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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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!
- Show how much you appreciate him by saying thank you.
- 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.