Next to God, your relationship with your spouse is the most important relationship you have. I will repeat that. Next to God, your relationship with your spouse is the most important relationship you have. Ephesians 5 provides us with the picture of the Christian household; husbands should love their wives as Jesus did the church, and wives should submit or, in terms more appropriate for our understanding, respect their husbands. Since a married couple has become “one flesh,” it makes sense that the priority following God should be the edification of the “flesh” of the married body. Children, extended family, and fellow believers follow closely behind this paramount relationship.
My husband and I married in our 30s as a blended family with three children in or near the tween years. As you can imagine, life was always interesting at our house. In addition, my husband runs a thriving concrete business that he has been building over the year of our marriage, and I have actively pursued education and a career in higher education along with a plethora of side gigs, including blogging😊. I know our circumstances are not unlike many other couples. We are busy and struggle to balance anything, let alone put our relationship first all the time. Over the years, my husband and I have had seasons where we did pretty well in making our relationship a priority. Other times, we pass like to ships in the night. Making your relationship a priority is the first step to honoring your husband in your relationship. However, there are also many small, daily steps you can take to honor your husband. And, while I don’t always get it right, I’d like to share a few things that I have learned and try to do to honor my husband in our relationship.
Be Truthful and Honest, Always. My husband can attest to this one, that I fail quite often at this. I don’t mean that I lie to him about things. In fact, most of us probably do not; It is more subtle than that. For example, I am conflict-avoidant and often do not tell him when something is bothering me or I am uncomfortable. I have learned that even if I know he will be upset or frustrated with me, I need to be honest and truthful about how I feel, but only after I have processed those feelings and prayed to God to help me communicate them appropriately.
Assume the Best, First. If something gets forgotten, lost, or just plain old messed up and it was my husband’s responsibility to take care of it, I assume there is a good reason. I don’t assume that he is lazy, inconsiderate, or just a bone-head. Instead, I assume he got busy, forgot, or didn’t understand our agreement or my request. Then, I talk to him. I ask him what happened and work together to find a way to resolve the issue or avoid it in the future. Easy-peasy.
Listen to Understand. My husband doesn’t want to be fixed. Let’s face it, most of us don’t. And, more importantly, none of us are qualified to fix each other. Let’s leave that to God! However, the reality is I love my husband and want to make his life easier and better, which naturally leads to fixing. Yikes. A slippery slope with a steep incline! In order to avoid that pitfall, I try to remember to listen to understand and have empathy for what he is experiencing and then ask what he needs from me. Trust me, if you give them a chance, they will tell you if they need something.
Discuss, Don’t Nag. I’ve been a mother for 23 years and have taught for nearly as many. I can quickly get my “teacher voice” ratcheted up. When I am tempted to reprimand, nag, or turn on my teacher’s voice, I am reminded of Proverb 21:9, “Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife.” We have the right to discuss issues and bring up spiritual, physical, or emotional concerns with our husbands. However, we must discuss issues respectfully and strive not to treat them like children to be scolded or nagged.
Dream Together. My husband and I are both dreamers, but with one big difference, scale. My husband dreams big; It is one of the things I love about him. I, on the other hand, dream in increments and small steps. We are actually a perfect fit in this area—he stretches me, and I temper him. We had an opportunity just this past weekend to spend some time dreaming together. We recently moved into a new house, that is not quite finished (hazards of building yourself😊). We were able to spend part of the daydreaming about how we could landscape the yard to provide space for relaxation and fellowship with family and friends.
Ask Him How He Feels Respected. Most relationships assume too much. Do not assume that you know what your husband needs to feel respected. Five main areas in the Christian marriage need to be attended to, spiritual, physical, financial, parenting, and time/responsibility. Discuss each one with your spouse and how he would feel respected in each.
A good marriage begins with Christ at the center of your life and the life of your marriage. Putting God first prepares you to honor your husband spiritually, in your relationship, and in his work. We would love to hear ways that you honor your husband, big and small. Please share in the comments below or send us an email!
If you missed the first post in this series, Honoring Your Husband–Spiritually, please go back and check it out. Next week, we finish the series with Honoring Your Husband–In His Work.
Contributed by Liz Hunt