“Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.” – 1 Peter 2:17.
Scripture teaches us that Christians should honor or respect all men (1 Peter 2:17). Every human being bears the image of God, and so, of course, we are called on to respect and honor that. And of course, Scripture also teaches us to love our neighbor (Leviticus 19:18), and Jesus made the point that our neighbor is whatever person God has placed right in front of us (Luke 10:29–37). So all Christians are to love everyone, and all Christians should honor everyone. That is the baseline.
Women need love, but men need respect. How often have you heard this or similar statements? And so often, they are met with wisely knowing nods of agreement and likes and shares on Facebook. These simplistic notions are popular when it comes to people trying to sort out the perceived differences between men and women.
But when we come down to the particular relationship of husbands to wives, and wives to husbands, Scripture gives us an important, additional emphasis. Husbands are told specifically to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Wives are told specifically they must respect their husbands.
So we are called to love and respect. When husbands are told to love their wives, we can infer from this that wives need to be loved. When wives are told to respect their husbands, we can infer from this that husbands need to be respected. On a basic level, everyone needs to be loved and everyone needs to be respected. But when scripture singles out married couples, the men are told to love and the women are told to respect.
Love and respect are a powerful duo. The Bible teaches that this kind of love is effective. This kind of respect is powerful. This sort of love bestows loveliness. This kind of respect bestows respectability. Husbands cannot duplicate the love of Christ, but while we cannot duplicate this kind of love, husbands are told to imitate it. And in imitating it, we see some of the comparable effects. A woman who is loved by her husband is a woman who will grow in loveliness. And the same kind of potency can be found in a godly woman’s respect.
So then, men and women should love and respect each other. They should do so with all their hearts. But when they are concentrating on their marriages, the men should lean into love. The women should lean into respect. The results can be astonishing.
- In summary, what are the responsibilities of the husband and wife toward each other??
- What can you do this week to show your spouse either love or respect?