June 19, 2009
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)
I have a confession to make: when my husband JJ and I got married over 15 years ago, I took out the words "honor and obey" from my wedding vows. I didn't say I would submit to my husband either. I vowed to "submit my ideas and dreams" to my husband and trust God's leadership in our marriage.
I had some serious issues going into marriage. I was a young Christian, who was afraid of the “S” word, and I wanted to make sure God and my witnesses didn't catch me in a lie. Like many women, I was terrified that if I submitted to my husband I'd become a doormat and lose myself somewhere in the middle of letting my husband lead. I regretfully remember one time JJ told me it was easier to let me lead because it wasn't worth the argument to him.
You'd think that's what I wanted - to get my way - but it wasn’t because my husband became apathetic. Soon I realized I was losing respect for my husband and it was mostly my fault. I wanted him to lead, but when he tried I'd often criticize how he led. It was a mess.
One day I was praying God would change JJ and make him more decisive, more confident, more protective and, well, just more what I wanted him to be. God strongly impressed on my heart that my criticism wasn't getting me any closer to my desired result. In fact, my frustration with JJ only contributed to his own doubt as a man trying to follow God and lead His family.
God’s also reminded me that I was fueling Satan's flaming darts of condemnation aimed at my husband's heart. I was joining efforts with the one who wanted to take out my husband as the leader of our home. Through prayer, God showed me that my husband needed me to be his greatest cheerleader and his biggest supporter verbally, emotionally and spiritually.
God challenged me to keep my mouth closed when JJ did something I didn't like or led in a way I didn't want to follow. He encouraged me to tell my husband when I saw things I appreciated and use the power of my words to build up and not tear down my man.
I started doing what God showed me. I looked for and found things in my husband that I'd never really noticed before. I got intentional about finding things I respected and letting God take care of things I didn't. I made many choices to honor him in big and small ways. And you know what? I discovered things about my husband that were worthy of respect.
We've been through a lot together. I have followed God as I trusted many of my husband’s decisions that scared me: job changes I didn't want him to make; financial investments that seemed too risky; parenting issues that were hard. It hasn’t been easy, but I am so thankful that my husband has become the leader of our family. And I’m more comfortable following his leadership than I ever thought I’d be!
Dear Lord, I want to respect my husband and build Him up with my words. Help me to measure my thoughts carefully and come to You with my complaints. I want to become my husband’s biggest cheerleader and watch You do Your thing in His life. I know this is possible as I depend on You to live Your life through me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Renee’s Blog for powerful scriptures to pray for your husband.
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
* Several of these ideas are from What A Husband Needs from His Wife © 2006 by Melanie Chitwood.
What do I value and respect about my husband?
How often do I criticize or encourage him?
1 Peter 3:15, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV)
1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105