Respecting Your Spouse

I’ve been quite critical of the sin in this world – and the pastors who haven’t preached against it. But another sin is cropping up – the lack of respect. Kids are disrespecting their parents, wives disrespecting husbands, and husbands disrespecting their wives.

I start with kids disrespecting parents because it directly stems from one spouse disrespecting the other. When there is one dominant parent – let’s say, the father, who dominates and disrespects the mother, the kids see this and think it’s permissible to act in the same way. I’ve seen kids go wild, telling one parent “No!” – and be totally compliant to another parent. This should never be!

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

Note that the Bible says that children are to obey their parents – plural, not just one, and to disregard the other. What is it today that we allow our kids to get away with this?

In my day, disrespecting my mother, for instance would get me a slap across my face with the back of her hand! My mother would never have put up with any disrespect. (My father was out of the picture, and my grandparents were there – and they too, put up with no garbage from any of us). My mother’s motto? I put the fear of God and the fear of his mother in him!

Our kids shouldn’t be afraid of their parents however, but parents can get the respect due them by showing respect to each other. Fathers – especially Christian fathers – have this air about them that they’re the boss, and what they say, goes. They misinterpret Ephesians 5:22-33 – they see the part about wives submitting in verses 22-24:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Verse 24 makes it clear that wives should be submitting as the Church submits to Christ. But in verse 25, husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church – and gave Himself for her.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

This provides a picture of sacrificial love – a love where the husband would lay his life down for his wife – as Jesus laid His life down for the Church and the Body of Christ. It continues in verse 28:

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

One thing I tell couple in premarital counseling is that “Eve was made from Adam’s rib, she was not made from his foot – the wife is the husband’s helpmate and stands by his side, he never steps on her. Genesis 2:18 confirms this:

ESV: Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

KJV: And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help mate for him.

Gentlemen, your wife is not your slave – you are required to help around the house, just as Adam worked his home in the Garden of Eden – with Eve’s help.

Get the picture? So, stop treating your wife as if she were inferior to you – she isn’t. You are to lead her – and show her by your godly example. You are to lead her in devotions, in prayer. My wife and I do this every morning – even when we’re feeling poorly.

Wives, I’m not letting you off the hook either! Your job is to be that helpmate to your husband. Does that mean you have to do his every whim and be at his beck and call? Absolutely not! This does mean that housework should be shared – and if he doesn’t now how to use a washing machine – or sort laundry – you teach him!

Let me give you a little picture into the life of my wife and I.

I consider myself the priest of my home. I am the spiritual leader. Every morning, my wife and I have devotions together, then prayer. She’s the intercessor between us – her voice is better than mine, so she intercedes for family, friends, those who are in need of salvation, the nation, leaders.

It’s a time where the Holy Spirit comes in and fills us.

I have Parkinson’s Disease, a brain stem injury from a concussion, which means that my mobility is severely impaired, my voice is rather low, and that my thoughts and speech are not in synchronization very well – my thoughts run faster than my mouth can talk.

My wife has been extremely helpful here! Why? Because she’s my helpmate. She understands that I need help. Does that mean that I sit around and do nothing? Absolutely not! I do what my abilities allow. If my fingers and hands are working well together, and standing is not posing a problem – I cook meals, because I love to do it. If I am able, I will fold laundry and run a vacuum. Wherever I can help, and am able to do so, I help.

If more couples worked together, instead of butting heads on “who is more important” – or a family organizational chart of “who reports to whom” – there would be less divorce and disagreements in the marriage. Disagreements are inevitable – but working them out like adults without yelling or putting the other down is the godly way to settle these things.

And never – and I mean never – put your spouse down or argue in front of your kids. That’s how they learn that behavior. Putting your spouse down in front of your kids tells them that it’s alright for them to do the same – and it’s not. You are to have each other’s backs when it comes to kids disrespecting a parent – that behavior is to be corrected immediately by both parents.

Arguing in front of your kids doesn’t teach them the proper way to handle conflict. All they see is fighting and arguing, instead of proper conflict resolution techniques. Deuteronomy 6:7 is explicit:

You shall teach them [the commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Parents, you are to teach your children, and be an example to them. If you’re an overbearing tyrant – what will your kids pick up? If you abuse your spouse in any way, what are your kids learning? It’s no wonder we have kids acting out today – parents are “out to lunch” for the most part. So – how are you going to parent your kids?

How will you treat your spouse? Somthing to think about!

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