R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Find Out What it Means to Him

April 16, 2014

in Uncategorized

The word respect, or some version thereof, occurred twenty-two times in the What Your Husband Wants You to Know survey.

  • Your respect and conversely your disrespect cuts to the core of who we are as men and husbands.
  • Respect is more important than sex.
  • We need to be respected even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Unconditional Respect is essential.
  • Respect their husbands and do not patronise them!
  • Men have a difficult time with disrespect especially if being put down in front of others.
  • Respecting us is also part of our identity as men.
  • I want her Love and Respect me.
  • Man’s need for understanding and respect – we have our insecurities too.
  • Respect: Don’t speak to us like you do the kids (even if we’re behaving or acting like the kids).

Reading those, I see what a difficult task you ladies have with this one! Unconditional respect? Don’t treat him like a kid even if he behaves like one?

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The underlying issue here is most men do not feel respected in our society. They do not feel respected at work. Some women make negative accusations about them just because they are men. We want home to be a safe place. We want respect even when we are less than perfect.

Part of the problem is the fact men and women are different. We often do not think the way you think. We are more given to risk, and we do things for the pure excitement of doing them. This is not childish; it is who God made us to be. When a man is being a man, his wife will from time to time feel uncomfortable about his actions and choices. This tension is part of God’s plan, and we need to learn to embrace it.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt will go a long way towards his feeling respected. Saying, “Go ahead, but it will not work” feels disrespectful. “I told you so” is the same. Failure is part of how we learn and grow – can you make some room for that?

I understand the idea respect is earned. I also see how difficult that can be in a “prove yourself” atmosphere. I think there is a positional respect due husbands. We respect the office of the President and therefore respect the man even if we disagree with his politics. A similar kind of respect for one’s husband is good and helpful.

Most men feel a deep lack of respect. When you show him respect, it opens his heart to you. And that is a good thing!

For more on this subject, check out Are Love and Respect the Same Thing? 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

IntimacySeeker April 16, 2014 at 3:18 am

A comment about the risk-taking nature: from a wife’s perspective, some risks send the message that our husbands would throw us, and our life together, away just for a thrill or some fun. I’m talking about things like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving above the speed limit, etc. Actions that put his life and wellbeing at risk.

We depend on our husbands and would be devastated if they were hurt or killed. WE feel disrespected when they take unnecessary risks. Being a man also means putting an end to childish (selfish) behavior. You are NOT invincible!

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Paul Byerly April 17, 2014 at 10:58 am

I certainly agree with your thoughts. The issue is where the line is drawn. For me anything illegal is over the line.
Lori recently wrote something more or less along these lines – Learning to Live With Your Dreamer http://bit.ly/1r2RxH3. When we marry someone, we marry who they are. Marrying a dreamer or a risk taker and trying to change them to not be that person seems unloving to me. It is asking them to be someone other than who they are, which is a sure way to become miserable.
The other side of this is what you point out – we need our spouse, we depend on them, it would devastate us to love them.
Each couple must find a middle point that both can live with.
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Rosemary April 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

“We respect the office of the President and therefore respect the man even if we disagree with his politics. A similar kind of respect for one’s husband is good and helpful.” Great, but what if it isn’t just a matter of disagreement. What if the president behaves in ways that are completely inappropriate to the office? Imagine, for example, a president who got drunk in public and rudely insulted international diplomats during a press conference. Or a president who got caught buying and selling illegal drugs in the Oval Office. Or a president who behaved so childishly that the Secret Service had to stop him from smoking with teenagers in the alley and painting graffiti on walls. Surely at that point we might have to say that we couldn’t respect him because he was no longer respectable. Respect cannot be completely unconditional – If it is, it is meaningless.
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Paul Byerly April 17, 2014 at 11:06 am

I suppose we should respect the “office” enough to deal with such behaviour.
In the case of a spouse I think this should be done by the church. Sadly churches seem less and less willing to do this kind of thing.
The other part of this is knowing what God wants us to do. Hosea was told to marry and stay with a prostitute who commited adultery. I am not saying we are all called to do the same – but we need to hear God and do what He says.
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Robyn Gibson April 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

This was a great post! So often we wives don’t realize just how much power we have to make or break the marriage relationship. I loved this: “…can you make some room for that?” The overwhelming consensus I find is that wives want to say, “well, you can fail a little bit in this small area right here … but only a little. If you fail too big, then you’ll just make life too darn hard on me and the kids … so get it right buds.”

We wives want the grace from Jesus for our own sins and failures, but when a husband sins differently, he gets, “read the riot act,” life the wife is perfect.

Such a sad imbalance.
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Paul Byerly April 17, 2014 at 10:49 am

It does seem to be human nature to expect more grace than we are willing to offer. May we all do better!
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IntimacySeeker April 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

If/when my husband takes risks in the interest of protecting and providing for his family, I will support him even if he fails. I think it is important to remember that respect is important for both spouses, and there is a tendency to place too much emphasis on men needing respect and women needing love. Both genders need both forms of affirmation.
If my husband takes a significant financial risk in the interest of providing for us but does not discuss it with me, then I feel disrespected. I am his life partner and we should make these decisions together.

Paul, can you share some examples to help us understand what you mean by “we do things for the pure excitement of doing them.” What kind of things?

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Paul Byerly April 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

I agree the love/respect idea being gender specific has been pushed too far.

Things like rock climbing or riding a dirt bike would be examples of doing something for the trill of it.Roller coasters or target shooting would be safer versions of the same. Gambling and some forms of investing also qualify.
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IntimacySeeker April 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

What about rock climbing or riding a dirt bike generates excitement? The chance that you could get hurt or worse? Is there a sense of “winning” when you don’t get hurt?

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Paul Byerly April 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Part of it is the “conquering” aspect. Also the challenge, and the personal achievement. For some the risk/danger is part of it, but for some that is not a necessary part.
I think men are “programmed” to push their limits, to challenge themselves. That can easily go wrong, but it can also be a healthy and powerful thing.
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IntimacySeeker April 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Thanks. This helps.

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IntimacySeeker April 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I most naturally show respect for my husband when I acknowledge that his actions (some of which include risk) are a demonstration of his love for me. Most of what he does, he does FOR me. When I forget this, and perhaps misinterpret his actions, I am more likely to treat him in a disrespectful way.

Is this what husbands mean when they say they need their wives’ respect? For wives to acknowledge that their husbands have their wives’/families’ best interests at heart?

If so, perhaps fear is the culprit. When we fear our husbands do not have our best interests at heart, we feel threatened, and the disrespectful behavior begins.

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Paul Byerly April 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

I think you have hit on something important.
If I am working for my families best, and my wife does or says things that say she doubts that, it hurts. If I know she believes I have her best at heart, even when it does not look that way, it feels great.
So yes, it is about fear. And trust.
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