Respect is key to loving for a lifetime, and disrespect is a deadly termite in any marriage. A marriage built on The Rock – Jesus – is one where there is mutual respect. Speaking to both husbands and wives, God shows us this in Ephesians 5:21: “Submit (be respectful) to one another out of reverence to Christ.”
When you are respectful of one another, it simply means that you have chosen to place high value, worth, and importance on each other. Treating one another as you would a priceless gift is the way to show honor. When you do so, your attitude of respect will be evident in the way you respond and speak to one another.
What men really want
As important as respect is to a woman, it’s even more important to a man. In fact, respect is a man’s deepest emotional need. In 2004, Decision Analysts, Inc. conducted a national study of 400 men for author Shaunti Feldhahn. When given a choice between the following:
a) to be left alone and unloved in the world, or
b) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone,
74% of the men surveyed said that, if they were forced to choose, they would prefer being alone and unloved in the world. For these men, being alone and unloved would be the least painful choice. Men know they need love, but they feel the need to be respected even more.
Most women have no idea that genuine respect is the key to motivating a husband. When a wife respects her husband and believes in him more than he believes in himself, most men will want to improve.
Respect must be earned?
God says, “the wife must respect her husband,” (Ephesians 5:33). Many Christian women have a hard time with this command because they live with husbands who don’t do anything to earn their respect. But once again, the Bible teaches unconditional respect, and having a marriage on The Rock is about doing things God’s way – even when it’s hard or doesn’t make sense.
The world says respect must be earned, but God says that respect, like love, is not a feeling. It’s an attitude that is displayed in actions and in words, and respect should be unconditional. The Bible says, “Show proper respect to everyone…not only to those who are good and considerate…but…harsh,” (1 Peter 2:17-18).
Husband, respect your wife.
When it comes to receiving respect, what about wives? God says husbands are to show their wives “honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life,” (1 Peter 3:7). This passage instructs husbands to respect, value, and prize their wives as equals within the grace of God.
Sadly, this doesn’t happen in all “Christian” homes. Many wives are not given the place of honor that God intends them to have. Some husbands need to be reminded that the way we treat an object is determined by the value we assign to it, and the same is true for the people in our lives.
You, as a woman, have been uniquely created by God and you are worthy of receiving the respect of your husband. You’re also worthy of respecting yourself. Real self-worth comes from knowing experientially the unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance of the One who created you and knows you best.
You and your husband: priceless
The value of something is always accessed by the price that is paid for it. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid for you with His blood when He died on the cross. This makes you priceless – the most valuable thing on earth.
If you really understand how much God values you, then you should value yourself enough to let others know when you aren’t receiving the respect you deserve. This attitude does not give you a demanding, militant spirit. It is a quiet, loving attitude that says, “I will not accept what God calls unacceptable or be treated or spoken to in a way that is unacceptable to God.”
Remember, the opinions of others are powerless in your life unless you validate them. A lack of self-respect is always going to be an invitation to let others use and abuse you.
People will always pursue, protect, and provide for what they value. And when it comes to pursuing, protecting, and building a marriage on The Rock, husbands and wives will provide both love and respect to preserve their priceless relationship.
Susan Gadd is a wife, mom, grandmother, and Bible teacher. She and her opposites-attract husband Emory have been married 47 years, and they have enjoyed teaching and mentoring hundreds of couples for over 25 years at Sagemont Church in Houston, Texas.
Copyright © 2013. Susan Gadd.
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
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