Why Some Women Hate The Respect Dare…
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,
Hello NIna, I am just starting my journey with God and my husband and just first want to say that I find your work very inspiring and reading your posts almost sends a calmness through me knowing that I’m not alone in my journey. This post hits home for me as I am only 21 so any girlfriends or women in general I know have grown up in the generation were women demand the respect and most of them disrespect most of all men in a horrible manner. (Might be why new none of them can find a husband) but that’s beside the point). I feel like I have no support from any one female i know and it saddens me. I know I am no saint myself that’s why I’m starting my personal journey an I know I was once one of those women; demanding respect, authority, power; control and I demanded it in the harshest of ways! No wonder my marriage was falling apart but that’s why I’m here and what I’m getting at is how do I find women who will walk with me and support me in my journey? I feel so alone because besides the women no one really in my life live godly lives……ahh what to do?
We’re here. 🙂
And start with your local church, perhaps an evangelical church. Also, if you private message us at information(at)greaterimpact.org, we’ll check our data base and see if we can connect you with some others near you. 🙂
Love to you,
Thanks for your words of wisdom – I appreciateall the scriptures you give and for taking the time to teach and share your inner thoughts – i have so much to learn but feel so grateful to have you as an online mentor.
Privileged to walk with you, Abigail. I also am in the learning process until I die! 🙂 Any good is from the Lord. 🙂
Love to you,
I’m so sad that females feel that love and respect for the husband is so demeaning. And that women that respect their men as the head of the household are somehow inferior. A loving husband would never make his wife (whom he is commanded to love) feel that way intentionally.
I’ve found that finding new ways to show my husband love and respect is working twofold: 1) I am building him up and 2) he has been more loving and considerate of my needs. I never went into this with an expectation of this benefiting me. I wanted HIM to feel LOVED and RESPECTED.
What a beautiful thing!
Jennie you have shared something so beautiful here. Thank you. Bless you.
I hate the respect dare. I hate the sexism of the headship of men. I am an evangelical egalitarian and believe the Bible supports that position overall despite a few cultural sexist comments. All Christians should practice a degree of mutual submission to one another, and so should all couples, but there should be absolutely no sense of the man being the spiritual or otherwise head of the family. If couples cannot be co-heads because of many differences, they should agree on a head, but it could just as easily be the woman. Individual differences are much greater than sex differences. Churches should allow women pastors and women elders and women who teach men.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Just so you know, I don’t feel like either “label” (complementarian or evangelical) represents my perspective well, mainly because of extremes within each group. I was wondering, and I mean this with great respect for your position, how you view the places where women are told to submit to their husbands. Do you believe the Bible is inerrant, or do you feel translations have damaged the text? I was wondering if you could take a few moments and take a look at the brain research reflected in the creation of man and woman and let me know how that fits with your thoughts. http://ninaroesner.com/why-respect-2/why-respect/ is the page that deals with that. I also wonder what your thoughts are on patriarchy within the Holy Trinity, and I don’t want to presume I know something about your position without asking you, but if the Bible is a flawed document, how does one trust it? How do we know what then, to believe? Please don’t think I’m challenging you, I really am interested in and value your opinion. Thank you again for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Love to you, and appreciative of the dialogue!
Thank you for your respectful response. I guess you’re good at that respect thing. 🙂
As for my views on biblical inerrancy, it is something with which I have struggled for many years. I am naturally an extremely rebellious person who resists all authority. I claim I believe in biblical inerrancy, but it is not quite absolute for me. I see many contradictions in the Bible. Some I think are from lack of understanding on my part, but others seem to be definite contradictions. I believe that some commandments are for all time and some were for a certain time and situation. It is not always easy to tell which is which. I don’t like to dismiss commandments, especially New Testament commandments, as cultural, because then it is to easy to pick and choose what I obey. As I have grown as a Christian, I have been more willing to accept more and more of the Bible. I am willing to admit that it is possible I may come to see the headship of men in a different way over time.
I was once a radical feminist. Even though I called myself a Christian much of that time, feminism was my religion. I now view feminism as very destructive in many ways. However, I still hold egalitarian views about the sexes. I don’t oppose sex roles per se, but both must be equal in authority. I never married or had children and I am 58. I was in a 15-year domestic relationship with a man back when I didn’t agree with the Bible that marriage was necessary, so I have some sense of what marriage is like. I agree that men’s and women’s brains are different and that hormones affect more than just sexual and reproductive issues.
I overall agree with the importance of giving husbands more respect because I think we all need to respect each other more. I can understand the thing about men being wired for competition, and trying to not bring out the competitiveness. The part that just appalls me is the idea that the man is the head of the home and especially that he is the spiritual head of the home. I am also upset with churhces that do not allow women to be pastors or elders or to teach men. I have a degree in religion and I have taught men and women in adult Sunday school in 3 churches and I have given a number of sermons in worship services as a guest speaker despite not being ordained or a pastor. Recently I began attending a church that seems a perfect fit in every way except that they take a complementarian view of the sexes and because of this, I probably cannot join them. I am struggling because I do see the fruit of the Spirit in them and I love how seriously they take the Bible, but on a deep down level, I think they view women as inferior even though they claim they do not and they seem respectful. I don’t really care what people do in their marriages. If women are happy submitting and allowing men to be the head, that is their business. I could never do it, but I am not married. But I want to be allowed to teach men. I am not interested in being an elder or a pastor, but I want women to have that option. And so with this being my current concern, I find myself reacting to those who believe the man is the head of the woman in any situation, family or church, with some degree of anger and frustration.
I am not sure what you mean by patriarchy within the Holy Trinity. If you mean, do I see them as male, I do. That was a big step for me. I spent years awkwardly avoiding male pronouns or using female ones or saying “Mother-Father” or “Creator” for God and “it” or “she” for the Holy Spirit, but now I am fine with “Father” and “He.” I made peace with that. However, I never use the generic “he” regarding humans and I never use “man” or “mankind” for all people. I still say “he or she” and “humanity.” I allow God to be male because He is a person. The Spirit also. I try to submit to God. But male and female humans must be equal. I am not ready to let go of that.
Sorry for the long comment, but this weighs heavily on my heart these days.
Thanks for the compliment – any good you see would be Christ within me! 🙂 I so appreciate the well thought out response. And I am so sorry for the heavy weight of this topic – I can certainly understand why after reading your story. Thank you for trusting me with it. I hadn’t fully thought of the Trinity as male, I know Jesus was a man, and He called God His Father, so I can wrap my brain around that – I DO wonder about the verse in Genesis that says we are created in God’s image, “male and female He created them” it says… seems a bit mysterious to me. I am also glad you brought up the topic of “headship” – I don’t like the term, though it is thrown around as if it is legit. Truth is, we were ruled by our hearts back then (and frankly, still are, if we consider the emotional side of us as being in our hearts, instead of our minds) and the verse in Ephesians that talks about Christ and husband as “head” … well, if I remember right from my research, (and having a degree in religion, you might know more about this than I do) but that term is never used in the Bible with reference to authority. The “head” of a department or organization is a relatively recent (several hundred years) use of that phrase. In the Bible, “head” is used for refering to the literal head of the body, and often referenced in connection to decapitation, which then causes death. So because of that, I am susbscribing to the body of theology that offers “head” as “brings life” or “preserves life” instead of death. In other words, a husband can bring life or death to his wife, and Christ came to bring life – abundantly.
I saw Jesus submit to God in the Garden – and in that, saw patriarchy in action. I don’t mind submission when I know my Lord submits. I also liked and appreciated how He went about it – in the worst of situations, He asked for what He wanted. I encourage wives to do the same, and to major in the majors, instead of making everything a battle. Wise women do this with their teenagers, too! 🙂 1 Peter teaches deeply on the submission topic as a whole, but for most people, I really think we make it a bigger deal than it really is. I like how Martin Luther King Junior dealt with the disagreements he had with our country. He essentially called people to a higher standard of behavior in the way they approached the problems – without violence. I found his 18 minute speech respectful and powerful and a fabulous model for many things. I spent 15 years teaching “people skills” to business people, and the respect thing, the “major in the majors” thing, all just basics in dealing effectively with people. And those were secular materials! I’m astounded sometimes that I so deeply offend some by suggesting wives do the same with their husbands! 🙂 The enemy is good at what he does…
For what it is worth, the “hierarchy” in marriage that I support shows itself in Genesis 2 and 3 where God holds Adam accountable and responsible for what happened in the garden. I believe men and women are equal in the eyes of God, but in the organization of a family, God will hold the man as responsible. Adam’s first sin seems to be passivity (not that he should have bossed his friend around, but rather spoken up and encouraged her to do the right thing. Eve seems to have been in the wrong place, listening to the wrong voices – and while they both suffer the consequences, God holds Adam accountable.
I know you aren’t that interested in marriage as a topic, but that’s what I blog about. 🙂 Submission isn’t an issue because my husband has my best interests at heart, is deeply interested in my opinion, and when I have disagreed with him, we work through it. Mutual submission exists in our marriage because we are both mature – we had struggles on the way to this place, but given that my husband wants to lay down his life for me, it’s been worth it. What is perhaps the most powerful truth I’ve seen in the last 7 years of doing ministry is that while many marriages have some similar themes, there are also many differences. For me to prescribe as an absolute “the one right way” to respect or submit would be completely erroneous. Lots of marriages work out the specifics of what this looks like in different ways, specifically beneficial for the specific people involved. I love that. 🙂
I belong to a church like what you describe (complementarian evangelical) – and have spoken in front of the body of believers on Sunday morning, taught classes of mixed genders, and feel supported by our entire staff. I don’t believe for a second that they think women are inferior, and the fruit of their love is visible. In your church, if this issue keeps you from experiencing God with them, or learning from their teaching pastor, I’d encourage you to find another church if you feel led – and I’m sure you know as well as I do that there is no perfect place. 🙂 Our body believes in immersion baptism, for example – I was sprinkled at my rehearsal dinner (by a woman pastor, mind you) the night before I was married by her. It was an incredible experience and launched a new level with my faith walk – neither gender nor immersion would have changed any of that, because it was between me and my Father, and the body at our dinner. I’m also certain that there are those who would argue the legitimacy of both my baptism and my marriage with me, but that doesn’t bother me in the least. I know what I know. And I know Him… I know He knew my heart – if He wanted me to repeat and do it differently, either the baptism or the marriage ceremony, He also knows I would. And He has never asked me to do either. So for me it is not an issue. A question I might lovingly ask you is, if you are not called to pastor or be an elder for this church, and they seem sincere in their treatment of women as equal, can you not love and be loved by them and call this place home? In every relationship, there are always elements of difference. Having said all that, however, I would do whatever God wanted you to do, even if that was to leave.
I am praying that as you grow in your faith and wrestle through these ideas, you sense His pleasure and His purposes for you. Regardless of where one attends church, relationship with Him is what it’s all about – and it literally. is. everything. I’m sure that He will meet you in the middle of this struggle, and is on both sides of it. 🙂 While we may have some differences of opinion and different life experiences, I am thankful that we can at least discuss them respectfully. I sensed respect from you as well, and am truly thankful for the dialogue. Obviously we won’t be solving many of the issues that people have struggled with over centuries, but I hope that you come to a place this side of heaven where you confidently know what you believe about various things, because of your relationship with Him and how He’s personally taught and guided you through the discovery of them. I am on this same journey myself – and will be until I leave this life! It is my prayer that regardless of the various differences between believers, that we can all worship in agreement of Who our Lord and Savior and King is – and do our best to grow in our obedience to Him.
Love to you,
Thanks for the detailed response. You make many good points and I will consider them as I work on finding a church and growing in my walk as a Christian. I’ll stop sticking my nose into a marriage blog where I don’t belong. I think you’re doing good stuff here even if I don’t agree on hierarchy im marriage. Blessings on your ministry.
Backatcha gorgeous! No worries – am glad for the interaction! Who knows what He’s going to do with it?
Best wishes to you! Please stop back by and let us know how you are and what He’s teaching you, sometime, okay? 🙂
Love to you,
Excellent post Nina. I think I might go to the reviews and pray over the authors of them. Good and bad. Silence – and not filling it with stuff – is so hard for a communicator like me. I struggle with it, lots. My husband can be a great communicator and sometimes, because he feels safest with me, he isn’t. It can hurt. But it isn’t meant to be hurtful. I am learning so many things through, and after, the Respect Dare. Praying for your hands, my FM has flared up lately and it is horrible.
Shanyn – I can always tell when God is about to do something good, as my joints start screaming! 🙂 So sorry to hear about your FM… a dear friend of mine suffered with that… so sorry!
Prayers and love to you,
Awww thanks girl! Sorry your joints are screaming, I hope things will come together soonest so you can be feeling better again. Bright blessings girl.
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