In Ephesians 5:22, the Apostle Paul instructs wives to “submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” A few verses later, in verse 33, he says, “let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
A lot of people get caught up on the word “submit” in this passage, worrying that it calls women to submit to men because they are lesser or not as equal. I don’t believe in this concept of submission. Men and women are equals, period. In fact, before these verses, in Ephesians 5:21, Paul says, “Submit to one another in the fear of Christ.” Husbands, submit to your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands.
What Paul is saying is to respect your husband like you would the Lord. Not the way your mother respected your father, or the way your friends respect their spouses. And not how you’ve seen it on TV. But respect your husband the same way you would respond to Jesus Christ.
Why? Because the number-one need of men is honor and respect. Men gravitate to the place where they get honor and respect. They run from any place where they might be disrespected.
What does this mean for women? How do you honor your husband? Here are four ways:
1⃣ First, allow him to fail. Your husband is imperfect. He knows this. You know this. God knows this. A lot of women cause damage to their marriages because they try to keep their husbands from making mistakes. They correct their husbands all the time and tell them what to do.
That’s the wrong approach. You certainly don’t want to allow self-destructive behavior. But when necessary, you should allow him to make a mistake. For men, some lessons are best learned through failure.
2⃣ Second, let God be the enforcer. Husbands and wives are equals. This means you can say anything you want to say. You can confront your husband when necessary: “Honey, I don’t agree with that. I think that’s wrong.” But once you’ve confronted him, leave it in God’s hands.
It’s not your job to bring about change. Don’t nag. Don’t become aggressive or fearful. Instead, pray for your husband and rely on God to change his heart or mind. That’s what it means to have faith: You rely on the Holy Spirit to enforce change.
3⃣ Third, honor where you want him to be—not where he is now. Your husband will rise to your level of honor. Men will do anything for honor, and will become their fullest, healthiest selves when it comes their way. By giving him undeserved honor, you speak destiny into your husband.
Think about what you first saw in him. Think about the things that first attracted you to him. Then honor him at that level, and watch him rise to it.
4⃣ Finally, cover his faults and focus on his strengths. We have a tendency to take good things for granted and focus on bad things. That’s because the devil wants us to pay attention to the worst qualities in our spouse. But God wants us to think about our spouse’s best qualities.
That’s why praise is such a critical discipline for men and women. We need to remind ourselves every day about the good things our spouses do. When we remember these, we realize that the good outweighs the bad.
If honor and respect are a man’s greatest need, does he receive these from you? This is the Bible’s call for you as a wife. Respect your husband in the same way you would respect Jesus Christ.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today