"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)
The ESV uses the word 'respect' in place of 'reverence.' Both of these words do describe how we should treat our husbands, but let's look at the Greek word. The Greek word here is: φοβέω or phobeō. This word means to fear and it is the same word that is used in Matthew 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) We should have a similar attitude towards our husband as we do God.
This is such an unpopular idea in our society. How many sitcoms are made so that the man looks incompetent and is disrespected by a disobedient family! This is not the way that God wants a Christian family to act!
Respect should be modeled in the home. It is in the home where the parents respect God, and the wife respects the husband that the children learn to show respect to God and in society. Here are some things we can do to show respect to our husband and be the example to our children we should be:
1. Do not put him down. Say good things about your husband at all times. Once, shortly after being married, I went to a 'sleepover' that another young married woman had for the teens and young women at a congregation. Unfortunately, it became a husband bashing party between two of the young marrieds. The hostess of this party was divorced a few years later. How sad it is when we don't respect our husbands. It can destroy a marriage!
2. Avoid arguments where possible. I know this one is a tough one. My temper is quick to get in the way of this one! But, I have learned, on occasion to let something go and not 'correct' my husband in front of the children.
3. Obey him even when he's not around. I don't know how many times I've heard a mother say something like, "What daddy won't know won't hurt him" or "Daddy's not here, let's do (whatever)." If your husband has made a rule, then it is a rule all the time. If he doesn't want the kids eating in the new truck, then you make sure they abide by the rule even if Daddy's not there. I knew of mother once who took her daughter shopping for a prom dress after the daddy said she wasn't going. This kind of disrespect should not be a part of the Christian home!
4. Appreciate the things he does, no matter how small. Some men do a lot for their wives, some do little. Don't gripe if your man is one of those that does little. Appreciate what he does and make sure he knows how much you appreciate it. A little praise goes a long way to helping men be better husbands and fathers.
5. Be willing to not have your way. Our society has trained us to be selfish. We want our way entirely too often. God wants us to live His way and many times this means that we must put aside our will for others. It would do us some good to exercise this ability more often and let our husbands have it their way (where it fits with God's way). Let's stop fighting against the spiritual head of the family and follow along on heaven's road.
Ladies, let's break the mold of society and put our husbands in their place, second only to the Father! When the wife models this proper respect to their children, the home is a happier place.
Next week we'll have a guest writer on Momma Monday, then we will come back to this series on Respect.