Posted by: Ety W. | July 6, 2008

“That She Respect Her Husband”

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When we looked at Ephesians 5:22-33 several weeks ago, we focused mostly on husbands’ responsibilities to their wives in marriage. Husbands are told to sacrificially love (agape) their wives. Wives are told to be subject to, and to respect their husbands. We’ve spent a lot of time studying being subject, so I’d like to focus now on respect.

We looked at this word when we studied a wife’s behavior toward her disobedient husband in I Peter 3:2.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Peter 3:1-2

The same word is used in Ephesians 5:33, in another form.

Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself, and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband. Eph. 5:33

Respect – Strong’s 5399 – φοβεω – phobeo = Fear, frighten; morally, to reverence or honor.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary puts it like this,

To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth.

The question then is, do you see your husband as having real worth? Surely we can readily agree, but if we are in a difficult marriage, perhaps not. At the very least he possesses value because he was created in God’s image. If for no other reason than that, then he deserves respect.

Often when women get together to fellowship, the conversation will include marriages and husbands. This isn’t surprising, but I become uncomfortable when husbands’ mistakes become sources of amusing anecdotes. Even worse is if these sessions turn into a camaraderie of fault finding.

“But is was only a joke,” someone might protest, or “I just needed to get that off my chest.” I admit those ideas tempt me too, but here is one of the verses that always stops me:

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. Luke 6:31

How do I feel when my faults and mistakes are being discussed behind my back or being used as the butt of a joke? Let’s take it a step further:

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Covers – Strong’s 2572 – καλυπτω – kalupto = to envelop, wrap around as bark, cover over, hide. To hinder the knowledge of a thing.

In other words, Christian love does not expose the faults of others. Not for a joke. Not in order to feel better by venting our frustrations.

The reward for respecting our husbands is a very precious one, trust.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will find no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs. 31: 11-12

Time for reflection:
Do my words, attitudes, and actions do my husband good or evil?
Does he trust me with his hopes and dreams? With his feelings and fears?
Does he feel more comfortable spending an evening at home, or out with they boys?

To answer why this is even important, I think it might be helpful to examine the intent and design of marriage. Next time, let’s start to take a look at the very first marriage and what the Lord said about it.


  1. Ety,
    Thanks for the reminder. I think that Luke 6:31 is a very, very good verse to live by!

    A word on difficult marriages.
    I think it’s ok for a hurting spouse to seek counsel in people who inspire respect and can give good advice. This should not be an excuse to drag one’s husband’s image through the mud, but sometimes it helps to have someone else analize the situation.

    I think it’s important to know what our motives are: not hide our own mistakes while blowing up our spouses’ mistakes, but seek advice on how to deal with a difficult situation.

    I know I love my husband and consider him worthy of my respect. I haven’t always respected him the way I should, but I’m learning. He is valuable, that’s for sure.

    One question,
    Do you think it’s always the wife’s fault if a husband chooses not to trust her? In my experience, it’s not always just her fault. Maybe she did something to make him wary of confiding in her, even if it’s just disagree greatly with something he thought was a great idea, but that doesn’t give him the right to keep his intent a secret.

    There are men who hide important things from their wives for no good reason.

  2. Madame, I absolutely do not thing that it is always the wife’s fault if her husband does not choose to trust her. Hopefully, two people who enter marriage already trust one another. Hopefully during the courtship / engagement period, they have learned learned that trust. Trust may be broken at some point during the marriage, but if itisn’t there before marriage, then it will be difficult.

    Unfortunately, we all suffer from the consequence of sin and continually have to battle the flesh. If a man (or woman) has been badly hurt before marriage for example, they will probaby have problems trusting.

    Then too, worldly thinking is constantly pitting men and women against one another. That kind of thinking crops up in even Christian marriages unfortunately, and helps create of keep a wall between husband and wife.

    I think sometimes too, we don’t want to confide in someone because we’re afraid of what they might say or how they may react. That may be based on actual past experience, or it may just be vain imaginations.

    Gosh, I seem to be really going on and on! But I agree with you, it is not always a wife’s fault. I just hope that I am able to do everything I can to foster my husband’s trust. If I’m doing that and he still doesn’t trust, then that is between him and the Lord. I just want to be able to stand before my God someday and know that I did everything I could to be a godly wife.

  3. Thanks Ety!

    You finally said the words I’ve been trying to to put my finger on – “worldly thinking.” It drives me crazy!!! It infuriates me to the point of not being able to think of words…. 🙂

    Anyway – it drives me nuts to visit other sites and see that people (in the name of Christianity) are trying to find ways to NOT believe the Bible; to come up with a list of exceptions to God’s rules, particularly regarding authority and submission.

    Your site is a refreshing change from their “yeah, but …” theology.

    Sorry to vent on you… thanks for the word and the Word.

    I’m a Believer!

  4. Ety,

    I’m sorry if my comment sounded like I was mad at specific people or websites – I’m infuriated that satan keeps blinding people with worldly thinking and keeping them from the victory for which Jesus paid so high a price.

    I’m a Believer!

  5. Laura, I understood what you were saying, and I appreciated it. Worldly thinking is a definitely a problem in the Church today. And on the Internet. Even so, I think we all struggle with obedience to the truth at various times. Hopefully as teachers, we can encourage others to take the step of obedience in faith. I always try to keep Hebrews 10:24 in mind, “… let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”

    Your comments are always encouraging to me, because I see your heart for the Lord and for His truth.

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