Have You Shown Unconditional Respect?

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In our love saturated culture, everyone understands and expects unconditional love. On the other hand, what is your reaction to the phrase “unconditional respect”? In 1 Peter 3:1,2 a wife is instructed that she can win her disobedient husband via her respectful behavior.

These Scriptures say:

"In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior."

The husband is disobedient. He does not deserve respect. So, is Peter referring to unconditional respect?

If so, does unconditional respect mean a wife must respect evil behavior?

No, absolutely not.

Let me qualify what is referred to as unconditional respect. Just as a husband is to come across lovingly even though his wife is not lovable, so a wife is to come across respectfully even though her husband is not respectable.

This does not mean a wife must say, ‘I respect the way you get angry and refuse to talk to me.’ Such a statement is as silly as a husband saying, ‘I love the way you nag and criticize me.’

This is not about loving or respecting sinful behavior. This is about lovingly or respectfully confronting inappropriate behavior. Unconditional respect, like unconditional love, is all about how one sounds (tone of voice and word choice) and appears (facial expressions and physical actions). A husband may not deserve respect because he has not earned respect, but a wife’s disrespect for him is ineffective long term—and not biblical. No husband responds to disrespectful attitudes any more than a wife responds to unloving attitudes

Wives, even though 1 Peter 3:1, 2 recommends unconditional respect as a way to win a disobedient husband, you may have fears giving your husband unconditional respect. If so, would you share some of your fears?

Also, those wives who have applied 1 Peter 3:1,2 what have you learned about being a wife who respectfully confronts the issues in the marriage?

-Dr. E