Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Respect and Love

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Men and women are wired very differently. I think we can all agree to that statement with a very hearty, "Amen!" However, did you know that some of the most fundamental differences can affect your entire relationship and how you interact with each other? 

Respect and Love

Emerson Eggerichs has actually written a book on this subject called Love & Respect. He shares these statistics on his website. Seven thousand people were asked "When you are in conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?" The answer? Men almost always answered "disrespected" (83%) and women typically answered "unloved" (72%). 

So how does that information pertain to how we interact with our spouses? I will often hear wives say, "well, he needs to earn my respect." Quite frankly, no, he does not. Ladies, we are called to respect our husband according to God's word. Our men are called to love us as well. These two things are not mutually dependent, however. We must respect them no matter what. They must love us no matter what. No one ever said that it would be easy to do either.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to 
love his own wife even as himself, 
and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. 
~Ephesians 5:33 (NASB)

Now I know it is not always easy to respect your husband, but if we are being completely honest, I'm sure it's not always easy for them to love us either. Marriage takes a huge investment on our part. Sometimes that investment is easy and sometimes that investment is downright hard. 

One of the biggest hurdles I've found in my own marriage is expectations. It seems innocuous enough doesn't it. However, if I have these great expectations for how I want my husband to act and he falls short, then what? I can become moody or angry. After all, most men know that when he asks his wife how she is and the answer is, "Fine!" things are so not okay.

Don't look to television, books, or movies to define what love should look like. Remember that is not reality, they are characters created from someone's imagination, and they have multiple chances to get it just right. If you look to these unrealistic characters to tell you how your spouse should act, your spouse will always fall short. 

I'm not saying you can't have expectations for your husband. But does he even know what they are? Have you told him outright what you'd like or need? Do not make him guess. He is not a mind-reader. Men are very black and white. Tell him point blank what it is and why you need it. It could be something as simply as, "When you are home, I need you to interact more with the kids. I know you are tired after a long day of work, but I'm tired as well. I could use some help getting supper ready and the kids bathed. If I cook, can you clean up and read bedtime stories?" One other helpful word of advice, do not come across as angry or annoyed while asking. Tone of voice and body language can sometimes say way more than our words.

Let me say this very clearly. If you are in an abusive relationship, I am not telling you that you must stay and respect your husband. Make sure you are safe. I don't want anyone to think I am advocating for staying with a man who does not know how to truly love his wife. Abuse is not love.

Image courtesy of niamwhan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

However, for those of us in a safe relationship, respect your husband. Always. What does that look like? 
  • Don't complain about him either to his face, to your friends, or anyone else for that matter.
  • Find out what his love language is and use it to show him how much you love him. You can take an online quiz to figure this out if it's not something you've heard of before.
  • Tell him how much you appreciate him. Does he work hard to provide? Thank him. Does he spend time with the kids? Thank him. Let him know you appreciate his efforts.
  • Let him "overhear" you tell someone else something you like and appreciate about him. Praise him in public.
  • Tell your children how much you appreciate all the things their father does for the family.
  • Here's a link to a great blog with 25 more ways to show respect

Marriage is never easy - even if you know someone who seems to make it look so. It is a serious commitment to each other to make it work. But at the heart of it are the two words I mentioned at the beginning - respect and love. Without one or the other, marriage will simply fail. So wives, I'm calling you to respect your husbands, even when it's hard. And husbands, I'm calling you to love your wives, even when it's hard. We were never promised an easy marriage when we said "I do" and the best things are the ones we work the hardest for.

Lisa is a wife to Bob. They just began their 21st year of marriage. She is also a mom to three boys (ironic, no?). Her oldest will soon be 18 but still has one more year at home. Her middle son is 13 and her youngest is 10. She also stays busy by homeschooling her children and watching a two-year old (a boy of course) full-time as well as other assorted children as the need arises for family and friends. She is very active in her local and state homeschooling community. She is also a very avid reader, enjoys writing, loves dancing at Zumba class, and checking Facebook a little too often. Lisa strives daily to become more Christ-like. She is reminded often of the Lord's mercy and grace and is thankful that He is so gracious to extend to her on a much needed basis. She lives in Maine on her own piece of "no-where land" with her family.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome responses and questions.