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Understand, honor & respect your wife, Ledbetter exhorts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Husbands who fail to understand, honor and respect their wives can cut off their relationship with God, Gary Ledbetter warned students during Sept. 16 chapel services at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo.
“We are hypocrites and worse if we seek to build a spiritual life apart from obeying God’s commandments for building relationships,” Ledbetter said.
Ledbetter, who serves as Midwestern’s vice president for student development, urged seminary husbands to heed 1 Peter 3:7. There, Ledbetter said, Peter tells husbands that living in a right relationship with one’s wife is a prerequisite for maintaining spiritual vitality.
“Has your spiritual life been truncated because you have not been living with her in an understanding way?” Ledbetter asked husbands.
To maintain right relationships with their wives, Ledbetter said, husbands are to live in understanding with them. Husbands must learn to understand God and his ways so they can lead with knowledge, he said, and they must learn to understand their wives so they can communicate effectively with them. Just as God has chosen in love to communicate to the church through Christ, Ledbetter said, so husbands must learn to communicate love to their wives.
The result of such understanding will be honor and respect among husbands for their wives, Ledbetter said. Honor involves placing worth on the wife because she is precious to the husband, he said.
Remembering a wife is the “weaker vessel,” both physically and in her position of authority, Ledbetter said husbands must not abuse the vulnerability of their wives in these areas. He noted reports that conservative Christian men are among the most likely to physically abuse their wives, having twisted “wifely submission into victimization.”
“Let me say for the record that there should be no part of your relationship with your wife that is based on the fact that you are bigger and stronger than her, except if she wants some furniture moved or a jar opened,” Ledbetter said. “We do not own them. They are not our slaves.”
Husbands must also learn to respect their wives as equal partners in the temporary gift of mortal life, Ledbetter said.
Reminding them that “the headship you have is not for all eternity,” Ledbetter said Christian wives will be honored in heaven at least as much as, if not more than, their husbands.
Husbands who fail to obey God’s commands for marriage will find their relationship with God deeply affected, Ledbetter said. First, husbands who dishonor and disrespect their wives will find it nearly impossible to pray with them, he said.
“If you can’t look her in the eye without feeling guilty, there’s not much way that you can pray with her,” Ledbetter said.
Furthermore, a broken relationship with his wife will sever a husband’s vital communion with God, Ledbetter said. He reminded listeners that just as believers are to leave their gift at the altar and seek reconciliation when they have wronged their brothers, they also must do likewise with their wives.
“When you realize your wife has legitimate cause against you, make it right,” Ledbetter said, “because it is cutting off your relationship with God.”

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  • Clinton Wolf