What is the definition of respect?
Often I notice that women tend to misunderstand respect as we see it in the Bible. Also, the two words, respect and disrespect are two distinctly different words. One is not the opposite of the other.
Respect is thrown around these days youth expect it and police would like it. But in the church it means something entirely different.
Honor is another word that slips in when the word respect won’t work.
Does respect matter more FOR the wife than FOR the husband or the other way around?
Both desire respect. Mrs. NLNW put it this way, she said, “I need to know that you love me first and respect is secondary to that.” “Kind of like silver and gold, both are valuable, both are important”.
Now to some of your other statements:
- Are women really the only ones that misunderstand respect? (Seriously? I’ve seen some men do some pretty stupid things unworthy of respect, porn being one of those choices according to the women I know. Or what about men belittling and emotionally abusing their wives and then reading them Ephesians 5?)
- Is there such a thing as unconditional love?
- Is there such a thing as unconditional respect?
I think respecting others is a concept we all struggle with in some form in life and our marriages and your opening statement was not a fair one to make about women.
Like all words in the bible you have to see what and how the word is used across scripture. There are things like Strong’s and I find that a site called biblehub.com can be useful for this type of knowledge digging.
My son and I were having a discussion similar to this a few weeks ago, respecting God vs. fearing God. Fear has such a negative meaning in today’s language, but yet the bible tells us to fear, respect, reverence the Lord. It also tells children to respect their parents. It tells wives to respect their husband. Should we fear the Lord as the bible says is the beginning of wisdom? What exactly does that mean?
Here is Ephesians 5:33
Clicking on Strong’s 5399 for phobeó shows meanings and how the word is used across scripture:
Definition – to put to flight, to terrify, frighten
NASB Translation –afraid (39), am afraid (2), awestruck (1), fear (27), feared (5), fearful (2), fearing (6), fears (2), frightened (7), have…fear (1), respects (1), terrified (1).
Usage: I fear, dread, reverence, am afraid, terrified.
So we see this is entirely a different thing than respect being “I admire someone” or “I think a lot of them” which is what the word respect has morphed into – something that strips out order, position, relationship, and responsibility.
I think of Moses’ experience meeting God. An understanding of respect, fear, reverence could be seen from the way a movie like the 10 Commandments represented it, but look how He is not reverenced in more modern movies. I don’t have any concrete examples, but let’s just say it is a far cry what respect, fear, and reverence as it is done so casually and as if God is no different from anyone else.
I don’t want wives living in fear of their husbands, but if we listen to what the bible says, it is certainly not right for them to feel their husband is their equal either and they can do anything they like and he just has to deal with it. They should certainly feel a reverence and responsibility towards him in the way that the bible talks about respect. Just as I am not going to suppose I can approach Jesus like we are equals in position and authority, a wife should not approach her husband with the same attitude.
Back to the discussion with my son. There are those who approach God has his equal, who do not fear Him, who do not respect Him, who do not reverence Him. We don’t ever want to be one of those people. This is why we fear Him. Not that He had done something to make us fear Him, as if His nature should be tainted. Let it never be. We fear Him because He is awesome and He is our God and He tells us to.
Your question of is respect more important for the husband or the wife is easy. Scripture tells a wife to respect their husband, and it tells a husband to love his wife.