Fight the ‘Norm’ of Disrespect

Over the past few weeks, I have grown to enjoy the TV show “The Amazing Race.” My delight started with an interest in where the contestants traveled and the challenges that awaited them at each location. My husband and I act as if we are in the game — deciding who would do what and give play-by-play maneuvers of how we would complete the tasks. But recently, I realized how interesting/entertaining it is to watch the communication within the two person teams. Father-son, best friends, hockey buds, newlyweds, etc., are all thrown into extreme circumstances involving critical thinking, physical exhaustion and just plain weird things they have no experience doing. In these moments, tempers flare, emotions explode, and the relationships’ true colors shine bright.  

This past Sunday I watched the couples in amazement. They all had a sense of respect for each other in the thickest moments, except for one pair — the newlyweds. The challenge was to zigzag a race car around several orange cones, switch drivers and repeat the course — all in less than 83 seconds. The pairs encouraged and cheered as their partners attempted the slippery course. Most didn’t have too hard of a time, except for the newlyweds. And boy, did the camera love the arguments that went on in that car. The young couple couldn’t quite make the required time on the supposedly “manly” challenge. Each time the husband would get behind the wheel, nothing but venom escaped his new bride’s mouth:

“You suck at this! Aren’t you supposed to be good at driving?”

Failed attempt.

“Ugh, you keep fishtailing.”

Failed attempt.

“Who would have thought? The girl is doing better than the guy.”


“You are killing us!”

Finally, they completed the course in 83 seconds.

No hugs or congratulatory kisses.

“Ugh, everyone is going to be so far ahead of us!”

I realize it is only a game, a game where everything is magnified and glorified by the cameras in the contestants’ faces, but my heart broke for the man whose self-esteem was crushed by his bride on national television. I don’t wish to speak into a marriage I know very little about, but her verbal daggers revealed an easily ignored norm portrayed in our culture — bossy know-it-all wives, disrespecting and crushing their husbands’ leading spirits.

As a new wife, I have been there. I have said those words and watched my husband’s shoulders fall. Little jabs and undercuts seem harmless and necessary in my mind, but when they escape my mouth, I realize instantly the words said only tell my husband I don’t trust or respect him. It isn’t easy being a submissive wife, but it is rewarding. It is how God created us to be, and He knows we will truly thrive as couples when we choose to act according to His instructions.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear (1 Peter 3:1-6).

If you are single, I challenge you to meditate on this passage and prepare your heart for the future. If you are a woman, begin by showing honor and respect to the men in your life now. Wit and humor are entertaining, but ensure your words aren’t damaging others around you.

If you are engaged or seriously dating, go on a coffee date with your significant other and discuss these passages: 1 Peter 3:1-6,  Ephesians 5:22-23, Matthew 19:4-6 and Colossians 3:18-19. Ask each other what you believe these passages mean and how you can begin building your relationship on these principles. Believe me, it will make your transition to marriage an easier one.

True love cannot be expressed without true honor and respect. Don’t let the media paint your picture of marriage; instead, fight the “norm” of disrespect.  Find a married couple who does this well, and spend time with them. You will quickly see the fruits of their marriage and how God’s instructions are not bias, but beautiful.