Respect is also reflected in a wife’s attitude. She must choose to speak to her husband with respect, and honor his position by supporting his leadership. She must support him both in the home, and in public settings, with both her words and her actions.
A wife’s loving respect will be a tremendous encouragement to her husband, and will help him to lead her in a worthy manner. Her respect for him will also be a wonderful model to the children in the home. They will learn how to respect and honor the Lord and others who are in positions of authority in their lives by watching their mother respect their father.
GOD’S AUTHORITY IN MARRIAGE
As a wife learns to respect her husband, she must also learn that it is not her role to correct him or shape his character. Often, a wife wants to tell her husband the things that are “wrong” with him, and what he should do to change them!
It is true that a wife knows her husband very well. She sees his flaws and knows his weaknesses. But a godly wife also understands it is NOT her place to change her husband into what she wants him to be.
- has the wisdom to know what He wants a person to become and how they can grow into all that He has for them
- truly knows His will for each person and when it is time for Him to shape or change something in a person’s life
- can truly change a person from within, in a way that is lasting.
A godly wife realizes that her husband belongs to God and is under God’s authority. She can respect her husband’s position of headship – and God’s authority over him – by praying for her husband every day. If she notices weakness or failure in her husband, she has the privilege and responsibility of asking the Lord to help or to convict her husband. She must then trust the Lord to work in her husband’s life.
There are occasional times when a wife may – and should – sensitively give her husband helpful suggestions or constructive criticism. A wise husband will welcome his wife’s loving input. However, a wife is NOT to try and control her husband’s life or character.
Instead, she should encourage his strengths, and be patient and prayerful as God shapes and transforms her husband more and more into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18).
(NOTE: If a husband’s behavior is harmful to the wife, children or others, then a wife should seek godly counsel and help. Or if there is much strife and many problems in a marriage, then both the husband and wife should seek out godly, biblical counsel and assistance.)
A wife cannot truly respect and honor her husband by mere willpower alone – just as a husband cannot truly love his wife in his own strength. But a husband and wife are Christ’s workmanship (Eph 2:8-10). The Spirit of God is at work in every Christian, building them up and sanctifying them as they yield to His work. God has provided everything a man or woman needs to be a godly spouse. They need only pray for God to shape them more and more into His image, in order to love, honor and respect their spouse as they should. This process takes daily effort over a lifetime, but is well worth the effort required to enjoy a godly marriage and family.
PARENTING: A VITAL ROLE
We have now examined the first two priorities God gives to a woman through His Word. The first priority for a woman is her relationship and walk with God. This, along with Bible study and prayer, will help her to become a woman whose words and actions bring glory to God and blessing to others.