Love, Self

Wives, Do You Honor Your Husbands?

couple holding hands

My husband and I fell hard and fast for each other—it was a whirlwind romance that resulted quickly in marriage. And in the beginning, it was bliss. For a while, we both thought we might be exempt from that silly old saying that "marriage is hard work." (Really? Puh-lease.)

Well, we just celebrated our two-year anniversary, and I'm here to tell you this: Marriage is indeed hard work. Turns out, we were not the exception. The glow wears off a bit after that initial rush of feelings. You have to work through... real problems. And ultimately, I found out marriage often requires bending your natural tendencies to be what your partner deserves. I learned this lesson the hard way. Couple Celebrates 81st Anniversary, Shares Tips

One day, it struck me that my husband felt a little distant. We weren't connecting like we should have been, and so I asked him what was wrong. You see, unlike me, my husband isn't really one to complain, but I could just tell there was something on his mind—and my intuition hinted that it was probably something I did (or didn't do).

"Is there something bothering you lately, babe?" I asked. "You feel so distant."

He was hesitant to answer at first, but once I got him talking, the floodgates opened. "Sometimes I feel like you don't honor me, Jenni," he admitted. "You don't build me up and make me feel like a man. Sometimes, I feel like all you ever do is criticize and correct me, and you even do it in front of people. It's belittling." 5 Ways To Honor Yourself This Year

There it was. It was a punch in the gut. His words hit me even harder, because I wasn't even aware I was hurting him. Am I really not honoring my husband? I thought. The answer was tough: Sometimes, I don't. It was such a painful truth, and it prompted me to question what exactly it means to honor a husband.

In today's world, things are much different than they were a century or two ago. Women are still very much in a state of figuring out where and how they fit into a once male-dominated society. Relationships are no different. The tides of change are turning, and often the dynamic between a husband and wife suffers for it. Women want guys to "be the man," but we don't want our voices to be silenced, either. 5 Courtship Rules You Must Know To Keep Him Interested

I don't consider myself a feminist, but I've been described with words like "blunt," "independent," "feisty" and "man-eater." (Oops. Someone should have warned my husband.) I had to ask: Can I be all of those things and still honor him? It's just my personality, after all, and in today's world a woman has the luxury of being who she is. Right?

The answer is both yes and no. For example, I have a tendency to argue... about everything. Maybe it's the journalist in me, but if I hear a statement that rings untrue, I feel an innate need to call the speaker out on it. My husband gets the brunt of this. Problem is, my "calling out" is often disrespectful, and when done in public, shines a less than flattering light on him. Besides that, I can also be a nag and a nit-picker. Traits us girls seem to have down to a science, no?

The world tells us to stand up for ourselves and to never let a man run us over. But how does this translate to relationships, particularly if we really want to keep traditional values alive? Askmen Survey Reveals Men Are Traditional Daters

Lots of women balk when they hear what the Bible has to say about a wife's role. There's that verse about being submissive. Several, in fact. Here's one: "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22, NIV). Not the most popular notion anymore, is it? Submission kind of makes you think of a dog laying on its back with its tail between its legs. Not exactly in my makeup. Probably not in yours, either. But I think that's OK, because I have a feeling that's not the kind of submission God intended in a marriage.

When it comes to submission, us girls have to keep in mind that God requires much of our men, too. A man must "...provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family..." (1 Timothy 5:8, NIV). Husbands are called to "love their wives as their own bodies" (Ephesians 5:28 NIV) and to "never treat them harshly" (Colossians 3:19, NLT). Oh, and guess what? 1 Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to "honor" their other halves.

There's that word again, the one I've been thinking about a lot lately: Honor. Isn't that what it's about? I Was In A Dom/Sub Relationship And It Was An Epic Disaster

Yes. A woman must respect and submit to her husband. Let him lead. Build him up. Encourage him. But I think honor is at the core of it all—for men and women. It might be an old-fashioned idea, but it works. If we all practiced it in today's modern world, I think we'd find our marriages growing stronger and happier. Here are a few things I've learned about what honoring my man really means:

Honoring your husband means treating him like the man all the time, not just when you expect him to take the trash out, or fix the toilet, or buy you a bouquet of flowers for no reason.

Honoring your husband means cutting the criticism and certainly not criticizing him in public. Making him look small doesn't make you look big.  How To Stop The Cycle Of Criticism In A Relationship

Honoring your husband means respecting his opinions, even when they differ from yours, and engaging in conversation—not argument.

Honoring your husband means asking him for what you want, not just complaining when he didn't read your mind.

And honoring your husband, yes, sometimes means putting yourself aside for a bit. In a good relationship, that same selflessness will be reciprocated. When you honor him, he honors you. Win-win.