Ephesians 5:33- Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. KJV
Women have spent so many years subjugated to men that the last thing we want to hear is another message, blog, or exhortation about our role in a marriage! I get that! However, as women who have determined that God’s word is the final authority in our lives, we have to submit to the the truth that God has placed our husbands as the head, or authority over our relationship and women are to be in submission to them.
Unfortunately, and too often, men have abused this authority. When I was growing up, the saying from men was that the women were to be kept “barefoot and pregnant”. To them, this meant that women were not to work outside of the home and were to bear children and raise those children. For women, it was a type of bondage, with little or no say about the home or children. Typically, there was no financial freedom and no way of taking care of themselves should the man decide to leave them or take up with other women. And should the man become abusive, the public generally felt that it was his home and he ruled over it. Thank God for Jesus and the changes that have come in society!!
Many of the teaching tapes in the earlier phase of our marriage stressed the importance of women staying home with their children. As a wife who spent the first fifteen years or so at home with my children, I can certainly attest to the benefits of being at home. However, in the era in which we find ourselves, most families cannot afford for the wife to stay at home. Of course, the rising costs of daycare presents a whole different set of issues. And sometimes, the wife can pull in a larger salary as they find themselves in roles of leadership within their professions! It’s tough out there! Whether to stay home or work is often a difficult decision when children become a part of the family. My advice to you, if this is your concern, is to pray together and seek God’s plan for your family, then to follow His leading!
Now, acknowledging that things are not as simple today as they were when the Holy Spirit had Paul pen these words does not alleviate us from the truth of what He said:
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body.Ephesians 5:23 KJV
Nor does it change the truth of Ephesians 5:33,
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.Ephesians 5:33 KJV
God made Adam, then He formed woman from Adam’s rib. God made absolutely certain that Adam was in place, had a “job”, and was capable of taking care of Eve before He gave her to Adam. If you plan to marry and you don’t respect your fiancé, it won’t get easier because you get married! God commands the wife to reverence her husband, so before you marry, make sure you do. If you are already married to a man who you can’t respect enough to submit to him, then you are headed for a life of challenges! Because the word doesn’t change just because you got saved after you married him and now you realize you can’t respect him! No, you are going to have to ask God to help you to reverence your husband!
Reverence, in this passage is taken from the Greek term, phobeó, and it means to fear, to show reverence to, or to show deference to. I like how Webster defines the phrase in deference to. Webster states that this phrase means in consideration of, which leads to the word, respect. Webster explains that “deference implies a yielding or submitting to another’s judgment or preference out of respect or reverence.” In other words, this term is more about deferring leadership of the home and family to the husband more than it is about him lording over the home.
In 1967, Aretha Franklin released an album with the Atlanic record company that launched her into stardom, “Respect”! In one line of this hit record are the words,
“R E S P E C T, find out what it means to me!”Aretha Franklin, Respect, Atlantic Records
My mom loved this song, as did millions of women around the nation because respect for women was hard to come by. Yet, although men dominated women lives throughout the centuries, that did not guarantee that they were receiving the respect due them.
If you were to purchase a book on marriage, most of them would tell you that men value respect and feel disrespected when their suggestions, advice, or decisions are ignored or belittled. Men find their worth in their identity, and while that identity should remain in Christ, they often reflect on what they have achieved in life and what they can do. When these things are not valued by their wife, they feel less than a man. As fixers, by nature, they want things to be well taken of and their families provided for, so when a woman criticizes him, belittles his contributions to the family, or yells insults at him, he finds this to be disrespectful. If you don’t believe me, check it out!
I’ve seen it more times than I can count. It’s hard to choose words of healing and hope in the midst of a hot argument. The best remedy for that is to not have those heated arguments in the first place. But should one catch you by surprise, somebody had best put the brakes on it before things are said that are painfully hard to forget.
Have you ever witnessed a woman speak ill of her husband in public? I have. It’s hard to listen to when the husband is not present, but it is even harder to listen to when he is present. One day at work I was talking with a young woman who had been married for less than five years. She told us that her husband was an idiot. The other person laughed and I responded that she shouldn’t say those kinds of things about her husband. She implied that I probably thought that about my husband and wasn’t saying anything. I told her that while my husband and I most certainly don’t agree on everything, I don’t believe my husband is an idiot. As a matter of fact, I think he’s one of the wisest people I know. I also told her that the things we meditate on about our spouses, and the things we share outside of their hearing, can either build our marriages our tear them down. So I encouraged her and the other woman to watch how they speak about their husbands in public. This was a mild situation, but I have witnessed some situations that are absolutely heartbreaking!
I started out sharing that love and respect are partners in a healthy marriage. While Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives (because women are responders) and wives to respect their husbands (because men are fixers) that doesn’t mean that we are not to reciprocate what we are given.
I’m delighted that my husband loves me, but I want him to respect me and my opinions. When decisions are being made about our family, I expect to be included in those decisions. When a decision needs to be made and time is of the essence, I trust him to make the best decision he can make with the information he has. When I don’t agree with the decision he is making, or I don’t like it, I know God expects me to defer to him and to honor and support him with that decision.
While my husband hopefully feel as respected as I think he is, I can assure you that he wants my love. Needs my love. We’re not just best friends, we’re in love with each other. It’s not always easy to obey God’s word in relationships. Things can sometimes look differently in 2023 than they did in 23 A. D. But God’s word never changes. That’s why it’s so important to marry with His blessing. But if you missed that part, He still expects you, in your current marriage, to obey Him so He can bless you. I trust these blogs have encouraged you and not made you feel condemned. God loves us and knows what is best for us in every area of our lives! Marriage on the Rock of our salvation, is far better than marriage on the rocks! Wonderful Jesus!