For the past several weeks my pastor has been teaching on the model of the Biblical Christian home. I have found this message fascinating, challenging and encouraging. I am always curious on this subject since I was not raised in a Christian home. I always feel there is more to learn and worry about getting so much wrong. I walked into this marriage a complete idiot…I knew nothing about being a good wife and mother. But, at least I had the good sense to know my knowledge base was confused and mostly wrong. I was lucky enough in the early years of our marriage to join a MOPS group and be mentored by strong Biblical women. Anyway, our pastor issued the married women of the church a challenge to make our marriage stronger. I’m always up for making my fantastic marriage even better!!! God gifted me with a wonderful man. He wanted us to tell him about the changes in six months to a year from now.

There were a few points of his sermons’ that really spoke to me and have given me plenty of material to think and pray through.
1. I am a reflection of my husband’s words to me. Wow! That is a profound statement and one that is so true in my life with my husband. I was so insecure and unsure of myself during the early part of our marriage. I worried about being a terrible mother and being abusive like my own parents. I only had bad role models to follow…how could I possibly do anything right? My husband told me he trusted me and he wanted me to stay home with our son. For me, those were freeing words. His words freed me from the chains of self-doubt and fear. He rescued me from my past. Though I have always remembered that moment between us I did not realize those words from my husband strengthened my resolve to rise above my broken childhood. That moment came to mind as the pastor explained his statement.

2. Just as his love for me should be unconditional so should my respect for him be unconditional. I’ve read lots of women’s Bible studies on marriage and am aware that a man needs respect. God made him that way. But the unconditional part was new to me. We strengthen our husband and our marriage through respect. My husband does not have to earn my respect. We are told in the Bible to respect our husband…so that really is something I will answer to God over. Our marriage should reflect God’s love for the world. We should be one as Christ is one with the Church.

How exactly do I respect my husband? Well folks…we got a whole sermon on that topic!!! Our pastor gave us five ways to respect our husband…I’ll explain as best as I understand…

1. Aware. Be aware of my husband’s needs and really understand that as a man he is different from me. Men and women have different needs.

2. Appraisal. Get to know his needs and prioritize them.

3. Appreciate. Build him up or “add value” to him by not tearing him down. I think this would be nagging or comparing him to another man.

4. Admire. Tell him what I admire in him…what makes him special to me.

5. Affirm. Tell him what he means to me everyday. He needs my affirmation.

The four need area to apply respect:

1. Work. Men have a God-given need to work and find personal fulfillment in their work. Respect his job and what he does.

2. Respect his need to lead. God designed him to be head of the home. In other words show him this respect by being submissive.

3. Man needs a relationship. He needs me to do life “side by side” with him. Spend some time doing what he likes…experience life with him.

4. Intimacy

The ultimate satisfaction in my life should be as my husband’s helper…by his side. God made me that way.

I am going to start working and praying my way through this list. I already respect my husband and appreciate all he does for me and our children. I think I have spent too much time and energy focused on our children and not enough on him. He deserves all of me not the leftovers at the end of the day.