Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday in the Word: Love or Respect?

Week #7: Love (Valentine's Day)
Love by *Kicki*
Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, I'd like to share a lesson I taught to our ladies a couple of years ago concerning showing our husbands (or fathers!) love in the way they perceive it. When a group of women is asked whether they would rather be loved or respected, most of them would rather be loved. But when men are asked the same question, most of them answer that they would rather be respected than loved! God made men to crave respect, and He told us in Ephesians 5:33 to "see that the wife reverence her husband." Now, they surely don't receive that respect (or reverence) in society in general! We're conditioned to see them as incompetent oafs who can't do anything right, and that's the message we send them, most of the time unknowingly.

How can we wives and daughters show the men in our lives the respect they so need?

Respect his judgment: his knowledge, opinions, and decisions. Romans 12:10 instructs us to "be kindly affectioned one to another, in honour preferring one another . . ." We should learn to defer to our husbands, even when it's an area we may be more knowledgeable in. Let him handle it, and don't tell him what to do! Sometimes that's hard, isn't it? We think that if we know more about it, we should tell him what to do. But to show him respect, it's better to present our position and then defer to him for the final decision. Please notice that I'm not advocating never voicing your opinion; I'm simply saying that, after voicing that opinion, we should defer to their decision.

Respect his abilities: let him figure things out. Genesis 1:28 God made men to subdue the earth. They love to conquer, and they love for us to acknowledge that they are conquerors! His natural inclination is to figure things out and master them. When we insist on helping him, it sends the message that we don't trust him to figure it out. True advice is not the problem here; it's when we give instruction that he feels we don't trust him. So do you trust your man? Do you truly believe he can figure out how to take care of things? Show him by not hovering over and "helping" him figure it out!

Respect him in communications: how you say things. Romans 14:19 says to "follow after the things which make for peace . . ." I have to admit, this is a hard one for me! I don't naturally know how to say things well, so I have to work at it. The truth is, we have incredible power in the way we communicate: we can tear our husbands down or build them up with just a few words. Be careful how you say things. He can hear disrespect when you say he can't do something ("My man just isn't a plumber; the last time he fixed the faucet he messed it up so bad we had to call a plumber!"). He can hear disappointment in your unsolicited reminders ("Honey, didn't you remember to order the material we need for our class?"). He can hear an attack when you question his ability to do something ("Are you sure you know how to fix that leaky pipe?"). Honestly, I usually don't mean to belittle my husband in these areas, and I have thought maybe he needs to not be quite so sensitive, but this is how he is wired. It's not the average man who needs to be less sensitive, but the average woman who needs to be more sensitive to her man's feelings!

Respect him in public: his ego. Proverbs 31:26 reminds us that the virtuous woman "openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness." We need to remember - no matter how much the opposite this may seem - that a man has a sensitive ego. When we tease, it's torture. I am guilty of this. I like to tease, but I've learned that we usually tease about people's weaknesses. How does teasing my husband about a weak area show him respect? We need to be careful of his ego when he is present, but also when he's not. Be careful how you talk about your husband to your mother, sister, or girfriends. Show respect for him to everyone, whether he's there or not.

Respect him in your assumptions: think the best of him. I Corinthians 13:5,7 teaches that charity (love) "thinketh no evil . . . Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things . . ." I think we'd say it now as give him the benefit of the doubt. When we think he needs to be reminded, maybe he has a different reason than ours for not doing something yet (this is different than when he asks to be reminded of something!). When we think he's choosing not to help, he may not even see the need. I had this happen once very clearly. I was getting things down from the top of a cabinet, and several things were about to fall. Wes was sitting in the same room, but I was behind him and he was busy doing something else. I assumed he just wasn't interested in helping me, so I said, quite angrily, "Won't you even help me?" Only then did he realize that I even needed help! So instead of assuming he is choosing not to help, ask him to help (in a nice way!). And when we think there's a problem because of him, maybe we should look more closely and see if it's because of us. We have to learn to quit assuming and learn to think correctly. Most of the time, our man is not choosing to ignore something; he just doesn't realize there's a problem. And when he asks if there's a problem? Don't say no if there is one. Tell him and get it figured out!

“We can take every opportunity, in public and private, to demonstrate – by words and actions – how proud we are of our men and how much we trust them. Just as we love to hear “I love you,” a man’s heart is powerfully touched by a few simple words: “I’m so proud of you.” Shaunti Feldhahn, For Women Only, page 49
I have a challenge for you this week! Observe the man in your life (husband or father) and see if you can find 3 situations in which he may be feeling disrespected. Then find 3 concrete ways you can show genuine respect to your man. Let us know how it goes!


  1. Good and wise advice. I cringe when I hear wives making little "digs" at their husbands to scolding them like children.


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