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This Father’s Day, Say It With Respect

What do you respect about your father? Does he make sacrifices to provide for his family? Is he great at solving a problem or fixing what is broken? Have you ever thought about what he would do to keep you safe? Is he the one who takes you on vacation or spends time outside with you? Do you call him when you need some advice?

Fathers have a unique and very special place in our lives. Father’s Day is a great time to express that to them, often with a card.  It takes some effort to find cards that honor men rather than make fun of them. Sure, he’ll laugh at the fart or beer joke, but doesn’t he deserve some heartfelt appreciation for who he is and what he means to you?

My husband and I have two grown sons who are terrific at selecting cards for us. The guys consider our family’s blessings and challenges and present us with printed cards or handwritten notes that come from the heart. When we read those messages, we both find ourselves tearing up a bit.

As the only female in our family, I’ve been quick to express my love to my husband and my sons. About six years ago, I began to understand that there are other sentiments and words that have special meaning to men – words that women can be more intentional about using. “I love you to the moon and back” may be how we feel, but a message that conveys respect reaches the hearts of our men and boys . My understanding of this difference between men and women has come from the Love and Respect teaching of Emerson Eggerichs that I first heard in 2011. As Father’s Day approached that year, I used Walmart’s website to make this custom card for my husband:

   

The Father’s Day cards I purchase are not for my dad since he passed away many years ago. I’ve taken some time to remember the eighteen years I had with him and to recognize the honorable man that he was. I would want my card for him to say “Thank you.” Thank you for building us a great house to live in, complete with my own chartreuse bedroom. Thank you for going to work every day to provide for our needs and to make it possible for Mom to stay home with us. Thank you for supporting me in my activities and goals. Thank you for the camping trips to Michigan. Thank you for the day trips to fun places like the Columbus Zoo, where I took photos for my 4-H project and realized after we had walked through the rain to our car that I had left my camera on a picnic table. You went back for the camera.

Dad has his hand on my head as Mom turns on the lights.

See how my sister’s bedroom in the background is elevated?

Mom designed our unique split level home and Dad made it happen.

It’s not always easy to tell the people who mean so much to us how we feel. Many of us have felt regret for not noticing and appreciating the day-to-day efforts and sacrifices of our parents. A card may be the way to tell your dad what it is that makes him special. You might do it by adding a personal note after the punchline of a funny card. I found a  list of meaningful Father’s Day messages for fathers, husbands, and grandfathers at LovePop if you need help getting started.

Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly, and the pride of sons is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6

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6 Ways to Energize Your Marriage

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I just don’t understand why my husband doesn’t (insert pet peeve here)!” or asking “How in the world did we get to such a crazy place in our marriage?”  Earlier this month, I led another group of wives through the video-based marriage course called “Respectfully Yours”.  There are two main reasons why I keep on offering to do this.  The first is that I can’t get enough of helping women gain insight into a very common reason for marital tension.  Secondly, as I keep on leading, I also keep on personally taking in this effective and encouraging teaching from Love and Respect Ministries.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Joy, present a challenging message to wives.  Those of us who have ears to hear it learn something very important about men and about ourselves.  And when we accept the challenge given, we find our marriages energized!

Here’s a crash course.  Research has revealed that if a marriage includes two things – love and respect – it has a great chance of lasting.  Husbands and wives need both of these elements.  But during a conflict, most women identify as feeling unloved, while most men feel disrespected.  What makes it CRAZY is that when she feels unloved, she negatively reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to him.  And when he feels disrespected, he negatively reacts in a way that feels unloving to her.

At this point, I want so badly to share all the things I have learned during a dozen times through “Respectfully Yours”, but this is a crash course entitled “A Different Approach.”  So here it is.

I’ll identify 3 things a wife can do to keep from unintentionally showing disrespect to her husband.

  1. Recognize that men and women are different by design.  Don’t blame him for not always understanding or dismiss him as uninterested in resolving issues.
  2. Be careful to say what you need to say with respectful words, tone, and facial expression at a time when both of you are calm.  Remember “It’s not what you say.  It’s how you say it.”
  3. Resist the temptation to point out his flaws or failures in front of your kids, parents, relatives, and friends.

Oh, how I want to keep going, but I’ll move on to 3 practical, proactive, and possibly surprising  things you can do as a wife to meet your husband’s need for respect.

  1. Be friendly!  Sadly, many husbands feel like their wives don’t like them.  Greet him at the door to show him you’re glad he’s home.  Smile more!
  2. Show how much you appreciate him by saying thank you.
  3. Recognize that while women love face-to-face talking, men often enjoy what Dr. Eggerichs calls shoulder-to-shoulder communication.  Just hang out with him while he’s working on a project or hobby and keep talking to a minimum.

Once again, I have to make myself stop at three suggestions, but if you give this different approach a try,  you may very well find your husband energized and your marriage moving in a positive direction.

If you want to know more about the effect of love and respect in marriage, please check out the free content (blog posts, videos, podcast episodes) on the ministry’s website.   You’ll also find downloadable content and books for purchase.  Perhaps I’ll see you in a future “Respectfully Yours” class.  That would truly make my joy complete.

“Ephesians 5:33 (ESV) However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ”

 

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