The way we treat people is a reflection of our love and respect for and our submission to Christ. If a wife is disrespectful and/or controlling, it reveals that she is probably disrespectful and controlling toward Christ, too. The way a husband treats his wife reveals the way He treats God. The way a believer treats others is mostly about his/her relationship with Christ.
I treat my husband the way I do because of the character in my soul. If my sinful self is in charge, I will respond to him with bitterness, resentment, pride, self-righteousness, gossip, unforgiveness, disloyalty, disrespect, control, etc…(Galatians 5:18-21) If God’s Spirit is in control of my heart, mind, and soul, I will have the fruit of the Spirit no matter how my husband is acting at the time. I will have God’s supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-26) This is true for all believers. “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me…. Whatever you do not do for the least of these, you do not do for Me.” (Matt 25:40,45)
Husbands can make it easier or more difficult for wives to respect them just like wives can make it easier or more difficult for their husbands to love them.
It is extremely challenging for a wife to respect her husband unconditionally if he is involved in unrepentant sin of any kind just like it is extremely challenging for a husband to love his wife unconditionally when she is involved in unrepentant sin against him. Yes, God does call us as wives to respect our husbands unconditionally (Ephesians 5:22-33) just like He calls husbands to love their wives unconditionally. However, when one spouse is walking in obedience to God, it is much easier for the other spouse to obey God, as well. Gary Thomas says, “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against” in Sacred Marriage.
Some things wives tend to have the most difficulty with – a husband’s porn use (that feels just like adultery to wives), harshness, uncontrolled anger, selfishness, passivity, lack of integrity, lying, flirting with other women, lusting after other women, not taking time to emotionally connect with his wife, abuse/addiction to drugs or alcohol/infidelity.
I so greatly appreciate that my own husband makes it as easy as possible for me to honor, respect, and biblically submit to him. He never mistreats me. He doesn’t yell or scream at me. Ever. He is kind, thoughtful, responsible, and loving toward me. I know he looks out for my best interests and is not being selfish when he makes decisions. He seeks to live for God. I can trust him in every way. He doesn’t tear down my trust. I know I am safe with him. Greg and I do not condone any acts of violence or any sin against anyone – husbands or wives.
A husband’s godly, selfless, Spirit-filled, Christlike love for his wife and his fervent prayers for her are the best motivators I know of for a wife to desire to become more godly herself.
Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:7, I Corinthians 13:4-8, Galatians 5:22-26
I have seen God wake up wives first sometimes and heal marriages. I have also seen God wake up husbands first sometimes and heal marriages.
The Power of a Husband’s Prayer – a real life story of a husband who trusted God to change his wife and God answered his prayers!
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