Reverencing My Husband

The concept of reverencing my husband is relatively new to me. Relatively. And I mean not intellectually new, but practically new, as in I haven’t actively and intentionally pursued it before.

But in reading and studying scripture and walking through a book with my mentor, I’ve come to the point of implementing what I’ve been learning. And really, isn’t that the point of all learning- that it lead to developmental growth?

Anyway, I didn’t really understand what “reverencing” meant. Shouldn’t that be reserved for God? Is it some key to holy living?

Wives are called to reverence their husbands.

REV’ERENCE, v.t. To regard with reverence; to regard with fear mingled with respect and affection. We reverence superiors for their age, their authority and their virtues. We ought to reverence parents and upright judges and magistrates. We ought to reverence the Supreme Being, his word and his ordinances.

Those that I reverence, those I fear, the wise.

They will reverence my son. Matt. 21.

Let the wife see that she reverence her husband. Eph. 5. emphasis added.

I love my husband, obviously. But I don’t always reverence him. There’s a difference. Reverence takes that affection I have toward my husband and melds it with respect, admiration, and submission. It sees him as my God-given leader and authority of my home; as if he is our family’s owner and I’m his CEO in charge of daily operations. To reverence my husband means that I have to get over my own ego and expectations and submit myself to his God-given authority. In much the same way the office of president is revered and respected, regardless of the worthiness of the candidate HOLDING that office, so wives are intended to revere their husbands, regardless of the worthiness of the man. It is a wonderful feeling to know that he chose me to be the one to bear his children and raise his family and tend to the affairs of his household. And I’m the one who gets to celebrate his victories, great and small alike.

Guys- our culture diminishes this gift at every turn but I’m here telling you- this is a huge deal! The father of your children entrusted you with his very DNA; his progeny; his legacy in this world! Never forget that or fail to see the grandeur of marriage and motherhood.

Some of this I’ve stated before in other posts, and some of it I’m encountering afresh in my reading. Either way, the gap between knowledge and application is being bridged by greater and developing understanding so I’m a little bit enthused to put this to practice.

If there is one thing I have learned in the last 10 years of marriage, it is that a healthy marriage begins with the woman’s submission to her husband as to the Lord. Technically, the submission to the Lord has to happen first, but for now we’ll focus on the marriage part. The wife has been given a beautiful gift from God. It is the ability to win over her man and endear herself to him. It’s beautiful and many women don’t realize they have this ability. I didn’t. At least not until I encountered The Peaceful Wife’s blog about 8 years ago. April shattered all perceptions of marriage I had about it being a 50/50 partnership. I viewed it as a contract; I’d fulfill my duties if and when he fulfilled his, and if either of us failed to do our part, the other was off the hook for theirs. Sound familiar? It’s how many modern marriages “work” and why most of them end in divorce.

I learned then (and fully understand now) that all it takes for my husband to be tender, gentle, compassionate, and loving toward me is for me to show him reverence. That’s it. There’s no secret formula, there’s no magic trick, just apply God’s word.

It’s simple, but it isn’t easy. That’s why it has taken 10 years of marriage to get to where I am- where my husband compliments me, strokes my hair, kisses my forehead, and takes the trash out without me asking.

It requires me laying down my expectations to serve him when it isn’t convenient. It means that when he messes up and “I just knew his stupid idea was bound to fail from the beginning,” I keep my mouth shut. It means I don’t criticize him to others, but instead, I praise his virtues and bolster his strengths, instilling him with confidence to lead me well, because he knows I find him capable. (this one was especially convicting because I know I along with other wives have a tendency to “vent” our frustrations)

The “secret” which I have found to be experientially validated is that the act of reverencing my husband has nothing to do his qualifications or capabilities as a husband. He doesn’t have to be a good husband in order for me to be a good wife. It’s simply that I choose to be a godly wife, and that in turn, according to God’s Word and promise, endears me to my husband. It is a cycle of love and admiration that completly obliterates the old adage, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I submit that if mama ain’t happy, she needs to check herself to see if she’s walking in accordance with God’s design for marriage and family. There. I said it. Southerners, feel free to revoke my card; I’m Yankee born anyway.

But it’s true! As wives, we aren’t tasked with changing or leading our husbands to repentance! He has the Holy Spirit for that. And if you married a lost man, realize what you “bought” when you said “I do” and pray for his salvation diligently, yes. But also, model that saved life for him, “so that he may be won over without a word by the way their wives live.” (1 Peter 3:1, CSB)

Think on this: the Bible calls us to obedience that is starkly against our nature as women. I’m sure you’ve encountered the concept that generally speaking, women are more emotionally focused and men are more logically focused. Consider then that the Bible in Ephesians 5 tells women not to love their husbands, but to obey, submit to, reverence them; and it tells men to love their wives. Imagine- God has designed a relationship whereby it’s success or failure hinges on whether or not the woman makes the first move! That first move though is based on humility and the willful and intentional laying aside of her feelings and will for the sake of allowing God to lead her through her husband; she must submit her right to be right out of a trust that God is right in His prescription for male headship. That takes an enormous amount of force to shatter the lie-glass of our culture’s message to and about women and marriage. Then, after the woman has accepted her role and layed down her pride, the man is free to respond emotionally with love for his wife, who has endeared herself to him by her conduct.

You can will to do what you ought to do much sooner than you can be motivated by your feelings to act.

-Debi Pearl, Created to be His Help Meet, p. 139.

Now, I don’t think the above quote is always true; people are motivated by their basest emotions all the time to act or react without thought or effort in really stupid ways. But her point remains- wives, you can choose to act out of obedience to God with less difficulty than you can expect to control how your husband feels about you. You can’t after all tell someone how they should feel; that would be presumptious.

But you can determine in your heart to reverence your husband out of obedience to God. And when you do, you will be amazed at the response of your husband.

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