Naked and Not Ashamed
To Honor or Dishonor
My husband grew up in the south and it was mandatory for children to show respect to their elders with a “Yes sir”, “No sir”, “Yes ma’am” “No ma’am”. The first time I heard him address his mother on the phone was with a “Yes ma’am.” I thought how cool is that! I loved this! He showed honor to his mother even over the phone. I was raised in California and as children we weren’t required to address our elders with “Yes sir” or “Yes ma’am.”
What does it really mean to honor someone? Does respect come with honor?
I believe we learn how to honor & respect other people by example, we watch our parents honor one another and show respect. Honor is giving an individual respect due to them as another human being. We are taught to honor the elderly, give up your seat for a pregnant woman, open the door for a lady or help someone cross the street. Sometimes a person will receive honor due to their position of authority, success, or leadership. Military is a very good example of how honor and respect is lived out through the ranks. Honor sets the tone and brings order into life.
Why is it so important to show honor to people? The older I get the more I understand the importance of this principal that is a mandate in Scripture: “Children, honor your father and mother…”
Honor is a pillar of our society. If a society disregards this simple yet very powerful aspect, it starts losing the value of people. The elderly is no longer honored and respected for their time on this earth and the wisdom that they have gathered; the pregnant woman is not esteemed and a seat given up for her as she is carrying precious life; the kindness of holding a door open for another is disregarded; and the authorities in society are disrespected and even mocked. This sounds so familiar, as this is what our culture has turned into.
What does it look like in a marriage when honor and respect is absent? The husband disregards his wife and calls her names behind her back to his friends; puts his own needs before hers; sees his wife as his slave and maid; thinks providing money for the household is enough; seeks his own pleasure and physical needs; puts his wife down in front of the children; doesn’t see his wife as the weaker vessel. The wife nags her husband; talks and belittles her husband behind his back with her friends; disrespects him in front of their children and others; doesn’t see the provision the husband makes is enough and complains; looks for things to complain about on what he does or doesn’t do; disregards his role as leader in his home.
This kind of behavior is contagious to the whole household. It sets such an ugly example to the children and creates bitterness and resentment in everyone in the home.
So what if you didn’t have honor and respect modeled in your home? I’m afraid that in most American households today, this is the behavior being displayed.
Choosing to show honor and respect is an outward expression of what’s going on in the heart. You may not agree with the person, but showing respect can change ugly behavior.
When we got married, Victor was used to showing honor to his parents and those in authority over him, but I was not. Even though I loved hearing it, my early years were lacking this. This would prove to be an issue in our early years of marriage. There was a huge issue in my heart that I couldn’t reconcile. I just knew that it was very hard for me to show my husband honor and respect. I was taking karate from him before we got married and it was expected in class to address my instructor with a “Yes sir” or “No sir.” That attitude stayed on the karate floor as far as I was concerned.
So, how can we develop this honor if it isn’t in us? I will speak from my experience.
I have learned after many years of marriage that the way I treat my husband makes a huge difference in how he treats me.
For me, I had to first recognize the issue was in my heart. I had not regarded him as a man that needed to be respected. If we ever got into an argument, that would just solidify my stance. One day after getting into a fight with my husband I hit him. He went to spend time with his dad. His father came to me in a very gentle manner and said, Eileen, it isn’t right that you hit Victor.”
I thought, “What do you mean? I can’t hit my husband?”
He said, “It isn’t okay to hit your husband. You can’t push your husband’s buttons like that.”
I was shocked, I had always thought it was perfectly fine for a woman to hit her husband, but it was never okay for a husband to hit his wife. This was a lightbulb moment for me.
In my heart, I was completely justified to hit my husband if I wanted to. Wow, how absurd that is to me today. How could I think like that? Well, being a little girl hearing my mom get beat up from my dad, I wanted so bad for her to defend herself, I told myself it was okay. That was a changing point in my heart and very much in our marriage.
So, how could I truly honor my husband when that distorted view was living in my heart? I couldn’t, because my thoughts were very tainted.
I believe that if you pay attention to your behavior and if it is causing problems, you ask someone you trust to help you figure out what has caused you to have these behaviors.
Today, with my heart being free from much anger and resentment I am able to look at my husband and truly honor him and respect him. I still have my human moments of aggravation and being impatient, but it’s a lot different than having that root of anger and bitterness lodged in my heart. It has made such a difference in our marriage, simply by my being able to honor and respect my husband. I look at my husband and see a godly man with amazing qualities. He is a warrior. I believe he was born to be a warrior. He stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, especially the innocent, even to the point of putting his own life in harm’s way. Within his peers, he is considered to be a strong leader and very influential. God has brought him in front of leaders in our nation as well as other nations. I’m honored to be married to this man.
If I could speak to other wives about the role we have as women and the ability to encourage our men simple by respecting them and honoring them, I would say, “It’s no small thing to your husband that you as his wife, respect and honor him.” Even if you don’t feel it or see him as deserving your respect, watch what happens to your man when you commit to doing this very simple, yet profound, act of respect. You, as his wife, can be his greatest source of encouragement and support as you speak honor and show respect towards him and his role in your home.
Your words can be a wing or a weight to your husband.
Proverbs 31:10-12, 23 says this about the virtuous wife:
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safety trusts her so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.”
Coming soon: Naked and Not Ashamed – New Book by Victor and Eileen Marx