Have you considered doing this journey of learning to speak the language of respect to your husband and are wondering just how long it takes or if you will see results in your marriage?
Recently, I asked this question of our Facebook community: For those of you reaping the rewards of your efforts to respect your husband, 1) how long did you sow before experiencing harvest? and, 2) what has been your #1 learning about the process? The following stories are real, from real women, just like you. I hope they encourage you!
October we celebrated 15 years of marriage. I didn’t start seeing the rewards of my effort until about 2 years ago when he started to come to church with me on his own with an open heart. The one thing I have learned, it’s not about me. I can’t blame him for everything. I can’t control what he thinks, how he feels, what he thinks is important. All I can control is me and my reactions. It’s all in God’s hands. I can’t save my husband. God can. I can be the example and the seed planter, but that means he has to want what I have and if what I am showing him is nagging and ridicule and condemnation, he will never want what God is giving him! He has to see it through me….and God gets me through it every time!
My husband and I had separated 7 years ago after 15 years of marriage due to domestic violence. He decided he wanted a divorce, but never pursued it. After 10 months of separation, God miraculously reunited us!! Over the last 6 years, I’ve learned a LOT! I used to be scared of trying the whole “respect my husband” daily, because of the abuse I’d suffered. I thought I HAD been respecting him by putting up with abuse. But God got through to me and showed me that allowing abuse was NOT respecting him because I wasn’t respecting myself. It was only after we reconciled, and he changed his ways, that I realized I needed to change and no longer be a doormat. I also had to learn not to be argumentative and also to let him be his OWN person. Once I did that, and once I “let go and let God”, our marriage flourished in ways neither one of us had EVER dreamed it would! We love each other more now than we ever have before throughout our entire marriage! 🙂
I started on this Respect Dare journey 2 years ago. It got worse before it got better. I am seeing some fruit from this work and it truly is work. The thing I have learned the most is that I needed to realize I am a Woman of Worth before I am treated like that woman. God made me for a purpose and I will do my best to fulfill it for Him.
We have been through a VERY DIFFICULT couple of years and almost got divorced last year after almost 21 years of marriage. At that point (when we decided not to), my heart was all in but his really wasn’t. I had a decision to make in this area, either I was going to stay all in, or give up! So I chose to fight for our marriage!! For the past year I have loved unconditionally, respected his position as my husband unconditionally, and have fought for my marriage with everything I have and have tried to let God deal with him. Here we are a year later and I am just now seeing fruits of my labor and trusting that God had my best interest at heart. It was not in my time. I would have had it happen much sooner and without all the bumps in the road along the way. But my respect for him and unconditional love, regardless of seemingly hopeless circumstances, has paid off. God is in control and He is the only one who can stir the heart. This is not an easy task. Our human self tells us if we are not being respected, don’t respect. If we are not being loved, don’t love. But God sees it quite differently! 1Corinthians 13:4-7 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
It takes a supernatural power to LOVE like this! A power that only comes from the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, helping you walk it out every day! I am so thankful I have that and that I did not give up! I know that God is still working and that He has a plan and a purpose for all that has happened and He will use it for our good. He can do that, because He is good! So, if you have been respecting and loving your husband and feel you’re getting nowhere, don’t give up! Keep trusting God and He will see you through, regardless of the outcome.
My name is Hilda and I attend church in California. I am currently leading the Respect Dare study with 6 other ladies in my group. I am on Dare #32, which is why I’m sending you this email with my progress. I have seen a lot of positive changes while doing the study, such as a closer relationship with God and the willingness to do what He asks of me, such as speaking in front of a young mom’s group regarding the topic of “Anger”, since I lead an Anger Study also. I’ve always said that I’ll serve anywhere, but please God don’t ask me to speak in front of people. But when asked this time, I felt that God wanted me to face my fear and trust Him to be there with me, which He was & the talk went very well!
I’ve also seen changes when dealing with my husband. I’ve nagged less, encouraged more, showed more affection and gave him Grace, when in the past I would have “laid into him.” He seems to appreciate my efforts, because we have been getting along better, and he has appreciated that fact that I’ve taken on projects around the house that I normally would have left for him. I also apologize quicker and find it easier to talk to him about things that were hard to talk about before.
Finally, I’m excited to hear about all the changes that the ladies in my group have seen and will be sure to encourage them to email you their stories as well. One young mom, with 3 little ones, has noticed some big changes in her husband and I hope she shares them with you like she did with the rest of the ladies in my group. The ladies have bonded and want to continue meeting and we are looking at either doing a study on the 5 love languages, or the book called “For Women Only.” We want to continue staying focused on treating our husbands how they deserve to be treated.
After I finally realized that my judgment was immobilizing my husband and I began to really trust God to work in His life and in my life through him, it took 9 months for him to see that I trusted God to speak to me through him–something I thought I had done for years! It transformed our marriage because he then feared God’s judgment more than my judgment. (A major part of my judgment had been about his lack of fear of God. It was a terrible, self-perpetuating cycle because my judgment had blocked God. It placed me between him and God.)
I started following some of the suggestions from the respect dare a couple of months ago and began to see results within a couple of weeks. Mine was easy though, I have to admit because I was the sarcastic, take lead wife. It was me that needed the change more than anything and started to see my efforts. We apologize so much more quickly when we slip and that is a huge accomplishment because it allows us to move on and not stew over things. We will be married 14 years in April 2013.
How long? It was blended family, tricky to say the least. After much fighting (about 2 years in) we went to the Love and Respect conference. We started putting in to practice what we learned right away, and I mean right away we saw results. We now try to pick up the conference for a “refresher” when they are in Michigan every couple of years and take other couples with us. I now have the “Cinderella” marriage I always dreamed of but only because we try to stay in God’s word and do it his way, not ours. And the #1 thing I learned is your husband will not grow or become the husband you want/need him to be without that respect. It really is key, it’s not fluff, it really does work. “Speak life” into our men. 🙂
My Respect Dare journey began just over a year ago. I was only 4 months into my 3rd marriage but I knew that I never wanted to have a failed marriage again, and I knew that *I* was what needed to change. I have learned to respect my Knight in ways that I didn’t know he needed. However, somewhere in the reading of the book and following the blog/Facebook, this one reality changed my life: He is a sinner JUST LIKE ME. I don’t deserve the mercy of Christ, I don’t deserve Heaven, I don’t deserve a second, third, 70th chance, but God gives anyway. I had been holding unforgiveness for many years and I realized that the past didn’t matter. Today mattered. And I called and invited my Daddy to Christmas dinner (after a lifetime of blaming him for so much and 4 years of not even speaking to him), we had a great time, he hugged his grandkids, and he came back for Father’s Day and we talk monthly now (not a lot but a BIG step). My relationship changed with my ex-husband as I forgave him and now we co-parent with me showing him respect from afar, our children get the benefit. How long did I sow respect before the harvest? I would say that the moment I showed respect I reaped the harvest. And the #1 learning was about accepting who I am in Christ and knowing that God loves everyone around me in the same manner and I should love them through His strength.
I hope you find the stories of their journeys encouraging!
Just remember, you are not alone – many women have walked this path before you, and persevered, to be met with glory on the other side.
These are habits we are forming – they take time, especially if there are unproductive and destructive habits we are replacing.
We are rebuilding the trust in our relationship, and that takes time.
Don’t give up.
Dare ya! 🙂
Love to you,