“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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9 responses to “Honoring Each Other – MM #319”
(USA) We who are believers, constrained by the love of Christ, have an awesome opportunity to display Christ in our marriages. So many times we respond as the world does– making our marriages a battleground. We are guilty of giving more honor to strangers than to each other in our marriages. This message is a good reminder to focus. Keep the main thing the main thing. Let God be glorified!
(BOTSWANA) Hi every one. I am not married. I am engaged and my wedding is next year. I have got a friend who is married and he told me about this site. I am learning a lot and I know I will be the best husband to my spouse. I love my wife to be.
Please may I ask, how would you know if your wife is cheating on you? And what’s the biblical thing to do?
(USA) Hi Fidelis, We’re do thrilled that you’re learning a lot. How we hope you apply what you are learning and keep applying it. After marrying, as the demands and challenges of life push at couples, dividing their time and efforts, they often forget to keep doing what it takes to build their relationship in a positive direction. How I hope you and your spouse will keep applying yourself to “live a life of love,” as we’re told to do in the Bible in Ephesians 5. It’s a lifetime commitment to be intentional and pro-active in showing love to each other.
As for your question about knowing how a “wife is cheating on you,” we have an article posted in the “Extramarital Affair” topic titled, “How to Know if Your Spouse is Having an Affair.” Of course, this article applies to whoever is cheating — the wife or the husband. It has several linked articles in it, to further expand upon the points made. I hope this helps.
Hi I am married and I love my husband with my very being. But I have found him to be very dishonest with me. We’ve been in the same minstry for over 12 yrs together and he was ordained as the Pastor of the church by our Apostle. He has now left because he was sat down for 2 weeks by the Apostle because he got in a heated argument with his daughter and called her names. Well our Apostle knew that wasn’t right and felt he needed to be sat down for a few weeks to be strengthened. He got angry and left and lied and said he didn’t leave but has not been back and working in another church and preaching and everything. Now our relationship is out of whack. Can someone help me please!
I am not married. I just thought I’d try to understand honor better. I thought I should comment on the woman who’s having trouble with her husband and saw no one has commented. To Shenell Downs, I don’t know what has happened since you posted your comment and I hope things are well with you and your family. I would say to just love him and to do kind things to him. Look for the good in him and complement him on the good things he’s done. Make him feel valued by you.
Forgive him on the wrong he’s done to you. There’ll be times when your pride will want you to fight back, if he hurts you, but you will have to fight your pride to do what’s best for you and your family. The best thing for you is to love him unconditionally. Be his example of who he should strive for. Show him the way.
I hope things work out for the better. Try to watch Fireproof. It’s a great movie to watch. Best wishes for you and your family.
You mention that even if he dishonors you, you are to still honor him. My question is at what point do you no longer allow him to dishonor you and your marriage? Marriage is a covenant and clearly the spouse has and continues to break that covenant. I don’t believe God means for anyone to stay in an abusive relationship (verbally, physically or emotionally).
Stacy, no one says here that you are supposed to keep enabling a spouse to treat you in dishonorable ways. That’s a whole different matter. If a spouse continues to break the covenant, yes, the other spouse needs to and should do something about it. But no matter what happens, don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that because you hurt so badly, solutions to do that which you should not, are acceptable. They are not. If your spouse yells, screams, cheats, and lies, his actions do not biblically give you a license (marriage or otherwise) to do any or all of those things.
Gary Thomas wrote something that I think explains this a bit better than I can: “Your greatest temptation to sin is when someone first sins against you. But THEIR sin never justifies YOUR sin. Fighting your mate’s irresponsibility with irresponsibility of your own is like pouring gasoline on a fire; it just makes things that much more explosive, that much worse. The Bible recommends a different approach: let love conquer evil; let responsibility shame irresponsibility.”
Stacy, I don’t know if you have been hurt by YOUR spouse, and/or if you are making this case on behalf of others. Either way, I’m so very sorry for you and anyone who is being subjected to dishonorable actions from a spouse. This should never, ever be. It is not God’s intentions in any way for a spouse to treat the other like this, and it is wrong. But we are still told to hold to God’s standards of not sinning, even when we are sinned against. We can speak the “truth in love” and not allow or enable bad behavior, but we are not supposed to sin just because they do. I hope this brings clarity.
Absolutely blew me away. This was refreshing and truly, truly breathtaking for me… I’ve been married almost 5 years and never looked at the word dishonor until I reached a point in my marriage where I felt that I began to treat my husband and family members disgracefully…full of anger and directing it towards them. Thanks for this article. Its been a life changer and will help me via the Holy Spirit to display godly fruits towards God and then people, family.
Thank you Marilyn for sharing God’s revelation on this issue to you. What a privilege that we are allowed to participate with God in this revelation. So often we never know how the messages and articles we write minister to others. Thank you for sharing this with us. May the Lord minister to you and your marriage and may God bless your marriage in ways that you never thought possible as you follow His ways. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ —to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)