In Ephesians 5:33, the apostle Paul admonishes the church regarding marriage, “...Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect (another translation – honor) her husband.” In many marriages, the problem of a wife feeling unprotected is not a one-sided issue. I have recognized that in this type of relationship, the wife is usually failing to respect her husband, as Paul exhorted wives to do. When a man does not feel respected and admired, he often stops protecting his wife. As such, when a woman does not feel protected, it is almost impossible for her to bring herself to admire and respect her husband. This easily spins into a miserable cycle which produces resentment and sometimes divorce. Some women, especially those who grew up in a home with an absent father, do not know how to show respect or admiration for their husbands. The definition of respect includes these four aspects:
Honoring a husband is about valuing him and regarding him highly, including communicating personal gratefulness for him in front of others.. A wife can honor her husband by making herself and their home beautiful for him. She can also honor him by refraining from comparing her husband to other men. A woman who obviously shows loyalty to her husband above friends, relatives, and work honors him. Wives who honor their husbands also learn to be content in their present circumstances, even if they are not ideal.
Many women love their husbands dearly but do not know how to show it in a way that he will receive that love. One way that a woman can show her love for her husband is by paying more attention to him than to others, especially at social gatherings. Also, she can express her love for him by accepting and returning his physical affection, which is a man’s most common way of showing love. In order to show her love for her husband, a woman must not use withdrawal of sex as a punishment for his insensitivity or wrong actions. When they disagree, a wife can display her love in a gentle, respectful spirit toward her husband.
3. Admire, Praise, and Adore
Men love to receive praise and adoration from their wives. It is so important for a woman to express unconditional acceptance of her husband, as well as to give him her approval and encouragement. A wife can do this by making an effort to gain appreciation for her husband’s occupation, and by expressing enthusiasm for his achievements. She can also use her womanly sensitivity to detect his personal goals and then lend her support as he pursues those goals. A man will feel adored by his wife if she brags to other people about him and refrains from discrediting or criticizing him in front of other people.
4. Defer to Him
Submission has become a hot topic in some circles today, but a woman’s deferment toward her husband is essential to her respecting him. This includes valuing his opinions enough to give up hers if necessary and a willingness to listen to his advice. A woman who defers to her husband expresses confidence in him, and shows loyalty and support in spite of the wrong decisions he may make. Submitting to her husband also means being willing to admit when she is wrong, and making a point to values his input in front of their children.
Many of these ways for husbands to protect their wives and for wives to protect their husbands are easier said than done and include a great deal of self-sacrifice. However, once the cycle has started, it takes on person to start making sacrifices to put a stop to it, leading to the beginning of a more fruitful, healthy marriage where both partner’s needs are being met. The key – one spouse must start the cycle.
By the way credit goes to my coauthor – JOY MOYAL!