Respect in Marriage

Marc and his colleague, Ed, were discussing the business they had to do together the next day. It was going to be an important day and potentially a profitable day for their company. Ed had an idea. “Hey, if everything goes as planned the two of us should celebrate and treat ourselves to a nice dinner after work tomorrow.” Marc was clearly interested in Ed’s plan, but did not commit himself immediately. “Sounds great,” Marc told his friend, “but let me check with Becky first.” Marc could tell what was coming next by the expression on Ed’s face.

“Why do you have to ask your wife?,” Ed questioned with a somewhat sarcastic tone. “Do you need her permission? Can’t you make your own decisions? She’s got you whipped, Bro.” A lesser man may have gotten rattled by these charges. But, Marc just smiled and stood his ground. “It’s called respect,” he said matching his friend’s sarcasm. “You should try it sometime.”

Most people endeavor to show respect to people who hold a special position or place of honor. You likely show respect to your boss at work, elected representatives, police officers and other public servants, and so forth. You probably don’t treat these people with esteem and honor because you fear them, but rather because you feel they hold a privileged position that warrants a certain kind of treatment. This is a good thing.

However, for many the main person for whom they rarely go out of their way to demonstrate basic respect is their spouse. This is just the opposite of the way things should be. If there is one person to whom you should show respect for more than anyone it is you mate. Indeed, we are called to love and honor our spouses and to esteem them highly.

To respect someone is to show them proper acceptance, acknowledgement, and courtesy. You should respect your spouse if for no other reason than for the special position he/she holds in your life. Who deserves more honor than the person to whom you pledged to be with joined with for the rest of your life?

In the above vignette, Marc was demonstrating a healthy respect for his wife, Becky. He felt the need to consult with her before making specific plans for after work the next day. Marc did not desire to check with his wife before making plans because he feared her or thought that he would be in some sort of trouble. Rather, he viewed it as a common courtesy.

Marc knew that any plans that he might make may affect his wife also. Perhaps she had plans of her own in the works. Furthermore, Marc valued the time that he and Becky have to spend together. He didn’t want to miss out on their time together without at least discussing it first.

Marc and Becky are both perfectly capable of making their own decisions. They don’t ‘need’ each other’s permission to make plans that don’t include the other. But the respect they have for one another compels them to include one another in decisions that affect both of them – great or small.

Often affection in marriage suffers due to a lack of respect. The everyday areas of life that require common courtesy demonstrate respect or a lack thereof. This includes: calling if you are going to be late, letting your spouse know where you are going, consulting with one another about changes in plans, making decisions together, giving credit to each other, and many other things.

As Marc stated to his friend, “It’s called respect…you should try it sometime.”
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