Honor Your Mate
A King and His Queen
"Those who honor me I will honor."
1 Samuel 2:30
I can't think of a better example of honor between husband and wife than the biblical account of Queen Esther and Xerxes, king of Persia, in the book of Esther. The young queen was faced with a terrible dilemma: Her people, the Jews, were to be killed as part of a ruthless plot concocted by one of the king's most powerful nobles. Yet by law, no one, not even the queen, was allowed to approach the king without being summoned.
Esther relied on the principle of honor to protect her in this predicament. After fasting and, I'm sure, praying for three days, she went to the inner court of the palace. Rather than barging in, she waited patiently in the king's hall. When the king saw Esther, he invited her in. She showed further respect for Xerxes by touching his scepter when she arrived. When the king asked her why she had come, Esther did not answer immediately. Instead, she invited the king to a banquet she had prepared, thus paying further tribute to her husband. At the banquet, she invited the king to yet another banquet the next day. Only then did she finally make her request known.
Every time Esther addressed her husband, she conveyed sincere respect. She used phrases such as "if it pleases the king"; "if [the king] regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do"; and "if I have found favor with you, O king." Xerxes responded by honoring his wife—and granting her request! Through her courage and conduct, the Jews were spared a holocaust. In fact, King Xerxes went further: The evil noble was hanged, and the Jews were given new privileges and rights in the kingdom.
Our nature as humans is to criticize our spouse or complain about his or her shortcomings. Yet there is something attractive—and very compelling—about approaching each other as husband or wife with the deep respect and honor we would show royalty. I urge you to try approaching each other in just this way—even when you do not feel particularly close. Your reward will be a home environment that is more loving, positive, and enjoyable than you ever thought possible.
- Shirley Dobson
This week we hope you are encourage, inspired and provoked to thought as you enjoy and participate in these daily devotions by Dr. James and Mrs. Shirley Dobson, from their book Night Light for Couples.
Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom. . . . Wealth and honor come from you.
1 Chronicles 29:11–12
As a society, we are inclined to honor heroes and high achievers. We award a Purple Heart to soldiers wounded in action. We admire All‐Americans who excel in college football, basketball, or baseball. We celebrate winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. We applaud students who graduate magna cum laude. We fawn over
movie stars at the Academy Awards. But who takes time to honor the wives and husbands who diligently fulfill their responsibilities each day? Who cares about these unsung heroes who give of themselves, sacrificing for their children or caring for each other? Most often, the only cheering section for such couples is themselves—but when one partner doesn't seem to notice, it's pretty tough for the other to feel valued or motivated.
Scripture is clear regarding this matter. The apostle Paul says, "Honor one another above yourselves" (Romans 12:10). There's no better place to apply this verse than in your home—with the husband or wife sitting next to you.
Just between us . . .
What do you think honoring each other means in the context of marriage?
- Do you feel "honored" by me?
- Do you know, without a doubt, that I hold you in highest esteem?
When in our marriage have you most felt this way? When have you not?
Dear Lord, in our rush to admire and celebrate the achievements of others, help us to remember the loving life partner right beside us who most deserves our appreciation and respect. Open our eyes to simple but meaningful ways we can show honor. Amen.
Taken For Granted
Honor one another above yourselves.
Each of us has a heartfelt need to be honored and respected. All too often, however, we take our spouses for granted at home. Is it any wonder that so many mothers hold down jobs in the workplace today? Many work for financial reasons, but some do so to find the recognition and praise they don't get from their mates. Could this also be why many men spend excessive hours at work—to receive from colleagues the accolades that they don't get at home?
Your partner is a jack‐of‐all‐trades who brings a host of skills to your marriage: provider, short‐order cook, nurse, counselor, financial planner, gardener, arbiter of sibling disputes, spiritual leader, comforter, and much more. We encourage you to show your appreciation for these talents and services. Tell your wife how much you enjoy her cooking. Send your husband to work with a note praising him for his good judgment with the family budget. In front of guests, compliment her taste in home decor and his wise guidance of the children.
If we don't make our mate feel honored and respected, we may find our partner looking for recognition somewhere else.
Just between us . . .
What couple do we know who is an example to us of honoring each other?
- Do we honor each other well?
- What opportunities to bestow honor have we missed?
Have we sought recognition elsewhere because we weren't receiving enough at home?
Heavenly Father, forgive us for any self-centeredness or lack of consideration in our marriage. Please teach us to make honoring our spouse a reflex action, not a begrudging afterthought. Amen.
Games People Play
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.
Have you ever been to a party and watched someone play "Assassinate the Spouse?" The objective is simple: A contestant attempts to punish his mate by ridiculing her in front of their friends. If he wants to be especially vicious, he lets the guests know he thinks she is dumb and ugly. It's a brutal game with no winners. The contest ends when his wife is totally divested of self‐respect and dignity; he gets bonus points if he can reduce her to tears.
Sound cruel? It is, even when it's carried out under the guise of joking or teasing. It's never enjoyable to watch someone take out anger against his (or her) mate in this way. In contrast, what a pleasure it is to spend time with couples who continually build each other up in front of others. When a husband tells his guests about his wife's incredible cooking, patience with the kids, or promotion at work—or the wife boasts about her husband's talent on the job or his ability to speak in public or fix broken pipes—you'll see the other spouse smile a bit more brightly and stand a little taller. We're always most sensitive to the comments of our mate in the presence of our peers.
The next time you're out with friends, remember to look for opportunities to honor your mate. Leave the game playing to others.
Just between us . . .
Have I embarrassed or hurt you in public? If so, can we talk about it?
- How do you feel when I praise you in front of our friends?
- In what ways could we build each other up in public?
Father, we want to show each other love, honor, and consideration always— but especially in front of others. Forgive us for our failures. Give us grace to learn and change, we pray. Amen.
Is Honor Overdue?
Humility comes before honor.
Mr. Smith learned that his neighbor, Mr. Jones, had presented flowers and a gift to Mrs. Jones five nights in a row. He thought, That must be what wins a woman's heart. So Smith went out and bought a big box of candy and a bouquet of his wife's favorite flowers. Arriving home a little early that after‐ noon, he rang the doorbell. When Mrs. Smith appeared, he passionately embraced her. Suddenly she sagged and fell in a heap on the floor. "My goodness! What's wrong?" he exclaimed. When she regained consciousness, she explained. "Oh, this has been the worst day! Our son received a terrible report card; Mother was admitted to the hospital; the roast burned; the washing machine broke. Now to top it off, you come home drunk!"
If your partner can't even fathom the possibility that you would bring her flowers or a gift (or some similar surprise), take the hint. It's time to work on honoring your mate!
Just between us . . .
Would you be shocked if I brought you flowers or some other gift?
- What's the best surprise I ever gave you?
- What kind of thoughtful gesture would be enjoyable and honoring to you?
- Do you prefer being surprised in front of friends or in private?
Lord, we confess that the hurly-burly pace of living often threatens to suffocate our relationship. Remind us to care for each other. Help us to encourage others who are struggling in their marriages. Amen.
Honoring Mom and Dad
"Honor your father and your mother."
Who do you think is most responsible for establishing a child's opinion of his mother or father? The other parent, that's who! Each wields tremendous influence over what the children think of the other. Early in my marriage to Shirley, I learned that occasional irritation between us quickly reflected itself in the behavior of our kids. They seemed to think, If Dad can argue with Mom, then we can, too. In short, my attitude became the attitudes of my children. I realized how important it was to openly express love and admiration for my wife, even when there were issues that we needed to iron out in private.
If you're the father in the home, I encourage you to remind your kids how hard their mother works and how wonderful she is. And if you're the mother, praise your husband's courage and principles in front of the children. Kids will quickly recognize and mirror the respect fathers and mothers give each other. Showing honor now will pay off for years to come.
Just between us . . .
How did your parents show respect to each other?
- Have we done a good job of honoring each other, and the Lord, in front of our children? In which situations are we most likely to fail?
- How could we improve?
- Do we know a couple that sets a good example in this area? What
do they do that seems to really work?
Almighty God, we want to be good examples of honoring each other so that our children will grow up to honor their father and mother. We ask for Your wisdom and grace as we seek to excel in honoring one another in our home. Thank You for Your love. Amen.
From Night Light for Couples by Dr. James and Mrs. Shirley Dobson
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