Before we answer the question, I’d like to briefly clarify two things. First of all, I don’t usually write articles or preach lessons with certain people in mind. Even if it seems like at one time I may have been preaching to or at you, I haven’t been. In fact, at this point I have only ever written one other article with certain people in mind and I personally asked those men to consider reading it (You know who you are).
Secondly, I understand that preachers can seem hard on husbands at times. Honestly, I have to confess that as a husband and father, knowing that I am the spiritual leader in my home is terrifying. After all, leading your family to Heaven is a lot of pressure! But at the end of the day how much money we make, how successful our children are socially, academically, athletically, or in any other area doesn’t matter if we don’t do the one thing that we’re called to do above all else: lead our families to Jesus. Husbands, don’t neglect the most important thing for the sake of lesser things.
But this article wasn’t written with husbands in mind. On the contrary, Wives, let’s talk about what your husband needs you to know. In order to do that, we’ll reference the longest passage in the Bible concerning marriage: Ephesians 5:22-33. In this text, Paul is teaching married disciples that in order to honor Christ husbands need to love their wives, and wives need to respect their husbands.
Did you know that there is not one single verse in the New Testament that specifically commands wives to love their husbands? Wives, do you know why that is? Because if a man feels disrespected, then he feels unloved! In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, For Women Only, she references a study during which several men were asked to answer this simple question: “Would you rather feel alone and unloved or inadequate and disrespected?” Seventy-five percent of the men polled responded that they would rather feel alone and unloved than inadequate and disrespected!
There are a few questions that every husband needs his wife to answer: Do you believe in me? Do you respect my judgment (that he makes good decisions), my ability (that I’ve “got what it takes”), and my intentions (that he means well and has the best for you and your family in mind)?
The truth is that in this case, unspoken respect is disrespect. Wives, your words carry more weight to your husband than anyone else’s can. Verbally communicate that respect in front of others. Don’t ever put down your husband in public. Use your words to build him up, even when he doesn’t always act respectable (After all, Paul didn’t say “if he acts respectable”, just like he didn’t command husbands to love their wives “if they act lovely”). This is a gift that you’re giving him, not a reward that he earns. And this gift isn’t given because he deserves it, but out of reverence for Christ.
“Let each of you [husbands] love your wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33 ESV)