I recently wrote a blog titled “The Disrespectful Wife”, and have received quite a bit of interesting feedback from it. Some of the comments included ideas that I am a “doormat” “robot” and “Stepford wife” and that James is “abusive” and “manipulative.” Other messages asked why I didn’t address men in my post, one asked how to start showing her husband respect after 45+ years of not doing so, and another asked what advice I would give to a woman who is married to a spiritually abusive man who is demanding and manipulating her into giving respect.
I have a few additional thoughts to add toward this topic that I didn’t touch on previously that will hopefully bring more clarity.
1. I wrote that post 100% out of my own convictions. Why? Because God had placed a heavy weight on my heart, and I felt compelled to share; not to paint an all-encompassing view of manhood, womanhood, and marriage, but more as a reflection of self. I didn’t speak to men or on behalf of my husband…. because I’m not a man and this isn’t his blog.
I understand that oftentimes views on manhood, womanhood, and marriage are formed out of personal experience, whether good or bad. If you are a woman who has been disrespected, abused, criticized, manipulated, or taken advantage of by a man, I completely understand your cynicism and skepticism to the male race, and how the idea of respecting a man who has hurt you seems utterly repulsive and nearly impossible. That is unjust and unfair, and just horribly wrong. I am deeply sorry. Women are of no lesser value than men, and deserve to be treated with the upmost dignity and respect. Hear me when I say this: it is not supposed to be this way, and it doesn’t always have to be this way. There is hope for something better.
2. I am a Christian, so my views on marriage are taken straight out of the Bible. If you are not a Christian, don’t even worry about applying biblical principles to your marriage. That would be weird, so I am giving you permission to take the unnecessary pressure off yourself and not to think twice about it.
But here is the cool thing: we have such a twisted, broken view of marriage, but the way God designed it to be is absolutely beautiful. While it may be natural to assume that the husband gets to sit on the couch all day playing video games and drinking beer while his wife brings him a sandwich, God has actually placed an enormous calling on his life:
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Do you realize what Christ did for the church? HE DIED. He died for people who didn’t deserve an ounce of it. He was taken advantage of, abused, mocked, tortured, denied by those closest to him, and killed. It was totally unfair. Why did he do it? Because of love.
And that is what God is calling men to. That rejects all notions that men get a “pass” while women bow at their feet to respect them. Women, I guarantee you that if your husband is sacrificially serving and loving you as Christ would, you will GLADLY respect him with everything in you. You would follow him to the ends of the earth.
To the men who are loving their wives well, keep it up. You are a rare breed. To those of you who aren’t doing so hot, now is the time to step it up. There is nothing more unattractive than a passive, lazy, insecure man. You will give an account to God at the end of your life for the way you lead your family, so you better get to work.
The day James proposed to me, he took me on a horse-drawn carriage ride throughout downtown Austin. During this ride, he pulled out a big bowl, filled it up with water, got down on his knees, and washed my feet. While he washed my feet, he prayed for us and promised he would serve me for the rest of our lives together. It was beautiful. It is easy to respect a man that is following whole-heartedly after God.
Does James love me perfectly every day? No. Does he always “deserve” my respect? Probably not. But that’s not what this whole thing is about. We choose to give love and respect freely even when it isn’t deserved. Marriage is about our sanctification and bringing glory to God.
God is the redeemer of all things. He is working to redeem our souls, to save us from the fiery pits of Hell through His son Jesus. I wholeheartedly believe this is true with everything in me and I will never back down from that.
God is also the redeemer of marriage. Marriage is hard, messy, complicated, and confusing. We are all so broken. Every single one of us. Through marriage, we see glimpses of the gospel. We see the love of Jesus poured out on the cross. And that is our hope.
Until next time,
One thought on “The Loving Husband”
Katie – this is absolutely beautiful. I can see how many women would reach the conclusion that you are a “doormat” etc etc simply because there are so few men in the world like James. And for anyone reading this I know James & Katie from church and James is such a super sweet guy, reminds me of a big ol kid, a real sweetheart – I doubt that there is a mean bone in his body. And Katie is so VERY HONEST in her posts which I truly love about her. She does not try to gloss anything over or make things seem so very great, wonderful and a fairy tale. If more people would be honest about how much hard work marriage or ANY relationship is I am pretty sure there would be more successful relationships in this world. I love that she shares her FLAWS, how difficult the journey is at times but that she is taking this journey with God’s word to lead her. You go Katie – I have so much respect for you and James and the beautiful honesty surrounding your relationship.
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