"Wives, respect your husband..."
Wouldn't it be vindicating if where ever those words are said in the Bible, they were followed up with an "if..."? For example: "if he deserves it," "if he's earned it," or "if he's obeying God's commands."
God doesn't qualify the command with those words, society does...women do. And, the words are wrong, subjective, and the basis for a huge percentage of what is falling apart in today's marriages.
"I'll respect him when ______" - fill in the blank with any number of conditions that a woman's mind can make up.
Is the Bible wrong, ladies? Is God wrong? Or is it possible we are?
I'm hesitant to use personal examples. Not because I don't want you to know the specifics of how I've come to learn the things I have, but because I don't want you to get bogged down with "what SD did"and overlook how what I'm saying applies to your own life. For the issue of respect, however, I think it's important to paint a picture of what the transformation looks like. There are many books written about it, I'll be recommending one to you that will give you a full explanation in abstract and concrete terms that will help you understand further.
I believed this command of God's had something to do with RLB. That it was dependent on his behavior and therefore my feelings. He often times made it easy for me. Most of the decisions he made were those I agreed with. It was shocking to me, after 14 years of marriage to learn that I wasn't respecting him as God commands. I just agreed with him and viewed myself just as responsible for the decisions he/we made.
Three and a half years ago RLB made some decisions I didn't agree with that I am so thankful for. Everything has changed. Many marriages would have ended, I got close to going down that road. I knew, though, that if we could get on the other side of a year, things would be better and I vowed to do whatever was necessary to get there.
I found the onus was on me. Through prayer, reading, and seeking wise counsel I came to understand how this simple command, and my failure to obey it (or even truly understand it) was the cause of the problem.
I committed to respecting RLB in all things out of my promise to God that I would obey His commands. I stopped concerning myself with whether or not RLB was following God's commands. That's between him and God.
Respect shows through in the little things (the eye roll or lack there of), in big decisions and everything in between. I could give you countless examples. It wasn't always easy, many times before I reacted to RLB, I had to step away and spend some time alone in prayer: "I don't understand this, God, please take the defiance from me and help me show him respect."
One of the decisions was extraordinarily difficult for me. RLB told me to no longer communicate with a friend. I battled with the decision to respect him or potentially hurt my friend. It seems silly to me now - disrespecting RLB hurts God first, the strength of our marriage second, and RLB- why would I ever place a friend above those things? I respected him and cut ties with the friend. It was after a period of time that I came to understand with clarity why RLB told me to do this. This friend had not been reciprocating the friendship and was just taking more and more from me. She had been taking a lot of my time with long phone calls filled with endless drama. She was never actually looking for advice as she refused to implement even the most simple suggestions. And I learned later that I was one of many sounding boards she had. She swiftly moved from one friend to the next with no concern for that individual. In a nut shell, she was the type of person I would warn my daughters to steer clear from. The type that zaps the energy out of you without a care in the world. It was most appropriate for RLB to tell me to put an end to the friendship. This made me contemplate all I was missing when I was choosing defiance over respect.
I recommend the book: Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
It was recommended to me three years ago and was the catalyst for me to finally understand this:
"Wives, respect your husbands..."