Respect

I ran across a few articles on how women can unintentionally disrespect their husbands.  It’s important to everyone, butmen interpret respect as love, which has broader implications.  The first article was very clearly based on scripture, the second made no reference to scripture or its underlying principles.  Both had lists of actions that demonstrate or communicate disrespect.  This was one list:

– Implying he is not intelligent/capable/competent

– Implying he is not enough for you sexually

– Implying he is not providing enough for you financially

– Implying that you are superior to him morally/spiritually

– Displaying contempt for who he is as a man not accepting him as he is (I am not saying you must respect sin, but that you respect him as a person and as your husband)

– Telling him what to do/bossing him

– Questioning him a lot

– Criticizing his family

– Taking control of the marriage/family and not allowing him to fulfill his God-given leadership position

– Making fun of him, putting him down, insulting him, criticizing him, belittling him, especially to others

– Body language that communicates contempt/hatred/judgment

– Implying that you respect another man more than you respect him

– Implying he is not a good father

– Undermining his authority as a father.

This list is quite exhaustive, I can’t imagine one person doing many of these regularly, but in such a situation it would be evidence of severe contempt.

One author addressed women who are dismissive.  “Sometimes though, a dismissive woman is more subtle.  She wont tell her partner shes dismissing his need or preference; shell simply ignore it.  Or shell become unavailable physically, sexually, or emotionally.  Why is this ‘bad’?  When a woman unilaterally dismisses her partners need or preference, her husband feels rejected, unloved and unimportant.  He may not say it, but he feels it.  Plain and simple, it hurts.”  This could fall into the unintended category, if one spouse regularly expected to have their preferences always followed.  It reminds me of a once popular saying, “Happy wife, happy life”, which could become a one-way street leading to dismissive attitudes.

This was a conclusion from a non-Christian perspective.

“Keeping a relationship together in todays world requires a man to actually know how to deepen the love, respect and attraction that a woman feels for him over time.  If he cant do that, the relationship will almost always fall apart eventually (or very quickly).”  I considered this a strange approach – the man is responsible for engendering the woman’s respect for him, therefore, it is his fault if she is disrespectful.  This is contrary to scripture, “wives are to respect their husbands.”  It doesn’t include the condition – if they deserve it.  The Bible gives similar instruction to men, to love their wife, without condition.

Another article had a shorter list of actions that are disrespectful:

1. Interrupt him

2. Not including him in decisions

3. Throwing him under the bus in public and/or demeaning him in front of others

4. Halfhearted engagement in conversations

5. Marginalize anything that stresses him out or bothers him

6. Holding a grudge

7. Using sex as a weapon/Ignoring intimacy

8. Expecting him to fulfill you

It is recognized that these acts of disrespect can also be done by men to their wife.  Over a period of time these behaviors do far more than communicate disrespect, they destroy one’s confidence and ability to feel loved.  No one is perfect or always right in every opinion or decision, and a fault-finder will exude disrespect in every situation.  In a worst case scenario effective communication will cease altogether, leaving only contempt toward each other, but at that point it will certainly not be unintentional.  In healthy relationships unintended behaviors can be corrected with love and respect restored.  We can not fix ourselves or others.  We need God to restore, deliver and heal us; fortunately that is exactly what he promises for all who come to him.

One Flesh

There is an old saying, “Behind every great man is a woman.”  The point is that a man’s wife is crucial to his success. However, this adage is out of favor in this current climate of political correctness for many reasons.  Chief among its problems is that one might assume the woman is subservient to the “great” man.  How chauvinist, how arrogant could men be.

I was in college during the height of the modern feminist movement, where the ERA, Equal Rights Amendment, was debated in the public square.  I married a woman who would quickly admit to being a proponent of women’s rights.  If she didn’t, she would have burned her bra, if necessary.  I worked under mostly women supervisors for most of my career.  I took my daughter to “Take your daughter to work day”, where I was the only father in the audience. The Director of our organization began to slander and denigrate men horribly at the opening of the event.  My daughter whispered that she was horrified and repulsed by this feminist tirade.  I sat there quietly listening while all the woman looked to see how I would respond, but I said nothing.  Women of lesser qualifications and achievement advanced ahead of  me in my career.  I’m not bitter, I only mention this as evidence of my experience with this subject.

The thing is – most men need a women’s support, advice, input, and love to maximize their potential.  Feminist may even find fault with this statement, but it’s true.  God gave woman to man as a help.  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2: 18).  Scripture explains that God’s provision of woman was why marriage was instituted.  “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Gen. 2: 24).  As one flesh, there is no competition, envy, or pride.

This old adage is generally true and gained popularity because it accurately ascribed credit to the woman for her husband’s success.  I believe my service, support, and love for my wife may have equally assisted in her achievement. Our thumb opposes our fingers and distinguishes humans from most animals and an opposing thumb allowed the use and development of tools.  We see that there is no competition between the parts of one body, even in opposition they are about one purpose.

Here is my encouragement – women do not underestimate the value, necessity, and strength that you have to help your husband, through love, support, and service.  God knew that he needed you and made you just right for this purpose. Yes, a husband has a duty and responsibility to help, provide and love you.  Neither chauvinist, nor feminist arguments will bring any good to marriage.  Let’s commit our lives to one another and fulfill God’s purposes through our different genders to God’s glory and majesty.

Wonders of Marriage

bible-verses-about-marriage“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew: 19: 4:6).

What an amazing revelation Jesus gives us in this answer to the religious leaders of his day.  The concept of male and female cannot be explained in evolution theory, it is so fundamental, so marvelous in design and interrelated with so much in our being, our identity, our behavior, our thinking and our desires.  Jesus tells us it is even… Continue reading