December 3, 2008
I Can’t Believe My Husband Feels Dishonored
“Then when the king's edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest." Esther 1:20 (NIV)
My son Andrew was having a rough afternoon; he was tired, he’d been disappointed by a friend and he had homework. He tried to hide the tears dripping down his cheeks as he gritted his teeth and completed his worksheet.
My husband JJ was sitting across the room watching football, occasionally glancing over at our son and me. I thought about something fun JJ could do with Andrew to cheer him up. Then I thought about how it would encourage Andrew if his dad recognized he was upset and "engaged" with him.
That wasn't happening. So, I invited JJ into the situation by suggesting he turn off the TV and come talk with Andrew. At this point, I was not thinking very honoring thoughts towards my husband. It got messy. JJ felt insulted. I felt frustrated. Finally JJ said, "Tell me what you want me to do."
So I did. Andrew loved my idea to go do something fun with his dad. In minutes, his homework was done. His tears were gone, and so was my husband. JJ was very frustrated. It wasn’t because he had to miss football. It wasn’t even what I said. It was how I said it. He felt dishonored by the timing and tone of my words. I couldn’t believe he felt dishonored. I felt so misunderstood!
I calmed down and thought more about what had happened. I remembered that JJ’s preference is for me to call him into another room away from our kids when I don’t agree with him. He’s also asked me to share my thoughts in a non-critical tone. It was very hard to admit, but I knew God wanted me to honor my husband's perspective and preferences.
Just a few months ago God had taught me the importance of honoring my husband through the story of Esther. Esther was chosen by the king to be his new wife because his first wife, Vashti, dishonored him. The king’s advisers insisted the king remove the queen from her throne because they were afraid her decision to dishonor the king would influence other wives to dishonor their husbands.
That passage reminded me that, although I may not influence a whole kingdom, my daily decisions are far-reaching. As wives, our words, actions and attitudes towards our husbands influence many. We influence the kind of women our sons will marry. We influence how our daughters will speak to their husbands. We influence how our friends might talk to their husbands after hearing how we talk to ours.
So, now I had the opportunity to apply this truth to my marriage. I have to admit it wasn’t easy. My pride insisted that I had the best of intentions. I thought so highly of my husband that I wanted him to be the one to speak into Andrew's hurts and right whatever was wrong.
Maybe Vashti had good intentions. Maybe she was trying to prove what seemed like a good point, but it lead to her downfall. Whatever the case, a bigger point was proven: a wife’s influence is far reaching when she dishonors her husband.
I couldn’t change what I’d done that day. But I could change how it was impacting my little kingdom. With God’s help I told JJ, "I'm sorry for dishonoring you," and I said it in front of my sons. My pride was hard to swallow, but it went down a little easier knowing that honoring my husband honors God, and also influences my sons who I hope will one day look for wives who will honor them, too.
Dear Lord, I want to be a woman who honors my husband, but it’s hard when that means giving up my desire to be right. Help me to honor You, my husband and others in my thoughts, actions, words and decisions. I pray that my life would have a Godly influence on those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues
Visit Renee’s Blog for practical ways to honor your husband and strengthen your marriage.
Ask God if you need to adjust the timing or tone of your words to honor your husband, your parents, your kids, your friends, or someone else.
Talk to your husband about what makes him feel most honored.
Do I need to apologize for any thing I’ve done or said that dishonored my husband, or someone else in my life?
Romans 15:5, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement, give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus …” (NIV)
© 2008 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 03 December 2008.