Home marriage Virtuous Wife: His Love is spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Virtuous Wife: His Love is spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T

by Kelly Crawford

“Give him direct communication, respect, appreciation, food and good lovin’, and he’ll do just about anything you wish…” Dr. Laura

“…And let the wife she that she reverence her husband.” Eph 5:33

Yes, you read it right–“reverence”.

Revere: “To regard with affectionate awe”.

Yes, this language is foreign to a culture riddled with self, a hatred of men and and low view of marriage and children.

But we are not of the world, and when we obey God, and reverence our husbands, our marriages become a picture of Christ and his church, a light to a dark place.

And our husbands respond with all the irony that is our God–he becomes humble, loving, and more willing than ever to please!

I have heard women say, “I will respect my husband when he earns it”. He probably won’t be around long enough to earn it. What if he only went to work when I “earned” the right to be loved?

We are to respect our husbands because to do otherwise would be disobedience to a holy God. He’s the one to whom we must answer, and He has our very best intentions in mind. He knows what we need too, and He has prescribed the formula for a happy marriage…if we will follow it.

God knew we wanted to be loved, to be treated with affection and tenderness; and since He created us, He knows what will draw that out of our husbands–respect, admiration and appreciation.

As simple as it is, this one is so hard for me…I’m not even going to pretend to have arrived. I struggle with a critical spirit, a rebellious nature and a selfish heart. All too often I look at my husband’s faults, critique every thing he does, and ignore the enormously long list of wonderful things he is and does.

Why do we do that?

Do you know what makes a husband happy? To quote Dr. Laura again, (I’m sorry, but she just has it together about men!)

“Give him direct communication, respect, appreciation, food and good lovin’, and he’ll do just about anything you wish…”

He just wants to come home to a smiling wife, who despite all his faults, appreciates that he works so hard for her, that he’s a good daddy, that he puts gas in the car when he’s out, that he checks the oil, or… fill in the blank.

Debi Pearl addresses the age old problem of wives trying to improve their husbands, i.e. “disrespect” (which we are all so prone to do–remember Eve? “Here honey, this will make you smarter 😉

She says if we would just appreciate the things he does (even if they are small), praise him for those things, he will begin to work harder in every area for more appreciation.

Of course in a godly marriage mutual respect exists; but I’m describing the honor due to the head of our homes–the man who shoulders the world for us, slays dragons for us, and protects us with all the love and care of a shining knight….(excuse my poetic digression 😉

We are to exhibit the kind of respect that doesn’t question every little thing he does, as if he is a child in need of training. The kind of respect that rests in knowing that if he is wrong, God knows how to handle it…it is not our job to reprove.

For some, it takes a real conscious effort to break habits of criticism (that’s me!) It requires us to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. But when we do truly respect and reverence our husbands, contentment and joy flood in.

Doesn’t our God delight in irony? I think he asks us to do things completely opposite our nature so that we must absolutely depend on Him for the strength to do it…to know that on our own, we can’t.

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yoshi3329 April 16, 2008 - 11:00 am

I agree! Oh, and by the way thanks for answering my question! particularly the last part “It doesn’t make sense that one would leave Christianity in the name of being submissive to her husband; because once she left the faith, why would it matter whether she was obeying God by being submissive?

Does that make sense?”

Yes word warrior…it does! again thank you and have a blessed day!

Anonymous April 16, 2008 - 12:36 pm

I used to be a big Dr. Laura fan when I was first married, and my husband likes to say that Dr. Laura ruined the first few years of our marriage. We even almost divorced. (Not believers back then, perhaps if her message is filtered through the lens of Scripture, but I dare not go near her since.)
I’m really enjoying your posts on this subject. Doug Phillips sells a couple CD’s at Vision Forum that really compliment these teachings – The Blessed Marriage and also The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision.

Anonymous April 16, 2008 - 1:23 pm

Dr Laura has been divorced at least twice, possibly three times.

I’d take her advice with a whopping HANDFUL of salt.

Brenda April 16, 2008 - 2:20 pm

I think it’s OK to quote Dr. Laura one sentence or two if they are correct ones. That doesn’t mean anyone here is advocating “do what Dr. Laura says and does.” Even the world gets things right sometimes. But we have scripture to compare everything to.

And about our society “hating men”? I see and hear it all the time. Several years ago I was laughing and watching Everyone Loves Raymond and husband said, “I hate this show. They make the husband out to be such a loser.” I thought that was the DUMBEST thing I had ever heard. And then I started listening. That kind of humor can affect your own attitude. So, I stopped watching. We are affected by society’s attitude more than we realize, sometimes!

Catherine R. April 16, 2008 - 6:45 pm

Very well said, indeed! Better for your husband to do a not so great job at leading than for you to tell him how to do it right all the time. Of course picking a good husband helps tremendously. Even Dr. Laura will attest to that.

As for Dr. Laura, she is a smart woman, just very harsh at times; not really full of grace but we must remember she is under “the law” as she is Jewish, not Christian.

Kate April 16, 2008 - 10:34 pm

This is so important and so true! My husband truly needs to feel respected. He has made that perfectly clear on several occasions and unfortunately I still struggle with it at times. I’ve found that I need to learn what he considers disrespectful, because often our views differ on that. But does it really matter if I don’t feel I’m being disrespectful if he is taking it that way? Absolutely not, not when my desire is to respect him at all times!

Doesn’t it make you sad how poorly the world views men these days? I think the sole purpose of most tv commercials is to make men look dumb. That’s one reason why tv viewing in our household is seriously limited.

beth April 17, 2008 - 10:44 am

Another author who touches on the “respect” issue is Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in his book “Love and Respect”, published by Focus on the Family. It really enhanced my understanding of what “respect” looks like, and how husbands feel unloved when we are not respectful. Very eye-opening!

Donna April 18, 2008 - 3:03 pm

I just came across your blog today and as I was reading through several entries, I came to this one and it was just what I needed to read. I have been struggling horribly in the last few months to respect my husband and have become very vocal in letting him know how I feel. I know it is not right for me to be that way, but I just can’t seem to help it. Then I read this entry and I just cried and cried. I do want to be in obedience to God, so I am going to repent and start working on respecting my husband. I am sure it will not be easy, but I just wanted to say thanks for posting what you did. It was just what I needed to hear and will hopefully bring healing into my marriage and family.


Word Warrior April 18, 2008 - 3:42 pm


Thank you so much for sharing that…and you are not alone! I shed many tears over the same thing–I know WHAT to do, but I’m so bad at doing it!

Prayer and more prayer…and a constant reminding of myself that I am to respect my husband…just the nitty gritty of calling on the Lord and then being obedient, asking forgiveness, and trying again!

I do HIGHLY recommend the book “Created to be His Helpmeet” by Debi Pearl–changed my life.

Anonymous April 25, 2008 - 10:02 pm

huh? True marriage can withstand all…a wife can and should say how she feels or she is not true to her husband. & vice versa. What is this about being disrespectful to him becasue of such?? I feel sorry for you that feel this way. God wants love pure and simple, not that anyone gender rules over the other.

Sbyllek January 21, 2009 - 5:52 pm

Very well said.
My response to my husband is not based on his response to me or his actions. It is based on what God commanded wives to do. Reverence, submit, obey (yes, obey)
I read “Created to be his Helpmeet” by Debi Pearl.
The one statement she made that really stuck with me was that we are not the Holy Spirit. It is not our job to fix our husband’s faults…to point them out, to correct them, and when we do we are stepping out of our role as Helpmeet and stepping into the Holy Spirit’s role. Whoa!!! That stopped me right there.
Reverence, submission, obedience, appreciation are not always easy in the day to day but they are so worth it!!!

Anonymous March 7, 2009 - 12:34 pm

I have read all the books mentioned in your entry and for more than 13 years have worked hard, giving myself to my husband, a respectful, submissive, happy helpmeet.

Sad to say, some men just don’t appreciate it and are bums…like my husband. AFter all these years I am fed up. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Moorea February 10, 2011 - 12:54 pm

@ the March 7, 2009 entry. I have learned that after reading all the books, and putting it all into action that the result I really desire is to not expect any change out of my husband. All the books tell you, do this, you will get X result. Instead they should tell you they are explaining God’s design, but your husband may still not respond, or change. That is not your problem, you still need to walk in the design He made. A marriage is a covenant, a binding contract before the Lord. There is no guarantee that even IF you become all you should be, that he won’t still be a “bum.” The good news is though, that YOU will be holy in God’s sight, “a good and faithful servant,” never knowing when (maybe in 6 months, maybe is 20 years) you might “win over your husband with your gracious behavior.” When you stand before the Lord, in the light of ETERNITY, will 25 or 45 years of learning to die to self be significant? No it will not, especially if we have gained a joy in the Lord that cannot be purchased with Gold. I for one, do not want to have to answer to the Lord for giving up on my husband just because he did not “get with the program” so to speak and be everything I expected him to be. No man on this planet is perfect, so why not learn to “cover a multitude of sins” with the Love of Christ for your husband who you are in a covenant relationship with, and count the cost of not having all you desire in marriage be your offering the Lord- in obedience TO CHRIST and His design of showing respect to your husband, you WILL find complete joy- THAT is the goal, JOY in Christ. I would ask you to consider that your husband may be feeling that he is a “project” and that your “works of the flesh” (ie. OK I’m dying to my flesh today,so GET IT TOGETHER honey!”) getting him to get with the program, need to be changed to an abandoned love for him, he may need to experience a love that does not judge him based on how YOU are behaving.


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