My choice of church put me in ear shot of hearing how wives are supposed to submit to their husbands. In fact it was a heavy handed emphasis on submission. I agree that wives are to submit to their husbands, help them, and show them respect. We do this as unto the Lord. Yet a book that I am reading discusses how wives are to RESPOND to their husbands.
For some reason thinking about RESPONDING to my husband, as a way to fulfill my role, and obey God, sounds so doable. I have not heard anyone phrase it in that way, but am excited about the premise. Ed Wheat explains it this way,
“the principle in every culture is that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and that wives are to respond to their love.”
Sometimes are husbands don’t love us. This doesn’t negate our responsibilities to love them. It doesn’t get us out of helping, respecting and submitting to them. Even if they falter in their roles, we must respond to them in ways that we can.
Here are some ways we can respond to our husband:
- Respond to him physically.
- Respond to him emotionally.
- Respond to him in practical ways to help establish and maintain the home and family.
- Encourage him in the activities that he is interested in and feels called to do.
- Demonstrate consistent respect and genuine admiration for him as a man who is handling the challenges of life, and handling them well.
How we respond to our husband will be based off of his needs and desires. So we need to get to know him to be able to understand how we can respond to him. Some practical ways I do this for my husband include:
- Going out to the garage when he works on a project, and listening to him as he talks about what he is doing. I ask questions to let him know I care about what he is doing.
- If he is tired, and it’s time to mow the yard, I go out and find ways to help him do that. He is usually worn out after working and mowing, so I bring him a cold drink and sweep the sidewalk and porch.
- He wants to start fishing again, and enjoying the outdoors. When we make plans for the weekend I ask him if he wants to go fishing, and what I can do to make that happen.
- When he talks about our future I listen, and engage him in conversation. Even though he may talk about things that make me nervous or scared, I still engage in conversation. He is sharing his heart, and I need to be open to what God might do through that.
- He is struggling at work right now. When he shares his thoughts about retiring early and reducing our income, I listen, and provide encouragement and support. I have to resist the urge to fret over money, or try to control that situation. He needs to feel free to share his concerns, and needs me to listen. Who knows what will happen.
Can we respond to our husbands? Yes we can.
Study your husband and learn what means the most to him. Even if your marriage is strained there are ways you can respond to him. We are called to be godly wives whether our spouses are doing their part or not. Our Father expects us to be obedient, in a sacrificial way, just like He was.
I would love to hear how you are responding to your spouse. Comment below, or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to learn from you so that I can be a better wife, and servant of God.
For His glory, and Because of His Grace,