By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi
In one of my novels, Love on the Pulpit, Dave came to Teni’s office, and one look at him told her that something was wrong. He sat down, declining Teni’s offer of a drink. His face was void of the usual life and energy she knew it had.
“Let’s quickly talk.” He said, suddenly looking serious.
Teni looked on.
“I want you to know that I don’t appreciate what you did … I saw you on the way and flashed at you. You saw me but did not stop. I called your line and you said a lot of unnecessary things to me. Then you switched off your phone. I couldn’t reach you …”
“You were not there to hear your mother! She embarrassed and harassed me!” Teni said heatedly.
“And I’m saying that you should leave my mother out of this! You embarrassed me too! You didn’t show any sign of respect to me or consideration for our relationship. There was no reason why you should not stop when I stopped you. You insulted me on phone. You switched off your phone. I don’t want such a marriage! …
Dave shook his head, “… love is not in looking at each other and smiling; it’s in looking in the same direction and smiling …”
Teni drew in a calming breath, “Okay, I’m sorry …”
Dave added, “I want you to respect me as I respect you. If I’m upset and you tell me, ‘Dave, calm down,’ I should calm down. That is respect.”
Ephesians 5:33 (Amp) advises:
Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.
To respect is to esteem, show admiration, value, honour, reverence, regard. A woman who respects her husband (i.e. esteems, admires, values, honours, reverences and regards him) is wise because by so doing she builds her home. Respect is one of the virtues every marriage needs.
Respect brings acceptance. In Genesis 4:4, because God had respect to Abel and his offering, He accepted Abel’s offering. If there is no respect, there will be no acceptance, and if there is no acceptance, there cannot be a lasting relationship. A wife who respects her husband also accepts him. She honours him and does his wish. This makes her husband appreciate her much more.
In Tears On My Pillow (one of my novels), Moni resisted her husband’s authority severally, she did not show much respect and the marriage began to struggle.
In the story, Fred pointed a finger at her and said, “Moni, this has nothing to do with you and you know it! You can’t dictate to me what I should or should not do!” And then he looked at Ufuoma and repeated, “Please come.”
“Ufuoma, stay!” Moni said defiantly.
Fred almost couldn’t believe what Moni had just said. “Ufuoma, come!” He repeated firmly, daring Moni.
“Ufuoma, stay!” She said, equally firmly. She was ready for him.
“Moni, are you out of your mind? How can I be asking Ufuoma to come and you’re telling her to stay?” He asked, his eyes blazing.
“I’m not out of my mind! You are the one who doesn’t know what you are doing! You don’t seem to know what is right from what is wrong again!”
Ufuoma was looking at them with a troubled expression, her perplexity greatly increased.
As Fred left the room, he thought, Moni will regret this, I swear!
In the story, Moni had a valid point but she went about it the wrong way. Resisting your husband’s authority or disrespecting him especially where people are, is not right. This will make him feel hurt.
You might say, “He does not deserve my respect because of what he does!” Yet, you should give it to him because you are married to him and besides, God wants you to respect him! And, if I may ask, didn’t you promise him on your wedding day to honour, respect and cherish him ‘till death do you part’? If you did, then pray for the grace to do the right thing even if it seems difficult.
Never stop remembering that he is your husband. That will make you respond the right way. Do not wait until he changes before you start respecting him; start from now! Doing the right thing first and consistently could (to a greater extent) make the other person change for better.