Let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph.5:33)
Oh, okay, got it. Seems fairly straightforward.
Except that this respect-thing strikes me as rather vague. Undefined. I’m not trying to be difficult either, it’s just not as clear as I’d like it to be.
Not like love.
I know what it looks like to love.
That’s an easy one. Love is when you spend time with me. Listen to me. Care about me. Look after me. Take a keen interest in my thoughts and ideas. (Chocolate can help too.)
No, love is an easy one to figure out.
But respect? That’s an entirely different matter.
Apparently, it’s an important matter though. So important that you’ll find respect toward the top of his list. Yes, respect is highly-rated among the men.
I’ve even heard it said that they would rather be unloved than disrespected—is that wild, or what?
Now the fact is that I do respect my husband. I really do. I guess it’s the showing of it that gets to be something of a challenge.
Because you’ve heard how we each have our own unique “love language”?
Well, I suspect that there must be some kind of a “respect language” too. You know, “what says respect to him” or something along those lines.
So one day I just up and asked him. Straight out. “What makes you feel respected? By me?” And I waited for his answer.
After a while, he mentioned a thing or two. Things like how I’ll talk positively about him in public. Or how I’ll ask him, rather than tell him what needs to be done around the house. Then added how I’ll stop what I’m doing to greet him when he comes in the door.
These were meaningful things to him.
But for the most part? I was on my own.
I made it a point to study what made him smile, as well as what made him flinch.
It was up to me to figure out what made him feel respected.
4 Ways of Respecting Him
Trust him. Somehow a man instinctively knows if you believe in him–or not. For instance, how you respond to his decision-making speaks powerfully to him. Is your first response to question him? Challenge him? Or do you save that “coupon” carefully? He needs you to trust him and his final decisions.
Admire him. He’d like to know that you are his biggest fan – hands down! No one should admire him more than you do. My personal goal? I never want anyone who works with my man to think more highly of him than I do. I want him both to see it in my eyes and to hear it from my mouth.
Be loyal to him. Fiercely loyal. You’ve got his back and he knows it. Your children should know it too. In fact, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind where your loyalty lies. No one would dare say anything disparaging about your man in front of you because that is simply not done.
Honor him. Both in private and in public. So that he doesn’t have to concerned about what you might say to him or how you’ll represent him in front of others. You never want to demean him or bring him down a notch. Quite the opposite. He can even be confident that you’ll respect his wishes when he’s not around—your regard for him goes that deep.
So why not ask your own husband what makes him feel respected? (Just don’t be too surprised if you have to wait a while for him to answer.)
Take to heart whatever he shares with you and then add to that list from what you’re able to learn by watching him.
Pray about it and ask God to show you the ways you can lovingly respect your husband.
You might be surprised to see what a difference it makes in your marriage.
In His grace,
*This is an excerpt from The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage, now available free for subscribers to Club31Women. Click here for more information.
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