Many sitcoms play on the idea that men are stupid and if they didn’t have their intelligent wife to help them think clearly –they’d be in BIG trouble. The wife is smart, strong and has it all together. She keeps the family together and really the husband is only needed for a goofy laugh. She uses sarcasm and eye rolling to show her disrespect. And this goes both ways. There are some sitcoms that make the men look fun-loving and hard working and the women stay home, whine, complain and have no sense of humor…at all.
The reality —Opposite World does not portray a Biblical marriage –so we can’t follow Opposite World.
And so, I was at a get together recently and a wife pulled me aside with her husband. They had a question for me.
She asked, “would you ever say, ‘Just wait a minute buddy’ to your husband?”
Uh Oh – I could tell I was in the middle of a marital conversation and I certainly did not want to answer this wrong and be in hot water. But I was honest, “If I were running late and being rushed, I would probably say – ‘just wait a minute.’ But the word ‘buddy’ on the end. That could be fightin’ words in my house.”
Now I don’t think that she put the word ‘buddy’ at the end to disrespect her husband but it felt disrespectful to him. And I can tell you, that would feel disrespectful to my husband also and here’s the tricky part…
We wives do not get to define what feels respectful or disrespectful to our husbands…our husbands get to define that for us.
And vice versa, we should be able to define for our husbands what things they say and do that make us feel loved or unloved.
Every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands.
I’ve said plenty of things in my marriage that were not from a heart of disrespect but made my husband bristle. I’ve had to learn where his sensitivities lie and how my words come across to him. Because choosing to obey God’s command in Ephesians 5 and respect my husband, is really not about my husband at all.
It’s about who God is and his commands.
It’s about who I am and my character.
It’s about controlling my tongue and mannerisms.
It’s about the grace I’ve received from God that I freely give to my husband.
It’s about keeping my word and the vows I made at the marriage altar.
It’s about heart issues and sin I need to confess.
It’s about not focusing on the flaws or short comings of my husband but focusing on all of the day in and day out ways he blesses us.
I think it’s important I emphasize that God does not command women to give respect and high esteem freely to the whole male population.
This is a special respect that wives are called to give specifically to their husbands.
And yet, I find that in Opposite World, women balk at respecting their husbands while they go to work and respect their bosses or go to church and respect their pastors or go to the gym and respect their trainer or well, –you get the idea.
And I wonder, why is it they are so willing to respect other men but the man they make love to and is the father of their children –no way. They try to control him, criticize him, mother him and treat him as their extra child…but then they are frustrated and exhausted with the man their husband has become.
We all know the saying —behind every great man is a great woman. I believe that our men stand taller with a wife who is their biggest fan. And I know when our husbands got on one knee and proposed –we thought so highly of them – we said “yes“! We loved who they were and who we dreamed they’d become…but some husbands have failed to deliver. Maybe our expectations of marriage and our husband were too high. Or maybe, he’s just not what we thought we married.
But this is where the road gets bumpy and in Opposite World – you’ll be told to check out! But that’s not in God’s plan for marriage…this is when you check in. This is when I Corinthians 13 and true love is lived out. This is when we walk in the Spirit and practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is when we lean hard on God and Opposite World takes a second look at you as a wife and says “there’s something different there.” This is when we protect our marriage by respecting our husband and not airing out all his issues to all of our friends. This is when you are the light of the world. When you stay in the trenches and you fight for your marriage and you obey God’s word and you pray and you wait on God to show up and work a miracle in your marriage.
Dr. Emerson Eggerich says “No husband feels fond feelings of affection and love in his heart when he believes his wife has contempt for who he is as a human being. Ironically, the deepest need of the wife – to feel loved – is undermined by her disrespect.”
**Dear wounded one, are in you a relationship where your husband is abusive or unfaithful? This post is not for you. Please seek counseling or outside help. God is not calling you to stay in a dangerous marriage and respect a man who is putting you or your little ones in danger. Matthew 19:9 clearly states that divorce is permissable in the case of marital unfaithfulness. If you have no one to turn to – I encourage you to use Focus on the Family’s free counseling hotline: 1-800-232-6459.
Need more encouragement in your marriage. Pick up a copy of my book: “Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home.”