"Is it true?" I asked in a hushed whisper.
He nodded his head yes.
I closed my eyes and tried to wrap my brain around this thought: My husband wants respect more than love.
We were on a long drive, the kids busy in the backseat, he and I, listening into shared ear buds, a book on CD.
He turned the words off and turned to me. "I know you love me, but I don't always know you respect me."
His words were gentle, his eyes warm. His beseeching, a sweet hug. But the words–they were like a knife. They cut deep. Because they were true.
The thing is, I deeply respect my hubby! We've weathered a great storm and are standing hand-in-hand on the other side. But I don't always talk respectively to him, especially when we disagree. Can my tone, my words, my second-guessing be disrespectful?
Yes. My own admission closes my throat.
*The author shares Ephesians 5:33 as the secret to marriage: "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
The love and respect game can be a dangerous cycle: Wives are commanded to respect even if husbands don’t love, same for husbands. It’s so hard for an unloved wife to respect her husband. When a husband feels disrespected, the tendency is for him to react in unloving ways towards his wife.
It goes round and round.
I couldn't help but think of the little disagreements that pepper our days, months, years. The things he forgets–that make me feel unloved—the disrespect in my tone, nagging, so 'he'll remember' offer him what he despises most, disrespect.
I want off that ride. We want off.
Even for the unsaved spouse, respect is suggested:
I Peter 3:1-2Leave a Comment
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
Love and Respect is a FABULOUS resource on this! Heaven knows I have needed to learn the lessons that you are so transparently sharing with us. I feel that only recently I left the kindergarten class on learning how important respect is to my man. You have inspired me to have a heart-to-heart with him again on this very subject. Thank you.
Have a beautiful weekend, Kristen.
As the comment above says, thanks for reminding me to be aware of this issue! I participated in the Love and Respect group study (with women only) and it was freeing for all of us to talk about what was working (or not!)–like saying “I want to be respectful” when I’m not doing a great job–what a difference even that made! We bought the book for all our married relatives for Christmas! It is marriage saving!
I remind myself of this daily. I think it’s so important to know what your partner desires, and also to know it might be different from our own desires!
This book is truly fantastic, and I had never thought of the love/respect relationship that needs to go on between us and our husbands…..I totally missed that memo, and the light bulb went off when I was given this book and read it. I always felt justified and never paid attention to my tone of voice I used when I felt “unloved” and it was wreaking havoc in our marriage. So, yes, if you’ve not read this book, go get it from the bookstore, borrow it from a friend or the library as it’s well worth your time……
I just finished reading this book a couple of days ago. Awesome book! I can’t wait to do more putting into practice when dh gets home, but trying to do as much as I can while he is gone, too.
It’s startling how often we don’t give our husbands the respect we’d give a stranger by NOT jumping on his case about things, NOT assuming he’ll get it wrong, NOT using harsh words. We can be models of patience and lovingkindness with strangers and acquaintances.
When God brings this to our attention, it’s for our restoration, not for our condemnation. THAT’s where we get in trouble a lot. We start beating ourselves up instead of getting onboard with the healing that God can do for us. We CAN unlearn habits.
Ashleigh (Heart and Home) says
Love and Respect has been the single most helpful resource in our marriage. It truly transformed us. I give it out again, and again, and again.
The area I struggle with is understanding exactly how my husband senses my respect. For example, simply saying “I respect you” is about as useful as him telling me, “I love all of you” when I really want to hear that my eyes are beautiful or that he appreciates something specific. I find myself praying daily (hourly?) for new, non-cliche ways to show him I respect him in a way he’ll understand, being it isn’t as natural for me. Perhaps I’m over thinking it or am the odd one, but we all already knew that!
Thanks so much for this post. My fiance and I are almost finished reading Love & Respect and it has been extremely helpful. We definitely still have a lot to learn.
Encouraging him in ways that actually translate is a challenge for me a lot of times, but when it works – it’s great 🙂
Jenni at My Web of Life says
I love the book Love and Respect! A group of us did a women’s book study on it and it was fantastic! I’ll have to check out For Women Only. Thanks for a great post (and a good reminder that we shouldn’t just give our love this Valentine’s Day).
Ouch my toes!!! Thank you for that reminder!!!
Thank you for this wonderful post. It is so, so true, but so easy to forget as well. I’m looking forward to reading the book you recommended.
Melissa Brotherton says
I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for 5 years now and for some reason haven’t taken the time to sit and read it. After reading your post and the comments of others I am going to add it to my reading list for this year. Thanks for the encouragement and advice!
Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side says
Our small group went through this book a couple of years ago and it was eye-opening. And humbling. Oh, so humbling.
Your words are a great reminder and conviction to respect our husbands.
Kelly Fitzpatrick says
i have been following your he said/she said posts like a starving gal. and here you are today, reminding me about the principles that are so easy to forget in the daily muddle: about love and respect. the Bible gently reminds, the book Love and Respect has too. and now you…”i hear you Lord! thanks for not letting me go Jesus! amen.” and thanks for speaking Truth kristen. may GOd bless your marriage this Valentine’s weekend–with real and lasting love that makes it through EVERY fire.
kindly, kelly (your kindred spirit 🙂
Natalie @ Naddy's Blog says
Excellent reminder… I think Marilyn, above, has a good point, in that we often get lazy and don’t respect our husbands… but treat strangers with respect. So upside down. One of my favorite authors on marriage is Nancy Wilson, especially her book “The Fruit of Her Hands: Respect and the Christian Woman”. Good stuff.
The church where we attend (and my husband is the worship pastor) is holding a Love and Respect conference this evening and tomorrow morning. We’re going, and I’m so excited! Our marriage is good, but we definitely need this and I think with it, the marriage will move from good to fantastic. Thanks!
Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says
Excellent post Kristen! Oh SO very true and a good reminder for me. Thank you!
I agree! It is hard cycle to get out of but if you can be the bigger person and start the changes are awesome.
We starting reading these books right before you started this series but the book was great for me. I had so many ah ha moments while reading it.
I am a work in progress (like us all) but I am happy hubby and I are both making changes to make our marriage stronger and better for both of us.
Major conviction has settled in. I needed to hear this today. Thanks for this excellent post!
I just found this website from http://www.thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/, and this is the first post I’ve read.
Incredible post! I love my husband so much. I do need to work more on showing him respect, though. I know that my husband really wants–needs–to be shown how much I respect him more than anything. Thank you so much for providing the book information; both books have just been added to my eBook wish list.
Thank you, and God bless! Oh, yeah, and Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂
Cheryl Rector says
Have the book, AND the Audiobook. Have read it repeatedly, and loaned it out extensively. Just mentioned it to our bookstore too, and they ordered copies. Even though it says things we all know, it is REVOLUTIONARY in HOW they say it so that it makes sense, and then sticks with you.
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
Beautifully written, these tender, needful words…
I so appreciate you, Kristen.
Thank you for being real, being humble, being godly…
so true. And a good reminder for me.–mostly I find that in my mind I use the excuse right now that I’m pregnant. I’m uncomfortable. I’m busy. None of those are good.
I’ve had my huband tell me before that respect is so important to him. And when I keep that in mind our relationship is a million times better then I could ever imagine.
thanks for the reminder.
thanks for the reminder. I know it’s huge in my marriage…and learned through mistakes. a big one for me is tone of voice–which he interprets differently than I intend…so certain tones need to be avoided. word choices too.
I love and respect my hubby–it’s the showing him part that is hardest. But, one can learn! Ad this spring is 20 years of marriage!
Seriously, Kristin, sometimes I feel like your twin. (In marriage stuff anyway. You’re way cuter than I am.;))
My husband and I JUST started reading Love & Respect even though we’ve known this truth about men needing respect for a long time. I’ve also been reading His Brain Her Brain, another one our church recommends and it IS definitely enlightening.
Thanks again to you and your husband for your openness and ministry lately. It’s been an encouragement to me.
Mary @ Passionate Perseverance says
I just read this in my email and the tears are running down my face. I so needed to read this today. I have not been a respectful wife even though I love my husband so much. So many mistakes made with my sharp tongue.
Thank you for being a Christ-bearer to me today. Such wise words…Now to put them into action. Blessings and Grace to you.
Renae Williford says
My husband and I attended Dr. Eggerichs marriage conference one year ago and we still talk about what a difference it made in our marriage. We still use the terms “pink” and “blue” when talking things out! 😀
I’m literally on my way out the door to go to this very seminar 🙂
I’m looking forward to it….
even though I’ve been married 30+ years, there’s always room for encouragement to be the best wife I can be!
Great post! I have a pretty good feeling I could improve in this area. I appreciate your honesty.
Great post, Kristen. I am not always respectful in my tone, but I expect him to be of me. Hmmm… Need to change that, pronto. Thanks for the reminder.
Beautiful, true words. After 43 years of marriage I can absolutely agree. I wish someone had written something like this for me when I was a young bride.
Jessica M. says
Wow, your post really hit home for me today. Our lives have recently turned upside down due to a job change, a new baby, and shifting “roles”. I realize I am not as respectful of him as I should be, and this brought to the forefront of my mind how *I* need to be the one to change.
Deborah McCarragher says
Great post on applying Ephesians 5:33. I have done the bible study relating to the book “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. It was eye-opening for many women including me, although I knew that respect was absolutely what your man needed most from you. I have written a Christian women’s book titled “MISSION POSSIBLE”. It addresses the struggle in a marriage when you love the Lord Jesus, but your spouse doesn’t share your passion. In my case, I became “unequally yoked” after my marriage. I invite you to visit my website and see what my book and ministry is all about. (in)courage might want to feature my book since it was written to bring hope & encouragement to women everywhere. I also have a Blog on which I post similar material. God bless…