Lately I have been thinking a lot about the word “honor” in marriage. I’m so glad that this thought has been on my mind around Valentine’s Day. It’s strange how I tend to think much about doing something special for my wife around Valentine’s Day and then get into the daily routine after that. Around this time many couples try to honor each other. They do things that they don’t normally do throughout the year. I have wondered why a man who hasn’t shared flowers with his wife the whole year finds it easy to buy almost a full truck of flowers around Valentine’s Day, or a lady who only speaks softly and tenderly to her husband around Valentine’s Day.
When I think about marriage, I believe seeking to honor one’s spouse is perhaps one of the best ingredients that makes marriage work. My conviction as such is that thinking about honor and how to do it for your spouse should be the one thing that constantly occupy our minds throughout the year and not just around Valentine’s Day.
In trying to define this word in my own way, my thought led me to Matthew 6:21 which says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This verse suggests that one places value on what they consider to be of great value to them regardless of when and what is happening. If I value my marriage, then my heart will be in it constantly because honor is primarily a matter of the heart. So in marriage, it involves recognizing the beauty and worth of your relationship with your spouse and then doing something to put that recognition and appreciation into action. Honor is a way of accurately seeing the immerse value of a person made in God’s image.
Why is it important that you honor your mate as a costly gift or special treasure? In his book, You are What You Think, Dr. David Stoop, quotes Greek philosopher Epictetus as saying “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view they take of them.” In other words, it’s not what happens or exists that affects us, it’s how we look at and respond to what happens or exists. This thought is in certainly in line with the words of Proverbs 23:7: “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is”
You and I can chose to overlook the surface behavior of our mate and find value inside. We decide in our heart, on our own that we will treasure her, that we will honor him as valuable. I believe this is one of the most powerful ways of getting to honor your mate even when Valentine’s Day is not around the corner and you are in June or October.
If you and I do not see our mates as a priceless treasure, then we will tend to look and focus on his or her negative actions as evidence of low worth. And it’s inevitable that you will treat your mate accordingly.
I hope in saying this I don’t create an illusion that honoring your mate comes naturally. There are times that this can be a challenge for anyone in any relationship. Marriage seems to provide many opportunities to love and to honor, but also to dishonor. It’s all in how we choose to see it.
As we approach Valentine’s Day consider how strong your marriage relationship is going to develop if you and your spouse chose to seek to honor each other daily. I want to suggest prayer as the beginning of such an effort. Thank God for your spouse for the things you can think of about them. Ask God to give you strength and to show you how to honor you mate. Perhaps this is also a good time to list 10 things you will do in the next 5 days to honor your mate. Share this with a trusted friend who can hold you accountable to ensure that do them.
Pastor Richard Munala