This is something all wives need to know: the number-one need of a man is honor. Ephesians 5:22, when it says, “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord,” and the way a wife can serve her husband in this way is to honor him.
First, though, I want to clear up a popular misconception. Often people read Ephesians 5:22 and get the idea that it’s saying men are superior to women.
That’s not the case. The verse right before it says, “Submit to one another in the fear of the Lord.” Submit to one another. So women are not spoken of as unequal or inferior to men. All of us are to serve each other, in the name of Christ.
So submitting in this way “as to the Lord” is not to be put down, but to be given the key to your husband’s heart. As a wife, the only way you’ll ever relate to a son, a father, a brother, or a husband is to recognize his need for honor.
We live in a very dishonoring society. The culture around us is rude, disrespectful, and smart-alecky. It’s all over television and the movies. In fact, the worst thing a wife can do is treat her husband like she sees husbands being treated on TV.
The question wives need to ask themselves is “How would I treat Jesus?” Literally, if you were married to Jesus, how would you treat him?
The most common answer to that question is “Well, if my husband acted anything remotely like Jesus I would treat him that way.”
In the same way, he will move away from the place where he does not receive honor, because it’s painful for him.
How do you show honor to your husband? One way is to allow him to fail. I’m not talking about self-destruction, but simply about allowing your husband to get some things wrong without shaming him and nagging him.
A lot of people—women included—have a need to be right, which means they can’t let an instance of wrongness pass by without correcting it. We’re all human. Every husband is going to make some mistakes. But if you’re in the habit of pointing out every single mistake your husband makes, the way you treat him is severely lacking in honor.
Let a few of his failures escape without comment. What’s more important: being right or being happy?
Another way to honor your husband is to confront him, when necessary, in love. But when you do, let God be the enforcer.
As your husband’s equal, you have the right to tell him anything you want to tell him. But it’s not your job to brow-beat him and constantly make his life miserable until you get your way.
Say what you need to say, then let the Holy Spirit take over from there. Pray for him. Ask God to change his heart. But don’t take it upon yourself to punish him.
Your job isn’t to change your husband. Your job is to honor him.