Many readers of the modesty series took issue with the fact that my husband asked me not to wear a specific item of clothing because he deemed it inappropriate for public appearance. I received comments and emails from women who declared he had no right to ‘tell me what to wear’. He was ripped to shreds in online forums by women and men alike who neither know him nor care to. And therein lies the fatal flaw.
They don’t know him like I do, and it is because I know him that I take his advice.
My husband protects, provides, and guides me – when I need advice. I don’t always need it. I am a very independent woman and spend every waking moment as busy as possible, so his advice is valuable guidance as I juggle work, volunteer activities, motherhood, blogging, and everything else.
Listening to my husband doesn’t make me any less of a strong-willed woman. I have valid reason to listen to him, and here’s why.
1. Because he is trustworthy.
“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Prov. 10:9)
I take my husband’s advice because he has proven himself worthy of my trust. In decisions spiritual, financial, and social, he has proven to me that his heart is to do what is right in God’s eyes before anything else. He is not impulsive, endangering me or our future with flawed decision making. While he has failed before and will in the future, I will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt because he does the same for me. And ultimately, God gives us both grace when we fail Him, so we owe that same grace and trust to each other.
2. Because he is discerning.
“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” (Psalm 119:125)
I listen to my husband’s input because he is steady, dependable, and analytical, whereas I tend to be fast-moving, quick-tempered and impulsive. Like the time I wanted to buy mismatched wingback chairs for our office: in my head I saw a haven of outdoorsy-ness perfect for his ‘man cave’, but he wasn’t so keen on $90 for one blue chair and one red. So I listened to him and left them behind, and I am very glad I did!
His view of life is farsighted, and while sometimes this puts a damper on the ‘fun’, his dependability provides the backbone to my trust in him and I know his opinions are good ones.
3. Because he has a different perspective.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Prov. 12:1)
The female perspective on life, ladies, is not the only perspective. I know that’s hard sometimes.
I frequently ask Josh’s input and opinion on movies, music, clothing, food, work, and anything that crosses my fancy. I love his opinions. He is funny, he is serious, he is particular – and most of all, he is willing to indulge my little whims. I can read a Ladies Home Journal aloud and show him pictures of Easter dinner menus and he will offer ideas that I never would have imagined. We marry men because they are different from us; we don’t want clones of ourselves!
So once married, we can’t shut them down and shut them up as if their opinions and advice have no merit in our eyes. Our opinions are not the only right ones, and the men we marry should be able to grow us into even better versions of ourselves by offering a perspective other than our own, especially when it comes to issues that affect the both of us. Finances, church decisions, home management – these are all issues that involve both parties in the marital relationship and are benefited when we both contribute.
4. Because he seeks to honor God.
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21)
I take my husband’s advice on my life decisions because I know his heart is to do God’s will. With this in mind, I can filter what Josh is saying through what I know of God’s word, and this provides double guidance to my decisions. When my husband asked me not to wear tight pants in public or to keep a low cut tank-top at home, my first impulse was resistance. But when I checked his advice against God’s word, I realized that my motive in wearing those items was my own glorification: looking hot, getting attention, and emphasizing the material instead of the spiritual. My husband’s intentions were in line with God’s intentions: thus, I listened and obeyed.
When women see the word ‘submission’, they often fly into such a blind rage they can’t hear or see the true definition. So here it is: submission is setting aside our priorities to give way to the priorities of another, whose goal is the glory of God. That is biblical submission. Without God’s spirit guiding a man, it would be very difficult to submit to his leadership. But when you are married to a God-honoring man, you have little issue with following his advice – or giving your own advice to him.
Read More: Biblical Submission is Dangerous
5. Because I respect him.
“…each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Eph. 5:33)
Respect for Josh is both an emotion and an action – just like his love for me. There are days I am overwhelmed with how much I respect him, and there are days I am very busy and exhausted and I have to consciously choose to be respectful. And when I show him respect, I show it in the manner he best recognizes it.
As I respect him, he loves me more. And as he loves me more, I respect him more. It is the classic healthy cycle of Emmerson Eggerich’s Love and Respect book and program, but before Eggerich made it famous God designed it to work this way. When I take my husband’s advice, he feels valued and respected. When I scorn his opinions as silly or inferior, he feels as if his ideas have no merit in my eyes.
Our ideas and thoughts are part of our identity, so when we despise someone’s thoughts and ideas, we essentially despise them. When I show my husband disrespect I directly assault his heart and confidence. I’ve seen far too many wives daily assaul their husbands’ confidence and then wonder why their husbands aren’t leaders. I fear that conclusion, and I know my capability to bring it about. So I choose to respect my husband, and he chooses to love me.
Do I blindly accept everything he says? No. We have many lively discussions about topics on which we disagree. But once I hear him out, and he hears me (because he listens), we come to an agreement. And most of the time – because he is analytical, patient, and discerning – he’s right.
Therefore, he’s not ‘telling me what to do’ at all. In the example of the yoga pants, all he did was give me advice and ask me to comply with a request. And he has every right to do that, just as I have every right to make requests of him. He asked me to do something, and he will continue to make requests of me as long as we are married. That is the nature of the marital relationship.
Each time we choose to respectfully indulge our husband’s opinions and consider them as we make decisions, we honor God, because we are treating a brother in Christ with the honor and order God desires.
So while there are some who pity me for unconditionally respecting my husband (even though there are days I definitely fail) and for complying with his requests, I remain unmoved. The mutual respect in our marriage has granted us an unprecedented intimacy – the kind that can’t be attained when one or both parties is more interested in their rights than the success of their marriage. God’s way works, and I have received honor because of it.
My husband doesn’t tell me what to do. He asks me respectfully. And because I am called to humility and unconditional respect, I listen.
Even when it comes to yoga pants.