… And let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase: see to it? What did they mean when they said to see to something? Perhaps that is an unfamiliar phrase to some, but the phrase means: to be careful or certain to do something.
Our Lord commands the wife to see to it (to be careful or certain) that she respects her husband. Respect – will be our next building block for the wise woman who builds her house.
What exactly does the word respect mean? Respect is an intangible word and is not easily defined. Webster’s dictionary defines respect as: esteem, honor, or high regard for a person or their position; deference to another’s position; proper acceptance, courtesy, or acknowledgement of another’s position.
Respect is a heart attitude toward another that honors his position. If the heart attitude is respectful, then respectful behaviors will follow. Respectful words will be spoken, and respectful actions will flow from the heart. Through our words and actions, we will esteem our husband, honor him, and highly regard him. We will defer with a proper acceptance and acknowledgment of his position and interact with courtesy and graciousness toward him.
Now, let us return to our scripture in Ephesians 5. Let the wife see that she respects her husband. This respect for our husband is something that we should be careful to maintain. Why does the Word of God give this strong command to the wife?
We can recall in Genesis 2 that the purpose for the creation of the woman was to be a help/companion to the man. He was created first, and she was created for him as his helper. Now look at the beginning of the Ephesians passage to which we are referring. In verse 23, we find the truth: For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church … In truth, there is one reason, and one reason alone, that a wife is to see to it that she respects her husband. That reason is the Lord. He designed, created, ordained, and commanded it to be so. Our Lord is the Ultimate Authority over all, and it is He Who has delegated authority to the husband. Respect will be necessary for the wife to be a proper help and companion to the husband.
We usually stumble at this truth for one of two reasons (or perhaps both). We view our marriage with earthly eyes and think too little of our husband (disrespect) or too much of ourselves (pride). You see, God doesn’t list all the husband’s strengths and weaknesses to see if he qualifies to be the head and deserves our respect. He doesn’t say that the husband must earn our respect. He commands the wife to respect him because He has created the husband to be the head, and therefore, the husband’s position as head is to be respected. We all have a fallen human nature, including our husbands, but we cannot allow our earthly view to cause us to dismiss the truth of the Word of God.
Headship is also discussed in 1 Corinthians 11:3:
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ,
the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Every wise woman will grab hold of this truth and not let go! The husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the Head of the husband. Our husband has a Head, and he has a Perfect Head! AND, through prayer, the wife has the privilege of directly communicating with her husband’s Head. Anytime we have difficulty respecting our husband’s position as our head, in the final analysis, we are having trouble trusting God to work good for us through our head (our husband). We are actually questioning the goodness of God! Remember, the question is not whether, according to our evaluation, our husband deserves to be the head. It is our Loving, Faithful, All-Wise, Heavenly Father Who has appointed our husband to that position.
One further consideration:
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church.
Christ and the church serve as our example of how a marriage is to be lived out, AND when we live according to these truths, we reflect the picture of Christ and the church, and our Lord is glorified!
Now, I already know what many wives may be thinking. Thoughts like: You don’t know my husband! Or But my husband doesn’t love me like Christ loves the church! This is where faith comes in. Our responsibility is to see to it that we respect our own husband as our God-given head, in humble obedience to the Lord Himself. It is the Lord’s responsibility to work in the life of our husband. Even if a husband is an unbeliever or an unspiritual man, our only responsibility is to respect his position as the church would respect he Lord. Will our husbands ever achieve the perfection of the Lord? No, not in this life, and the Lord knew that when He set this truth in order. But He also knows that a wife who will walk in this truth will reflect much glory to Him! You may also ask: Am I honoring and respecting my husband instead of the Lord? The answer is: No, you are honoring and respecting your husband because of the Lord.
Truly, God’s ways are far above ours! Our fleshly thoughts and ways can never attain to such a high calling. But God, through His Spirit, can and will work these truths in us.
What a strong building block for the wise woman:
Every wise woman will see to it (to be careful or certain)
to respect (esteem, highly regard, honor) her husband as her head.
Not long after I became a Christian, the Lord drew me into His Word to study marriage. (That is because I needed it so badly!) I came across the truth that the husband is to be the head. Like most Christian wives, I did want my husband to be the head of our home. I wanted him to be the head of our son, and to discipline him when needed. I wanted him to handle the finances and things like insurance. I wanted him to handle problems that would arise, but what I discovered in the Word of God was that I had missed the most important part of this truth. What the Lord showed me was that the husband is the head of the WIFE! What I saw was that I wanted my husband to be the head of our home, but I did not want him to be the head of ME!
Through much prayer and meditation on these truths, what I discovered was that I honestly didn’t think I needed a head. I was a mature, intelligent woman. I really didn’t need a head – or so I thought! I could see that our son needed a head. I had taught school for several years and could see that my students needed a head. I could see that citizens need a governing head, and I could certainly see that my husband needed a head. Why was I so blind to the fact that I needed a head? Oh, this fallen human nature!
I also struggled with the need of a human head. I thought: Why can’t the Lord just be my Head? Why should this man be my head? What the Lord showed me was that all human beings (including me) need authority, and it was He (not my husband) Who had designated this order. He also showed me that He would use my husband for my good. And, oh my, how this has proven to be true through the years. The one truth that I resisted so strongly has turned out to be one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I can assure you that respecting a husband as the head of the wife does not come naturally. The Lord must do the work in the wife. Yet, He commands her to see to it that she respects her husband.
In my life, I had to take that truth to the Lord in prayer and allow Him to change my heart. I also had to refuse the lies of the enemy that said that other people had it “easier”, and that this would never work in my marriage. What a transformation the Lord brought to my marriage through this truth, and in years to come, what a transformation he made in my husband!
God’s Word is always truth, and His way is always from His goodness! Oh, that we could learn to bow our hearts to Him!
So, Until Next Time:
Spend time with the Lord on these truths.
Allow the Lord to examine your heart.
Perhaps these questions will prove helpful as we examine together.
What is our heart’s attitude toward our own husband?
We will experience much frustration (and failure) if we attempt to be respectful to our husband on the outside and do not respect him from the heart.
What can we tell about our heart toward our husband by the way that we speak to him?
How do we respond to his requests?
How to do we speak about him to others?
How do we speak to and about him in front of the children?
Are our private thoughts about our own husband respectful ones?
From the heart, do we respect him as the Lord calls us to do?
This is not an easy task.
Ask the Lord to help.
Faithful is he Who calls you, Who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24