Respect him, accept him as he is.
It shouldn’t have been a light bulb moment but this single thought opened a whole new idea of marriage to me. My darling man and I have been married long enough for us to see neither of us are perfect; yet, here I was learning a new lesson of loving him more perfectly.
Respect and acceptance is something we all want, isn’t it? Yet, here I was fighting respecting and accepting my husband as he is. The lesson started with an unusually long conflict; normally, we work to resolve our misunderstandings and disagreements quickly but this one was dragging on, like a wounded animal on heated pavement. I thought he had been rude and secretly wanted him to know it. Secretly, I wasn’t going to respect him until he became the man I wanted him to be.
Dalton tried to reason with me. “Please stop criticizing me. I did want I thought was right and I’m not going to apologize for that. Please stop attacking me.” During my quiet time I’d ask the Lord if I was really doing the things Dalton said I was; was I really being a critical, unforgiving wife? Day after day my self-examination ended with my being innocent of any wrong doing. I was the perfect wife and what more could he expect?
Then, it hit me. The subconscious thought process came bubbly up to the surface: until he changes I won’t accept or respect him. He’ll learn. He’ll change. And I’ll be right.
Sweet friends, this is a horrible way to think. It’s as far from the love of God as color is to 1950 tv shows. Unknowingly, I had slipped into the mindset that my husband needed to be perfect for me to respect him. Without thought, I withheld my support and respect because I (as his closest friend) saw little things I thought I could change. Nothing huge (as my husband loves the Lord, me, and people very well). Just tiny things like mannerisms and personality traits which I deemed in need of perfecting.
Without thought, I began belittling my husband, hoping for change. Selfishly I thought, “I love my husband but until he changes this I cannot accept him for who he is and respect him fully.”
Thankfully, God worked in my heart and showed me my errors. As Christian women we’re to “… be in subjection to [our] own husbands; that, if any [husbands] obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [lifestyle] of the wives …” It’s an unpopular message but it’s the truth; even if I had married an ungodly, unloving, selfish man I still need to respect him. The funny thing is that my man is none of those things yet I still struggle to respect and accept him as he is.
It’s a learning process, a stepping stone. But I can say that this lesson, once I began to apply it, has brought more beauty, peace, and joy into our marriage. After all, I want to be loved and accepted just as I am … why shouldn’t I offer the same gift in return?
Sweet wife, have you had to learn this lesson yet? Are you respecting and accepting your husband the way he is or are you fighting a bitter battle against him, trying to change him into what you think he should be? Let’s grow together and share our learnings below in a comment!
With love, blessings, and coffee,