"The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'"
Discovering the incredible worth of a woman begins by understanding that genuine love is a gift we give. It isn't purchased by actions or contingent upon our emotions. It may carry strong emotional feelings, but isn't supported by them. Rather, to love is a decision we make daily toward someone who is special and valuable to us. As with genuine love, honor is a gift we give to someone. To honor involves making the decision to highly value someone even before we put love into action. In many cases, love often begins to flow once we have made the decision to honor that person.
How do we make love a decision? This question was answered many years ago with the words Jesus spoke to a young lawyer: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-40). This verse illustrates three of the highest and most revered aspects of love: loving God, loving others, and finding value in ourselves.
This verse is also the essence of HONORING. We define honor as "A decision we choose to express by placing high value, worth, and importance on another person, viewing that person as a priceless gift, and respectfully granting him or her a place in our lives."
To further clarify honor before we apply it, let's look at what it is not. DISHONORING is "when we choose to treat another person, either consciously or unknowingly, with little worth, weight, or value." When we dishonor people, we consciously or unknowingly treat them with little weight or value. Anger, sarcasm, unjust criticism, unhealthy comparisons, favoritism, inconsistency, jealousy, selfishness, envy, racism, and a host of other ills are "justified" as legal weapons to use against people we consider of little value. The lower the value we attach to people, the easier we can "justify" dishonoring them with our words or treating them with disrespect.
If we're serious about honoring God, our children, and others, we'll begin to combat our natural bent to dishonor them by not taking them lightly. How can we do that? We can begin by understanding two aspects of the honor definition.
1. A Priceless Treasure. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). As this verse explains, we show honor to God and others by viewing them as costly gifts or special treasures. For instance, we can see them as the world's largest diamonds. Let's be honest. Sometimes the decision to treat others as costly gifts has to be made on an hourly basis! When we view someone as a priceless diamond, then our positive feelings for them increase as well. What a rich dividend.
2. A Highly Respected Position. Not only does honor apply to someone we consider a priceless treasure; it can be used for someone who occupies a highly respected position, someone high on our priority list. However, what if you do not "feel" like granting a person respect? The good news is that positive feelings usually follow the decision to honor someone. What place do your mate and children feel they have in your life? If we want honor to shine bright at home then we will make sure our family feels like a number-one priority!
How can we begin to treasure our family in a practical way that will show them how valuable they are? Here are a few suggestions to help you begin a life-long journey for applying honor in your home. 1. Recognize the incredible worth of a woman. One way to show honor to your wife is by understanding that she has some tremendously valuable differences. Here are some common differences between men and women:
Most men seek
- Objective thinking
- More distance
Most women seek:
- Feelings, intuition
- Sympathy, relationship
- Personal involvement
Remember: in 15-20% of homes these "differences" may be switched.
3. Tap into your wife's "built-in marriage manual" by asking three questions that can save or improve your relationship. These questions are so powerful because they can switch the focus of the relationship from problems to solutions. Here are the three questions:
A) What kind of marriage/friendship would you like, from 0 (terrible) to 10 (perfect)?
B) How would you rate, from 0 to 10, the present condition of our relationship?
C) What would it take to move the relationship from where it is at now (B's answer) to a "10" (A's answer) during the next month?
4. Tell your family members how valuable they are to you. That's so simple. So obvious. You assume they already know it. But don't assume! Like a bulb that doesn't light due to a break in the electric circuit, a family member who is not told she's valuable may never shine bright. Until you complete the circuit with your words, the light of honor may never glow in her life.
5. Make an unconditional commitment to them for life. That's the kind of commitment that says, "You're important to me today and tomorrow, no matter what happens—no matter what the cost."
6. Schedule special times with the family. Communicating warm, loving approval to our family doesn't "just happen" naturally. We believe this time should be scheduled regularly—preferably several times each week—because they need us.
7. Communicate that you are available to your family during both scheduled and unscheduled times. Although we lead very busy lives, there will be times when we need to drop what we're doing and be available to our family. This communicates that they are extremely valuable. Being available also allows us to take advantage of teachable moments.
8. To follow through in this crucial matter of treasuring, continue to make yourself accountable to a friend or a small group. No one said that honoring our family would be easy! But, if you want your determination to treasure your family to be more than a nice, passing thought, register your decision with some folks who will walk the first few miles of that long road with you—and firmly remind you (in love) to stay on course if you try to turn back!
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor" (Romans 12:10).
Originally posted on Crosswalk November 17, 2007.
(c) 2005 The Smalley Relationship Center.