Monday, November 2, 2009

for women only (part 3) - Respect as well as love

for women only:
you need to know about the inner lives of men
Shaunti Feldhahn

Chapter 2 - Your love is not enough
(why your respect means more to him that even your affection)

Feldhahn's research revealed that almost 75% of men would prefer to feel 'alone and unloved' than 'inadequate and disrespected'. Men desire respect in the same way than women desire love. This is very similar theory to the one by Dr Emerson Eggerichs in Love & Respect, a book we both enjoyed and I have reviewed previously here.

Feldhahn suggests that a way to know whether or not your husband* is feeling respected is by checking for anger, she quotes Dr Eggerichs,
In a relationship conflict, crying is often a woman's response to feeling unloved, and anger is often a man's response to feeling disrespected. (p24)
Men felt even more disrespected in times of conflict, 81% felt disrespected during conflict with their wives* whereas only 19% would suggest they felt unloved.

Just like continuing to love our husbands unconditionally is a choice so is our choosing to respect them unconditionally.

So, then - how can we show our respect for our husbands?

1. Respect his judgment - many husbands feel respected by their colleagues, but not respected by their wives in their own homes.

2. Respect his abilities - trust he can get the job done. This was interesting and will be close to home for many - eg. map reading, getting places. If we wives are constantly telling our husbands where to go, how to do something etc, they think we don't trust them to figure it out for themselves.

3. Respect in communication - it seems men can hear disrespect even when none was intended. If we suggest again that something might need fixing, some husbands can interpret it that we think we cannot count on them to remember things or get them done.

4. Respect in public - humiliating or even teasing in public can cause great damage to our husbands feeling respected. I think this can be a major issue among women, the 'who has the worst or most useless husband' session, with or without them present. As Christians, we should not be doing this to anyone, least of all the person on earth whom we love the most and have promised to be committed to. We should never speak ill of our husbands to others (with the obvious exception of when counsel is needed in areas of struggle or sin).

5. Respect in our assumptions - sometimes when we examine our hearts, we must realise we assume the worst eg.
- 'he needs to be reminded' - perhaps no, he just has different priorities or he has so much else to do he can't add another thing
- 'he's choosing not to help' - perhaps no, he just doesn't see the need in the same way you do
- 'it's his fault' - perhaps no, it could be ours - are we showing disrespect which results in him showing less love?

In conclusion, Feldhahn says:
We as women hold incredible power - and responsibility - in our hands. We have the ability to either build up or tear down our men. We can either strengthen them or hobble them in ways that go far beyond our relationship because respect at home affects every area of a man's life. (p48-9)
And quoting of the men whom she interviewed:
"You know that saying 'Behind every good man is a great women?' Well, that is so true. If a man's wife is supportive and believes in him, he can conquer the world - or at least his little corner of it. He will do better at work, at home, everywhere, By contrast, very few men can do well at work or at home if their wives make them feel inadequate." (p50)

Some things to think about:
For men:

  • Do you personally agree with this chapter - do you prefer to feel respected rather than loved? And do you actually want your wife to say she respects you? (it's worth discussing, for as Husband & I discussed it, he would prefer to hear that I love him, however, he obviously still wants to know that I respect him).
For women:

  • In which areas do you struggle to show respect to your husband?
  • Are you willing to ask him whether he feels that your respect him?
  • How can your change your speech or attitude to show more respect?
  • How could you show respect to your husband in the times when you do not respect him?

* for the sake of ease, I am going to use 'husband' and 'wife' in all references in this series. I realise not all readers may be married to the significant man in their life, but I don't like saying 'your man' as I feel like I should be singing a country and western song when I do, 'partner' is gender inspecific and 'significant other' is just plain awful!

On Friday (if you're lucky!): Part 4 - insecurity

1 comment:

Philippa said...

Very interesting! Reading your review I can see how I have slowly changed in my respect towards my husband in the years we have been married. Still a lot of work for me to do though!