A desire of my heart - and a NEED for Dennis.

I am continuing the study of The Excellent Wife with one of my girls and find it to be encouraging and uplifting every time we complete a chapter.  We exchange our thoughts/ideas/convictions each week, and last week we examined the topic of Respect.  Something men desire, need, and crave.
While the world can show a man respect in a myriad of ways, he feels a different level of joy and confidence when it is given to him by the woman he loves.

Ten years ago I would have had a hard time with this section and been incredibly convicted - because I was not living it.  To be honest, I didn't really know HOW to give or show respect to Dennis.  We had to learn so many things through trial and error as a married couple, and sadly, there often seemed to be more errors than successes.  Sigh.
It was encouraging to see how far the Lord has brought me in the past decade.  Though I still fail in showing respect to Dennis in certain moments – I do respect him as my husband, as the father of my children, and as a man.  I am so grateful that the Lord turned me over and shook me upside down so I could remove all of the ignorance and pride that kept me from seeing Dennis as he is - a wonderful man - and taught me how to SHOW him that he is wonderful!  God can redeem anyone, anything, at any time.
Praise Him for such grace!

These are my notes/thoughts from this chapter.  I pray you will find them as encouraging as I did!
“Respecting your husband is NOT an option for you if you are going to be in God’s will.
The wife is to continually CHOOSE to respect her husband.”  (emphasis mine)
This is a hard pill to swallow when your husband is acting like a punk – BUT – it is a Biblical command with no loophole which exonerate us from respecting him regardless of how horribly he may be acting at the time.
Respect is a choice.  A person does not have to EARN our respect ... we can choose to show respect to anyone, at anytime.  There are times we may only be able to respect the POSITION and not the PERSON, but the Lord promises that we can do anything through His strength, and since it is a Biblical command for wives to respect their husbands - it is not an option for the believing wife!

I love the paragraph where she talks about being thankful in all things – including frustrating or annoying husbands!  We are COMMANDED to give thanks in EVERYthing!  I may not be thankful for his present attitude or less than desirable actions, but I can still be thankful for HIM. Because even on his worst days, Dennis IS a good man.  He IS a faithful man, a loyal man, kind, generous, thoughtful, and a servant.  Just because his attitude/actions do not exhibit these qualities on occasion, they do not negate the truth that I am married to an incredible man!

"If you think you deserve “better”  it is because you are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought."  This made me laugh!!!!  Totally true!
So much of marriage (or any relationship) is about dying to self and serving the other person.
This requires much humility and an unconditional, sincere love that only comes from Christ Himself.
And truthfully, if we are doing as God commands and seeking HIM, and Him alone, to meet all of our needs, and recognize that He is sufficient ... the frustrations and inadequacies in our husbands will begin to fade because we will no longer be depending on them for our happiness, joy or contentment ... we will find all of those things - in Christ!  

"There is never an excuse to treat our husbands disrespectfully."  There may be reasons, but not excuses.  It is really as simple as self-control and self-denial ... thinking of him as more important than myself ... and considering his needs above my own.  This is definitely not something we can accomplish in our own flesh since we are selfish and proud, but if I truly desire to do everything "as unto the Lord" I will willingly, joyfully, and wholeheartedly seek to show respect to my husband every single day.  Even if I don't "feel like it."

"Being cautious of tone of voice” is always convicting to me.  I may not be outright rude, but I am certainly not speaking in a gentle, loving way, and my annoyance is evident.
Always an area needing improvement.  AAH!

The section about reproof is very well done.
We have to be students of our husbands ... learning who they are, how they work, and when they are ready to hear us ... especially when it involves correction or rebuke.
She is right – the WAY we correct our husbands speaks much more loudly than the words we use.
This quote is so true, “Your merciful and respectful heart will likely be the catalyst towards restoring him to a right relationship with God.”
What a privilege!  As James says, “He who turns a brother from sin saves his life.”  And our husbands are our brothers in Christ!
It is an honor to be used by the Lord as a refining instrument in the lives of our husbands.  It is not easy, and it can be quite painful to have the one we love be used as sandpaper to scrape off our rough edges ... but that is one of the best benefits of marriage!  Mutually encouraging one another in the faith, and constantly pushing one another towards Christ.
Correction and reproof is a GOOD thing.  A BEAUTIFUL thing.
And it is made even more beautiful when our hearts are humble, our words are gentle, our sense of timing perceptive, and our gentle and quiet spirit is evident before a word falls from our lips.

This quote is fantastic!!!
“Treating your husband with respect is not something that your husband must first EARN, it is something that you CHOOSE to show him.  It is an underlying heart’s attitude that is to be prevalent regardless of your circumstances and in spite of your feelings.”  (emphasis mine)
Definitely hard to achieve every minute of the day - but it should certainly be the desire of the wife's heart!!
And I pray the Lord will continue to make it the desire of MY heart.

Thank you, Dennis, for loving me even when I am not loving and respecting you as I should.
You show me grace every day, and I know I am blessed to have you as my husband.  
The Lord relentlessly refines us, doesn't He?
And it is a GOOD thing!
We are not the same immature, foolish man and woman we were when we said "I do" twenty years ago - and how grateful we are for this truth!
I love that you listen to me when I have something to share with you that is not easy to hear.
And I love that you hold a mirror up to my flaws so I can change, improve, and seek to be better as a wife, a mother, and a woman.
I love you!
And the Lord knew I needed you.

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