Monday, March 12, 2012

A Respectful Wife

Lately I have been listening to Pastor Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage series and finding it very convicting. Driscoll is notorious for being extremely straight forward and not tiptoeing around topics that deal with hard biblical truths (I happen to really like this about him). There is one podcast in particular, The Respectful Wife, that was delivered by Driscoll but mostly written by his wife Grace, and it has left me really convicted lately.

I think that sometimes I have been mistaking respecting Garland as a person with respecting him as my husband. I really, truly look up to my husband as a man; I think he strives to be more like Christ in everything he does, is always willing to pour into other believers and students, he is constantly studying and growing in the word and his personal walk, and he's one of the most steadfast, faithful Christians I've ever met. But I'm coming to the realization that I can 100% respect him as a man without always respecting him as my spouse, which is not an easy truth to swallow.

So what's the difference? Here are some questions from Grace to give us a better idea of how you can tell if you are being a respectful wife:

  • Do I "notice, regard, honor, prefer, defer to, encourage, love, and admire" my husband?
  • Do I have a heart of respect for my husband?
    • Do I think he's competent?
    • Do I think positive thoughts about him instead of focusing on his flaws?
  • What do I say about my husband?
    • Do I tear him down in front of other people?
    • Do I wait to disagree with him until a time when I can do so respectfully and privately?
Some of these things I do pretty well on. Rarely do I dwell on Garland's mistakes in my heart; within my mind he is really is the best guy that has ever existed. I definitely defer to him for judgement on family matters and respect his final opinion. I know that he loves and respects me enough that no decision will ever be made that I'm uncomfortable with or without speaking to me about it first. I love, admire, and encourage Garland, sometimes to the point of embarrassing him because he hates receiving compliments (ha!).

But there are some things that I know I am definitely not so great at. I know that because we flirt by teasing each other it sometimes seems like I think everything he does is silly. Don't get me wrong, he does do a lot of ridiculous things, but if I'm not balancing out our joking with public encouragement then it just comes across as mockery. I never want anyone to think I find my husband incompetent because I truly do think he is one of the wisest men I know.
I am also not great at holding my tongue in front of other people. If a topic comes up that is a "button pusher" and brings up anger or resentment or frustration in me, I really struggle to table my thoughts and comments until I can talk to him in private. Especially since I love a good debate, this is very difficult for me. What starts as an innocent discussion can quickly morph into a heated argument without me even stopping to think if this presents Garland and I as a team or not. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that wives should never disagree or lovingly joke with their husbands. I'm just saying I know that the way I communicate that sometimes can be hateful instead of playful.

I confessed all of this to Garland after listening to the podcast and asked him to help me be accountable for being a respectful wife, even in front of others. Unfortunately, he's had to lovingly remind me a couple of times (always in public, of course, that is my respect weakness), and I had to bite my tongue. And even as I sat there feeling convicted/embarrassed of my poor behavior, I could still hear my flesh telling me, "Be upset! You have the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want! Don't let him stop you from "being yourself." ' Ugh, that is some sick-nasty selfishness, pure and simple.

So if you are like me and struggle with being a respectful wife, here are some great tips from Grace Driscoll on how to grow in this area:
  1. Talk to your husband about what it looks like to be respectful and ask him to honestly assess your ability to respect him. Ask him to lovingly hold you accountable.
  2. Pray for your husband constantly. If there is disrespect in your head there will be disrespect in your heart which will come out in your speech. If your thoughts are constantly prayerful toward him then they won't be able to reach the ugly place.
  3. Keep a journal of all the things you notice and love about your husband. As you write them down, pray and thank the Lord for giving you your husband. 
  4. Share some of these things you love about your husband with him as an easy way to encourage him. --Garland and I do this by writing notes on each other's bathroom mirrors with a dry erase marker (sticky notes work well too!)
  5. Build him up in front of others. No matter what, people should always recognize you as your husband's #1 fan and see you as a joint team, as one.
  6. Instead of continuously nagging him about fixing a bad habit or something he needs to work on, pray that God will change his heart. Your complaining can't even begin to compete with the wrath of the Holy Spirit on a believer's conscience. 

Ephesians 5:33- "Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this great resource. After reading your post I headed over and had a listen to the first of the sermons, I really enjoyed it. It is really refreshing to hear someone who is not afraid to speak the truth as revealed in the Bible