Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Through 50 years of marriage, one of my favorite comments from my husband to our children was “Do you know that I love your mother?” It’s not hard to respect a man who loves you and lets others know that he does! I have read Ephesians many times. I’ve also read most of Dr. James Dobson’s books. Here’s his advice on Ephesians 5:33***
“The husband must love his wife: To properly define the God-ordained role of husbands, there’s no better place to turn than Scripture. The apostle Paul instructs: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy. . . In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:25–28). Paul also tells us “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23).
Here’s the bottom line of your responsibility as a husband: You are charged with the holy, loving leadership of your wife. There is nothing dictatorial or selfish in this prescription! Your love is to be so strong that it mirrors Christ’s love for the church, so committed that you would unquestioningly die to save her, and so powerful that it is indistinguishable from love of yourself.
What a challenge! And what a privilege to join with God and your wife in this holy partnership! For as you fulfill your role as head of the house, you’ll encounter blessings you never imagined.
The wife must respect her husband: The male ego is surprisingly fragile, especially during times of failure and embarrassment. It’s one of the reasons why a husband desperately needs his wife’s support and respect.
Jane Hill clearly understood this aspect of a wife’s role. Over Jane’s objections, her husband once invested his family’s scarce resources in the purchase of a service station. Jane opposed the decision because she knew that her husband lacked the time and expertise to oversee his investment. She was right; the station went broke. When her husband called to say he’d lost the station, Jane could have said, “I told you so” and crushed his spirit. He could have been humiliated in that moment of vulnerability. Instead, she said, “If you smoked and drank, you would have lost as much as you lost in the service station. So it’s six in one hand and a half-dozen in the other. Let’s forget it.”
A wife can “make” or “break” a man. If she believes in her husband and has confidence in his leadership, he typically gains the confidence he needs to take risks and use his assets wisely. But if she is competitive, critical, and disrespectful of her husband, she becomes a liability to the entire family. Read Ephesians 5:33 again. (However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.) One of the most important keys to a successful marriage is found in a single word: respect!”
Respect is an issue whether you’ve been married for one or many years. Wives, perhaps you can review this list and find new ways to show respect for your husband.
***Dr. Dobson’s comments taken from http://www.drjamesdobson.org/challenges/10-day-communication-challenge/