“Sprinkled throughout Scripture is a concept we feel is at the heart of all truly loving relationships. In fact the biblical concept of honor is one of the most powerful tools a husband or wife can use to carve out a lasting and intimate marriage. In Scripture, wives are told to give honor to their husbands (Ephesians 5:33) and husbands, to give honor to their wives (1 Peter 3:7). What do we mean by honoring each other?“
That’s a good question that was posed by Gary Smalley and John Trent in the book, Husbands and Wives. (This is unfortunately, is no longer being printed.) We encourage you to read what else they say on this subject, which prayerfully will help you in your marriage. They write:
Honoring Each Other
“What do we mean by honor? Perhaps the best way to illustrate what the word means is to look at its opposite.
“In the Old Testament, the word dishonor literally means ‘to give something little means to give something little or no weight or value.’ Dishonoring people, then, means treating them as if who they are or what they have to share has little value. Dishonoring actions in a marriage may start with a critical word, an angry glance, or a statement that devalues a person’s feelings or opinions.
“This may not provoke a major problem at first. Dishonor may settle like a mist over the relationship, so light that neither partner notices the change in climate. But if left unchecked, one day that mist of devaluing words and actions may build up. They can turn into a blanket or fog. It may then create physical, emotional, and spiritual problems and even jeopardize the marriage.
“How can we avoid dishonoring our loved ones and begin to honor them instead? We can get a handle on honoring our spouses by looking at an important aspect of the word honor.
“Throughout Scripture, giving people honor involves recognizing that they have great worth. They then treat them like a valuable treasure. The word itself denotes placing a great price, weight, or significance on something. How does my treating my spouse like a valuable treasure draw us together?
“One of our favorite verses reads, ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also‘ (Matthew 6:21). In other words, what we treasure is what we have feelings for. The more we treasure God, the greater our desire to spend time in His Word and in prayer. The more we treasure our spouses and treat them like valuable gifts from God, the greater our positive feelings toward them will be.
“We can picture it this way. If you had a priceless vase that had been in the family for years, you would go to great lengths to protect and care for it. You’d put it in a prominent place in your home. And you set up indirect lighting to highlight its beauty. You wouldn’t think of picking up a priceless vase and shaking it or throwing it around like a Frisbee. Instead, you would treat it with tenderness and gentleness because it was so valuable to you.
“Now stop and ask yourself a few important questions. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is of little value and 10 equals highest value, how highly do you value your spouse? Do you treat him or her like a special treasure God has entrusted to you? Other than your relationship with the Lord, are there things in your life or home that you consider more valuable than your spouse —your job, or even TV? If your spouse were asked to stand up in front of your closest friends and share how highly he or she felt valued by you, what rating would he or she mention?
“In any relationship, there will be times when we are tempted to lower our spouse’s value below where it should be. However, when we make a decision to grant honor to our spouses —to recognize them as people of great value and then treat them like priceless treasures —we go a long way toward strengthening our marriages so that they can survive such times. Do you need practical examples of what it means to honor your spouse?
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
“- Be interested in her friends.
– Ask his opinion frequently.
– Be gentle and tender in your tone of voice and touch.
– Avoid sudden changes without discussion or giving the other person time to adjust.
– Follow through on promises.
– Set and keep specific family goals for each year.
– Go on a romantic outing.
– Surprise her with a card or flowers.
– Defend him to others.
– Keep your spiritual life in shape.
– Don’t ever say in anger, ‘You’re just like your mother!’
“You can waste hours on a hundred different things, but you’ll never waste one minute putting honor into practice in your most important relationships. Do yourself and your spouse a favor. Give him or her a gift that can continue to bless both of you for a lifetime —the gift of honor.”
Keep in Mind
When we hurt each other, we’re hurting our God and the testimony of Christ. When we dishonor one another we dishonor God and the testimony of Christ. Furthermore, when we act unloving and “un-Christ-like” to each other we’re hurting the living picture of Christ that God wants to display through us. After all, how will the world view the transforming love of Christ if we aren’t showing the love and grace of Christ toward one another in our marriages? Even if your spouse doesn’t treat you in the same way, realize that whenever you give honor to your spouse you are giving it “as unto the Lord.”
Cindy and Steve Wright
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