I was so blessed on Friday reading each and every suggestion for how to provide “little things” for our husbands. Each comment was proof that wives know how to touch their husband’s heart in unique ways that only they can. Thank you all for sharing so openly and honestly, for encouraging each other, and for admitting that it’s not always easy. I am confident that God will bless all of your sweet efforts, even if the blessing is not immediately seen.
Men are supposed to be protectors of us women, with their strong hands, innate protective nature and overall manliness.
However, today, I want to talk about how we can protect our husband and our marriage at the same time, through protecting his honor.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”, which means to love with a love that protects.
To give a “protecting” type of love means to be very careful about who we share “personal” details of our married life with, especially the sharing of those areas of our relationships that need extra help and Godly counsel.
A man’s reputation is a very important aspect of his being. It is what fuels his self esteem, giving him the confidence to be the big, strong protector that God called him to be, and that we want him to be. And giving honor builds that confidence tremendously.
But what about those times when our men are not acting honorably? When their choices bring heartbreak, difficult consequences, or strife in the marriage? When decisions they make negatively affect them, the marriage, and the rest of the family?
In times like those just mentioned, it is hard to think of honor, instead of bitterness and revenge. And it is hard to honor someone whom you are losing, or have lost, respect for. However, it can be done if we seek Gods strength and courage, and rely on Him to help us do what we do not feel like doing at all. And in some marriages, we do fully honor our husbands, but we fall short in showing that honor in ways that really matter.
There are definitely times when we need to talk out problems with a trusted friend, and in the heat of an argument, or in the after shock of hurt and frustration, we probably all feel those ‘tell-all’ desires bubbling up as we long for support and words of encouragement from other women. We women want to talk, talk, talk – it is just how God made us! And that can be a great emotional release which elicits positive and helpful advice — but there is also an invisible boundary we should always respect.
When a disagreement happens, we may immediately begin thinking about who we can call to vent and express our anger to. We just want to talk to someone who can make us feel better, validate our feelings, tell us that things will be okay, and maybe even trash talk our husbands along with us. We want them to know the mistakes our man made, the hurtful things they said or did, and the harsh feelings that had taken up residence in our heart.
But in time what often happens, is that arguments end. Anger subsides or decreases. Love returns. Restoration occurs. And in some cases, the issue that caused the situation seems much smaller than it did at first, sometimes even silly, in retrospect. Eventually, life gets back to normal.
It is in that moment, when we are faced with the aftermath of our choices. After apologies have been shared, we may deeply regret the critical words spoken about our husbands and the tainted opinion of them we planted into the minds of our friends and family. Or we will be thankful that we took our deepest raw feelings to God, instead of people, knowing that we stopped short of crossing the invisible boundary into the territory of dishonor.
I speak from experience, on both accounts. There are times that I sought out comfort from friends instead of God, and later regretted that decision. Yet there are more times when I didn’t give in to my desires to share my anger and hurt with others as a way of dealing with my feelings or getting back at my husband. Times when the wrong choice would have dishonored him as a man, a husband, a provider, and a friend.
I would have skewed the opinion that my friends or relatives have of him, and most likely, not remember to go back and tell them that we made up, and how we fixed things, or that I had been wrong. I probably would have forgotten about the situation, and moved on with life, while leaving those I vented to with a permanent negative picture, and possibly resentful feelings, about my man.
Let’s face it. Women are emotional creatures, and we thrive on emotional support from friends. God gave us friends for that reason. But in our friendships, we are also called to have boundaries – and one important boundary is not to invite people to a husband bashing party, because it dishonors him, and your relationship, in more ways than one.
In Proverbs 31:11-12, we read “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
This verse is a stark reminder of how important it is that we not only build up our husbands for their good traits, but remember to protect and honor them, even when their bad traits come blaring out.
We can view this verse as God’s promise that a wife’s efforts of forgiveness and self restraint will not go unrewarded. You see, a husband who has a wife who honors him will eventually have full confidence in her love, and respect her as a person above any other he knows, because he cannot help but recognize that she does not bring him harm with her words.
Most women look to the Proverbs 31 woman in the bible as a role model they could never live up to. She represents the type of woman that we all want to be, but fall short of being every day, making that type of virtuousness seem like an impossibility in our own lives.
But one of the things that the Bible states is an important trait of a virtuous wife, is to have a husband that is respected, and we can play a role in helping that happen.
Proverbs 31:23 says he is “known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land”. Anyone, man or woman, has to earn respect from peers, but a woman can provide that respect through her commitment to pray for her husband and honor him in front of other people, and especially in front of their children.
Another applicable verse for this topic is Ephesians 4:29, which says “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 it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)
This could be so easy for some of us, but the hardest thing in the world for others. Our desire to honor our husbands may hinge on the relationships we had with our own fathers, how much damage has occurred in the marriage, and many other extenuating circumstances. So if giving or protecting his honor is something we are accustomed to doing, or even desire to do, we will need to ask for God’s help to do so. And if we have been guilty of dishonoring in the past, which we’ve all most likely done, let’s not beat ourselves up over it. God forgives, and we can forgive ourselves, and commit each new day to think before we speak.
We cannot control our husbands reputation, his free will, or his decisions, but we can control our own tongues and thoughts. We can control the things that leave our mouths and whether or not we are honoring him with our words – in his presence, and when he is not around to defend himself.
It may be hard, and may take a lot of prayer, but God calls a wife to honor and respect her husband, and it’s very possible that when he feels honored, he will begin to act more honorably as well.
A wife has the power to help other people respect her husband, by the respect she gives him herself. Today is a great day to start spreading some honor.
DAY 5 CHALLENGE IS TWO-FOLD:
1. Each time the opportunity arises to say something negative about your husband to someone else — pause, pray, and ask God to help you say something positive instead, or nothing at all. Ask Him for strength to refrain from venting your anger, if that is what you normally do. Try to break the habit of dishonoring your husband to others, so that he will be well respected at the gate. Also ask God to help guard your thoughts, because the words of our lips will flow from our hearts.
2. Each time the opportunity arises to criticize your husband to his face, ask God to help you think of something positive or to simply bite your tongue. Even if he deserves the criticism or a sarcastic response, it really only causes hurt and conflict to say it aloud. Sometimes, silence can be golden.
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(If you do feel the need to talk with someone and gain support about problems in your marriage, which always helps a hurting heart, just be sure to pick someone you can trust, and someone that will become a prayer warrior for you, your husband and your marriage. God gives us friends so that we do have people to support us, I am merely suggesting that we be cautious about sharing, versus bashing, and that we pick our friends very wisely. If your marriage is in need of professional advice, consider contacting a Christian counselor or Pastor. )