibility to obey God and to demonstrate the love of Jesus towards him in everything you do.
So in this post I’d like to explore just eight simple ways that you can put forth an effort to show your husband that you respect him.
What does the Bible say about showing your husband respect?
But before we begin with the list, I’d like to look at what exactly the Bible does have to say about respect towards your husband. This way we are on the same page and you are able to see that this isn’t just something I’m throwing out there, but rather a biblical concept that we, as Christian women, should strive to follow.
The first block of scripture I’d like to look at is in Ephesians 5:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” – Ephesians 5:22-29
In this scripture the word here for “submit” can translate to “obey, be under obedience, subject to, etc”. So essentially this is telling us that the role of the wife in a marriage is to act as a caricature of the church towards Christ. We are a walking example of how the church should behave towards Christ! And because of that, we should strive to obey our husbands.
However, it’s important to also note that husbands have their responsibility too here as charicatures of Christ towards the church, which is why I’ve also included that part of the verse too. So we both have a role. But our roles aren’t based on how we feel, but rather what we are instructed to do by God. And obedience implies respect towards the one you are obeying.
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” – 1 Peter 3:1
Now in 1 Peter we are also told to be in subjection to our husbands, but it’s interesting to note the reason that is mentioned here, that our husbands may be won over to Christ by our actions. Your actions have the power to win your husband over to the Lord!
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” – Colossians 3″18-19
Again, in Colossians we are told to submit to our husbands, but also that husbands have the responsibility to love their wives.
And, while these verses are directed specifically towards wives, there is also an overarching theme all throughout the Bible that we, as people, are to respect and love each other in general. Whoever we pass by in our lives we should have respect towards and treat as we would want them to treat us.
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” – Luke 6:31
Now that we’ve established that respect should be something we strive to gift towards others (and our husbands specifically), let’s explore eight different ways that we can show our husbands that we respect them.
Talk to him with respect and honor
The very way that we talk to someone can affect how it’s received. The same sentence can be construed in a multitude of ways depending on our tone, time of delivery, etc. So whenever you speak with your husband try to do so in a way that is respectful and in the same way that you would want him to talk to you. Don’t talk down to him or talk to him in a rude and condescending way. Talk to him as if you respect whatever answer he will respond with.
Do things that you know will make him happy
As we get to know our husbands over the years, we begin to form a picture of them and what makes their day. What favorite foods does he like? Does he seem more content and at peace when the house is clean and picked up? Does he respond well to spontaneous acts of kindness? What are his favorite hobbies that you could do together? Whatever it might be, go out of your way to do the things that you know brings him joy. Try to do something intentional like this for him every day, or at least every week, so that he knows you not only see him, but you know him and you care for him.
Pray for him regularly
Having respect towards your husband isn’t always about what he sees. We also need to have respect towards our husbands in our thought lives too. Because what we do on the outside will reflect what is going on inside, and Jesus has even made it clear that it is possible to sin not just in our flesh, but in our thoughts as well (Matthew 5:21-22,28; 1 John 3:15). Praying for your husband is such a precious gift to give him and it also is a private (between you and God) demonstration of the respect you have towards him.
Set aside time to be JUST with him
It can be hard to have time alone with your husband after you start having kids. Children tend to suck up all the time and before you know it months have gone by that you haven’t spent a few minutes alone with your husband. But this can quickly eat away at a marriage. Time alone together is vital for the heath of a marriage. So whether it’s a weekly date night out, or even date night ins (if you can’t find a babysitter), make time to be alone with your husband, with NO KIDS vying for your attention at the same time. This will help nourish your marriage and help your husband to see that he is a priority to you, and not just second string in your life.
REALLY listen to him when he’s talking to you
If your husband is sharing his day (or something else important to him) with you, are you really listening to him? Are you making eye contact and soaking in everything he’s saying as if it’s important to you too? Our husbands can pick up on this stuff. And listening to him in passing isn’t going to cut it. If your husband takes the time to talk with you about something important to him, put down whatever thing it is you’re doing that can probably wait, and strive to really listen to him. This demonstrates enormous respect towards him. Wouldn’t you want the same?
Put his needs above your own needs
It can be really easy to put your children’s needs above your own, because their needs are SO LOUD. lol But what about your husband? Do you put his needs above your own too? Now, I’m not saying that your own needs aren’t important. But, we should all strive to be more Christ like and Jesus always put the needs of others before his own. And doing this demonstrates a great amount of respect for the other person. So if you can help your husband in some way that might just cause you to have to set your own needs aside for the moment, consider doing it anyways. Because this is what Jesus would’ve done, and it’s what we should do too.
Be honest with him about your feelings
When your husband does something that hurts you, it isn’t showing him respect to harbor that hurt inside and let it fester into bitterness and resentment. In fact, that will quickly turn into the exact opposite of respect. But rather, find a way to respectfully share your feelings with him. Maybe he doesn’t even realize that he hurt you with something he said or did. So instead of burying your feelings deep and allowing the root of bitterness to grow, kindly share your hurt with him, and bring it to light.
Strive to be a good wife for the glory of God
The Bible says that in everything you do, do it with all your might and unto the Lord (Ecclesiastes 9:10, Colossians 3:23). And the same goes with being a wife. Do it to the very best of your ability. But not first and foremost for the praise of your husband, or your children, or anyone else…but for God. Do it because you are doing it for God. So in everything you do, ask yourself if your actions would glorify God. This will often shed just the right light on everything you do for and towards your husband.
Showing respect demonstrates strength, not weakness
I know that sometimes the world will make you believe that those wives who might do the things above are being weak. But the Bible will tell you differently. A humble and meek spirit and a person that demonstrates respect in everything they do is operating in the strength of Christ. And that is never weak, but rather as strong as you can possibly get.
So make an effort to show your husband that you respect him, and do it for Almighty God first and foremost. So you can serve God in your role as wife and as a Biblical woman.