On Respect

his-perspective-on-respect

“And let the woman see to it that she respect her husband.”
~Ephesians 5:33


His Perspective on Respect: The Survey


Given the Biblical command for a women to respect her man, how would you generally define respect?

“To honor, look up to, to value the worth of, to show favor to

The Bible says that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. I think this word is a great way of summarizing how a wife is to respect her husband. She treats him as someone who is very important; as someone who she means to serve and obey, and who is worthy of her service. No other person trumps him; he is the #1 person she is meant to help, to love, and to give her time and affections to. What is important to him becomes important to her, simply because he values it. This all comes out of an ultimate desire to serve her Heavenly Lord, because this is His command to her; ultimately, she is serving Him through demonstrating a giving over of her desires to the desires of her husband, and treating him as the authority God has given her.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“Respect is a heart condition, choice, act of the will, etc. that results in one person having regard for the decisions, opinions, desires, wishes, preferences, needs, etc. of another who is in authority over them. Respect causes the one under authority to act selflessly for the benefit of the one in authority. Respect causes the woman to act selflessly for the benefit of her man.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“BASIC MEANING

I would say that the meaning of “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 (NAS) is “an intense desire to avoid displeasing another person.” The KJV is better than the NAS here in translating, “reverence.” An underlying theme is that a believer should do what is right in God’s eyes, and that usually includes a heartfelt submission to an earthly authority–whether the government, a husband, or a master. My definition could be stated positively, as “an intense desire to please another person,” but I stand by my original definition, despite the fact that it seems a bit negative. Let me explain.

INCORRECT MEANINGS

The Greek word behind “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 is “phobeos.” In the English language a “phobia” is “an irrational fear.” That is not the meaning of this Greek word! On the other hand, “phobeos” does not mean merely “to respect,” if by that we mean “to have regard for.” Paul used a different Greek word (“proneo”) when he meant “respect” in Romans 12:17 (NAS). That is not the word Paul chose to characterize the wife’s proper attitude toward her husband.

SHADES OF MEANING

All of Paul’s other uses of “phobeos” are translated (by the NAS) “to fear” or “to be afraid.” By using this word to describe a wife’s attitude toward her husband, Paul is emphasizing something different than simply “respect,” as can be seen from his other uses of this word:

· “Fear” is contrasted with, and probably prevents, conceit regarding the believer’s special relationship with God (Rom. 11:20)

· Evildoers should “fear” law enforcement authorities (Rom. 13:3, 4)

· Paul was “afraid” that the Corinthians’ might be led astray from devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3)

· Paul was “afraid” that he and the Corinthians would not be pleased with each other during an anticipated visit (2 Cor. 12:20)

· Peter was “fearing” certain false teachers and did the wrong thing in order to please them (Gal. 2:12)

· Paul had “fear” for the Galatians, that they might have defected from the gospel that he taught them (Gal. 4:11).

· Slaves are supposed to obey their masters from the heart because they are “fearing” the Lord (Col. 3:22).”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)

“I’m a little timid to try a hardline definition… but it seems that love is an active decision to put her needs above my own, whereas respect is a mindset that values very highly my leadership and provision for the family. Maybe in overly simplistic terms, respect makes a man feel like he’s a winner, and love makes a woman feel like a princess.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“To feel appreciated and trusted.”

Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“Because of texts like 1 Corinthians 11:3 & Ephesians 5:23, I don’t think you can talk about the wife’s respect for her husband apart from the Christ/ church metaphor it is meant to be a visible display of. So in one sense, the definition of a wife’s respect for her husband can be found as the following question is unpacked: “How is the church called to respect Christ?”- which I won’t unpack here lol. Also, the Son’s relationship to the Father must be considered. How does the Son respect His Father?

With all that said, if I were to give a brief general definition of respect, I would say this: Biblical respect is the humble, intelligent, joyful response of a wife to God’s placement of authority expressed by esteem for, encouragement of, and submission to her husband’s leadership.”

Shai Linne, Philidelphia, PA

“I do not believe respect has anything at all to do with “felt needs” (Men always needing their ego pumped up and women always on the verge of emotional collapse.). The type of respect and love talked about here are not feelings based on emotions at all, but feelings commanded by scripture as a necessity for godly order, based on distinct positions of authority, within the home, in the church, in government, and basically in every single aspect of life. Respect is not something to be demanded. It is not something deserved by the person holding the position, but it is something due with reference to the authority of the position – even if the one in subjection doesn’t like or agree with the person who holds that position. Ever since the fall, it has not normally been our first impulse to respect someone unless we consciously choose to. The true form of both love and respect are, at their core; working unselfishly and sacrificially for the greatest possible good/benefit to the other person. We have to keep sight of Jesus as the example; everything He did was for the benefit of some other person. Without the correct balance it is very difficult to retain any sort of order.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“For our household in terms of marriage, respect is the heart attitude of reverence and submission that supports the decision making process and/or leadership of the husband. This includes being a helpmeet in decision making processes, training the children, showing each other sin in which we are ignorant of and/or struggling with.”

–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“Interesting questions! I suppose the first thing I would say, and indeed give emphasis to, is that respect as in view in Ephesians 5:33 is something which is intended to be only as sincerely Spirit-worked. That is, I would differntiate between the respect which men exhibit naturally in the world and the Spirit-worked respect which only comes from God. This is what a woman must seek, not being satisfied with her own natural things.

As for a general definition of “respect,” as I recall the wording in Ephesians 5:33 is typically rendered as “give deference to” or “reverence” the husband. I think the parallel passage which first comes to mind would be in I Peter 3 where Sarah called Abraham her “lord,” her master. There is a sense of awe toward him by which she serves him and does him good all the days of her life.

One practical example of this is in the church meetings where the men are speaking and the women are silent (I Cor. 14:26-40). The wife manifests her respect of her husband in fervently praying for him throughout his exertion and participation in the assembly time. In the absence of this devotion (respect), her countenance falls, and the assembly is discouraged.

All for now–time to go show love to my wife and children! :-)”

–Glenn Schreiber, Central Illinois, (very happily) married for 18.5 years, father of two daughters

If husbands are to love, while wives respect—what is the relationship between love and respect? How do they differ?


“It is the “picture” of Christ and His bride. The relationship for the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Sacrificial love, a love worth respecting because it is wonderful and it knows the love is acting in the best interest for the wife. How do they differ? The love is the leading action which makes the respecting enjoyable.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“I’ve already discussed “respect,” above. So I will discuss “love” here.

Loving is a responsibility of both husband and wife. However a different “love” word is used for husbands (“agapao” in Eph. 5:25, 28, 33; Co. 3:19) than for wives (“philandros” in Titus 2:4). The “love” responsibilities of husbands emphasizes self-sacrificial giving and provision, whereas that of wives emphasizes affection.

Biblically, the responsiblities of husbands towards their wives include: leading them (1 Tim. 3:4-5), loving them (Eph. 5:25, etc.), living with them in an understanding way (1 Pet. 3:7), and being sexually faithful to them (Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:13-16; 1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6).

The responsibilities of wives towards their husbands are: submitting to them (Eph. 5:22, 24), reverencing them (Eph. 5:33), helping them (Gen. 2:18), and being sexually faithful to them (Gen. 2:24).

God’s originally-stated purpose for creating mankind was to rule over the earth (Gen. 1:26). His special purpose for man was to cultivate and keep the garden (Gen. 1:26; 2:15) and for woman was for her to be a suitable helper of her husband (Genesis 2:18). It follows that she must learn to help her man. This is the major distinction between the husband and his wife’s roles–he is the leader and she is the helper. More descriptively, he is to be her loving leader and she is to be his reverent helper.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)

“”Love is of God,” I John 4:7 says. God’s love is not natural to man, as the Scripture continues: “everyone who loves has been born of God.” So husbands are to love, not by human product, but by the love of God. Likewise are wives, according to Titus 2:4, to love their husbands, not by natural love, but God’s love.

Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The wife thus respects and reverences her husband as the church is in awe of Christ for choosing her and laying down his life for her.

The man, the lover, is the giver; and the woman, the reverencer, is the thankful benefactor of love which is bestowed upon her from God. Let there be no substitute for God’s love–no mere mortal love–in Christian marriage.”

–Glenn Schreiber, Central Illinois, (very happily) married for 18.5 years, father of two daughters

“Respect is earned through love. Respect is given when love is in action.”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“I would say respect is something given on account of the position of authority, while love is something given because of a decision to sacrificially give the best for the other person no matter the cost. Either party may choose to do their part regardless of what the other party does, this is the start towards a biblical balance.

Both have responsibilities attached. But they are different, in the case of the leader it is essential that they really LEAD and not follow, that they are very aware of the real needs of those they lead, that they not abuse any power, and that they faithfully make the best decisions for those they lead-no matter the personal cost. In the case of the one under leadership it definitely contributes to the general order and harmony of the family, for them to follow their own leader, that they be aware of the real needs of others, that they wait patiently for their leader to make important decisions, that they receive them with forbearance, and if they see some possible unexpected consequences, that they make an appeal.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“Love is more of a laying down one’s life for another. Love is unselfish. Love is caring. Love is sensitive. God commands husbands to love their wives, because that cherishing is specifically what their wives need to feel loved. God commands wives to respect their husbands, because that honoring and esteeming and being proud of is exactly what her husband needs.

Wives, needing love, tend to mistakenly feel that their husbands need love the way they do. So they set about laying down their lives for their husbands, tirelessly serving their man doing laundry, cooking food for their children, cleaning the house and so on, but when he steps through the door of the house, if her actions and words to him are not respectful, he doesn’t even feel any of the love she was trying to offer and definitely not the respect he needs.

Husbands, on the other hand, needing respect, tend to mistakenly feel that their wives need respect the way they do. So a husband stands in awe of how much work his wife gets done, compliments her on her cooking, and respects her day to day duties, but if he is not constantly laying his life down for her in loving her, sacrificing his interests for hers, cherishing her and being tender with her, she does not feel any love and the respect he has offered her is meaningless.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“Love is a heart condition, choice, act of the will, etc. that results in one person having regard for the decisions, opinions, desires, wishes, preferences, needs, etc. of another who is not in authority over them. Love causes one to act selflessly for the benefit of another. Or in this case, Love causes the one in authority to act selflessly for the benefit of those under their authority. Love causes the man to act selflessly for the benefit of his woman.

We hear much about men having a built in need for respect and similarly women having a built in need for love … as if men and women are designed by God with the frailties of tiny egos and frail emotions that need constant stroking by the other lest we suffer the consequences. This is nonsense. Respect and Love in the context of Marriage have everything to do with God given roles and authority structure. Respect and Love are what bring about God’s desire that we use our position selflessly for the benefit of our Spouse.

This would apply similarly to other authority based relationships like King / Subject, Slave / Master, Government / Citizen, Employer / Employee, Parent / Child, Jesus / His Church, etc.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“I believe that God in His infinite wisdom commanded the very things that the man and woman need most from each other, based on how God has wired us. They are also the things that are hardest to do as a result of the fall. They are distinct, but both fall under the general category of love. They look a little different, based on roles.”


Shai Linne, Philidelphia, PA

On a practical daily basis, how does your wife/daughter/sister (please specify which) demonstrate respect?

“I’m sure this varies significantly from one man to another, but one of the biggest things for me is that my wife values what I value. Lauren shows her respect for me by learning to think like I do, and follow my leadership implicitly. I personally don’t want to be a dictator. I want Lauren’s respect to come from a thorough understanding and cooperation with how I think, rather than an outward compliance with rules I set. Lauren demonstrates this by anticipating, and seeking to please me, rather than checking off my to-do list.

Some examples:
*Lauren grew up as an athlete and a bit of a tomboy. Her natural tendency is to dress for convenience rather than appearance. I like her to look sharp when she’s out in public, even if I’m not around. This takes extra thought and effort, so when she dresses nicely, I see it as respect–for my leadership and my reputation as head of our family.
*Lauren is a homemaker, and I work about 10 minutes away. Making sure that she is at home when I get off work, and not in the middle of things tells me that she is looking forward to my return home, and values my presence. Primping before I get home is an even more significant demonstration of respect, and really makes me feel like I’m a winner. I know it takes a sacrifice for her, but it shows that she values my leadership and our relationship.
*Being productive and completing her tasks as a homemaker demonstrates that she is following my leadership. I am not a very strong leader, and I don’t usually give her an extensive to-do list. But I do want to see her using the time, resources, and energy that is at her disposal to manage our home and make it a pleasant, useful, and edifying place to live. This requires more initiative and self motivation from her than if I were a commanding leader, but when she works hard and takes responsibility without requiring detailed directions it shows that she knows me enough to know what I want without me having to say it. She values the things I value, and is seeking to please me.
*Lastly, praying for me, and letting me know in detail that she is praying for me, is a tremendous encouragement, and shows that she values both my leadership and provision for the family enough to take it before God, and ask for His help, which I am well aware that I need.”

–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“When she [my wife] puts aside her plans for my plans. If she has been looking forward to how a certain day or event should go, but I have different plans, and she is able to lay aside her plans and view mine as more important, that is definitely respect.

When she is able to trust me on decisions, both big and small. (whether it relates to what we eat, when we go to bed, how we discipline our children, how long to stay at a party, anything)”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“Wife = listening to me and my theology and comments on Scripture and how I plan to implement them on a practical basis. She is the one who listens, understands, offers comments and then ultimately yields to the decisions that I make and not only yields to them but eventually accepts them as hers (this might take longer). My daughters are engaged in most of the conversations between my wife and myself and are seeing how my wife responds to these discussions and/or actions that are required. Our daughters are also taught respect in terms of obedience to parents.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

(I’m not intending to sound selfish, so hopefully you can tell what I mean.) My sisters can best show their respect by paying attention to instructions, not talking badly about me, seeking to do things the way I would like them done, and all the while being cheerful about it.

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10


What would be the most disrespectful thing your wife/daughter/sister could do?

“Marital, that is, sexual unfaithfulness by a wife; secondarily flirtation with another man.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)

“Probably the thing I would consider the most painfully disrespectful would be if She defamed my reputation in public for no apparent cause.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

”Besides leaving or open rebellion which by God’s grace that has not happen, it might be to discuss with other woman and/or men that my decisions and theology are practice are in error or questionable. Basically to be outwardly critical of issues that are not sin.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“Wife — Adultery, divorce

Daughter — Fornication, marry without my consent”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“Leaving me would be the highest rejection of my leadership and provision. But in absence of legal separation, complete emotional and relational separation would be basically equivalent.”

–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“If we were in a public setting and I was talking to her about a decision or an idea, and she out loud said it was a stupid idea.

Going behind my back to tell other women about all my mistakes and to talk negatively about my decisions.

Not treating my ideas as wise.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)



Which is of greater importance: that your wife/daughter/sister speaks highly of you or that she seeks to please you?


“That’s hard. Both are essential for true respect. If she doesn’t seek to please me she certainly doesn’t value my leadership. And can you really be a winner without a fan club?”

–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“Seeks to please me.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“Depends on what she is speaking highly about and/or trying to please me in. If she speaks highly of me and attributes those “things” to God that would be of greater importance or if she was pleasing me because I was telling her to obey the Lord that would be of greater importance.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“Obviously, both of these are important. I’m trying to imagine a scenario where I could only pick one of the two, and what would I pick? If my wife always and in every setting spoke highly of me, I think I would rather have that than if she was always trying to please me. Ultimately, I think they end up going together, though. If you are always speaking highly of someone (the king, a boss, a friend, etc.), how could your daily actions not turn to wanting to please them? In this case, I think the honoring (speaking highly of) comes first. If a wife’s heart is in the right place of honoring and respect her husband and is always genuinely and truthfully speaking highly of him, she will naturally want to please him, as well. “

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“I would say that her seeking to please me is of far greater importance. Her speaking highly of me would then be a natural response. (As long as it is telling the truth.)”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10


Which is more painful, public or private disrespect?


“Both are painful, but public is devastating, not only for the husband, but for those around them at the time.”

Shai Linne, Philidelphia, PA

“Public is definitely more insulting, because other people are able to see your wife’s open disrespect. However, private disrespect can be very painful too; your sister/mom/wife may not be bold enough to disrespect you publicly, but the constant nagging and manipulation of their private disrespect can be quite disheartening as well.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“PUBLIC but private is very tough also.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“Public might bring embarrassment but the pain brought by disrespect is not any easier in private.”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“Normally public is quite a bit more painful than private because it would show to everyone that our relationship was not right.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“Sincere disrespect, no matter what arena it occurs in. It matters little to me that the disrespect is observed by others, if it was intended by her to be disrespectful. Deliberately disrespecting me means that the woman whom I value more than my life doesn’t value me at all. That would hurt like you wouldn’t believe.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉



Do you feel disrespected if your wife/daughter/sister corrects you (even just a misspeak) in public?


“If you respect someone, you would go to every effort not to embarrass them or belittle them, no matter the context. If you were standing in a room with a very important person (say the President or the head of the company you work for, or some other important person), and they misspoke, would you not feel completely out of place to correct them? I think it would take such arrogance to be able to say, “Um, sorry, Mr. President… but you mispronounced ….” I think, sadly, women often correct their husbands because they actually think they are stupid. And if they really are as stupid as their wife thinks, than it was probably even stupider of her to entrust her whole life and heart and future to such an idiot. To a degree, men are quite simple: they act the way they are treated. If you treat a man like a king, he will begin to act like a king. If you treat him like a hero, he will begin to do heroic things. If you treat him like a dumb-dumb, he will most definitely start acting like a dumb-dumb. I think if women were actually truly able to understand how much power they can have over a man (both for good or for evil), they would truly be amazed. God joined man and woman together to be a powerful team, to raise children, to be an example of Christ and the church on earth – and they have so much power together when they fulfill their roles.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“It depends. If it helps my communication, I appreciate it. If it derails my train of thought, or shuts down my communication it is frustrating.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“No. But my wife isn’t disrespectful about it. I didn’t answer these in order … see the comments regarding motive under sharing struggles below.

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“It depends a lot on the context, importance of the mistake, and her heart in correcting. If for instance if she is correcting a misspeak and there is nothing else in the context that prohibits it (such as in the assembly which would not be acceptable) then I would say that according to its importance it would not be disrespectful for her to quietly correct me so that my words would not mislead anyone else, and that I would not have to try to correct it later.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“Not if it is a misspeak and we have discussed those things and she knows that I would not like for that misspeak to have happened. If she was questioning me and or correcting me in public on issues that I deemed “very” important (bible for example) I would feel disrepcted. If I was doing a math problem and said 2 plus 2 was 5, I would want her to say to me – don’t you mean 4. I guess should could whisper this to me and that would be better, but if she did not have the opportunity – I would not feel disrespected.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters



Does disregard of your opinions, preferences, wishes or commands equal disrespect?


“Disregard of commands and wishes is definitely disrespectful. Disregard of opinions and preferences is disrespectful unless an appeal is being made.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉


”Not if I am sinning, but most of the others would probably qualify as disrespect.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“Disregard? Yes. Disagreement? No.”


Shai Linne, Philidelphia, PA

“Totally. I probably cannot say enough on this survey how important it is for a woman to hold in high esteem her husband’s opinions, preferences, wishes, commands and decisions.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“Disregard of commands is a slap in the face. Disregard for the others show a lofty attitude which is unbecoming of a servant of Christ. My whole desire to have a family is based on the grounds of wanting to teach them humility and servant hood.”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“In the majority of cases I would say that it does equal disrespect, unless she either goes through the appeal process or there was something that made it impossible for her to follow her intentions of respecting me.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“Yes, see definition [of respect] above. And, please understand I’m not talking about trivial things like the “wrong” type of dressing on my salad.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

Does public or private (please specify which) disagreement equal disrespect?

“Yes, expressions of disagreement. Note Sarah’s obedience without fear of disobedient Abraham.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)

They both could be disrespectful – but they both could also not be disrespectful.


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“I think it might depend on the tone of the words used in the disagreement. If there is yelling then yes. If there is just a disagreement over toilet paper then I wouldn’t see how that could be disrespect.”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University


“It’s all in the way the disagreement is handled. An appeal is a very respectful way to disagree.”

–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“Private –Not necessarily, she could possibly disagree with me/my ideas and still show respect by obeying or appealing. But it can if she just disregards my wishes without an appeal.

Public –Usually, especially if she was married to me because, after marriage you are no longer two but one, and thus you should agree. Any disagreements then should be addressed at home with the Bible as the standard. If she was my sister then it would depend on whether or not her higher authority (her father) was present, even then he should be the one who addresses any disagreements.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, oldest of 10 children

“There are many times when a husband or wife will disagree about a decision. The husband, fulfilling his role to lay down his life for his wife, should be gracious and gentle with his wife, as he leads her. He must make sure that he is not asking too much of her.

If his wife is eight months pregnant and he wants to go hike The Jagged Cliffs of Doom, saying, “Come on, babe, this will be great exercise for you!”, he is probably not being gentle and loving to her in his leading of her.

At the same time, the wife must always be prepared to follow her husband and agree with his decisions. Her default answer to him should be “Yes” not “But…” And if he knows that she is willing to agree with him, no matter what he asks of her, he will be a lot more willing to listen to her if she quietly and submissively offers a counter-suggestion.

It really grates on a man when everything he says to his wife, she immediately rejects with some reason or another of her own.

Husband: “Let’s sit here by the window…”

Wife: “Oh, but the sun is too bright there…”

Husband: “Let’s go bowling together…”

Wife: “But bowling alleys are so smoky, how about we write poetry to each other instead?”

Husband: “How about I get McDonald’s for dinner as a treat?”

Wife: “I hate that dreadful stuff… let’s get Chinese take-out instead.”

In all of these case, the issues were relatively small, even though to the wife, they may have seemed big at the time. Instead, all those conversations could have gone like this and prevented a whole lot of tension and possible arguments:

Husband: “Let’s sit here by the window…”

Wife: “Sure.”

Husband: “Let’s go bowling together…”

Wife: “Sure.”

Husband: “How about I get McDonald’s for dinner as a treat?”

Wife: “Sure.”

Then, after numerous times of his wife respecting his decisions and her default answer being “yes”, when the time comes and the husband is asking his 8-month pregnant wife to go hike The Jagged Cliffs of Doom with him, when she gently says, “Dear husband, I would be glad to that with you if you want…. Since I am carrying our precious child though and am rather slow in my ability to move, perhaps we could just start out on the trail and not actually try to climb the peaks today?” or something to that effect, he will very likely listen to her because he knows she honors him, and thus he will pick a different activity or make sure that their hike is not too strenuous.

All in all, generally the wife, going off of her wisdom, is generally suspect of every idea and decision her husband is making. That is why it is so important for her to TRUST him. She may not agree with him, she may not understand him, but she needs to TRUST him. He is wanting to do something for some reason that he has, and she must BELIEVE that it is a good reason and that she should follow him, no matter what.

So in answer to the question, disagreement generally equals disrespect. A wife should not just be dumb and mute, following her husband around like a beat dog, and in his love for her, he should never ever treat her that way – but she needs to TRUST him and be willing, no matter what, to follow his lead first and foremost.

There are times, say at a group party, where the wife may know things that the husband doesn’t and that knowledge is important. For instance, her husband may suggest, “Hey, everyone, let’s play Apples to Apples!”, and she may know that he doesn’t know that everyone just had an “Apples to Apples” all-nighter the night before, and are more sick of Apples to Apples than any other game on earth. In cases like this (where a wife really needs to check her heart to make sure she isn’t just judging her husband’s stupidity but is actually helping him by providing him with valid information he needs to make a good decision), she could gently suggest another option, or find an opportune time to fill her husband in on everyone’s game playing tastes at the moment. So long as everything she is thinking and doing is done out of respect for her husband, he will ultimately feel the respect and will not feel slighted by his wife in any way.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

Does demonstration of respect vary depending on situations (i.e. public, private, family, etc)?

“umm… I think this question is ambiguous. So many different situations to contemplate. In short…. Yes”


–Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“No.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father to three daughters

“Possibly… just as a husband should be studying his wife to learn how to love her better, a wife should be studying her husband to find how to respect him better in each and every situation.

It may be very respectful of her to say to their two-year old boy while they are all playing on the floor together… “Look how strong daddy is… he has such big muscles!” But that same sentence at a work party may not be so respectful.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

Would your woman sharing your struggles (past or present) with others be disrespectful?

“Maybe, maybe not. I guess my answer comes down to a question of her motive. I have some questions of my own … Have I shared these struggles with others in a similar setting? Have I shared these struggles in public at all? Were these struggles of circumstance or temptation or sin? If temptation or sin, have I repented? Does she share them to help others through similar struggles like I would? Does she share them to exploit my weakness? To make herself look strong? So, check the motive, then look at the definition again.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“It could be and for the most part it would be unless I had given her permission or knew of another reason why that would be occurring.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“More likely yes than no. It depends on how it is expressed, to whom, and for what purpose. A mature husband and wife will understand that they both have sin and that they both need forgiveness. With this understanding, they can both be more free to live life to the full, without feeling like they are letting each other down in their own frailties of the flesh. This understanding also helps both of them to be closer to each other; they are forgiving each other, not picking at each other’s sin. I think there are very few instances where a wife would need to be sharing her husband’s struggles with someone else, but there are probably times when that could be valid, if her heart was truly right.

For instance, she may be teaching another woman in the church how to respond to her newly married husband when he isn’t loving to her. She may share a story in her past when her husband wasn’t as loving to her as he could have been, and this story may help the new young wife learn to love and respect her husband better. In this context, it would not be disrespectful.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“Not necessarily. If she uses good judgment in what struggles she shares, and how she shares them, it doesn’t bother me. The way I see it, is that if it can edify someone else, then that may be part of the reason God allowed me to have that struggle. In such a case, the person with whom the struggle is shared can rejoice with me in what God is bringing me through. If, however, it is shared in a way that causes my wife or the other person to belittle me, or look down on me, then it would have lead to disrespect.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“It would depend almost completely upon whether I had confessed them publicly or not, and whether she was telling them so they could learn from my mistakes or not.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“Depends on the struggle. Past would not be a big deal to me. Present while in the struggle probably would not be a very good idea.”

Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

How intertwined with respect is your wife/daughter/sister’s reaction to your decisions?

“It can be very intertwined. My reasoning is that her actions are outward signs of her heart, so if she responds with obedience or even an appeal it is most likely that she also has a respectful heart. If, on the other hand she does not respond with honor, then she most likely does not have a respectful heart either.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“I think they are intertwined but it is hard for me to quantify that except to say it is very intertwined.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“Very much so. See above about how a wife’s immediate reaction should always be “Yes!””

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

How intertwined with respect is the health of your relationship with your wife/daughter/sister?

“It is Possible to have a surviving relationship without respect because I could choose to love them even if they refused to respect me, but to have a really healthy flourishing relationship both must fill their biblical roles.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“It is essential.”

–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“Every godly husband I know would say it’s extremely intertwined.”


Shai Linne, Philidelphia, PA

“Very much so.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

Is it possible for a woman to respectfully rebuke, exhort or disagree with her man? (If so, please explain how.)

“1 Peter 3. Without a word, she can win him by her chaste and respectful behavior.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)

“I would say she could and should exhort me from God’s word as long as her motives are to help me. If it was my sister she could disagree with me if, for some reason I disagreed with the higher authority (her father). If the woman was my wife I would think that she could disagree with me with the motive of helping me, but she still has to honor the position, appeal, and state her reasons for disagreeing. I don’t know for sure how she could rebuke while still remaining within her role, so I would suggest she should appeal to me and then to God so that he can rebuke me either from his word, or through another man.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“I believe so. But it must be part of the appeal described in 1 Timothy 5:1-2. I’ll explain in my answer to the next question.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉


“Yes. When I am in sinful situations. When I have asked for comments which is often because I believe we are one flesh with one mind intend on one purpose – so if we are different I enjoy working out our differences.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“I do not see any biblical grounds for her not to. If my wife is my help mate and she is the person that knows me better than any one then I think she should be the first person to correct me about my attitude or comments about/toward others.”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University



If your wife/sister/daughter is concerned about a decision you have made or are about to make, should she approach you about it and, if so, how can she do so respectfully?


“I certainly hope she WOULD approach me about it. She is my helper and my counterpart, and I depend on her to balance me out! She should begin by asking questions to make sure she understands the situation and my line of thought. She should phrase them as generously as possible, giving me the benefit of the doubt. Once she has the complete picture, a statement like, “Well, Nathaniel, part of this really making me concerned…” will probably illicit an invitation from me for her to explain. If her explanation is given in a simple but well thought out and rational method, I will be able to hear it without being offended. After she explains, she should let it go, if I don’t continue the conversation. At this point in the scenario, I can’t imagine being comfortable with the decision I have made, and will most likely reconsider. But as I am doing so, she should not nag, as this is devaluing my leadership.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“Yes. In my relationship she can just ask in private (not in public).”

–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“If her initial reaction is always “Yes” to my decisions, I will know that she respects me. So on the instance where she submissively offers up another opinion, I will want to listen, because I know that she ultimately wants to help me, not hinder me.”

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“Absolutely! The approach would simply be “I would like to talk to you about this.” Gentle voice and with questions or concerns expressed in a way that would not create a seditious atmosphere.”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“I would say that she can approach me about it if she has a concern, although probably in public would not be the best place. Personally I would like to know if my family is in agreement with me or not, and if not, it would be better to know their feelings ahead of time rather than after the fact. And who knows, since I am a mere imperfect man, I may be missing something, or I may be just plain wrong, and God could be using her to show me something I missed.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10



We’ve heard it said that respect is a two-way street. How does this statement fit in the framework of scripture?

“In a way, I think women feel respected when they are loved, and men feel loved when they are respected. So, women are loving their husbands by respecting them, and men are respecting their wives by loving them. God gave us the specific commands He did so we would more easily see the areas we in our nature need to work on to love and respect our spouse.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

“There are definitely two sides to the idea of roles, but, women are the ones who are instructed to respect, while men are instructed to love. While they are related ideas, they are not exactly the same, and just as women are not instructed to love their man, men are not instructed to respect their woman, because it would be contrary to the use of these words in the context of biblical authority structure.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“[I] Disagree. The commands to love/respect are not conditional upon the other performing their action. If my wife is the most disrespectful person in the world – I need to love her like Christ loves the church. If I am the most unloving person in the world – my wife needs to be respectful like the Bride of Christ.”

–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“I think value is a decent synonym for respect. A woman needs to have her person valued, which results in biblical active love, and a man needs to have his position valued, which results in biblical active submission or respect.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉



MARRIED MEN:

How did your wife demonstrate her respect for you before you even met or married?

“First and foremost, even before we met she maintained complete physical and emotional purity, avoiding all romantic relationships. She knew she was looking for a husband who valued purity, and she was bound and determined to give me all of herself completely untainted.

Secondly, when I met her, she always spoke very carefully and respectfully of her father, even in some very trying circumstances. I knew that as her husband, she would be more aware of my faults than anyone else, but she demonstrated in her relationship with her father that she would not use that knowledge against me.”

–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

“By respecting her father. One thing that comes strongly to mind is a group conversation where she declared emphatically that any man who wanted to marry her would have to ask and receive permission from her father before asking her. While I remember very little about the context or exact wording of this conversation, I do remember her great respect for her father and his direction regarding this area of her life.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)

“She was pursuing Christ and loving His word. I believe only a Christian can demonstrate respect – so I can see how “serious” she is by her beliefs in Christ and love for him.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters

“Not being a flirt. Not oohing and aahing over the likes and dislikes of every man who came her way, but saving her heart and her respect for her husband.

By dressing modestly. A wife’s body is her husband’s and a husband’s body is his wife’s. By dressing modestly, a woman is respecting her husband by treating his future possession (her body) with honor. She is not treating it like it is something cheap or trashy, but is wrapping it appropriately with clothing, as a glorious gift is wrapped to be revealed at the proper time.

By practicing honoring her husband one day by honoring and respecting her father as her current head. Though the relationship is different, an unmarried woman should also be respecting her father’s decisions and likes and dislikes.

By preparing ahead of time how to learn to respect and honor her husband. By reading blogs like Pearls and Diamonds. J

John A. Moss,Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)

SINGLE MEN:

How can your future wife demonstrate her respect to you now, before you meet or marry?

“Great question! The best thing that any wife-to-be can do is to press on to know her God through prayer, meditation and in-depth study of the Scriptures, so that her present and future application of respect for God’s authority is rooted in her understanding of God and the gospel.”


Shai Linne, Philidelphia, PA


“Pursuing Christ with all her heart, soul, and mind. Learning to submit to the word of God. God has created us individuals with different personalities so with that I would say just living free in Jesus with who He has created her to be (obviously while obeying the Word).”


Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“The most respectful thing she could do for me now would be to honor and respect her current man. And to show how willing and glad she is to remain within her godly biblical role, no matter what her man is like.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

Any other thoughts?

“Trust and respect can be shattered by failure to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.”

Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

“Thank you for allowing me to respond, and keep up the good work!

If anyone can disprove any of my ideas in light of scripture, I am willing to consider them by the same light.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10

“Some other areas in which women can respect their husbands and refrain from being disrespectful:

Women should not “teach” their husbands theologically. Even well-intentioned women who would never stand up to speak in church or correct their pastor, will subtly hint, manipulate and provoke their husbands to follow their lead theologically. She may have read or heard something that her husband hasn’t that she things is important doctrine or a way of life, but she must led her husband lead her in these things. Thus….

Women should be very careful of outside sources of teaching (male or female) other than her husband. These include sermons on websites, preachers on TV, articles, books, blogs, friends from church, etc. All these can be good, but still must be heeded only in respect to the husband’s wishes.

Women should not setup standards of behavior for herself, children or home that her husband did not initiate. These can be anywhere from small to great, but still she should put her husband’s interests above her own and make sure that something she is making a priority is actually a priority to her husband. A wife shouldn’t be making decisions ON HER OWN that… their daughters need to wear ankle length dresses all the time, that their children aren’t ever allowed to watch movies, that everyone in the family must refrain from eating a particular type of fat (or sugar, or whatever), etc., etc., etc. None of a wife’s convictions may be necessarily bad, but she needs to make these types of decisions with her husband, and more often than not, if her husband isn’t initiating in these areas, she shouldn’t be either. His priorities should be her priorities, and he is the one leading the family and setting the standards for the family.

And last but not least, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – women who understand Biblical roles more than their husbands, or think they do (for whatever reason, maybe they heard it somewhere, maybe they read it in a book, maybe a friend at church talked to them about it), these women should not be constantly nagging their husbands to “spiritually lead” them. By doing so, a woman is still usurping her husband’s authority and attempting to lead him. She is succumbing to Satan’s temptation all over again, by upending the very thing she thinks she is upholding. She doesn’t really want her husband to lead; she wants to tell him what to do, and so she ends up still leading (and still unhappy).

All situations need to be measured by the Bible, and carefully considered. For example, what about Abigail taking food to David despite her husband’s wishes? Her husband was a “fool” according to Scripture, an unruly man. Was she respecting her husband in this? Or what about a wife whose husband is physically abusing her or her children? To what extent should a wife submit to her husband? These scenarios are rare and take wisdom to understand and advise in.

Of all noble women, the Bible seems to hold up Sarah as the prime example, submitting to Abraham her husband and calling him Lord. By today’s women’s standards, Sarah had plenty of opportunities to scoff at her husband, to think he was stupid, and to worm her way out of his decisions for her. Yet she respected him through all of this and is now honored in the Bible because of this.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)




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1 Comment

  1. His Perspective…On Respect « Pearls and Diamonds said,

    […] His Perspective on Respect: The Survey […]

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