Showing Respect for the Separated Husband

There are times, of course, when it feels easier to respect your husband. Such as when he is being loving, is well rested and polite, meeting your needs and being understanding. I know first hand how challenging it can be when your life and marriage are not living up to even basic expectations. Or worse--you are estranged or separated from your husband and he isn't exactly behaving respectable.

 ...and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33 b

We know this verse. Most wives do. I knew it but my understanding was limited. My filters and guard were very high and leery of this verse. I didn't trust it. I mean isn't respect earned? If I give it freely, well, it won't be valued right? *I* won't be valued!

I used to highly admire my husband. Admiration is not a word that's very popular anymore but it's what I felt toward this man that I love. I thought he was very admirable. He had behaved in a way that had earned my admiration.

Until he didn't. I no longer respected or admired him and I suspect he knew it.

Love & Respect

I read the book by the Emerson Eggerichs, Love & Respect. (I highly strongly, recommend it for either spouse who struggles with these concepts) This book explained the principle of respect, right along side love.

Now love, I knew. I understood unconditional love. I expected it in my marriage, from others and I {thought I} demonstrated it toward others, as well. This respect thing though...

I knew the Word of God said to respect our husbands but for the life of me I could not wrap my brain around HOW to do this toward someone who's behavior was not respectable.

Respect is a choice

My desire is for reconciliation of my marriage. My heart is open to all that God wants to show me on how to accomplish this, as far as it is within my power and ability to do so. I pressed in and made a conscious choice to behave respectfully toward my husband, regardless of his behavior or demeanor. Regardless of my feelings.

I rightfully and maturely expected my feelings to follow my actions. They didn' first. I still felt nothing emotionally.

I prayed and asked God to show me, give me something to respect my husband for. God is faithful and he revealed to me my husband's desire to be a good man. I could respect a desire.

I praised God for my husband's desire to be a good person. I asked God to show me more to respect him for (and He did). I recited the verse above as a praise and a prayer request; 'Lord, thank You that I honor and respect my husband.' As my prayers changed, my heart began to change. It is now full of sincere respect for my husband and if we sat and had tea, I would tell you all the reasons why.

Respect because YOU are respectable

God calls us to treat others as we would like to be treated. Even if my husband and I never have a reconciled marriage, I can choose to respect him as a human being. I have learned that my respect is not dependent on how he behaves or how I feel. I have not lost anything.  I choose to behave respectfully toward others because I AM respectable.

Here are 5 ways I have learned to show respect to my husband while we are separated:

1. Be kind and polite in my tone and interactions.2. Tell him I will respect his decisions and choices in certain matters.3. I recite, pray and memorize verses on how to treat my husband.4. If our children have an issue with dad--I do not allow them to just 'vent', speak negatively or 'tattle' on daddy. I instruct them that they will have to discuss it with dad themselves.5. If the kids have an event during a scheduled time with dad-I check in with him first, even if I already know he will be accommodating. I encourage our kids to ask him first too.

I am especially partial to Proverbs 31. I just love how it mentions all members of a family and not just wives. I pray it regularly and this verse is another one that I cling to for guidance during these challenging times:

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. ~Proverbs 31:12

Don't give up, wife. Keep praying. Maintain your dignity and honor. I'm in the trenches with you and we're all in this together. You are not alone.

My prayer and blessing for you, dear wife...

May your husband safely entrust his heart to you. May you honor, respect and do him good all the days of your life. May he hold you in high esteem, above all others, recognizing your value as far above rubies. May your husband love you sacrificially, willing to give his life for you, as Christ did for His church. May your children arise and call you blessed and your husband also. May your husband's name be praised at the city gates and yours as well. May you laugh at the days ahead, with out fear for the future. In Jesus name, Amen.

A few years ago, I attended FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember by myself, and what a blessing it was! The only person I can change in my marriage is me, and I want to be the wife God created me to be. I encourage you to register today!

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