Posted by: Lisa Guyer | June 6, 2009

Respecting the Unrespectable

A few weeks ago, I asked a friend of mine to write her testimony about how she learned to submit to her husband even when he seemed like he was totally unworthy of respect. She was going through a really rough time in her life when she learned this lesson.  Her husband had just gotten out of jail and was in a deep state of depression and was struggling to make godly decisions in leading their home.  Since, learning this lesson, Cari is much more at peace and her husband is much more able to lead his home because he has a wife who is willing to follow.

The timing of all of this is perfect because another reader just asked this question on an older post called “Let Him Lead”:

She asks, “What if [your husband’s] not living for God, doing things he shouldn’t, not trying to help in any way? What does [the wife] do then? [The wife] is so discouraged in this area and is afraid to let him lead because he won’t take any responsibility.”

The following is what God revealed to my friend during her struggle to respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Does reverence or respect need to be earned?  Does God have to earn our reverence or do we fear and revere him because of his place in the universe? 

I was brought up with the idea that respect has to be earned.  I was taught that you respect someone when they work hard, when they are kind to others, when they fit into society, when they are giving. The biggest mistake I have made (still making) in my marriage is the wrong-thinking that my husband needs to do great things before I should have to respect him. Why do I think my husband should earn my respect?  Do I believe the Bible to be the Word of God? Yes. Do I believe the verses I read? Do I fear God enough to NOT question him? How can we submit to our husbands if we don’t feel we should have to even respect them?  How can anyone submit to something they don’t feel is worthy?  It’s not an easy task. We must understand that we are not submitting to our husbands in their own flesh.  We are respecting and submitting to our Father.  Respect for my husband does not need to be earned.  It is expected from God.  God placed my husband as my head. He is worthy of my respect for that reason alone. We don’t have to trust our husband’s decisions. Instead, we must trust God to work through them.  God is in control. The more we trust Him to work through our husbands the more we will see God working and changing what we expected from our husband and his earthly flesh. God is worthy of our respect and our unending submission. That’s all that matters.

Ephesians 5:33 ends with a period. It ends the entire chapter.  It does not end in a question mark – there is no more to the verse.  It also does not say “if and when” the husband loves his wife “then…”

If I think like the world taught me. I am no different than the world.”


  1. My best friend is the one who asked the question and it was for my marriage. I’m thankful for her asking this because it’s an answer I’ve sought out for quite some time. I’m in a lost place right now. I’ve surrounded myself with anger and bitterness for the purposes of protecting myself from my husband hurting me anymore, or letting me down. It’s hard to even fathom respect when I totally shut myself off from him as it is. I don’t even trust him. I cannot trust him. I cannot allow myself to let my guard down long enough because when I do, he fails once more. I want, no I NEED for my husband to take his place but he won’t. I’ve prayed, I’ve told him, I’ve even asked him and still, no change. I’ve just about given up any hope that things will change and I’m simply waiting out my time. I hate feeling this way but I’ve give my entire life to this man for the last 13 years. I’ve nothing left to give him, much less respect.

    • I have never done this Internet posting thing before. I just came across what you were going through with your husband in 2009 and it sounds exactly like what I am going through with my husband right now. I just 10 minutes ago told him how hardend my heart is towards him and begged him to take his role as the stronger half of this relationship and be the man Gods word say he should be. I have been playing both roles for so long and have lost the ability to even fathum the idea of respecting him. I was hoping to hear back from you on how things have gone for you, and if and how you were able to respect him.

      • Hey Destiny, my name is Cari. I’d love to email you and serve however I can. Please look for an email from me. Thank you!

  2. I know this is an old post, but who knows. You can empower him to change by honoring and respecting him. With faith you believe then you see. With your husband it is the vary acts of honor and respect that will open him up to Jesus and the changes Jesus wants to make in his life and your family.
    1 Peter 3:1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: