Unconditional respect – Shouldn’t husbands have to earn respect?
Late for an appointment, Jim and I sped down the freeway in the fast lane. Seeing our exit coming, I wondered if I should say something. Normally I wouldn’t have hesitated, but I’d been reading a book that indicated correcting your husband’s driving was NOT respectful.
I knew Jim would be angry if we were late, but I wanted to honor God, and wondered if what this book said was true. Maybe it would or wouldn’t be a thing in my marriage. So I simply asked, “Baby, if I were to tell you that is our exit, would you consider that disrespe—”
Before I could get the rest out, he crossed three lanes of traffic, stopped at the red light and looked at me quizzically. “What are you reading NOW?” Listening to my dilemma, he explained, “If you had said, ‘You IDIOT, you’re going to miss our exit,‘ I would have felt disrespected. But for you NOT to tell me – well, that’s not being my friend. I rely on you to be my friend.”
What I learned from that simple exchange was this: respect is spoken in marriage most effectively when we wives ask questions and to understand our own spouse. I’ve had many women over the years ask me for advice, and I have often replied, “I’m not married to your husband. Why don’t you ask HIM what he thinks or feels about that?”
But there was also a bigger learning – respect doesn’t mean we don’t have communication about certain things or that we have to I ask questions all the time, while that can be helpful, especially with hyper-defensive people.
Love & Respect is really more about being gentle in how we talk to others – especially in marriage.
God knew what He was doing when He commanded husbands to love their wives – they don’t instinctively love us unconditionally. God feels so strongly about men loving us well that He tells them their prayers will be hindered if they don’t. In the same way, wives’ unconditional respect for husbands doesn’t come naturally, so God specifically tells us to do so. Ephesians 5:33 is pretty specific to both parties, regardless of the “it must be earned” culture that we live in.
Earn Respect vs Unconditional Respect
Our choice as godly wives is simple: 1) wait for our husbands to magically earn respect, or 2) unconditionally respect them. We’ve seen marriages and families dramatically and permanently changed through the wife’s application of respect.
Maybe the question isn’t, “Shouldn’t he have to earn it?” But rather, “Am I a respectful person?”
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
What about you? How do you walk this out? And how does respecting yourself play into these things? Let’s talk – you can leave comments below.
Love to you,
Want more? Check out this link:
Read how the novel about 6 wives’ journey through the Respect Dare began:
Dare to Respect – a Novel by Tammy Oberg De La Garza
Want to see how earning respect plays out in relationship with your teens?
Me and My Big Mouth – Debbie Hitchcock blog
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