“Respects Her Husband”

by Joel & Kathy

“Respects Her Husband”

In Ephesians 5:25-33 we read the following:

Eph 5:25-33

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
NKJV

What is really astounding about this passage is that Paul says so much to husbands and so little to wives.

There are 183 words in the passage. Only ten small words at the end of the passage apply to wives, seemingly as an afterthought! What most people “get” from this passage are the ten words! The 173 words simply fade into the background of their minds.

To paraphrase, “Wives, I just told your husbands to love you with agape love four times. If they listen to me, they will be laying their lives down for you and loving you as much as they love themselves. So, do me a favor and be careful not to take advantage of them. Don’t run over them. You could if you wanted because agape love just keeps on loving no matter what you do; but don’t do it. Give your husband some respect if he actually starts to love you with this type of love.”

Think of it this way: If a husband can love his wife in the same way that God loves her, then she can give him respect like she gives to God.

What is the problem then? Why are so many marriages in trouble? The problem is normally that a husband chooses not to love his wife with agape love. If he does not love his wife with agape love then she is not required to give him respect.

Let’s look at it again:

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. A man should nourish and cherish his wife as Christ does the church. A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. They shall become one flesh. Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself.

After all of this, Paul throws in, “and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

What is really astounding and would make a great study in human nature is the amazing ability of men and women to give this one little phrase about respect equal billing! Ten words get equal billing to, or worse, they overshadow the preceding 173!

There have been large amounts of material written on the need for a wife to “respect” her husband. It has been said that a man’s greatest need is to be respected and a wife’s greatest need is to be loved. They point out that a wife is not told to love her husband in this passage but only to respect him.

What happens when a wife is pressured to respect her husband in the “real world” regardless of whether he first fulfills his responsibility to love? Many husbands do not take their responsibility serious. They do not listen to their wives hearts, they don’t spend time with them and they belittle or ignore their concerns.

This wife then feels that pressure to offer her husband undeserved respect. Most Christian wives cannot ‘fluff’ off their perceived duty in the same manner that their husbands fluff off the responsibility to love them with agape love. These wives feel a deep burden to be obedient to God. They often struggle to respect their husbands regardless of their commitment to love.

We do not believe that Paul meant for wives to respect their husbands regardless of their actions. We believe that this was Paul’s consolation to husbands who take seriously his admonition to agape love their wives.

Our message to wives is this: You do not have to offer undeserved respect to your husband. God does not require this of you. God has called your husband to agape love you. Four times in this one passage the message is repeated. Only after your husband is filling your cup with agape love are you asked to respond with a responsive, loving respect. Don’t worry wives; it is very easy to respect a man who is laying his life down for you!

How Do We Live?

How do we live in respect to this question of respect? Does Kathy respect Joel? Does Joel respect Kathy? Does Kathy respect Joel even if he is not treating her right?

By Joel: First off, I don’t even think like this. I have my assignments from the Lord. Those assignments are to love Kathy with agape love, to honor her, to nurture and cherish her, to compliment and shine her as the crown of my life. (Proverbs, Ephesians, 1 Peter).

It is totally foreign to my thinking to concern myself with whether Kathy respects me. We live what we teach. I always treat Kathy like the queen that she is. Do I feel respect from Kathy? Of course! How could she not respect me? I do what the bible teaches me to do which is to lay my life down and give myself for her as Christ did for the church.

I live with Kathy according to the knowledge that I have learned from listening to her heart. I meet her needs perfectly because I have allowed her to be direct with me about the needs that she has.

I respect Kathy. I honor Kathy. Does she respect me back? Of course! How could she not do so!

Is this my greatest need as a man? To be respected by Kathy?

No!

My greatest need as a man is to become the man that God has called me to be by becoming the husband that my wife needs me to be! My greatest need as a man is to walk in maturity and Christlikeness.

What if I do not treat Kathy right? Does she respect me then? When I have an occasional misstep, Kathy does one of two things. She sometimes overlooks my mess up and she sometimes brings it to my attention. I prefer it when she brings it to my attention. Why? I don’t ever want to backslide into a rut of treating her poorly.

Kathy overlooks a fault or two if she can tell that I am stressed about something. She usually asks me what is wrong and offers hot tea or a word of encouragement. On the other hand, if the stress manifests itself in a bad attitude or action toward her or the children, she tells me about it. I respect her enough to receive the correction.

Do I feel “respected” in that moment when she says, “Joel, you are over-reacting about such and so.” No. I am not supposed to feel respected. I am not acting respectably.

Sometimes she will say in fun, “Joel, go to your room!” I take that as a fun signal that I am letting stress manifest in a negative way. I roll my eyes and say, “Okay, I’m sorry. I’ll go to my room if you come with me!” We try to stay in a lighthearted mood, even if we are dealing with a real stress.

By Kathy:

I have not thought about the idea of respecting Joel over the last ten years or so. It is just not a part of our concious thought process. Since we are addressing the overemphasis that is placed on the need for a wife to respect her husband, let me say this:
Respecting Joel is very easy to do.
He treats me wonderfully.

There was a time when I could not offer real respect though I desperately tried to manufacture some. Joel didn’t live in a way that deserved respect! I would struggle to respect him because that was what I was told to do; but how can you respect a man who treats you poorly?

When we would get into an argument, Joel would convince me in the end that it was my entire fault. Sometimes after these fights I would beat myself up emotionally because I lost my cool and ended up yelling or throwing something at him.

After the argument I would read the scripture again about wives respecting their husbands. I would determine, “Okay Kathy, no matter what Joel does, no matter how bad he treats you, you must respect him.”

I believed that I was called to respect Joel and submit to him in anything except for sin. In retrospect, some of the stuff I had to do in respecting my husband was just flat out wrong. God never wanted me to be treated the way that I was treated. God never expected me to respect Joel no matter what he did or how he treated me.

I was God’s daughter! I was God’s creation! I deserved to be treated right! No one was telling me that though. The best that I ever got was, “Just submit to him, love him and respect him. God will bring him around.” That advice cost me years of heartache.

Here is one dramatic example. After the adultery, Joel would pressure me to “walk in love and forgiveness” towards the other woman. Previous to the affair, the couple had been in our church and we had been very close friends. I wanted nothing to do with them after the adultery but my husband said that we should all still be friends.

What was I going to do? I was taught that my “role” was to respect my husband and follow his leadership. He had repented of the adultery and was trying (supposedly) to repair the damage that he had done to me and our two young children. I was determined to be a good, submissive wife.

Joel would reason, “Kathy, if you have really forgiven the situation, then you will have no problem with us visiting the other couple and being friends as if nothing has ever happened.” Joel would claim, “In God’s eyes, nothing ever happened. We have repented, so the sin is washed away and under the blood. It is over!” Joel did not even want me to talk about it. He had repented and it was over, never to be talked about again. This alone was emotional abuse but at the time I just suffered the injustice.

As we would near their home, Joel would assure me, “I’ll hold your hand and be right beside you.” Guess what? Often when we got there he did NOT hold my hand. He did NOT stay by my side! Instead he would hover close to where she was. He was flirting right in front of my face! I could tell that made her feel “special.” It is as if I could hear her very thoughts taunting me, “I mean more to him than you”.

Joel’s attention floated her boat while I died on the inside.

Was I to respect that? No! Was Joel acting in a way that deserved respect?

No!

God did not require me to sit back and allow myself to be abused and mistreated.

The Bible says, “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing.” A good thing deserves to be treated as a good thing; not kicked around like a dog!

Unfortunately, in those years, I didn’t realize I was a good thing. I didn’t see myself that way. I allowed myself to be abused, and mistreated. I was taught and believed that it was my duty to, “Submit, in everything; even in the midst of humiliation, and embarrassment.” If Joel was not asking me to sin, I had to submit.

The logic of the faulty teaching was that if I would submit to Joel and give him unmerited love, forgiveness and respect then he would turn around and everything would be fine. Wrong. God does not require us to respect and submit to wrong actions and mistreatment.

How a Husband Can Gain Respect

What are some actions that produce much respect? I am going to make some surface suggestions and some “heart level” suggestions.

If a husband will help out at home by doing dishes, laundry and working as a team in discipline of the children, he will gain much respect from his wife. Sharing in the discipline of the children as a unified team is a “biggie” for most wives. If you really want to gain your wife’s respect, go an extra mile and spend time playing with your children!

One close friend told me that she would respect her husband if he would simply be a good dad to their son. She had given up on ever being treated with gentleness and loving kindness but she was willing to stay with her husband if he would only treat their son well.

We don’t recommend that a marriage stay in a survival mode simply because a man treats his children well. That defeats the purpose of a happy marriage! My friend’s heart cry simply illustrates the hunger that most women have for a man who will treat the children great! If you treat your wife like a queen and are a great dad then you will reap a ton of respect from your wife. Most wives will do anything for a man who will commit himself to loving both her and the children as well.

Another key is helping to put the kids into bed so there is time for each other at night. Frank would patiently wait in the bedroom for two hours while his wife would finish up in the kitchen, help the kids with homework and then get them to bed. When she arrived in the bedroom ready to pass out, Frank would be hurt that she was not interested in sex. He would complain, “All she does is lay there like a log!” Frank had no respect from his wife. He didn’t deserve any! He was not respectable.

Another close friend of mine called me one day. Her husband had fallen into the habit of coming home and crashing out for the evening on the couch. He watched TV while she attended to the three young children, cooked dinner, picked the house up and finally put the children to bed.

When she would ask for help he would lament that he had worked “hard” all day (for all of eight or nine hours) and it was time for him to relax. (He overlooked the fact that she had been working with the three young children for the same amount of time that he was gone to work and the day was only half over!)

In short, he refused to help. My friend asked me what she should do. I told her to sit down on the couch and watch TV with her husband. “When your husband asks you why the kids are not in bed yet, tell him that you are not putting them to bed unless he gets up to help you!”

My friend was nervous but tired enough to give it a try. She was afraid that her husband would hit the roof. Some husbands do hit the roof when their wives make a stand but not hers. When my friend said this, he got up off the couch and went to put the kids to bed. Their life was drastically changed from that day forward.

Many men are good guys. They just don’t understand. Wives have to take the initiative to let their husbands know what they are doing or not doing that is unacceptable. The good guys will change. It is that simple.

If it is that simple, why do we write books? It is for the rest of the guys; the ones who are like Joel used to be. These men just don’t “get it” easily and need a lot of convincing! Joel did not “get it” for ten years. It was not until a very high level and highly skilled man confronted Joel that the scales began to fall from his eyes. Dr. Paul Hegstrom told Joel point blank that he was wrong about marriage, wrong in his approach to me and wrong in his theology.

The other reason that we write books, produce DVD’s and travel to conduct seminars is to bring healing, affirmation and empowerment to women. The saddest cases are when a wife is married to a man who does not get it easily and then proceeds to reject the truths we teach. This wife needs a lot of support, affirmation and empowerment to take a stand. She has to teach her husband how to treat her with honor without him realizing what she is doing. These men either get better or much worse. If they get worse, this wife needs to be empowered to successfully navigate an uncertain future.

More Ways to Earn Respect

When a man works as hard as his wife all evening at cooking, cleaning, children’s homework and the like he earns the admiration and respect that his actions deserve. A husband might have a business that he works on at night in the home. Joel often works on the ministry in the evenings. I don’t need him to help with the house when he is busy on ministry because I know that he is using time wisely. He is using time in a mutually agreeable way that produces respect in me.

There are so many things that a husband can do to gain respect from his wife.

The things I just suggested are just a few easy, surface things that you can do. They are simple actions of love that come from your commitment to work as a team.

What are the hard things that you can do to gain lots of admiration and respect?

Try listening to your wife’s heart. Take time to actually hear what she is saying when she is talking to you. Try doing whatever she needs you to do when she asks you to do it instead of waiting until “later.”

How about not “forgetting” to do whatever it is that she asked you to do. Some men strategically delay doing what their wives ask. These husbands know that if they delay long enough their wives will end up doing the task themselves! This will not gain you any respect.

How about changing diapers? You can do this men, even if it means wearing a face mask!

Try making time for special dates. Remember that your wife probably loves flowers, candles and other things that say you are thinking of her. Give your wife hugs and kisses when she needs them; not just when you want to give them. Here is a pop quiz: When does your wife need hugs and kisses? Answer: All the time!

Make it a game. See how many hugs and kisses you can give your wife in a day. Make it fun! Give her lots of hugs and kisses in front of the kids and watch them say, “ooohhh.. (as in “yuck!”) get a room! Respond with “What a great idea!” At this signal you both go running toward the bedroom! Circumstances may not allow you to actually fulfill this threat but you can have a lot of fun making like you are going to! This adds fun and excitement to your day!

Incorporating these types of things into your marriage can bring you much admiration and respect from your wife.

Respect Killers

Here are some things that will make it impossible for your wife to respect you:

Coming home late without calling her to let her know where you are, why you are late and when you will be home.

Kissing the dog and kicking the wife when you come home will not help your cause either!

Grabbing the remote control instead of your wife (in a loving manner) will certainly disqualify you from enjoying admiration from your wife.

If your goal every day is to point out all of the things that your wife is not getting done and telling her how to do everything right, (the way you want it done) is not a good plan either. What your wife is hearing is that she does not measure up. She is not pleasing to you. When you send that message to your wife she will not be offering you any admiration or respect! Why? Because you are not respecting her!

How about wasting the family’s money? What about never holding down a job? Continual flirting? Ignoring the need to discipline the children as a team?

Negative actions like these are seeds that produce bad fruit in your wife’s heart. She will have to work hard to show you any actions of love instead of wanting to show you actions of love.

Husbands, if you want admiration and respect, give your wife reasons to respect you. Don’t expect her to show you respect because someone told her that she “should”. Your wife does not have to respect you simply because you were born as the male half of this one flesh arrangement! You were not born with a right to admiration and respect just because of your sex!

Live in a way that produces respect and you will feel respect from your wife.

It takes a real man, a special man who will take the high road to accomplish this. The easy road is to “be hurt” that your wife does not respect you; and then get depressed. The high road is to live in a way that deserves admiration and praise.

By Joel:

Let’s look at the Greek word for “respects” in the bible.

The word is “phobeo.” Phobeo is an interesting word. It means “to frighten, to fear, to be alarmed, to be in awe of, revere.”

Half of the times that phobeo appears in the NT it is a negative fear; the fear of man or the fear that something bad will happen. We don’t believe that a wife is supposed to have a negative fear of her husband.

The other half of the time “phobeo” refers to a healthy fear of God.

Our take on this passage is that if a man loves his wife with agape love as pure as the love God has for man, then his wife can reverence him as she reverences God. Why? Because he is God-like. He is operating in agape love. He is reflecting Christ.

Do you know many husbands who agape love their wives purely enough to qualify for this type of respect? There are not many! Paul declares a husband’s need to agape love his wife four times in eight verses. This is agape love guys; not a “feel like it” love. This is a love that lays its life down to meet a wife’s needs and loves her regardless of whether she “deserves” it or not. Paul then asks a wife to respect a man who loves her in this way.

If you love your wife with agape love you will get admiration and respect. That is our take on it but let’s look deeper.

The Word Respect is an Anomaly

When Paul uses the word “respect” in Ephesians, it is an anomaly.

There are no other supportive references in the New Testament to suggest that a wife should have this type of negative fear or that any person should have this level of positive respect for anyone but God!

Biblical laws of interpretation require that there be two-three scriptural references to build a doctrine. For example, we teach mutual submission. The Greek word for submission is “hupotasso.”

The bible teaches husbands and wives to “hupotasso” to one another at least two times: once in Ephesians 5:21 and again in 1 Peter 5:5.

Interestingly, many of the same people who argue against mutual submission cling tenaciously to this one verse calling for a wife to respect her husband. Why would someone argue against mutual submission yet have blind allegiance to this one isolated verse about respect?

Don’t take the point that we are making wrong. We are not against the idea of respect in marriage. We want husbands and wives to respect one another. We believe that a husband is called to respect and honor his wife first and that she is to give him respect in response. A wife can respect a man who bestows agape love upon her. Respect is not to be given to a husband as an unmerited gift.

It is a great idea for a wife to give the gift of respect to her husband when he is laying his ideas down and meeting her needs in the way that she expresses need for. Most men refuse to do this though. They want to love their wives according to their rules. They want to call the shots. They want to be the “leader!” The only problem is that most men cannot control their own passions. They cannot lead themselves much less lead their wives.

I’ll Do Anything to Save My Marriage!

Paul said that he would do anything that it took to repair his marriage. For ten years, Cindy had been asking if he was involved in pornography. She knew that he was but could never catch him.

In their second year of marriage, Paul had admitted that he had a problem. He went to a seminar, read a book, attended a few counseling sessions and became a part of a men’s accountability group. Now it was eight years later. Cindy had been asking Paul for the ensuing eight years if he was still involved in porn. Paul would get angry when she would ask. He would accuse her of not trusting him claiming that he was “really hurt” by her mistrust.

Paul’s continued denials, his neglect of Cindy and his unresponsiveness to her emotional needs finally took its toll. Cindy got into an emotional affair. When Paul found out, he hit the roof. No matter that he had been unfaithful to Cindy for the full ten years of their marriage. No matter that he lived a lie for ten years. Cindy was crucified for her one small dalliance.

Cindy responded by hiring a computer geek to investigate the family computer. The truth was ugly. Paul had indeed been involved in porn as Cindy suspected. Cindy left the state to visit family, taking the kids with her.

When Paul said that he would do anything to repair the marriage, Cindy introduced him to us. After reading our book and spending one hour on the phone, Paul announced that he was not going to talk to us again!

Paul was supposed to be fulfilling his word by doing whatever it would take to repair the marriage. He was to be doing this be reading the bible, our book, a couple other choice books, blessing his wife’s desire to stay out of state for a few more weeks and watching our DVD seminar. He was also asked to come to a seminar that we would be conducting in the near future and to attend a “Men’s Encounter” that an on-fire church was offering.

Paul however decided to take control! He wanted to be the leader! Paul announced that he wanted Cindy to come home and that he would read some other books on marriage; not ours. He did not agree with mutual submission and did not believe that a husband was to be a servant. He insisted that he was supposed to be the leader and that she should follow him!

Paul was unrepentant. He had lived a lie for ten years and had made a commitment to do whatever it took to restore her trust. In only three days he was already breaking that first commitment he made to Cindy! His whole speech about “doing whatever it takes” to restore the marriage was a lie.

The bottom line for Paul? He refuses to meet Cindy’s needs in the way that she has need. Paul still wants to call the shots. He wants to meet Cindy’s needs according to his rules. He wants to do things his way. Unless Paul changes his attitude completely there will be no marriage. They may be together but there will never be one-ness. Cindy will be a victim of a manipulation for the duration of the marriage. How sad for a marriage to be reduced to an exercise in endurance.

A marriage can never be successful if a husband habitually lies easily breaks commitments. The jury is still out. Will Paul pass the test and give up his manipulative and dishonest lifestyle? Or will he continue to insist that Cindy live by his rules and demand that things be done his way?

If Paul would lay his life down and meet Cindy’s needs in the way that she needs, their marriage would be restored very quickly. Paul wants it his way though. A woman cannot respect a man like that.

Let’s get back to this word “phobeo” and the idea that Paul’s use of it is an anomaly.

The word “phobeo” appears in 1 John 4:18: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

John says that perfect love casts out “phobeo” and that there is no “phobeo” in love. If a husband truly agape loves his wife then he will not be concerned about whether she is offering him “phobeo”. He won’t want her to give a second thought to whether she is giving him “phobeo” because there is no “phobeo” in perfect love!

Perhaps this is why I never even wonder if Kathy respects me. If I am consumed with loving her then there is no room to wonder if I am getting the respect that other marriage commentators say I so desperately need! Perfect love casts out “phobeo!”

Let me point out that when funds are low and I have to find a way to bring money in, Kathy is very supportive. She exhibits total confidence in me that I will go out and successfully “find” extra income. I become the “hunter” and she sends me out the door with warmth, love and encouragement. Maybe this falls under the category of “respect.” If so, that is a good thing. When a man is agape loving his wife then we say to her, “Go and do thou likewise.” Be like Kathy. Be supportive, positive, outgoing and happy. It is easy when a husband loves his wife in the way that (she says) she needs.

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer;
it is I; be not afraid. KJV Matt 14:27

Jesus said that he did not want his disciples to be in “phobeo.”

This is love. Every husband reading this should say to his wife: “I do not want you to be in ‘phobeo’ toward me. Like Jesus, I am saying to you, Do not ‘phobeo’. Do not be afraid. Do not worry about respecting me. Let me work on agape loving you and meeting your needs. You can relax. If you respect me someday in a natural response to my agape love then so be it. But don’t manufacture anything.”

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

KJV Matt 17:5-7

Here again we see Love speaking. Love told his disciples that he did not want them to be in “phobeo.”

Aren’t we men to be like Jesus?

We should tell our wives not to worry about having “phobeo” for us. Why? Most wives (or husbands) do not understand the difference between a healthy “phobeo” and an unhealthy one.

Most Christian wives think that they are not supposed to tell anyone the truth about how their husbands treat them. They are afraid that if they “expose him” they are not showing the proper “respect.” This concern is not a positive “phobeo.” This is the negative fear that perfect love is to cast out.

Their husbands believe this same lie. “My wife talks about our problems to everyone. I told her that I don’t like it when she ‘exposes’ me like this but she does it anyway. My wife has no respect for me or my wishes.” Neither this man nor his wife understands what respect is. Their definition of respect is really for a wife to allow herself to be mistreated and suffer quietly! That is NOT what Paul was suggesting!

Other Christian wives think that they should not question their husbands about money or where they spend their time. Their husbands have made it plain that the questions are getting on their nerves and “undermining” them. These wives are always cautious when asking questions. They don’t want to be guilty of showing “disrespect.” These husbands agree. They are “offended” or “hurt” when their wives ask questions about the whereabouts of them or of money that has gone missing. Some men feel like their wives don’t respect them when they say, “Stop and get directions.. please!”

There are many more examples of this. Every married reader could add their own. The bottom line is that we as husbands should cast out any “phobeo” with our agape love.

Our wives should be set free of this pressure to produce respect toward us.

Our reward is that we become the men that God has called us to become.

Why Must a Husband Go First?

Why do we teach that a husband needs to offer the respect, honor and submission to his wife first and only then look to her for a response in kind? We insist on this because a wife is never told to lay her life down for her husband. She is also never instructed to offer him agape love. Everything that the bible asks a wife to do for her husband is framed as a response to his going first. A husband is the initiator and a wife is the responder.

Do you have trouble in your marriage? Look for what the husband initiated. Husbands, when you find it, own it and apologize for whatever you did to initiate the pain and struggle.

Another fact that is mind boggling to us is this: The very people who stubbornly cling to the idea that a husband is to be the “leader” in his home fight violently against the idea that any problem in the marriage has been initiated by the husband. This makes no sense at all.

We say that a man and his wife are to be team leaders in the home, mutually submitted and offering mutual honor and respect to one another. They are to serve one another, bless one another and look out for one another. We ask a husband to “go first” in all of these things and we ask a wife to respond in like manner only after she feels completely safe to give of herself freely to her husband. We teach that a husband is the initiator in the marriage. If there is a problem then it started with something that he initiated.

The other way of thinking says this: “A husband is the leader but his wife has to give him undeserved respect and submission before he does anything to deserve it. Furthermore, if there are problems in the marriage the fault is not to be laid at the feet of the leader. The problems are 50/50 and the solutions are 50/50.”

We are teaching men how to be servants who take responsibility for the success or failure of their marriage. We are asking men to take responsibility for the pain their wives are living in or to get the credit for her living in freedom, peace and joy! We are asking husbands to be real men who love, honor and serve their wives and children.

What we get from the “other side” is “You can’t blame the husband for all of the problems in a marriage. I believe that my wife is supposed to submit to me. Isn’t my wife supposed to respect me? I am the leader! I am the head!”

What these men are really saying is this: “It is all about me. My wife is supposed to serve me. I married her to be my helper. She is supposed to make me successful and make my life easier. You are upsetting my apple cart. I did not sign up to be a servant to my wife and kids. I signed up to be the leader!”

“Just Say No!” to Undeserved Respect

I don’t want Kathy to read books that tell wives that they have a duty to respect their husbands. Yuck, yuck, yuck. If Kathy is going to respect me, I want it to be because I have lived in a way that deserves respect. I don’t want any freebies.

I hasten to add here, Kathy is a forgiving and loving soul. Since I have learned to love her with Agape love, she has accepted the healing and entered into peace, love and joy. I am constantly being proactive in our marriage. I look for opportunities to be alone as a couple. I look for opportunities to give Kathy a kiss or hug. I look for opportunities to praise her.

Kathy is not picky; she has decided to overlook my (few!) faults. One of those faults is disorganization. As much as I try, I just cannot keep everything organized! Thank God for computers. As long as my computer does not crash I can find my files!

If I were not the husband that Kathy needed me to become, she would probably be very upset about my lack of organization skills. I have an office that I never use. Why? It is too disorganized! It is basically a big closet. I get what I need and sit in the living room to work!

I believe that I am enjoying this kind of support from a fabulous wife because I learned how to honor, respect and love her. I decided to embrace the idea that we are a one-flesh team and accepted the idea of mutual submission. I initiated the problems in our bad days and I believe that I have initiated the great days that we now enjoy! We are truly “Livin’ It and Lovin’ It!”

What about Paul and Cindy?

Do you remember Paul and Cindy? Paul had a great solution for their marriage! He wanted Cindy to read a book that held the key to their happy marriage!

The book that Paul wanted Cindy to read taught a fifty-fifty concept. The book taught that popular idea that husbands are to love; and wives are to respect. Paul believed that their marriage would be healed if Cindy would simply agree to respect him. Paul’s definition of respect was for Cindy to be grateful for whatever expressions of love that he chose to offer.

Remember. This is that same Paul who lied to his wife for ten years. What is Cindy supposed to respect? His good intentions? What kind of man would want his wife to respect him because a book told her that she should? Certainly not a man who claims that he would do whatever it takes to save his marriage!

Final Thoughts on “Phobeo”

Matt 28:9-10 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. KJV

Here again, Jesus is saying, “Be not afraid.” Jesus does not want us to be in “phobeo.” A real man does not want his wife to be in “phobeo” toward him. He does not want her to manufacture a false respect. He wants her to be safe and secure.

Heb 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. KJV

Do you notice that every time that the bible uses the word “phobeo” in reference to a horizontal, earthly relationship, it is in the negative. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.” The writer of Hebrews says, “The Lord is my helper, I will not “phobeo” what man shall do to me.”

I repeat again. Paul’s use of “phobeo” in reference to a husband and wife is an anomaly. It is a usage of the word that is a departure from its normal use. It is the only time that it is used in a positive sense when referring to an earthly, horizontal relationship. Even Jesus did not want people to offer “phobeo” to him when he walked the earth. Do you think that Jesus would have said to women, “Don’t fear me but fear your husbands?” I don’t think so. Jesus did not want people to be in fear. Perfect love casts out fear.

Rev 1:16-17 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: KJV

Come on husbands. Isn’t this enough? If Jesus preferred to tell his followers to “fear not” (“phobeo” not), then don’t you agree that the least you can do is tell your wife not to “phobeo” you?

Here is one example of the word “phobeo” being used in the positive.

1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. KJV

Fear God. Not man. Fear God. That about says it all.

Husbands, encourage your wife to fear God, not you. Set your wife free of any pressure to manufacturer forced respect toward you. If you will live this way then one day you will have all of the positive affirmations that you could ever want from your beauty. Praise, love and yes, even a positive respect will flow out of her as a river of living water.

Golden Key

Don’t Get Hung Up On Respect

Get Hung Up On Agape Love!

To order copies of “The Man of Her Dreams/The Woman of His!” book, Audio Book or DVD seminar sessions go to www.godsavemymarrige.com

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally March 14, 2010 at 4:31 am

I am struggling in my marriage, My husbands shows me a great deal of love and caring, he loves me well and I love and respect this in him. There are times when he is stress or tired and he might be disrespectful in his tone or manner, and if we have a disgreement he can be quite cruel and often very childish in his responses but over all he is a good husband, which I respect. My problem is how he is with other people. When he first meets them he is generous and caring, he’ll go out of his way to help and care, but if at any point he thinks they are being disrespectful (this is even when they are not, he just thinks negatively that they are) he gets totally over the top in his reactions. He has kicked out my son, his daughter, he has alienated untold people with his sharp words and disrespectful behaviour. It is like he is saying you must respect me no matter what, I can say or treat you disrespectfully but because I am the head of this house, I’m the authority you must respect me. As you can imagine this is hard for young people to take on board. I have tried to talk to him about the way he talks to people is disrespectful. I don’t do this when we’re in the thick of things but after the fact, and I do it in a caring way, not accusing (he even say’s that I am better at this relationship stuff) I have gently pointed out that we don’t have any close friends, cos pretty much if they’re not related to us they can walk away and do. But with family they have to stick around but eventually they end up falling out with him and are banished. He is a Christian man, he is a promise keeper, but he believes the model of I must respect him no matter what, just as he must love me no matter what. He believes he should be respected even if he talks disrespectively to others or behaves in ways that are not respectful of others. How can I respect this man for that?? I am finding this so hard, I’m finding that the love I had for him is pailing and that scares me so much. I don’t know what to do, I have prayed but what happens if its God’s purpose for me to go through this forever!! I need advice and guidence, please help.

Joel and Kathy May 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Hi Sally,

We did not see your post. We apologize for that!

I hope that you have gotten the course and have been onto our online marriage forum, and/or have gotten onto our group phone calls. You definitely want to get some help and guidance in getting your husband to understand and change.

Call our group line tonight at 9 pm eastern time or any night, Saturday – Thursday. (8 pm on Mondays and 10 pm on Tuesday). The details are in your course information. If you have the course and don’t find the phone call and forum information, write to us at joelandkathy4@aol.com Let us know you are a course member!

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