One of that other guy’s lies about those of us working at respecting our husbands has become popular and even has factions of Christianity hurling insults, calling us archaic and dismissing our efforts. They are even going so far as to say that what we are doing hurts women. If you want to see how they think in greater detail, check the reviews on Amazon and read the 1′s and 2′s. Dripping with venom, it’s clear they hate the message.
The lie is simple: if you respect and submit to your husband, you have no voice in your home. You are silent. You are a doormat.
Like many of the enemy’s tactics, there’s a shred of truth in the middle… we are told to submit to our husbands “in everything,” (Ephesians 5:22-24). This scripture frequently gets twisted to mean that the wife cannot do anything without her husband’s permission, and is to be a robotic servant for his every whim, which is utter nonsense. In assaulting the truth of this Scripture, however, we lose a number of things, one of which is the discipline of silence. The practice of this discipline actually is a tenet of mature faith. Many proverbs speak to this:
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Proverbs 11:12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.
Proverbs 18:6 A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips a snare to his soul.
I could keep going, but I won’t. Suffice it to say God feels strongly about self-control when it comes to our mouths!
We have to see the Truth in the discipline of silence, however, without turning it into something it is not. God is a relational Being. If I’m talking all the time, I’m not listening. So, it would stand to reason, that I should be silent with Him. My husband, as research shows is the case with the majority of men, is primarily systematic and productive with his communication, rather than relational with his communication, so if I talk just to converse too much, he is apt to not be able to sort out what matters from the plethora of information. So I practice silence with him also. And for the record, I’m also not saying he isn’t relational. He’s just not my girlfriend with whom I can take 27 tangents before making a point.
What most of us miss in the practice of silence is the communication we have with ourselves.
What reality are you creating with your communication? Proverbs 23:7 As a man thinketh, so then is he.
Last night, my husband asked me if I knew how to sew a button on a jacket of his. For those of you who don’t sew, there’s a knot you use so that it’s not difficult to button. What I heard, in the silence of my head was, “Oh…no… I can’t do that for him. I used up all my fine motor ability this weekend when I sewed the pocket back on our son’s ski jacket… my hands still hurt from that…” and I responded, “I can’t do that for you,” and disappointment seeped into my heart. Granted, I was coming off a hard day, and my hands were really sore. “I can ask a friend to take care of it,” I started. “No, I can do it myself,” he replied. “But you know how, to make that knot, right?” he asked.
What I heard instead of his simple question was my own sense of inadequacy that sometimes comes along with my disabled hands. A connective tissue disorder resulting in severe early onset osteoarthritis inconsistently incapacitates me. It is unpredictable, and no one really knows when I am able to do all things, when I’m able to do some, or when I’m able to barely function from the pain. And in this discussion with my husband, in my own head I heard, “failure,” and “unworthy,” and other things… and then, I heard another lie… “He knows about my hands, yet he wants me to do one of the most painful things, grasping a needle…” And then I heard my heart start issuing judgment his direction.
And I felt unloved.
But here’s the kicker…
When we talked about it later, he told me he really did just want my help – that if I knew how to do it, I could tell him what to do to make the knot. He just wanted my help. He knew I couldn’t do it, and he wasn’t asking me to.
I added all the other junk to the conversation in the middle of the silence. I had forgotten one very true tenet about men: Most men say exactly what they mean. No more and no less.
I hadn’t taken him at his word.
And that, in and of itself, is disrespectful, because it doesn’t give the benefit of the doubt. It isn’t loving, either.
And giving voice to that conniving, scheming other guy (or our own unhealthy feelings rooted in his lies) only creates more distance in our relationships.
So yes, practice the discipline of silence to improve your ability to hear God and communicate better with your husband… but practice it with yourself – choosing carefully what words you will speak to yourself. This is respecting and loving yourself as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
They can bring death or abundant life to all your relationships.
Including our relationship with God – when we fail to take Him at His Word, our lack of trust is disrespectful – it’s the opposite of worship. It’s sin, rooted in immature faith. Know that if you ask God to mature you, suffering will soon appear – it’s the Biblical route to growth. No one grows without it. Don’t believe me? Check the Bible.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I’m hearing from women all around the country who are doing The Respect Dare either in their churches or neighborhoods. Praise God! Join me in praying for them. They are on a difficult journey – one that is often paved with tears as they grow and serve Him with their lives. We’re all trying to be more like Jesus – full of strength and dignity, and yet laying down our lives for others in service. It is a mystery. But no, respecting your husband does not make you a doormat. It makes you obedient.
Glad you are on the journey with me!
Seriously – it’s so much better with you here!
Love to you,