Betty, who came from an abusive background and battled depression, discovered she had great difficulty showing respect to her husband.
“Everyone in my neighborhood has loved and respected my husband, but I felt I couldn’t,” she said.
The insight the Lord gave her one day helped to set her free from this.
“Resentment blocks respect,” Betty said, “God talked to me about how I needed to forgive. I couldn’t do it on my own, but I could only do it through Him, so I asked for His help. I didn’t want it to be just words; I wanted something to happen in my heart, because I had said the words before.”
As I talked to Betty, I realized how all of the attributes of a loving wife go together. They are all interconnected.
Betty went on to tell me, “I had resented my husband for twenty years.”
She expressed that the root of her resentment was that her husband wanted her to do something sexually that she felt uncomfortable doing. It wasn’t his request that hurt her so much but that he said, “If you won’t do it, I’ll find someone else who will.” What he wanted wasn’t necessarily a wrong thing, but Betty had been sexually abused.
This act “seemed dirty to me,” she said, and “his attitude triggered deep hurt.”
“I cried,” she said. “And for a while I slept on a chair. I felt dirty.”
She related that she knew she had to let it go. She said they talked about it a year after he made his hurtful statement and came to a compromise.
“Before that,” Betty said, “I laid in bed with tears coming down my face, and when he asked ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘nothing.’”
When Betty realized she still had resentment over this whole issue which blocked her from showing respect, she discovered at the core of her hurt was this: “I wanted to be his lover, his sweetheart and not just his wife and someone to have sex with when he felt like it. He was not meeting my sexual needs—my need for tenderness. He just didn’t get it.” Betty realized, “He loves me in other ways. I don’t dwell on it like I used to. God gave me peace.”
As Betty let go of feeling hurt over her needs not being met, her husband became more affectionate. She said, “He kisses me every day.”
What helped Betty to forgive and grow in respecting her husband was to touch him tenderly even when he found it hard to do that for her.
“Touching him helped,” she said, “things like rubbing his back. Now he rubs my back and feet.”
Another thing that helped Betty to learn to respect her husband was this: “I took my eyes off him and put them on me and my need to change. The Lord helped me change.”
Now Betty reports that her marriage of over 40 years is better than it’s ever been.