Someone recently told me that they appreciate how I consistently build Bjorn up on the blog and how I show him respect. I was absolutely touched to read this. I wanted respecting Bjorn to be an attitude that authentically came through on this blog but I wasn’t sure how it was coming through. I respect my husband very much, and although any marriage has its tense moments or tired-late-at-night-conversations, I know he feels that respect from me.
Today, I wanted to focus specifically on how we, as wives, can show respect for our husbands.
But first, let me explain how I want to use the term “respect” in this context.
I understand that the word “respect” has an interesting implication when we, as women, discuss the subject of marriage. Respect is something that should be given by both spouses, though if you want a fresh (and I believe, biblical) look at it, I totally love how the book Love & Respect explains a really interesting cycle of wives respecting their husbands and husbands treating their wives lovingly. I know it is crucial that a wife respects her husband – and we’re about to talk about ways this can happen. The ultimate goal is to honor God and bring glory to Him by respecting and loving our spouses.
When I was growing up, my mom sometimes used the word “respectfully” to describe a manner of doing things. For example, if I was helping to dust something breakable, she’d urge me to “set it down respectfully.” Or if we were checking on a cake that was baking, she’d remind me not to slam the oven door – to “close it respectfully,” so as not to make the cake fall!
In these instances, the word “respect” had to do with treating an object with care and as though it had great value. And to a little kid, learning to respect things – all things – by recognizing their value, was a very important concept. Having that ingrained in me from a young age affected me positively! Now, when I talk about respecting our husbands, I mean treating our husbands with care and with recognition for their extraordinary value.
1 // Watch how you talk. Start monitoring how you speak about your husband, even if he is not present. This is huge – HUGE. We live in a society where it is often deemed appropriate (or simply a great conversation-filler) to bash our husbands. The comedian Brian Regan has a funny spiel on wives complaining in commercials about their husbands: “Myyy husband…is soooo stuuupid….” And the thing is, it’s funny because it’s so common. Personally, I’d rather sit in silence than listen to others joke about their husbands’ incompetencies. I suggest we commit to running words through a little filter in our head – one that asks, “Does this build my husband up? Or does it make him look not good?” And if he is present, consider just how yucky a snide comment from you could make the rest of the day, how critical words can tear apart trust in a relationship. Withholding harsh words – that is the first step.
2 // Monitor your thought patterns. What are your most common thoughts about your husband? So much of our daily interactions with anyone are followed by little thoughts in our head. Do we find ourselves thinking things like, He is such a slob or Why can’t he get it through his head or He sure is helpless without me….? Those thought patterns are dangerous, much more dangerous than they may seem. After all, no one can hear our thoughts, right? Unfortunately, what is in our head is often followed by action. So let’s ask God to renew a right spirit within us. We should want to change any negative attitudes in us, and that starts in our heart and our thoughts.
3 // Remind yourself of his incredible value. He’s a beloved son, and perhaps a beloved brother, cousin, or friend. And with so many other people in his life hopefully recognizing his worth, you as his wife should be at the top of that list! Cherish him! He was created in the image of God – God specifically breathed life into this man you love and God has a purpose and tender love for him. Therefore, your treatment of your husband should reflect that realization. We treat fragile objects with respect. I have these lovely Anthropologie bowls 🙂 that I just adore – and I don’t throw them around or set them down harshly! It’s a weird example, but keep in mind that you should treat your husband’s heart similarly – with utmost care.
4 // Practice empathy. This man you married is journeying through life just as you are. He was once a little boy, full of dreams. But life is big, and hard, and we can all get run down or discouraged at times. Give him grace for his mistakes. Remind him of God’s love for him, and also YOUR love for him. If you poke fun at him when he fails, or make rude comments when he makes a mistake, it weakens trust in your relationship.
5 // Commit to it! Even if it seems like so much to consider and remember, just commit to start noticing how you are around your husband. Ask God for the ability and the determination to change your thought patterns and how you act moving out from there!
I’ve learned a lot about respect in the amount of time we’ve been married so far, but I fully realize there is constantly more to learn about marriage! It’s an ongoing journey!
How do you and your husband foster respect in your relationship? Have you struggled with cultural okay-ness with bashing husbands? What advice do you have for us?