One of God’s clear commands to wives is to see that they respect their own husbands. One of the hard things to get wives to see is that this is not about their husbands. It is not a command to the husbands to be respectable (though they should). It is to and for the wives. And respect is really about the wives, not the husbands.
What do I mean by this? A wife is to see that she does something herself. Respect is a behavior that the wife is to display. Here are a few things that characterize a respectful wife.
1. She thinks right thoughts about her husband, contemplating his strengths and godly traits.
2. She shows gratitude to him for his work and provision and abilities.
3. She shows concern for his needs and wishes.
4. She speaks courteously to him.
5. She fulfills his requests, submitting to him in the little things and the big things.
6. She speaks highly of him to others.
7. She is trustworthy.
8. She goes to him for counsel first.
9. She prays for him.
10. She forgives him.
Now some women will say, “I refuse to do that. My husband is not worthy of such treatment.” Then why did you marry him? Some husbands may say that they refuse to love their wives because they are not lovely or lovable. So why did they marry women they couldn’t love? They are still required by Scripture to love them anyway.
This is why it is so important for women to marry someone for whom they have great respect. Otherwise, this is a very high bar. If you have great regard for your husband, then you married the right guy. And respecting a respectable man is not too difficult after all.
But if on the other hand, you are already married to someone for whom you have little respect, the command is still there, but it will be much more difficult to obey. At the same time, if you begin to treat your husband with respect unconditionally, out of respect for Christ and His Word, it will be good for you and good for your husband.