Summary: What does a man need from his wife? Honor and respect.
This morning, we’re continuing our series of messages on "His Needs, Her Needs." We’ll begin with His Need - honor, respect, admiration. A man will do virtually anything to gain the admiration of a woman. To put it another way, a woman who wishes to manipulate a man need only show him admiration, and he will do anything she wants. Let me give you a couple of examples:
· How a group of men playing basketball changes when some women walk by
· movie: "Big Daddy" - Adam Sandler adopts a 5-year old boy to impress his girlfriend
The purpose of all this is not to show how foolish men can be, but to illustrate how deep-seated this need is in the man’s psyche. The wise wife understands this and does what she can to keep her husband’s "admiration quotient" high. Why? Because a man who is suffering from a deficit in this area is extremely susceptible to temptation if he encounters a woman who builds him up and openly admires him. Which girls get asked out on dates? Not necessarily the prettiest ones, but the ones who show admiration for the boys.
That’s one good reason for a wife to admire and respect her husband. Here’s an even better one: it’s God’s will that you do so.
"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." -- Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)
What does it mean for a wife to respect (honor, admire) her husband?
First, she should respect him with her words.
- She should refrain from contemptous speech, speech that tears down and destroys. This does not rule out all criticism or rebuke.
"You fat pig," vs. "I’m concerned about your health"
"You good-for-nothing couch potato" vs. "I need some help around the house"
"You really made a fool of yourself tonight" vs. "I was embarrassed tonight at the dinner party when you used the tablecloth to wipe your nose"
"You worthless drunk" vs. "You’ve got a drinking problem and you need help."
[2 Samuel 6:12-16, 20-23] Michael "despised [David] in her heart" (v. 16) and spoke contemptuously to him. As a result, she was barren.
- She should engage in respectful speech, speech that builds up. This means observing and commenting on her husband’s positive attributes or accomplishments.
"You take such good care of the house. I’m lucky to have such a handyman for a husband."
"I’m really admire the way you spend quality time with the children. You’re a great dad."
"I’m proud of the way you’ve worked hard to build your business."
It’s really a bit pathetic how eager men are to hear these things, and how powerful a few words can be, for both good and ill. Positive encouragement can inspire a man to do great things, and contempt can emotionally devastate him.
· Don’t flatter or give insincere praise.
· The impact of a wife’s speech, either respectful or disrespectful, is magnified if it occurs in public.
Second, she should honor him with her behavior.
· She should respect him by acting in a way that reflects well on him.
Proverbs 31:23: "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land." A wife who conducts herself honorably shows respect to her husband, and gains him the respect of others. They say, "what kind of a man must he be to have this kind of woman for a wife!"
How can a woman show honor and respect to a man whom she does not respect?
(especially one who is not a Christian)
· First, ask God to show you things about your husband that you can respect. Few people are completely without redeeming qualities. Sometimes, an inability to see anything praiseworthy in another person can be a symptom of bitterness, resentment, or an unwillingness to forgive. You may need to repent of that.
· Second, even if you can’t respect your husband’s person, show respect to your husband’s position as head of the household, just as we are to show respect to the governing authorities:
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God . . . . Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect; if honor then honor." -- Romans 13:1-2, 7 (NIV)
If you can honor your husband for his personal qualities, then do so. If not, then show respect for him in his role as your husband.
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives . . . . For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." - 1 Peter 3:1-2, 5-6 (NIV)