How do your behavior and speech demonstrate respect for your husband or your future lifelong mate? In the thirteen traits of God’s design for a female, He calls each woman to be respectful.
The Apostle Paul taught: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Whereas a man is commanded to self-sacrificially love his wife as Christ loved and gave Himself up for the church (see Ephesians 5:25), she is called to respect her husband. Respect in Greek is phobetai, meaning “awe or great reverence.” This mutual commitment is a tie. It is equal in responsibility and complementary toward each gender. God wants a woman to see her husband has her knight in shining armor.
In the context of his letter to the Universal Church, Paul offered three ways for spouses to love and respect each other. First, Paul taught them to build up: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that if may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). This practical application surrenders our vocabulary to God who is our life (see Deuteronomy 30:20). Consequently, God desires that husbands and wives celebrate that life in each other every time they lock eyes (see Ephesians 5:18b-20), recognizing Jesus Christ is the eternal and abundant life of God (see Colossians 3:4).
Second, Paul called husbands and wives to hold up: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Get rid of connoted a once and for all removal. In any covenant marriage in Christ, we hold up on any evil toward the other by committing to our partner as we hold them up in love and respect (see Ephesians 5:21-30). A covenant is not a contract or an agreement; rather, it includes a third party, Jesus Christ, who seals the union. As a result, a marital relationship resembles a pyramid with Jesus at the top and the husband and wife at the bottom. As each grows closer to Christ, they grow closer to one another. Love and respect flow from Jesus Christ because He is the love of God (see John 1:14; 3:16; 2 Corinthians 8:9).
Third, Paul called those in Christ to own up: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). We are called to own up to kindness, own up to compassion, and own up to seeking and offering forgiveness. When we own up to our responsibility, we allow the light of Christ to shine in our relationship (see Ephesians 5:31-33). “God is light” (1 John 1:5), and Jesus Christ is the light of God (see John 8:12).
Build up, hold up, and own up, as you love and respect your mate, releasing the life, love, and light of God in Jesus Christ.