Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Respect & Love In Marriage

Okay, so am I the only one who doesn't have a perfect marriage? It sure seems that way sometimes! Don't get me wrong.... I'm not complaining about him but hey, we sure could both improve on how we conduct ourselves in our marriage. A few months ago I decided our marriage was seriously lacking. Majorly lacking. For my needs at least and I couldn't put my finger on what I wasn't getting exactly. Definitely no romance but around Valentines Day I was able to hear the word "Cherish" and I said "That's it, I want to be cherished!". It was a pretty funny post I did back after Valentines Day on how I was going to get my husband to cherish me. Mostly I had decided to cherish him first. So I began to cherish him & do you know what he did? He acted like a garish rude bull! Here I was cherishing him and he didn't appreciate it one bit or

cherish me back. Instead of him reciprocating this new kindness and love he just became down right cranky and selfish. So I prayed about that. Lord I said, please help me understand what is going on here. I know better than to pray and ask you to change my husband so I have decided to change myself first and pray and ask you to change us both. Well, he's not changing for the better and he seems to not even like me anymore. What is happening here? Well, I didn't get any answers from the Lord except to keep on praying about it. So I did. It took awhile of praying and sometimes I would just get so angry with him that I would say, that's it! I give up!!!! Oddly on the days that I said that he would come around and apologize for being a doo doo head. So I went back to cherishing him again and then he would be a doo doo again.... day after day of that for about a month or so. A couple of weeks ago he started doing random acts of kindness. He began talking to me more and smiling and now he makes it a point to kiss me every single time he leaves the house. Me likey. Hmmm... what is happening here? Now he has begun to be more lovey dovey. So I think God is showing me something about marriage because now a great deal of what I am reading in my Bible and seeing on TV sermons is about marriage. Okay, I'm listening.
Well, during this process one of my sweet followers sent me an email and part of it said this: You see God has a plan and it's our job to RESPECT our husbands and it's his job to LOVE us. Well, when I read that I remembered Mike telling me a about a year ago or more about a Christian TV show he had been watching and it was about marriage. He said the woman had written a book and she was saying that she polled lots of men and women about love and respect in the marriage. Overwhelmingly the men said they wanted respect. All of the women said they wanted love. I remember thinking that was outrageous someone would want respect over love and I asked him what he preferred. Do you know what he said? He said respect. In retrospect he was clearly sharing this with me so I could "respect" him more. Hitting myself on the head with big stick. I mostly just remember thinking how odd that it was that men wanted respect more than love. I was too dumbstruck to realize he was trying to tell me something. I've never forgotten it though and occassionally I would try to tell him how proud I was of him for providing for our family and making his business a success. I have tried to let him know I respect him. It's hard though just to be honest 'cause we are complete opposites, especially with $$$$. So we aggrivate the poo out of each other sometimes. So when I read the statement from my friend I had an "aha!" moment. I'm loving on him but he'd rather have my respect! I am giving him what I want and not what he needs. Clearly I am doing this wrong. If I want him to cherish him then maybe I should be honoring him and respecting him and in turn he will do what he is supposed to do and cherish/love me. Respect my husband..... What does that even mean anyway, I mean really.... should I salute when he comes in?

Dictionary definition:
esteem: the condition of being honored (esteemed or respected or well regarded); "it is held in esteem"; "a man who has earned high regard"
an attitude of admiration or esteem; "she lost all respect for him"
deference: a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard; "his deference to her wishes was very flattering"; "be sure to give my respects to the dean"
obedience: behavior intended to please your parents; "their children were never very strong on obedience"; "he went to law school out of respect for his father's wishes"
regard highly; think much of

Okay, maybe saluting is going too far. I will be working on this "how to respect my husband" thing without turning myself into ........ well, something I don't like.

But then...... I was reading in Ephesians Chapter 5. I have read this a boogoodle of times and it always stopped and made me wonder. Frankly I had forgotten all about this part of the passage that I am going to share and only remembered the above verses. In Chapter 5 beginning in verse 22 we see instruction on Wives & Husbands. Verse 33 was a real stumper for me in the past but this time "By George, I think I've got it!". Verse 33: However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

When I read that I just about fell over. Holy cow, there is that respect thing again. I could never figure out in times past why they were to love us and we were to respect them. I always just assumed it was that ole ugly repress the women thing. I was brought up in deep southern Baptist country where the men were pretty much like, you work for me and you will respect me and I am your boss type behavior. I never ever could understand why wives were not told to love their husbands but to instead to respect them. (Yes I know there are verses saying we should both love each other but the final instruction is to respect them.) I always felt like they misinterreptered the scripture and now I think I see something new (to me at least! If anybody else has figured this out and you are laughing at me you can feel free to tell me what a dummy I am). Maybe, just maybe..... you know with God being all omnipresent & our Creator and all He would know that men simply prefer and want and need respect from their wives. And that women would simply prefer and want and need love from their husbands.This wasn't just a harsh command to respect our husbands. This was God showing Paul what each person needs and instructing us that to have a happy marriage this is how we needed to treat each other. Have you ever heard this preached? I never have..... I don't think I attended good churches. I was always instructed in this passage that my husband would basically be the man in charge and he got to make all the decisions and hopefully consult with me but he was the man and he was in charge and I should respect him. I see God showing me personally maybe that my respect is my love for him. It is a fulfillment of my love for him and has nothing to do with him be ing in charge or being entitled to run our family. The respect is a love language and the respect is how I show him my love.
Paul sure had a clear line on what God wanted us to know so I surely do believe he wrote what God had showed him. Maybe just maybe those were guidelines on how each other needed to be treated to fulfill both needs. Men want respect first, love second. Maybe this was a way of saying if you want a happy marriage then treat each other this way. Not just a direct command for women to respect their husbands, period. I think both things need to be going on at the same time for this to work and although in my Southern Baptist upbringing only the women submit and respect thing was taught. Somehow all that hard work the husbands have to do was skimmed over. Hmmmm...... But I think I see the light now. It's not just a harsh "respect your husband" command. It is a loving do this to show your love for him thing. It's what he needs so give it to him thing. Light bulb. Wow, I'm so glad I got that finally. Wouldn't you know that Ed guy was preaching on marriage this weekend and so was Jentzen Franklin. Pastor Franklin did a real neat sermon on the salt covenant which I never knew about. Great stuff. So I am going to be sharing this Chapter with the man...... We'll hopefully have a frank discussion about him lovin me and me respectin him and all. I am still seeing things come up about marriage so I feel certain God is talkin to me.....
Pop Quiz Time: So I am learning these things about respect and love and what happens? The perfect situation arises involving money and his decision making and I most aggressively in my mind do not agree. Not one single bit. In fact I am really quite upset about it. It also involves his business and his ability to work. I haven't been able to bit down my objections completely but in all of "this" I have felt God strongly urging me to stay respectful to him in my objections & voicing my concerns. I have learned when I question his business decisions or talk about them too much if a mistake is made he feels like I question his ability to make any good decisions or his ability to provide for the family. He feels I am questioning his "manness", so to speak. I don't understand all this man stuff to be honest. But I am learning so I guess that counts. We also have a situation with my teens car that has the most outrageous stink coming from it (we think it's a mold issue from a leaky sunroof & Carmax has it again trying to fix it. But it's been a long issue and whenever the stink is brought up hubby gets so angry. I mean run fast angry. I finally figured why.... he picked out the car, he bought the car and when we are making fun of the stinky car and she is refusing to drive it due to the funk stink he considers that a direct insult to his gift and the fact that he bought that car. I told him that is ridiculous, who knew the roof would leak and then we'd get mold? He couldn't know that? But to him, our jokes and her refusal to drive the car was a direct insult. We weren't respecting him. This respect thing goes deep I think. So being me I shall dive into my Bible and research and pray for guidance on this whole how to respect my hubby properly thing and I can't wait to see what God shows me. Fun fun.


Tasha Simons said...

Nice picture of you and Amber, Jenny. Sorry to hear the mole bothers you. I think you look good regardless. Sounds like you are learning a lot about investing in your marriage in a way that Mike feels valued. How true that we tend to love others in ways meaningful to us but not necessarily to them. I fall into the same pattern so I do relate on this. Enjoyed talking on the phone and catching up yesterday. Love you, Tasha

Anonymous said...

Hello,nice post thanks for sharing?. I just joined and I am going to catch up by reading for a while. I hope I can join in soon.