Respect Lesson Part 1 –

I am teaching at a Women’s Retreat in a couple of weeks and one of my topics is respect.  I’ll be sharing my lesson here over the next few days.  Feel free to post a comment and give me encouragement or critique.

RESPECT

Women have  huge amounts of power and influence over the world through the men in their lives – fathers, brothers, sons and especially husbands.  This power and influence is a command from God, but it is usually carried out quietly, generally behind the scenes in small, often overlooked and unappreciated ways.  We are God’s secret weapon against Satan.  We need to embrace our calling as women and as God’s stealth bomber in the battle against Satan and his wiles.  The first weapon in God’s arsenal is respect.

I’m going to discuss how respect relates to our relationships with all the different men in our lives, but I want to start with husbands.  Most of us have or have had or will have a husband and so can relate to what I have to say about them. I’ll also discuss fathers, sons, brothers and bosses.

Ephesians 5:33 says “Wives respect your husbands”.  Although this short little sentence might be considered an after-thought, this is a command from God.  This is not negotiable.  God doesn’t say respect your husband if he did the dishes, or took out the trash, or did family devotions, or makes as much money as necessary to keep you in the lifestyle to which you would like to become accustomed.  Nope, God says do it.  Period.  If you don’t like it or don’t agree, please take that up with God.  He said it, I’m just repeating it.

Why is this a command from God?  Why did He make it so important that he had to command it from us?  First off, this is one of men’s most basic needs.  Besides sex, respect may be the one need that men need a constant flow of to function properly as men, husbands, fathers. This can sometimes be a foreign concept to women, because respect is not really high on the list of basic needs for women.  It’s nice to have, it’s sometimes really important, but we don’t generally have apoplexy if we don’t get it.  Most men, given the choice of only having one or the other will choose respect over being loved.  Most women, given the same choice will choose being loved over being respected.   God also had to make this a command to women because quite honestly it does not come naturally to us normally.  Speaking, acting and behaving respectfully is difficult and takes careful thought.  It’s not automatic for us.

So, now we know we need to respect the men in our lives, in particular our husbands, but respect what exactly?  We need to respect his judgement, his abilities, respect him in our communicaton, in public, in our assumptions, in his opinions.  There are probably more areas where respect is needed, but these will certainly get us started.  So, how exactly do you show respect in these areas?   

Respect his judgment by not questioning his knowledge or his decisions all the time.  Defer to them sometimes.  It’s not always necessary to be right or to be the know-it-all.  Don’t make him feel stupid.

Respect his abilities.  Respect his ability to fix, repair, rebuild, find the way.  If you don’t let him at least try, you are telling him consciously or unconsciously that you don’t trust him.  Don’t make him feel like an idiot.  If he can’t figure it out, he’ll stop and get help.  He doesn’t need to feel stupid and like an idiot before he even has an opportunity to try.

Respect him in your communication.  This one really boils down to watch not only what you say, but how you say it.  Once your husband feels disrespected by either one of those,he will shut down and not hear anything else you have to say.  We want our guys to communicate with us so let’s keep those lines open.  Think before you speak is a very good axiom.  Watch your words, but also watch your tone.  Remember gentleness is a fruit of the spirit we should cultivate.

Respect him in public.  Do not tease him in public and especially not in front of other guys.  It is torture.  Remember that he does not generally feel adequate to his tasks in life and your teasing him just feeds those feelings of inadequacy.  Don’t humiliate him.  Also, respect him in public even when he is not around.  Don’t speak poorly of your husband in public just because he can’t h ar you. Instead, choose to speak publicly of all the things he does right.  This will not only build him up in other people’s eyes, but will reinforce it in your own eyes as well.

Respect him in your assumptions.  Don’t assume the worst about him.  Case in point, if you ask him to do something and he doesn’t do it when you think he should, don’t assume that he isn’t going to or that he forgot or that he is not doing it to make you angry.  Assume differently.  It may be that it is just not as high on his priority list as it is for you.  He’ll get to it, it just needs to be on his time frame not yours.  Assume he has heard you and is doing, or not doing things for good reasons.

Respect his opinions.  This goes back to his judgement, but I’m going to talk to you about this particular aspect a little more in a bit.

Ok,so how does this look in real life?  How do we apply these ideas in our everyday lives?  Let me give you a few examples from my own life.  Understand I am not perfect and I tend to fail in this area more often than I succeed, but I am much more aware of what I’m doing or not doing these days so I can catch myself quickly and repent and ask forgiveness when I mess up.

First up, respecting his judgment. A few months ago, my husband and I had to make a financial decision.  I was totally against doing something financially and he was about 90% for it.  We were at a bit of an impasse.  So, I had a choice to make.  I could choose to be respectful or I could choose to be a squawking harridan.  What I did was to sit down with my husband and tell him up front, “What ever you decide I’ll do.  But you need to understand where I stand on this and how I feel about it”  Then I proceeded to lay out my objections to the situation.  Once I had done that….I shut up.  I left the decision completely in his hands.  Was it scary?  Yes.  Did I trust him?  Honestly, not necessarily.  Did I trust God to take care of me regardless of what my husband decided?  Yes.  And that is sometimes where we as women have to find our hope and our strength.  Not in the fact that our husbands always make the right decisions, but that God is perfectly capable of taking care of us if he doesn’t.  So, after careful consideration on his part, he decided to go ahead with the financial decision.  I kept my mouth shut and did what he told me to do.  I wrote the check. What was the pay off here?  What did I gain from being respectful in this instance?  What did I gain from respecting his judgment? I got a husband who took my objections seriously, took into consideration everything I had said and made me a partner in the plan.  I also got a husband who had his ego boosted just a bit by hearing his wife say “I trust you”. And men really do have fragile egos.  Most men routinely feel inadequate and hearing “I trust you” is just a huge counter to these inadequate feelings.

Now, it wasn’t very long, really just a few days before it was made very clear that it was the wrong decision.  Not for the reasons I had put forth, but for some different ones I hadn’t even thought of.  Now, I had another choice to make.  I could continue to show respect for my husband or I could rant and rave and tell him “I told  you so”.  My very human heart wanted to point the finger and blame him for a bad decision.  Instead, I chose the path of respect.  Instead of making my  husband feel worse about the situation than he already did I told him “It’ll be ok.  We’ll get through this no problem.”  It was still scary.  It was still eating at me.  But I chose not to make him feel worse about a bad decision than he was already feeling.  What did I gain from this?  I gained a husband who was willing to do whatever it took to make up for the decision and it’s consequences. I gained a husband willing to discuss with me different options to get through the situation rather than just pulling back from me and not talking to me at all for fear of being disrespected even more.

A couple of weeks later, my husband was offered a shift at work that pays more.  It was only going to be for a few weeks, but the pay was higher.  The problem was it was a 4 a.m. to noon shift.  So,he would have to get up at 3 in the morning to get to work.  Remember I said I had gained a husband that was willing to do whatever was necessary?  He gladly and willingly accepted the shift in tours to make the extra money.

Now, once again I had a choice to make.  This shift put a bit of a strain on me as well.  Hearing his alarm go off at 3 in the morning could easily cost me two hours of sleep if it woke me up enough.  Because he had to go to bed so much earlier, I had to hit the door at night and immediately start cooking, doing laundry etc so it would be done in time for him to get to bed on time.  Now I could have whined and complained about the difficulties this shift presented to me.  I could have made him feel bad about even trying to mitigate the financial consequences.  I chose to keep my mouth shut and step up to do what needed to be done.  In all it was just three weeks of inconvenience.  What did I get out of it? What did I get from again respecting his judgment?  I got more money in the bank which helped fill up my need for security.  Most women have a huge need for security and money in the bank just feeds those security needs.  I also got a husband who helped me out at night to make sure everything got done in time.

This whole thing is just one example of a situation where I chose to be respectful of my husband.  It could have easily gone the other way.  In that case, I would have gained a husband that would not have wanted to talk to me or be around me for fear that he would be disrespected and put down even more.  Satan would have gained yet another foothold in our marriage.  Remember, Satan’s goal is to kill, steal and destroy and one of his favorite areas to wreck havoc is in marriages.

I’ll post more of my lesson tomorrow.

I’ll be linking to Titus 2sdays, Above Rubies, Proverbs 31 Thursdays

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. becky3086
    May 08, 2012 @ 13:03:30

    Well, for the most part I agree but I am not EVER going to think that my influence has to go through a man to count. I also don’t think you should pretend everything is good and positive if it isn’t. I think my other half feels I respect him more when I tell him the truth.
    Oh and since the Bible was written by men I tend to be skeptical on the “Wives respect your husbands” bit.

    Reply

  2. Elizabeth@Warrior Wives
    May 08, 2012 @ 21:52:39

    This is a great lesson! My husband and I have been through Emerson Eggerich’s Love and Respect series twice now and it completely changed our marriage in those very early difficult years. And I had to laugh at the situation about the financial decision because almost that exact same thing just happened to us, but about buying a car. I still don’t feel great about the decision my husband made, but I really appreciate the fact that he valued my opinion, kept me a part of the decision making process, and he researched it and talked to many other godly men before making his decision. It is sooo hard sometimes, but my husband has appreciated feeling like I trust him and that he is capable.

    Reply

    • heavensdaughter
      May 08, 2012 @ 23:46:14

      It is definately hard, but the gains from respecting our husband’s decisions is so worth it in the end. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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