"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33
It took me a lot of years to grasp the fact that this is a command given in scripture. For so long I was sure that this portion of scripture must be based on contingencies. In my head, there was an "IF" at the end of this verse. Really--that's what I thought. I hadn't fully studied the scriptures, and basically based what I believed on what is taught in this culture...although I didn't realize that was what I was doing.
"Let the wife see that she respects her husband, IF he is talking kindly, IF he is spending money wisely, IF he is being a perfect father, IF he is giving me plenty of attention, IF he is leading the family in devotions....etc, etc...." (the former April version of the verse)
I thought he had to earn my respect. Doesn't he???
There are no contingencies on this verse. At all. Let the wife see that she respects her husband. Period. That's it...no ifs, ands, or buts. Yes, there was a command to the husband in the same verse, right before the command to the wife, and it's not an easy one for him. But it stands alone. It doesn't say "let the wife see that she respects her husband if he loves her as he loves himself", just like it doesn't say "the husband must love his wife as he loves himself if she respects him". Both commands stand alone, and we are each expected to obey these commands, whether or not the other one is obeying theirs! Is it easy? NO.
I still struggle with this if I am not being purposeful in following the scripture's teachings in this area. I automatically want to default to respecting him only if I feel he has earned it. But if I am seeking the Lord constantly--and following Him in our marriage really does take doing this--through Him I am able to show my husband respect as God has commanded me.
I'm just now starting to get this, and I've been married almost 17 years. I have wasted a lot of years doing things my way instead of God's. I've wasted a lot of time not listening to my husband's wisdom. Every single time that I haven't listened to him and have done something the way that I thought best, it has come back to bite me. I end up realizing years later that I should have listened, and then mourn the loss of the benefits that could have come from his wisdom and leadership. If I can help just one young woman understand this concept sooner than I did, then this post was worth writing!
I am currently reading the book "Created to Be His Helpmeet"...oh my goodness....wonderful, wonderful book with absolutely profound truths in it. EVERY wife should read it. I'm going to be posting snippets of it in various posts because it is just too good not to share! I'm sure many of you have already read it, but review is always nice, right?
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