While we were engaged, my husband and I were given a few marriage books by our church. One was a book set of For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn. These Christian-based books were revolutionary for us, and I will say that if you have never read them, married or not, you should. I learned so much about both becoming the kind of wife my husband needs and becoming the wife God meant for me to be.
A lot of the book focused on respect. I remember thinking to myself “Well of course I respect him”. But in learning what respect means to a man, I began to realize that maybe I didn’t respect him in his eyes.
What did respect mean to me? I equated it with self-worth. My husband is a great man, with a smart mind, a beautiful heart, and a lovely smile. I respect him as a person and treat him as my equal. That’s the definition, right? WRONG.
Based on descriptions in the For Women Only book and from discussions with my husband, respect is to men what love is to women. Most women value love more than respect, while most men value respect more than love.
Ephesians speaks about this difference between men and women:each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
How interesting that God commanded women to respect their husbands in the same sentence he commands men to love their wives. All women yearn to be loved. By not showing respect to our husbands, it is the same as our husbands not showing love to us. This was definitely a mind-blowing realization for me!
Some women might hear this and think “wow, I didn’t realize how important respect is to my husband, but it’s a good thing I respect him”. Have you ever asked yourself what respect actually looks like to men or to God? Sure we can say respect is “not belittling him” or “asking his opinion” or “treating him as an equal”. However, what I see in society is a huge amount of disrespect toward men. This makes me believe that most women don’t even know what respect looks like. Just think how many movies or tv shows are out there showing the bumbling husband and the smart, intelligent wife who puts up with him. This makes me think that society, and women in general, really don’t understand what it means to be respectful to our husbands.
So what does respect look like to a man? If your husband values respect over love, then shouldn’t it be the foremost thought in a wife’s mind?
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this post