Ephesians 5:33, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
A healthy marriage doesn’t come easily, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It can be downright grueling at times — especially if those every-so-often confrontations evolve into never-ending wars, and the criticisms we wielded before are now feelings of full-blown contempt. Instead of sometimes noticing characteristics that bug us, we look at our spouse and only see the bad. Everything about them breeds negative thoughts, and we think we’re somehow better them. What happened to the love we once felt? How do marriages end up in such critical condition, barely clinging to life?
The resuscitation isn’t easy, but with Christ, it’s possible. It begins one decision at a time, one day at a time.
First things first, remember that your spouse is worthy of respect. They are a child of God, created in His image! If even strangers deserve to be treated with respect, how much more should you give it to the person you’ve made a life-long commitment to love and honor?
Next, instead of showing hate, communicate! Get outside of yourself and find out how they feel. Instead of arguing over trivial matters, give them affirmation, show understanding, and be courteous. Stop trying to be right and truly listen. Examine your own actions and attitudes and curb the corrosion of contempt.
If your marriage seemingly has one foot in the grave, remember that Christ died to bring the dead to life. There is hope. Respect is the antithesis of contempt. Lean into Jesus and, through consideration and open communication, your pulse will quicken once again for the person who stole your heart long before you vowed, “Til death do us part!”
Think of a way you can do today to show respect to your spouse, significant other, or close family member. Could it be an affirming word? An apology? Holding your tongue instead of criticizing? Whatever it is, put it into practice today!
Lord, Help me treat others with honor and respect today, remembering that they, too, are created in Your image. Convict me of areas that need change and help me be obedient for Your glory! Amen