marriage respect submission


What’s the first thing you think of when someone asks, “what’s your husband’s biggest need?”

Okay, maybe not the first thing you think of (most people are going to call out some Hanky Panky right off the bat) — so what’s the next thing you think of?

Respect, right? We’ve seen that included on every list ever written about a husband’s needs, and that’s because it’s a BIG one.

Last week I shared the beginning of a message about “bringing good to our husbands” like the Proverbs 31 Woman did, and about having the HEART of the P31 woman even though it will look much different for us than it did for her.

There are many different ways we can love our husband and do good things for him but there are three big ways we can “bring him good” so that his heart will trust in us. (Proverbs 31:10-12.)

marriage respect submission

Three Ways to “Bring Him Good”

#1 – Respect Him

The Bible tells us: 

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV)

So it’s clear that God wants us to be respectful to our husbands just by these two verses, let alone all the other verses that teach how to treat and love others.

But let’s define respect. One definition is:

: a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way

I think, often, society likes to define respect only as admiring or esteeming someone, or having a good reputation. And we can definitely admire and esteem our husbands, but when we consider this definition it adds a new element.

Respect is not just about how we feel about the person, or what they have or have not done. Respect is about understanding the value and importance of your husband’s position, and treating him in the appropriate way.

Yet how many of us ever heard a woman say, “Now, he doesn’t DESERVE to be respected. If he wants to be respected, he needs to EARN IT.” We all have, haven’t we? And if we are honest, how many of us have thought it, even if we haven’t said it? (I have, and I’m not proud of that.)

That is worldly teaching that we are bringing into our marriage relationship, and we need to throw that out, discard it, and look at our husbands with new eyes. This is the man that God GAVE us. When two became one, he became our other half. We gotta respect that, even when we don’t feel like it, and regardless of whether or not he deserves it at the moment.

And there are a few ways we can work on respecting our husbands  (regardless of the circumstances.)

Respect Him Through Submission

(Oh snap. I said the “s” word.)

Yes I did. 

Now, submission is another one of those misunderstood-and-twisted-by-the-world concepts. I could write a whole book about that but I won’t.  Instead, picture this. 

Submission in marriage is like riding a motorcycle together. 

Time out: when I first gave this talk I used the example of a horse. My motorcycle-riding husband told me later that he thought a motorcycle would be a better example. So I’m going to use a motorcycle this time and give him the credit for that. 😉 So, we’re both on a motorcycle.

When two people are on the motorcycle, only ONE can be in front steering; the other has to sit behind. It’s impossible to sit side by side on a motorcycle. And marriage is the same. We are both on this same bike on the same road– and ladies, we can let our man drive, even if he turns and asks which way we’d like to head or what we think about the next fork in the road. . . we’re working together but we are letting him drive. 

On the other hand,. . . submission is NOT the man riding the motorcycle and making the woman walk behind. In fact, submission never means condoning mistreatment the Bible elsewhere speaks against. Nor is it the woman reaching around the man and yanking the handlebars to change course. (That would be bad on a motorcycle, and it’s not great for marriage either.)

Submission is two people, on the bike, on the same journey, working together, one leading, one following. Right?

So we can submit ourselves to his leadership by doing two things:

a.) acknowledging and accepting his authority and responsibility
b.) Following  his lead – a leader can’t lead someone who isn’t following

Ladies, we gotta acknowledge not only his God-given authority but also his responsibility and accountability to God, and we gotta respect that. And we also have to follow his lead. 

To continue the motorcycle example just a bit longer, what happens if we get off the bike and start heading off in our own direction? How is our husband supposed to lead us if we’re not even on the same path? A leader can’t lead someone who isn’t following behind, it’s impossible. But we can help him lead, by being on the same bike, on the same journey. That doesn’t mean we will never disagree or have questions. In fact, we will disagree and we will have questions. But It does mean we don’t get off the motorcycle. 

There are a couple of other ways we can work on respecting our husbands, but this one is enough for now. Sometimes it’s a hard one to practice, and it’s one we have to practice all day, every day, in big things and little things. We have to practice that moment after the discussion and the weighing of the options and the arguing of the points where we let our husband make the decision and lead our family, and then follow his decision with respect, in regard to everything from where we go to church to which home we buy or rent, to where we go on vacation or if we go on vacation at all, and all the little things in between.

We will talk about this more in future posts, but for now I want to end with this:

I don’t actually like riding the motorcycle with my husband; it scares me. And for me, that makes it a really good analogy. My husband doesn’t often ask me to ride with him because he knows I don’t enjoy it. As a good leader, he doesn’t make me do it. As a wife who loves him bunches and wants to please him, most of the time I respectfully decline, and sometimes I choose to ride with him. (Like, maybe four times EVER.)

When we are on the bike together, it’s imperative that I trust him–and I do, I trust him completely. . . it’s the feeling that I don’t like. And so it’s also imperative that I relax as much as possible, because panicking, freaking out, backseat driving — none of these things are going to help him be any safer. And it’s also necessary I follow the curves with him. If you’ve ridden a motorcycle, you know you have to lean into the curves. I hate leaning into the curves. But I have to fight that urge to resist and lean with him. James may be doing the driving, but he needs me to work with him. 

In our marriage, we have to lean into the curves with our husband. 

That’s the picture of biblical submission that I want to paint for you. It isn’t patriarchal, it isn’t chauvinistic, and it is definitely not abusive. Husband and wife are the ultimate team, two become one flesh, two working together as one unit, for one goal and purpose. Every team needs a good team leader and a good team player.

When we work to be that good team player (even if our husband hasn’t figured out how to be a good team leader yet,) we are not only practicing this good picture of biblical submission but we are showing and giving him respect through that. 

Next Monday we’ll talk about another way to show and practice respect. Until then, all these posts can be found under the tag, “She Brings Him Good Series.” Happy Monday!

Image Credit: Public Domain

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!