Love is Honorable
Live with your wives in an understanding way … and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. – 1 Peter 3:7
There are certain words in our language that have powerful meanings. Whenever these words are used, an air of respect is associated with them. These words never lose their timeless quality, class, and dignity. One of these will be our focus for today. It is the word honor.
To honor someone means to give them respect and high esteem, to treat them as being special and of great worth. When you speak to them, you keep your language clean and understandable. You are courteous and polite. When they speak to you, you take them seriously, giving their words weight and significance. When they ask you to do something, you accommodate them if at all possible, simply out of respect for who they are.
The Bible tells us to “honor” our father and mother, as well as those in authority. It is a call to acknowledge the position or value of someone else. Honor is a noble word.
This is especially true in marriage. Honoring your mate means giving him or her your full attention, not talking to them from behind a newspaper or with one eye on the television. When decisions are being made that affect both of you or your whole family, you give your mate’s voice and opinion equal influence in your mind. You honor what they have to say. They matter – and because of the way you treat them, they should know it.
But there’s another word that calls us to a higher place, a word that isn’t often equated with marriage, though its relevance cannot be understated. It’s a word that actually forms the basis for honor – the very reason why we give respect and high regard to our husband or wife. That word is holy.
To say to your mate should be “holy” to you doesn’t mean that he or she is perfect. Holiness means they are set apart for a higher purpose – no longer common or everyday but special and unique. A person who has become holy to you has a place no one can rival in your heart. He or she is sacred to you, a person to be honored, praised, and defended.
A bride treats her wedding dress this way. After wearing it on her special day, she covers and protects it, then sets it apart from everything else in her closet. You won’t catch her in it when she’s working in the yard or going out on the town. Her wedding dress has value all its own. In this way, it is holy and sacred to her.
When two people marry, each spouse becomes “holy” to each other by way of “holy matrimony.” This means no other person in the whole world is supposed to enjoy this level of commitment and endearment from you. Your relationship is like no other. Your share physical intimacy with only her, only him. You establish a home with this person. You bear your children with this person. Your heart, your possessions, your life itself is to be wrapped up in the uncommon bond you share with this one in individual.
Is that the way it is in your marriage? Would your mate say you honor and respect them? Do you consider them set apart and highly valued? Holy?
Perhaps you don’t feel this way and maybe for good reason. Perhaps you wish some outsider could see the level of disrespect you get from your wife or husband – someone who would make your mate feel embarrassed to be exposed for who they really are behind closed doors.
But that’s not the issue with love. Love honors even when it’s rejected. Love treats its beloved as special and sacred even when an ungrateful attitude is all you get in return.
It’s marvelous, of course, when a husband and wife are joined in this purpose, when they’re following the biblical command to be “devoted to one another” in love, when they’re giving “preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10). “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure” (Hebrews 13:4 NIV).
But when your attempts at honor go unreciprocated, you are to give honor just the same. That’s what love dares to do – to say, “Of all the relationships I have, I will value ours the most. Of all the things I’m willing to sacrifice, I will sacrifice the most for you. With all your failures, sins, mistakes, and faults – past and present – I will choose to love and honor you.” That’s how you create an atmosphere for love to be rekindled. That’s how you create an atmosphere for love to be rekindled. That’s how you lead your heart to truly love your mate again. And that’s the beauty of honor.
Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes.
I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant. (Jeremiah 30:19)
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Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.