I've been thinking a lot lately about the subject of honoring and respecting your husband. I guess the reason it's been on my mind is that I seem to see or hear someone almost everyday (friends, acquaintances, or just random strangers I pass in Wal*Mart) disparaging or mocking their husband. I see it in Facebook statuses, hear it from Christian friends (whom I usually really respect for their godly character), overhear groups of strangers at restaurants, etc.. Most of the time it's said jokingly or tongue-in-cheek, but still my first reaction is "oh your poor husband!" I don't really stop to think about how dumb or bumbling he's been, I just feel sorry for him since he's stuck with a wife who not only thinks he's an idiot, but who also has no qualms spreading her opinion of him far and wide. Now before you all jump on me for trying to suppress women, or make men look perfect and women look like horrible sinners, let me say that is NOT what I think or am trying to say!!! I'm just saying that we are to be the keepers of our husbands' hearts...but how are they supposed to trust us when they're always flinching and waiting for us to tell a group of our girlfriends their latest mistake? Proverbs 31 verses 10 through 12 say (this is from the Amplified version...I thought it stated the heart of the issue very clearly) "(10) A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman -- who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. (11) The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. (12) She comforts, encourages, and only does him good as long as there is life within her." I think verse 12 pretty much sums this up!! If you can fit gossiping about your husband, belittling him for his mistakes, or mocking him in front of your (or worse, HIS!) friends into the guidelines found in that verse, then go to it!! I'm not trying to point fingers or single anyone out, because I know I've been guilty of these things as well. However, I've really been convicted of that and I'm trying hard to only say uplifting, supporting, admiring things about my husband to others.
I know our husbands are NOT perfect and they are GOING to do things that frustrate, annoy, and confuse us! I once heard a speaker who was extolling the virtues of his wife of many years. He said she kept a notebook where she "told God on him" when he had done something she just couldn't handle. Instead of complaining to her mother or friends, or punishing him in some way (and you ladies know we can come up with some pretty cruel ways of "punishing" our husbands when we feel they deserve it!!), she would take her tears and her frustrations to her notebook, and spill it all out to God. I remember being so impressed with that woman's self control and respect for her husband, and the fact that he appreciated her so much that he was bragging about her in front of a large group! Sometimes it's just kind of fun and relieving to whine and gripe and trade stories with our friends, but let's face it ladies; this is NOT a hobby that will make our husbands trust us! If they know that every time they mess up they can expect to read all about it the next day on Facebook (along with all the comments from their wife's, and in many cases, their OWN, friends), do you think that's going to help them open up their heart's dreams, desires, and hopes to us?! I think not. They're just going to pull back in defense of themselves, which is going to make us angry because we feel that they're pushing us away...and in many cases I've seen, women can't for the life of them figure out WHY their husband is growing more and more distant! I think that one of the greatest and most important goals we wives can set for ourselves is to never let a word cross our lips that would make our husbands feel that we don't completely respect, honor, and admire them! They KNOW they're not perfect...but a woman who loves them enough to overlook their offenses and goofs is going to make them willing and eager to walk through FIRE for her!!!
The Biblical model for a marriage (as found in Ephesians chapter 5) is for the wife to submit to her husband, and for the husband to love his wife as much as Christ loves the church. This means that husbands are told to love their wives whether they deserve it or not, but it stands to reason, in my mind at least, that a husband's love for his wife is going to naturally grow deeper, stronger, and more sacrificial if he knows she is willing to deny herself an hour's gossip with friends simply because she wants to show him respect and do everything she can to protect his good name and character.
Now I know some of you may think, "Hey, I don't even have a Christian husband!! There really isn't much to respect or honor about him, so I'm excused." Well, here's what 1 Peter 3 verses 1 and 2 say to Christian women married to unsaved men (again from the Amplified version): "(1) In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, (2) When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him -- to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted too, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]".
Please comment and let me know if you think I'm right or wrong...and please remember that I'm NOT trying to single out and humiliate anyone!!!! I'm just writing this as a general observation of ALL of us women (and I certainly do include myself in all of this!!!). Thanks for letting me share my thoughts on this issue, and I look forward to hearing yours as well!