Last month we began to look at ways that you as a wife can help your husband succeed in the ministry. We looked at pleasing him and not possessing him. We want to continue with that theme this issue and look at another area in which you as a wife can help your husband.
One of your most important roles as a wife is being your husband’s cheerleader, his personal fan club, the one who boosts him up. He will have plenty of people to discourage him, to pull him down, or to criticize him. You need to praise him often, and let him know how much you love him and appreciate him.
The only way you will be able to praise your husband is if you have a right heart attitude. The Bible speaks in First Peter 3:5-6 and Ephesians 6:33 of a wife reverencing her husband. To reverence means to stand in awe of. This means that you notice him, regard him, honor him, prefer him, esteems him, praise him, love him, enjoy him, and admire him. When you show your husband these attitudes, he feels adored, admired, and significant. Reverence of your husband is important, because man’s most basic need, apart from being loved, is approval and admiration.
Reverence is not just how you act; it is how you feel and how you respond with words and with your body language. To reverence your husband is to be delighted and thankful. It means that you are his greatest fan, that you think he is the greatest man on earth. It involves looking at his positive qualities and praising him and complimenting him for them. It means choosing to overlook the negative things, talking only to God in prayer about them. It means you teach your children that their daddy is the #1 man, you let your children know that you love and respect their father, and you never talk bad about him in their presence. It means talking only favorably about him when you are with other people, instead of listing his faults or bad-mouthing him.
To reverence is an active verb—it is something you do. It is not first a feeling; it is a voluntary act of your will. It is something you choose. Your husband’s self-image is directly connected to your private and public admiration and praise of him. So ask yourself: do you build up or destroy? What do you communicate to your husband when he walks in the door after work? Do you show him genuine encouragement or dissatisfaction? Does your face light up when he talks to you or does he see sneers and a lack of trust? A man can have everything outside the home, but if the sincere respect of his wife and children is missing, he will be totally destroyed.
The Bible is clear that we are to reverence our husband, but many of us as wives feel that it is our God-ordained responsibility to change him. Sometimes a wife will feel that she is her husband’s personal Holy Spirit, sent by God to instruct him in all the areas she sees as wrong. But it doesn’t work that way. Your husband doesn’t need another mother—he needs a wife!
All of us are human, we are all sinners, and we all have faults. When we live with someone day after day, it is easy to become irritated with his faults, and even obsessed with how to change them. As a wife, your assignment from God is not to change your husband, but to love, follow, assist, and minister to him.
Some women feel that getting a husband is like buying an old house—she doesn’t see it the way it is, but the way it is going to be when she gets it remodeled! Many of us are so wrapped up in the negative aspects of our husband that we ignore the positive ones. A woman who will not accept her husband as he is cannot reverence him. Before we can talk about reverencing, admiring, and uplifting our husbands, we must first learn to accept them as they are—no strings attached.
As a wife, if you are having problems in the area of reverence, there are several things you need to do. First, you need to totally accept your husband just as he is, and recognize that he is a wonderful individual created by God for a special purpose.
Second, you need to recognize the faults in your own life. Instead of focusing on his faults, look at your own.
Third, you need to give your rights to God. We often feel that we deserve a husband who performs properly in all areas! Therefore, we want our husband to change to meet our expectations. This attitude is a key barrier to accepting him at face value. In order to get rid of your expectations, you must lay aside what you feel you deserve in a husband. You may need to even ask his forgiveness.
Fourth, begin to look for his positive qualities. Write them down on paper, and thank God for each of those qualities. Then start thanking your husband for each of those wonderful qualities. Let him know how much you love and reverence him. As you begin to focus on his positive qualities and praise him for them, his negative faults will not seem so noticeable to you.
As often as you think about it, assure him of your prayers and interests. After he preaches, tell him what a good job he did, and how the sermon spoke to your heart. Let him know that you think he is the best preacher on earth. Praise him for his good character qualities. Praise him for the way he provides for you and takes care of you. Praise him for being a good father to your children.
God made your husband unique because He wanted to use him in a special way. Cherish his uniqueness as a gift from God. Don’t try to change him into what you want him to be. Give him permission to be himself, and let God use him.
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.