Treating our spouse with honor and respect is essential for a healthy relationship. But what does it mean to honor your spouse? We offer 7 tips on how to show respect and honor to your spouse. But first, let’s debunk some myths and wrong ideas about honor.
We just got a new puppy. We’ve wanted one for a while. Michelle found the perfect 8-week old Beagle, Australian-Shepherd mix. Her name is Maggie. After one week, she is a fixture in our family.
While searching online to find out how to properly care for her, I stumbled upon an interesting article about pets belonging to famous people. Don’t worry. This is going somewhere. I’ll make a connection in a moment. Just hang in there.
You may have never heard of Victor Posner (or his wife, Gail). He was one of the highest-paid CEO’s in the 1990’s. After his death in 2002, Gail poured tons of money into her pet Chihuahua, Conchita, in spite of having two children together. She spent over $8000 a month on her dog.
When she passed away, her children discovered she left her home and millions to Conchita. Although pets cannot own property, she established a Trust for the dog who received a hefty monthly allowance to get by. Her son sued the estate. Not sure how that turned out.
Ben Rae is another peculiar person who left his wealth to a pet. He was a famous antique dealer who earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for his fortune. He left his cat, Blackie, an inheritance worth over $12 million. He too had children who received nothing.
People do crazy stuff for their pets. Our ‘Mags’ will be loved well for sure, but she won’t be inheriting the family fortune.
Reading these stories made me think about how some people treat their spouse…or rather fail to treat their spouse.
Most couples I know don’t treat their pets better than their spouse (though I’m sure they are out there), yet they do treat other people better. This is backward.
Before we dig into what it means (and what it looks like) to treat our spouse with honor and respect, let’s clear the air about what ‘honor’ does not mean.
What Honor Doesn’t Mean
The subject of respect and honor can be touchy for some and misleading or misunderstood for others. If you’ve ever been taken advantage of (and then told to respect your spouse), it’s easy to hear something that’s not being said.
So let’s clear upon a couple of misguided ideas.
Honor doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t disagree
Healthy disagreement only means you have an opinion and can think for yourself. This is good. Not bad. It becomes bad when you stubbornly refuse to listen to anyone else. That usually leads to trouble.
Honor doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t disagree; it does mean you should not disrespect your spouse in the process. Disagreement doesn’t equal anger, rebellion, or disrespect.
How you disagree determines if your conflict is productive, healthy, and beneficial or not. If it is served with sarcasm and arrogance, it does not honor your spouse.
Honor doesn’t mean you must spoil your spouse
Some people get the idea to honor and respect your spouse means you have to do everything they desire. Not true. Sometimes our desires work against us. A loving spouse will notice this and keep us balanced and safe. We all have blinders and need a loving partner to assist us. There is no better person to do this than your spouse.
This doesn’t mean we constantly correct our spouse. It simply means we have each other’s back.
We do not spoil our partner, but we do make them a priority. When they are a priority, things stay in balance. This is the essence of the marriage-wheel way of creating priorities.
Wives who treat their husbands with respect make them a priority.
Husbands who love their wives well, do so by making them a priority.
It is not complicated, although we make it that way. Usually because we lose sight of maintaining honor in marriage.Wives who treat their husbands with respect make them a priority. Husbands who love their wives well, do so by making them a priority. Click To Tweet
What Does Honor Mean in a Relationship?
The dictionary definition of honor is high respect or great esteem. It can also imply ‘to fulfill or keep an agreement.’
How does this translate to marriage?
Remember the stories above about the pets of famous people? There is a lesson buried in those stories.
If you treat anything else (other people, hobbies, etc) better than you treat your spouse, you are in error.
I’ve seen guys treat their neighbors better than their own family. They would do anything for a friend but neglect their own spouse.
Am I suggesting you should treat your neighbor badly? Of course not. But if you treat them better than your own family, you have wrong priorities.
If there is a single ‘thing’ that determines how you honor your spouse it is to treat them better. Better than others. Even better than yourself. If you do this, you will bless, honor, and respect them.
How To Show Your Spouse Respect and Appreciation
There are countless ways to demonstrate respect and appreciation. This is not a complete list; only a primer on where to start.
7 Ways To Show Respect to Your Spouse
Seven basic steps to creating an atmosphere of honor and respect in your marriage.
1. Compliment Often
It’s is easy to find the negative, especially when life throws you a curve.
As I write this we are approaching the one-year mark of COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, things are tough. Many families have struggled financially. Tension is high.
According to the National Law Review, divorce rates increased dramatically because of Covid.
By April, the interest in divorce had already increased by 34% in the US, with newer couples being the most likely to file for divorce. In fact, a full 20% of couples who had been married for five months or less sought divorce during this time period, compared with only 11% in 2019.
It is easy to find reasons to argue. Choose to change gears and focus on the good. Do this by offering compliments often.
There is science behind this:
When we compliment, we not only encourage and edify our partner, we change what goes on in our own minds. We begin to ‘see’ more good, and associate our spouse with positive things. This is a win-win situation for a marriage.
2. Publically Praise
This goes hand-in-hand with the above; only this is done publically.
When you are in a gathering with other people, make sure you speak well of your spouse. Successful marriages are those where public honor is maintained.
I’ve seen husband use their wives as the butt of their jokes. I was standing in a group of men at a party once; someone complimented one of the men’s wives. In response, he joked, ‘You can have her if you want her!’ I quickly quipped back, ‘Better be careful. Someone might just take you up on that!’
They eventually separated and divorced. Was his joke the reason she left? No. But his attitude about her and how he devalued her constantly was.
Am I saying you can never joke around with your wife. Of course not. The case above was unique. This man often disrespected his wife in public. It was a matter of time things fell apart. Why? If he treated her that way in public, I can’t imagine how she was treated in private.
Your public respect is only a reflection of your private adoration.Your public respect is only a reflection of your private adoration. Click To Tweet
3. Talk Daily
Do not underestimate the value of communication. It is the lifeblood of a relationship. If you do not communicate, you cannot connect. It’s that simple.
Talk. Write letters. Send cards. Leave notes.
These are all great ways to connect. But they can’t be done without communicating.
4. Thank Them Regularly
Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as wellVoltaire
Everyone wants to be appreciated. Let’s face it, we all work hard. It’s nice when it is noticed.
When we say, ‘Thank you’ to our spouse, we are raising the level of their value in their eyes. They know they are appreciated when we tell them.
5. Find The Good
We’ve alluded to this earlier. You generally find what you are looking for.
Not long ago a woman approached my wife asking about the college where she graduated. She has a Biblical Degree from an excellent college in Colorado (that’s why we lived there for several years). This woman was struggling with her daughter and wanted her to go to a college ‘that would straighten her out.’
My wife wisely said, ‘She will find exactly what she is looking for there. If she is looking for trouble, it’s there. If she is looking for spiritual growth, it is there.’Our desires lead us to look for certain things. If you want a great marriage, you will look for ways to create one. Click To Tweet
How true. Our desires lead us to look for certain things. If you want a great marriage, you will look for ways to create one.
6. Say ‘I Love You’
Words matter. Verbalizing our love makes it real to our spouse. It is not enough to just ‘feel’ love; we need to express it.
Sure, there are many ways to say ‘I love you.’ But why not just say it. Nothing can replace words of adoration spoken from a heart of appreciation and love.Nothing can replace words of adoration spoken from a heart of appreciation and love. Click To Tweet
7. Share Your Dreams
When we share our dreams – open our heart – we invite others to join us. We allow them to enter a sacred place called ‘our heart.’ There is no greater honor.
By including your spouse in your dreams, you are sharing the sacred place of your heart with them.
This is another one of the key aspects of marriage – letting your partner know your heart. Without this, your relationship remains superficial and empty. Friendship demands openness.By including your spouse in your dreams, you are sharing the sacred place of your heart with them. Click To Tweet
Related Questions Readers Ask About Honor and Respect
Our readers often ask questions related to specific articles and topics. We beat you to the punch. Our response to top-related questions on honor and respect in marriage.
What Does The Bible Say About ‘Honor Your Husband’?
The scripture most referenced on this is Ephesians 5:22-25
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her..
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.
Notice the word honor is not specifically mentioned in this passage. This doesn’t mean it is not implied. Love and respect are mentioned, which is the essence of honor.
Many women have been used and abused because of Bible verses telling them to submit and respect their husbands. I often point out to men that these two commands are built upon the foundation men are to love their wives.
When this happens, it is easy for wives to submit and respect.
When it is absent, it is difficult.
The qualifier lands at the feet of the husband. I challenge men to ‘do their part’ and not worry about their wives doing their part. It will come naturally.
It is funny (not comical, but strange) that men want to be the head of the household, but fail to see this requires them to lead the way. This means for respect and honor to be given, it must be deserved (or at least given, not extracted). It comes when they love like Christ, who gave his life for the church.
It’s impossible to give this topic the credit it deserves in such a short response, but this should get your mental wheels turning and cause you to contemplate this Biblical command.
What Are Practical Ways A Wife Can Submit To Her Husband?
The simple answer is to respect him. It’s not enough to have a list of items you can check-off to indicate you are submissive. It is a matter of the heart.
This is something that should be discussed with your husband. Each man is different (so are women), so what ‘feels’ respectful to one person may not matter to another. For couples to connect and honor one another, find out what it means to your spouse. Then seek to be that person because you love them.
How Should A Husband Treat His Wife?
Let’s keep with a Biblical theme. To best answer this, let’s look at what real love is. A great place to start is 1 Corinthians 13. This is often called the love chapter. It is quoted in most Christian marriage ceremonies. It outlines true love.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not b]puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, c]thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails…
If every husband made this his aim, every wife would feel cherished, loved, and valued.
Final Thoughts on What It Means To Honor Your Spouse
Honor. Dignity. Respect. These are the essential elements of a healthy relationship. Too often couples forget the basic building blocks of a great marriage. They struggle because they fail to give honor and show respect.
The biggest failure is not giving attention to the needs, wants, and desires of our partner. When we get distracted with other things, we fall short of the marriage we desire and deserve. We may not do what the pet owners did in the stories above, but we fail to give honor and respect because our priorities are wrong.
These seven key concepts will help you unlock what it means to honor your spouse.
- What Honor Doesn’t Mean
- What Does Honor Mean in a Relationship?
- How To Show Your Spouse Respect and Appreciation
- Related Questions Readers Ask About Honor and Respect
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