Look for respect in your relationship

Mutual respect is key to a healthy marriage. It is easier to respect the person you've married when you marry someone you respect. You are valuable and need to be respected too.

If you are single, a key thing to look for in a potential spouse is whether or not they respect you. As women, we’ve heard it again and again: respect your husband. I completely agree with this statement. A man thrives when he is respected. But I also want to add more to this instruction:

  1. Marry someone that you respect.

  2. Marry someone that respects you.

Let’s expand point one. Marry someone that you respect. Respecting your husband is a Biblical command found in Ephesians 5 (see verse 33) and it is easier to respect the person you marry when you marry someone you respect. It would be a whole lot harder respecting a husband that you never particularly respected outside of marriage.

When looking for a spouse, ask yourself these questions: Do I respect him as a fellow human? Do I think he is doing a great job at life? Do I admire his personality traits and approve of his aspirations in life? Or do I merely find him cute?

Cute won’t cut it. A man that you respect will. If you respect him now, there’s a good chance you’ll respect him twenty years from now. If you think he takes a mediocre approach to life, chances are you still will decades down the track. Indulge me for a moment: if you have your eyes set on someone, think of him in a different light for a moment, imagining that you have zero interest in him as a potential spouse. If you still respect him as a person in this light, then you’re onto a good start. If not, forget about him. Just because you get butterflies around him does not mean you respect him.

Respecting your husband doesn’t have to be a burden to live with until death parts the two of you. It can be an easy and enjoyable task if you choose someone whom you naturally respect. Choose well my friend.

Let’s talk about point two! Find someone that respects you because sister, you are worthy of respect. God has set you apart. He places incredible value on you. You’re the Almighty’s daughter! Never forget that.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. … Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (Proverbs 31:10-12, 28-29)

You are valuable so don’t be making excuses on a guy’s behalf if he doesn’t treat you like God’s daughter. If he doesn’t respect you now, what makes you think that he’ll respect you in marriage? Does he care about your feelings? Does he respect your values? Does he encourage your dreams? He definitely should.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together… (1 Peter 3:7a)

The first moment that I knew I could marry my husband was when I witnessed how much he respected and cared for me. I knew that he would treat me with loving care as a wife. I knew that he cared for my heart and supported my dreams. I knew that I could trust him to be a protector of these things. I also deeply respected him. Long before we were ever in a relationship, I respected him. I admired his values and traits and saw that he was an honourable man.

Mutual respect is incredibly important in a marriage. Marriage partners make a lifelong team and teams built on respect are more likely to thrive than those simply built upon attraction.

I leave you with this beautiful paraphrase of Ephesians 5:21-33 found in The Message:

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.