Michelle's Blog

My life as a wife, homemaker, friend, Christian

unconditional respect January 8, 2009

Filed under: thoughts — mrswade @ 12:15 am
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 Ephesians 5:33 (ESV) However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

My mom gave me the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs a while back, I think even before Jake and I got engaged.  I just now picked it up to start reading.

This book is pretty popular and the love and respect idea has been popular in the churches and Christian circles I have been a part of.  I’ve also always felt that wives respecting their husbands was much more controversial to talk about than husbands loving their wives.  It seems that wives should be loved no matter what and husbands better get their act together if they want any respect.  My own mother-in-law told me (not sure if it was advice or not) that she wasn’t just going to respect her husband, he had to earn it.  I always somehow felt that this couldn’t be the way it is supposed to be.  Why would one be conditional and the other unconditional?  

1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

The way Dr. Eggerichs explains it makes so much sense to me, this is what he says:

The husbands he mentions are either carnal Christians or unbelievers who are disobedient to the Word — that is, to Jesus Christ.  God is not pleased with a man like this, and such a man does not “deserve” his wife’s respect.  But Peter is not calling on wives to feel respect; he is commanding them to show respectful behavior.  This is not about the husband deserving respect; it is about the wife being willing to treat her husband respectfully without condtion.

To say the least, doing something when you don’t really feel you want to do it is counterintuitive.  Therefore, this passage must be acted on in faith (emphasis mine).  God has ordained that wives respect their husbands as a method to win husbands to Himself.  As a husband opens his pirit to God, he reopens his spirit to his wife.  No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being.  The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect.

I am not a huge fan of how at the end it seems he is appealing to the wife’s desire to control her husband but I think the rest of it is so good.  It seriously all comes back to how much Jesus gives us that we do not deserve (which is everything in case you were wondering).  Our natural human responses is to be fair, give people what the deserve and withhold it if they are undeserving.  We are so undeserving yet God does not withhold from us.  

As a wife I may think that I am lowering myself, or my standards if I show Jake respect when he doesn’t deserve it.  But what 1 Peter 3:1-2 says is that God uses me to draw Jake unto himself.  How much do I have to not love him to treat him with disrespect.  If showing love is so much easier for women (as it says in the book, as I’ve always heard and as I’ve gathered from my own experience) then isn’t it loving to be respectful our husbands?  I think it would be so unloving to deny our husbands an avenue in which to bring him closer to God (which ultimately brings him closer to us).  

It really comes full circle here.  We do what God is calling us to do, respect our husbands.  Our husbands see our respect and “they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.”  They are won over for God by our godly actions (makes sense doesn’t it?)  It is loving to show them respect because a loving Christian wife wants her husband to be as close to God as he can be.  Dear husband grows closer and closer with the Lord, allowing him to love his wife more fully and deeply; truly making him a respectable man (whether he was to begin with or not).

I am continually blown away by Gods perfect design for our lives.  Sometimes I just sit back in awe and think, “yes, yes, yes, that is perfect, why doesn’t everyone see this? Why can’t we just live this way?”  I am no exception, I am so far from living in the perfect plan that God has for me.  

I also find it ironic that if there is a book written which seemingly contains everything you would need to know about, say gardening, it is called “The Gardening Bible.”  People see that title and think, “everything I need to know about gardening is in that book!”  Yet our own (my own) real Bibles sit on the shelf.  Why don’t I look at that book everyday and think, “I have to read that book!  It tells me everything I need to know about everything!”  I somehow neglect it’s importance and power and amazingness in being a book written for me, by God, telling me how I should best live my life.  Even though, every time I do open it, I am amazed at how perfect and practical it is.  That is our complete depravity though right?  We do what we do not want to do and we do not do what we want.

I’m excited to keep reading this book.  So far the author is a little cheesy for me but I’m cutting through it and trying to get to the good stuff and glean what I can from it.  If nothing else, it’s a guy with some good life experience and some verses, can’t argue with that.  Another book I would recommend, especially for parents, but also for anyone who wants kids someday, is Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.  It is an amazing book that has recently really given me amazing insight into how the Bible really does outline our lives for us, despite what pop-psychology or learning theorists say.  God created us, I think he would know 🙂