Men and women are completely equal in a marriage, but God created us with different sets of needs. He designed marriage to allow a husband and wife to meet each others’ needs.
The number-one need for men is honor and respect. Men cannot meet that need themselves.
In Ephesians 5:33, Paul writes, “let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” In addition to his command toward men, Paul says a wife should respect her husband.
Notice what he doesn’t say. He doesn’t say, “Respect your husband the way you see it on television.” He doesn’t say, “Respect your husband the same way your friends respect their husbands.” He doesn’t even say, “Respect your husband like your mother respected your father.”
He doesn’t qualify it at all. Respect your husband, period. That’s the standard the Bible gives to women.
One thing I know is that men gravitate to the place where they receive honor and respect. If he can only get it from work, he’ll pour himself into his job. If he doesn’t get respect from his wife but does receive it from another woman, where do you think the man will turn his attention?
Here are four practical ways women can honor their husbands:
1. Allow him to fail. Here’s a truth that may shock some people, but men are imperfect. They make mistakes. A lot of women damage their marriage relationship by trying to prevent their husband from making those mistakes. So they correct their husband or tell him what to do. That’s not the wife’s role.
A better approach is to allow him to learn through failure. Let him make a wrong turn. Let him mess up from time to time. Don’t allow him to wallow in self-destructive behavior, but let him be imperfect.
2. Let God be the enforcer. Wives, it’s okay to speak up when your husband does or says something you disagree with. After all, you’re equals. But once you say what you want to say, remember it’s not your job to change him. That’s God’s job. Pray for your husband and rely on God to change his heart and mind.
3. Honor the man you want him to be. Karen did this for me. She treated me better than I deserved, and in doing so, she spoke destiny into me. She made me want to live up to what she saw in me. Men go crazy for honor and will become their fullest, healthiest selves in an atmosphere of respect.
What do you see in your husband? What first attracted you to him? Honor him at that level, and watch him rise to it.
4. Cover his faults and focus on his strengths. The devil wants us to be overly attentive to our spouse’s worst qualities. But God wants us to think about the best qualities in our spouse. I believe, on any given day, the good elements of our lives and relationships outweigh the bad ones.
Women, are you more likely to complain about your husband’s failings or praise him for one of his strengths? Marriage thrives in an atmosphere of praise. It’s a critical discipline to create within your home.
A man’s most important need is for honor and respect. Wives, are you honoring him? According to Ephesians 5:33, it’s one of the things God asks you to do for your marriage.
Learn more about the four foundational needs of every man. Watch “What a Man Really Needs” with Jimmy and Karen Evans.