Our son Andrew was tired, really disappointed by a friend, qnd he had homework he didn’t want to do. Angry tears dripped down his cheeks while he worked on his assignments, revealing there was something more bubbling under the surface.
My husband sat across the room watching football, occasionally glancing over at us. I didn’t know if JJ realized what was going on but I kept hoping he would recognize Andrew was upset and “engage” with him.
But, that wasn’t happening. So I “invited” JJ into the situation by suggesting he turn off the TV and come talk with Andrew.
At this point, I was not thinking very honoring thoughts towards my husband and I’m sure my tone expressed my sentiments. Things got messy. JJ felt insulted. I was frustrated. And then he finally just blurted out: “Tell me what you want me to do!”
So I did. I suggested he offer to take Andrew to do something fun once he got his homework done. Andrew’s eyes lit up, he smiled really big and within 15 minutes his homework was done. His tears were gone and so was my husband.
JJ was aggravated but it wasn’t because he had to miss the football game. It wasn’t even what I said. It was how I said it.
My husband felt dishonored by the timing and the tone of my words.
But, I couldn’t believe he felt dishonored! Shouldn’t I be the one who felt misunderstood?
Eventually I calmed down and thought more about what happened. I remembered JJ telling me many times before that he prefers I call him into another room away from our kids when I don’t agree with him. He’d also asked me to share my thoughts in a non-critical tone.
It was hard to admit but I knew God wanted me to honor my husband’s perspective and his preferences.
Just a few weeks earlier, I had read the story of Esther and noticed some specific details about the the king’s first wife being dethroned: Esther was chosen by the king to be his second wife because his first wife dishonored him.
The king’s advisors insisted the king remove Queen Vashti from her throne because they were afraid her decision to dishonor the king would influence other wives to dishonor their husbands.
“For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.” Esther 1:17-18, NIV
I admit I’m tempted to defend Vashti and give those men some good reasons why she may have chosen to ignore her husband’s requests. I don’t know all of the details of her “why,” but I do know there are situations of abuse and sin that fall under a different category, and are for another discussion.
But for the sake of where I was in my marriage, and what God was revealing to my heart, this passage reminded me: My decisions to honor my husband are far-reaching.
My words, actions and attitudes towards my husband influence many. I influence my husband’s confidence in the role God’s called him to in our family. I hinder his ability to lead our children when I undermine his relational instincts that aren’t always as intuitive as mine.
My words, actions and attitudes towards my husband influence the kind of women my sons will marry and the kind of words and tone my daughter will use when speaking to the man she weds. I also influence how friends might treat their husbands after hearing how I talk to mine. In a really good or not-so-good way.
Although I couldn’t change what I’d done that night, I could change how it was impacting my little kingdom. With God’s help I told my husband, “I’m sorry for dishonoring you,” in front of our son.
My pride was hard to swallow but it went down easier knowing that honoring my husband honors God, and influences my sons who I hope will one day seek Godly wives who will honor them, too.
Lord, help me be a woman who honors my husband even when it’s hard; even when it means giving up my desire to be right. Remind me that when I honor him, I also honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
~Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart
Check out Renee’s new 60-Day Confident Heart Devotional book! It’s perfect for summer devotions.