A few days ago Hero and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary with family vacation at the beautiful Azul Hotels (read more about that here). When we married I could not believe the journeys, joy, trials and growth that God had planned for us.
One of the areas in which I have grown the most is in this thing called honor. I thought I knew how to do it, but the day that God revealed to me that I was failing to communicate honor to my husband, I was devastated. That day was…
A Turning Point in our Marriage
I am one of those people who generally knows what I want, and what I think, and I don’t usually struggle to express it. In fact, it’s actually harder not to. Call it confidence, call it self-esteem, call it self-ishness, call it pride… call it whatever you want to, but in the early stages of our marriage it was all of that as well as dishonor to the one person I loved most.
Please let me share with you a few of the ways that God has taught me to honor my man, with prayers that you may avoid the mistakes I made and have a stronger marriage because of it.
1. Make Him Look Good!
When I discussed my husband’s annoying traits or his personality flaws or weaknesses with others, when I complained about the little things to my mother or friends, or even shared them in playful teasing when we were in a group, I was dishonoring my husband.
My Grammy once told me:
“Katie, your number one job as his wife is to make him look good. Whatever that looks like for you, DO it!”
When God convicted me of this, I made a decision that I would never again consciously speak badly of my husband and that I would also look for opportunities to speak well of him to others, including our children and family members. It gets easier with practice and now I find that I enjoy bragging about him to anyone who will listen.
2. Ask His Opinion First
I would often make plans for the day or plans for our family without asking my husband. He usually went along with whatever I wanted to do anyway always saying that it was a good idea or that he “liked to make me happy”. At the same time I would wonder why it didn’t feel as if he was being the leader he could be for us. Then the Lord showed me that when I made plans without consulting him, or failed to ask for his opinion, advice or plans, I was failing to communicate honor. The message he was getting was that his opinions, advice, suggestions, plans, ideas, etc. were inferior to mine.
When God began helping me to ask him first, I learned SO much about my husband. And when I stopped making all the plans and leading us myself, he was free to do that as God had intended for him to do. Asking him first wasn’t all of it however. I remember one of the first times when I asked his plans for the day. I had a list ready of all things that I wanted us to accomplish. Imagine my surprise when I asked and found out that he had his list as well. He never did get around to asking me about my plans that day. Over time I learned that if he didn’t ask my opinion I shouldn’t get upset or take it personally, and that I should bite my tongue until I was absolutely positive that the Lord wanted me to share it.
3. Show Him Deference
Deference is a big word that basically means submitting your will to that of another. A few times in our marriage I have made the mistake of doing something too soon, or without getting the final “OK” from my husband, and almost every time it has caused added trouble. Did I mention that I can be impatient too? It is very hard for me to wait especially because it is so easy for me to quickly decide what I think.
The Lord has shown me that by exercising patience until my husband has sorted through the issue and made a final decision, I am showing him honor. He is the head of our home, the one who holds the most responsibility for what goes on here, so if he needs time, I will communicate honor to him by waiting. I will also defer to his decision and support him even when I may disagree or think it unwise. He is responsible for the decisions, I am responsible for correctly responding to him.
4. Back Him Up
I once questioned my husbands decision in public. It was a trivial matter, but his floundering response to my unintended but very public humiliation made me step back and evaluate lots of things. (See #1) This and other instances caused me to make a commitment when our oldest child was small that I would always back up my husband.
In public, and in front of our children we are a team. When my husband is not at home, I am the ultimate parental authority in his absence. But if he is at home, he has the privilege of the last word, always. Whatever the decision, we present a unified front. If I happen to disagree, I will try to pull him aside to privately discuss it, so that our children (or others) do not perceive it as contradicting or undermining him. What will people remember more, that his story has a few of the minute by minute details in the wrong order? or that I argued with him publicly over something as unimportant as the order of those minuscule details?
5. Tell Him!
Some men need verbal honor more than others, but all of us, men and women, like to hear praise. When I learned that one of my husband’s Love Languages is words of affirmation, and I began to communicate honor to him verbally, I was amazed at how it made him shine. How I address him (Hey you vs. Hi Lover), my tone of voice (stressed vs calm), my state of mind (distracted vs. focused on him), what I said to him, choosing to focus on and praise the positive (You never _______ vs. I love the way you ________). All of these are ways I choose to communicate honor (or the lack of it) to my husband.
6. Make His Dreams Yours
A few years ago, I was shocked to realize that while we’d shared our hopes and dreams with each other during our dating and engagement time, it had been years since we had last re-visited that conversation. I wasn’t up to date on his current dreams. So, at the next opportunity, I asked him. And I continue to ask, intentional, pertinent questions. I try to truly listen and get involved where I can (and as much or as little as he wants me to) to help make his dreams a reality. Being actively involved in the pursuit of his dreams communicates honor. After all, he wasn’t created to help me, I was created to be the help meet for (appropriate to) my man.
7. Welcome His Love
Because honor and respect are so much the core of a man, I think it is easy for a man to communicate honor to someone. Love, however, is not so easy. And on my end, love comes more naturally, while honor takes work. God used the book Love & Respect(affiliate link) to show me that my husband might be struggling just as hard with his command to love me as I am with mine to honor him. I determined to make a conscious effort to show appreciation and respond to him well when he reaches out to me in love. In every instance where I have practiced this, even when I didn’t want to, God has blessed my response and given us sweet times together as husband and wife. It’s so worth it to welcome his love!
Communicating Honor is Work
Honoring your husband takes work, and bad habits in this area may be hard to break, but with God, nothing is impossible. Especially when it falls in a category of something He has asked you to do. Obeying God by communicating honor to your husband will return sweet rewards in your marriage, in your home, and for eternity.
What is it that God wants you to change to better communicate honor to your husband? Why not name one area and make a conscious effort to improve in that area with God’s help.
Do you have something else to add to the list? Please share it with us in the comments section.
Shared with www.cornerstoneconfessions.com