Respect Lesson Part 2

This is part two of my Respect lesson for the Women’s Retreat.  You can read Part 1 here.

 

Respecting his abilities.  I have to admit this one is usually pretty easy for me.  As far as I am concerned my husband is Mr. Fix-it.  I have rarely found anything he couldn’t fix either with the right part or jury-rigging it to make it work.  When we went to Scotland a couple of years ago we didn’t rent a car so we did a lot of walking.  He always knew exactly where we were and how to get to where ever we needed to go.  Without a  map.  It’s like he has his own internal GPS. However, there is one area that I do struggle.  I struggle with trusting and respecting his abilities driving.  I hate riding with him and I especially hate riding with him on the freeway.  Now understand, he used to drive all over several states for a living and he is an excellent driver.  He has a wonderful driving record as far as tickets and accidents.  And yet, I have issues.  It’s my issue, not him.  But when I let it show he feels very hurt and disrespected.  It’s telling him I don’t trust him.This for me is a God issue that absolutely has to be fixed for the sake of my husband as well as myself.  

Respecting him in communication.  I unfortunately was raised by a very sarcastic mother.  I learned her communication habits and they were not always good ones.  Recently, I have begun really being aware of not just what I say but how I say it.  It makes such a difference when I speak quietly and softly and gently.  If I don’t react and jump down my husband’s throat because oh my goodness he’s breathing.  If I stop and think first and don’t assume he’s being a deliberate jerk and answer gently it is so much better for our overall communication.  It feels fake at first, like you’re putting on an act, but after awhile it becomes more of a habit and not just an act of my will.  A while back, while I was working on this lesson I really messed up.  I was totally disrespectful in my communication with my husband.  I knew I was going to be tested in this cuz I was getting ready to teach about it.  Any pastor will tell you that when you are teaching on a particular subject you will be tested in it yourself.  And boy was I .  My husband was pissed!!  What he said to me was just a knife to the heart, but so eye-opening for me.  He told me, “If I can’t talk to my wife about anything and everything without fear of her jumping on me for it, then I have no one to talk to.”  Ouch.  But it really is true.  Men do not form relationships the way women do.  Women have friendships where almost anything can and is talked about. Not so much for men.  They have to protect themselves and keep up the respect facade for their own well-being. It’s very rare for a man to have more than a superficial relationship with another man. So, having a listening respectful wife is absolutely paramount.  It is critical.

Respect him in our assumptions.  I have to not assume he’s doing something to make me feel bad.  Like cleaning the house.  His ideas of clean and my ideas of clean are not always the same.  I can deal with a lot more clutter than he can.  We’ve had tons of arguments over the years about this.  So, I’ve noticed him doing more of the cleaning, like doing the dishes – loading and unloading the dishwasher.  It can make me feel like he’s trying to make me feel bad for not doing it as quickly as he wants me to.  In reality, he’s just doing it to take the pressure off me.  He’s finally realized that we both work full-time jobs and he can’t expect me to do it all.  But I have to respect that he’s really doing it to help me and not assume he’s doing it to jab at me.

Remember I said we should respect their judgment and their opinions as well? For my husband, how I look can be either respectful or disrespectful to him.  It truthfully doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me how it can be that way, but it’s incredibly important to him. I know that sounds really shallow of him,but when you understand his reasoning it’s not quite as shallow as it seems at first.  Remember, men generally feel inadequate in pretty much every area of their lives and so they compare themselves to other men maybe more than we women compare ourselves to other women.  How his wife looks is a reflection on so many areas of a man’s life – his abiliy to provide, to protect and to “win” the prize. So, here’s another story for you.  I am not a girly-girl. I’m really not.  I hate pink, I hate chick-flicks, and I think I missed out on the romance gene altogether.  I dress in brown, I love a good sword-fight-space-ship-gun-fight-massive explosions movie any day.  When I was growing up spending all day on a Saturday in my jammies with bed-head was not an uncommon occurence.  And then I got married.  My husband’s idea is that you get up on a saturday, get dressed, do your hair and put on makeup even if you are just going to sit around the house all day.  I fought my husband’s opinion and preferences for years!  I sincerely didn’t think it was a big deal.  Now, some of you remember when I had really long hair.  I loved it.  It was easy to take care of, it was wash and go, it was great.  My husband hated it.  Again, I fought this for years.  Finally, not too very long ago I caved.  I realized I was being disrespectful even in the way I looked.  Not that I was overly slovenly, but I wasn’t lining up with what my husband wanted.  And guess what ladies, guys do care how you look even if they don’t or won’t tell you.  So,I first started making sure I got dressed, did my hair and put on makeup even on Saturdays.  Then, I really bit the bullet.  I decided to cut my hair. I dragged my husband with me to a very expensive salon up in Erie that had come very highly recommended.  I forced him to look at pictures of hairstyles in a couple of books until he found one that was the length he wanted my hair to be.  Then I sat down in the chair and let the stylist do whatever she thought would look good on me. And let me just say, I loved what she did.  The length is perfect, the cut is perfect, it is still wash and go if I want it to be, I can curl it, wave it, straighten it, put it up in a ponytail, pull it back in barettes….whatever.  It is much more versatile than it was when it was long.  And, my husband likes it.  I’d call that a win-win situation.  But, I kicked against respecting his wishes and opinions for way too long.   That was a huge fail.  

This is the last of my Respect lesson concerning husbands.  The rest of my lesson concerns fathers, brothers, and bosses.  Please let me know what you think.  All feedback is appreciated.  I hope you are blessed.

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