I’ve written a bunch on the duty of wives to respect their husbands, but as I live through the different stages of my own marriage, it astounds me how applicable God’s instructions are to all of us all the time. So I’m assuming another whack at it can’t hurt. New wives learn to respect their husbands to start off on the right foot; young wives with children find that their husbands need respect more than ever as they learn how to be a godly head of a home, as the two of them bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; middle-aged wives can delight in respecting their husbands as they navigate through the empty nest years. And I am assuming that old age will only be better. God’s commands are not a burden; and the woman who has been respecting her husband for a few decades has made a significant contribution toward the peace, comfort, and joy of her marriage. All that respect is like money in the bank that is drawing a lot of interest. God always blesses obedience, and a woman is obeying God when she respects her husband. In many situations where marriage tangles are difficult to sort out, respect will only be a help to the situation, not a hindrance. And I do think some husbands are running on fumes and have been for many years. A little respect would probably bowl them right over.
The Bible tells wives to see that they respect their own husbands. I’d like to point out a couple of obvious things about both passages (in Eph. 5:22,33) and Col. 3:18). First of all, it tells the wives to see that they are doing this. It is not given to the husbands to see that their wives are doing this. Wives are to monitor themselves on this duty. Second, wives are to submit to and respect their own husbands, not anyone else’s. This is not a command to women in general to be submissive to men in general. No, you are to be in submission to one man: your husband. This protects you from all those other men. This is why I encourage unmarried women to think hard about whether they respect a man before they agree to marry him. Will you be able to respect him in five, ten, and twenty years? Women can marry men they do not respect, and they do it all the time. This means the command will be burdensome to them. But a woman who marries a man she can look up to, trust, and admire, will not find it a challenge to respect her husband.