When asked, “Do you respect your spouse?” Most of us would answer a quick YES! It’s necessary to examine respect to see if we know what we’re talking about.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines it this way:
RESPECT’, verb transitive – To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth.
This definition in its use as a verb transitive considers what someone does to gain our respect.
In the busyness of married life we get caught up in all the things we must do to stay afloat. High regard and respect for our spouse will follow if our spouse is carrying their weight. But if injury or sickness comes your way, making it impossible for your spouse to do what they’ve always done, respect may be found wanting.
Respect is fickle when we see it as a verb only. It is dependent on fluctuating circumstances. This is why we must also respect our spouse’s character not only their actions.
Webster goes on to define respect when used as a noun…
RESPECT’, noun – regards the qualities of the mind, or the actions which characterize those qualities.
This causes us to look deeper into the heart of our spouse; to consider what motivates their actions and/or their convictions. These are qualities that don’t fluctuate with the changing seasons of life.
Respect your spouse’s character and you will discover a deeper and more sincere love.
Consider who your spouse is rather than what they do, the next time someone asks if your respect them. This is how we magnify respect in marriage and glorify God in the process.