Marriage in God's Hands 5

Developing Respect

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Lack of respect in marriages is common today. Two ways to develop respect in marriage is to cultivate kindness and be determined never to injure the other person by our attitudes, words or passions. This is possible with God’s help.


Lack of respect in marriages is common. It is also common for husbands to be slothful to show appreciation to their wives, and have very high expectations of them at the same time; while having low expectations of what they should be doing as husbands. Tom remembers how he was so selfish that if he could not make his wife to do things his way, he will remind her of Bible verses such as Ephesians 5:22 where it is stated that wives should submit to their husbands, omitting however “as unto the Lord” and verse 25 which asks husbands to love their wives even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. As now Tom has overcome this, and now understands that as he loves his wife as stated in Ephesians 5:25, it makes it much more beautiful and easy for his wife Alane to submit herself as unto the Lord.

Rather than going from one hurt to another, identify where the problem is, what is lacking. Once you’ve identified that you do not really respect each other the way you should, look up what respect is. Respect (see Webster dictionary), means I will regard you with pleasure, I will look favourably upon you.
In 1 Corinthians 13 (love manifested through respect): true respect is kind, seeks not its own, and suffers long.

The “me” focus is always characterised by selfishness, over-dominance, controlling; while the “us” focus is always considerate of the other person: how this will affect the other person and us as a couple.

Here are two simple things that you can do to develop respect in the marriage.
One way is to cultivate a spirit of kindness (see Ephesians 4:32).
Once Tom and Alane were driving on a road with no speed limits, when Alane kindly asked Tom to slow down as she was uncomfortable with the speed he was driving. Tom’s first thought was not ideal. However he did according to James 1:19 (“be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”) and paused a little to see what the Lord says concerning the matter. So his response was the thought that God placed in his mind: “When I’m with you, I am going to drive in a way that is comfortable for you so that you can enjoy the time with me. When I’m alone, I can drive at a speed that the Lord and I are comfortable driving together.” This communicated the message to Alane that he was doing it for her, demonstrating respect to her through this kindness; and that when alone, he was going to drive under the Lord’s direction, which gave her a lot of peace. This is a simple way in which Tom cultivated some kindness.
True manners, true godliness, true leadership in a man is not being over-dominant. It is serving those that you love most; looking to serve rather than control.
Many are kinder to strangers, acquaintances, even to animals, than to their spouses. Speaking with disrespect at home has a very negative influence on the children, resulting in their lack of respect to leadership and authority.

The second way to develop respect in the marriage is to be determined never to injure the other person, with our attitude, with our words, or even with our passions. This can be achieved as we allow Christ to work in our hearts. And if our spouse says something that might injure us, we should respond in a soft manner (Proverbs 15:1) which will help restore the relationship quickly.

Here is a challenge. Pray and think of at least one way in which you can demonstrate kindness to the one you love. Than built on it by thinking of more ways, because this is how we begin to cultivate kindness and built respect in the marriage. The second challenge is to be determined never to injure your spouse by your words, actions, reactions, passions. Without Christ this is not possible.
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