Paul tells us that each wife must have respect or reverence for her husband (Ephesians 5:33). The word means to give honor, respect, or obedience. The same word is used in other passages to tell all Christians to fear God. The word fear is the same word used for reverence or respect. The idea is not that a wife is quaking in her shoes each time her husband speaks. Rather, the love that a wife has for her husband encourages her to be respectful of her husband.
Unfortunately, I have met far too many women who have nothing but contempt for their husbands. It seems the poor man can do little without his wife snapping the whip of her tongue. He never earns enough money. He doesn’t spend enough time with her and the kids. He doesn’t pick up after himself. He doesn’t help with the household chores. The disrespect is rarely a private matter. She makes sure everyone knows the sorrows she must bear.
This is as respectful as a grumbling teenager has for his parents. Oh, he might manage to do some of the things his parents ask of him, but he will grumble and complain all the way through them. A husband is placed by God as the head of the family, yet some wives feel they must make their husbands personally regret that decision.
Respect means listening to what your husband has to say on a matter. You might not agree with his opinion, but he deserves the right to express it. Respect means implementing your husband’s decisions to the best of your ability. You might know that it wasn’t the best choice and you might have quietly warned him of your beliefs. However, sometimes you just have to let a man fall on his face a few times. And when he does err, respect means you don’t ridicule him, but work with him in making the best of a bad situation.
At times wives wonder why their husbands do not better express their love for their wives. Perhaps one cause is a lack of respect for their duties by their wives. A husband must always love his wife, but when a wife gives her husband respect, his love for her is expressed easily and naturally.