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What Does Biblical Respect in Marriage Look Like?

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What Does Biblical Respect in Marriage Look Like
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Marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. At its best, marriage fosters intimacy, companionship, and mutual understanding between a husband and wife. However, maintaining a healthy marriage takes work from both spouses.

One of the foundational building blocks of a godly marriage is respect – showing honor and high regard for one another. But what does biblical respect in marriage look like?

This post will explore key aspects of respect as defined by Scripture and offer practical advice for demonstrating respect in your own relationship.

Respect

Respect involves valuing and esteeming one’s spouse as an equal partner and Image-bearer of God. The Bible provides a few key principles that help illuminate what respect looks like:

Honor one another above yourselves (Philippians 2:3) – Spouses should hold each other in high regard, putting the other’s needs and feelings ahead of their own at times.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) – Both husbands and wives are called to willingly yield to and cooperate with each other, acknowledging your shared role as representatives of Christ.

Love your wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) – Like Christ’s sacrificial, unconditional love for the church, husbands should cherish, nurture and protect their wives.

Respect is more than just agreement – It involves valuing your spouse’s humanity, dignity and personhood regardless of differences in beliefs or preferences.

With these principles in mind, respect in marriage encompasses communication, actions, humility and esteem for one another as beloved image-bearers of God. True biblical respect goes much deeper than surface behavior – it’s an attitude of the heart.

Communication and Respect

Communication is one practical area where respect is demonstrated or undermined in a marriage. Healthy communication reflects respect in several ways:

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Listening Attentively – Making eye contact, avoiding distractions, reflecting back what you hear demonstrates you value understanding your spouse’s perspective.

Speaking Kindly – Criticizing, name-calling or blaming violates your spouse’s dignity and makes them feel devalued. Respectful communication uses an encouraging tone and considers the other’s feelings.

Addressing Conflict Calmly – Raising your voice or expressing frustration physically shows a lack of self-control and respect for emotional boundaries. Calm discussion of disagreements defuses tension.

Affirming Regularly – Spouses who make the other feel heard and important through their words feel respected. Compliments, expressions of affection and appreciation nurture respect in the relationship.

Asking Questions – Curiosity about thoughts, opinions and experiences validates your spouse as an individual. It conveys a desire to understand them fully.

Dialogue, not monologue – True respect involves mutual sharing of ideas rather than one dominating conversations. Both spouses should feel listened to and valued equally.

Actions and Respect

Actions speak louder than words, so demonstrating respect through behaviors is especially impactful. Here are some ways biblical respect is lived out practically:

Honoring Commitments – Fulfilling promises, whether keeping dates, assisting with chores or honoring intimacy, shows respect for your spouse’s trust in the relationship.

Prioritizing Time Together – Respecting your spouse signifies making them a priority over other commitments whenever practical. Couple activities foster closeness.

Being Thoughtful – Gestures like preparing a meal, running an errand or giving a small gift communicate regard for your spouse’s comfort and happiness.

Showing Affection – Appropriate physical and emotional affection sustains feelings of being respected, desired and cared for deeply as a husband or wife.

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Sharing Household Responsibilities – Distributing tasks fairly based on strengths acknowledges your spouse’s contribution and relieves their burden, displaying respect.

Supporting Growth and Goals – An interested, encouraging partner who celebrates accomplishments respects your spouse’s individuality and development.

Expressing Gratitude – Thanking a spouse for big or small acts of service affirms their worth, building up a sense of partnership and mutual edification.

Respect and Humility

A vital part of respecting one’s spouse is demonstrating humility – regarding them as more important than yourself and considering their perspective as equally valid as your own. Practically, humility looks like:

Apologizing Sincerely – Owning mistakes, asking forgiveness and seeking reconciliation requires acknowledging flaws and putting pride aside.

Admitting Fault – We are all fallible. A spouse respecting another’s humanity understands they too make errors at times and does not dwell in denial or accusation.

Compromising Willingly – Respect says both partner’s wishes matter equally. Finding solutions both feel good about takes flexibility over rigidity.

Accepting Differences – Variances in personality, preferences or viewpoints need not breed conflict when each feels respected for individual qualities.

Learning Continuously – Effective communication and understanding another complex person requires ongoing education. Teachability shows regard.

Seeking Counsel – Pride resists outside guidance, but humility understands we all need wisdom beyond ourselves at some point for a marriage to thrive.

Extending Grace – As Christ forgave us despite failings, respecting a spouse includes overlooking minor shortcomings
with patience, mercy and unconditional acceptance of their intrinsic worth.

Cultivating Lifelong Respect

Maintaining respect as the foundation of a God-honoring marriage is a daily choice requiring diligent effort. Some ways to solidify respect for the long-haul include:

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Fostering Friendship – Enjoy common interests, share life dreams, have fun together through changing seasons of life. Respect is rooted in intimate companionship.

Praying Regularly – Seeking God’s perspective on oneness, forgiveness and esteem for your spouse cultivates holy perspective.

Dating Deliberately – Couples maintaining dating-like intimacy through scheduled connected time communicate care and significance.

Choosing Words Wisely – Respectful communication, the most repeated behavior, shapes the marriage atmosphere long-term if emphasized.

Celebrating Anniversaries – Marking years together builds tradition that strengthens fondness, gratitude and regard over decades.

Modeling for Children – By lovingly respecting each other, spouses mentor offspring in valuing partnerships as God values the church.

Accessing Counseling – outside guidance keeps small issues from growing if a neutral party helps explore perspectives respectfully.

Making Adjustments – Life brings changes necessitating adaptation together. Flexibility despite transitions maintains unity.

Focusing on the Eternal – Knowing marriage ultimately reflects Christ’s sacrifice for the church motivates persevering in honoring vows.

Conclusion

In a society which often undermines commitment and the sacrifices relationships require, establishing mutual respect sets marriage apart as a reflection of God’s best design.

When spouses consciously choose communication, actions and attitudes demonstrating care, value, grace and companionship for one another daily, their union is blessed and strengthened.

Though respect takes effort, the rewards of intimacy, cooperation and shared joy far outweigh any cost for Christ-centered couples dedicated to honoring Him through their marriages.

Also Read: How to Learn to Respect Your Husband When You Don’t

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