Two KEYS to STOP causing conflict…
“Are you open to a thought around the garden?” he said.
Hmm. Actually, no, I really wasn’t, but I also knew the positioning may have been perfect for the sun, but something seemed off with regards to the many angles of the property…
“You bet. What’s up?” I replied.
“The placement seems a little off maybe. Can we look at moving it?” he inquired.
I confess to a half-second thought of “WHAT?” but quickly squashed it.
(I’m interrupting myself here to say this… I started blogging again a few weeks ago, and though I really wanted to get moving with The Respect Dare 2 content… the Lord simply wouldn’t let me til I shared these two tiny stories – I do hope you find them of value, they seem super small, but they are what He keeps bringing to mind to share with you.) 🙂 anyway thanks so much! 🙂
AND anyway… hello, this was also HIS home, so why wouldn’t I be open to his thoughts?
Thankfully, the raised beds sat assembled, but not filled. I couldn’t even finish the last one because the panels were the largest and destroying my hands.
Arthritis and tendonitis are chronic issues and I needed his help.
We spent a half hour measuring and talking, looking at the fence, the big pole barn and stable, the garden shed, and the road through the property, all which were NOT centered or angled… which one should we line the garden up with?
Got it settled without disagreement or issue.
We pulled up the landscape fabric and moved everything to the new location.
The next weekend, he asked me what my plans were. “I’ve rented a trailer, and I’m not signing you up for this, but if you are interested, I’m going to grab a mulched tree off this lady’s property.” I explained what the wood chips would provide our garden over the winter, and in the future, even shared a video, and he was all in.
I’m so glad he said he would like to help!
We shoveled well over 1000 lbs maybe 1500 lbs of wood chips into the trailer. Given he is nearly a foot taller and MUCH stronger than I am (and I’m not saying I’m not strong, I am a strong woman, but wow, was I thankful for my BIG man husband with that shovel) just sayin’…
THEN we drove back to our house, and shoveled them AGAIN onto landscape fabric behind the raised beds.
When it was all over, I thanked him and God. Once again, I had bitten off more than I could chew alone.
These two tiny encounters represent the two keys I wanted to visit about today.
(Thanks for hanging in here!)
But here’s the thing – life happens in “the smalls” AND… we don’t notice when we do things “right” because our brain is wired to keep track of threat, not joy. It is also wired to RUN on joy, so we need to have some basic awareness to make that easier. (check out this podcast with Dr. Marcus Warner for more on that here!)
First of all, notice the “openness” of both of us – when looking at some of the basic principles of respect, which is at its core, a man’s language. He literally asked me, “are you open…” and I made a decision to be. Part of this journey will be learning the differences between men and women (no, it isn’t politically correct to say this, but to not recognize those is to treat men like girlfriends and create more conflict!). Men (not boys! and on average) are verbally GENTLE, unless they are challenging one another. They are vastly different than women in some of the ways they think and communicate. I am speaking in generalizations, yes, but we’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg today. (15 minutes about THAT here with KNEO radio)
KEY 1: Be OPEN
ASK if the other person is open, and then CHOOSE to be open, yourself, even if the other person doesn’t ask. Here’s why – men (same as women…) typically have a good reason for what they are suggesting.
Think about that – are you JUDGING instead of being open?
I want to ever so gently recommend that you stop.
It isn’t our place to judge other people, that’s a Throne Seat job.
My guess is we are all doing waaaayy too much judging…
By being open to the person, you are not choosing to lay down your thoughts or ideas. You are being open to a person – you still get to think what you want. It might, however, turn out that God gave you a great idea through this other person, then they feel part of the plan because of their contribution. OR it may be that neither idea works, but because you are open to the person, you and he get to sift and sort the ideas and might together come up with the best solution! In the 32 years we have been married, this is the FIRST year we are gardening together!
BTW, openness is what “submission” is. And yes, the Bible tells us to be submissive to each other, and wives to be submissive to their husband. It’s old language that means BE OPEN.
It’s also just basic good human relationship skills that put YOU at a level of mastery that most people don’t have.
Any fool can judge – and most fools DO.
Let’s not be fools, let’s be respectful of all people – because God has determined their worth already. We should then act as if that were our identity. He is IN us, and our life here is spent trying to have “more of Him and less of me,” meaning, may we manifest the highest caliber of Ethics, Moral Fortitude, Reason, and most importantly Love to this world?
KEY 2: Share what your desire would PROVIDE
At the risk of sounding old-school, it is useful to tap into the desire a man is naturally wired with to provide for others. If you are doing this only to get what you want, and are NOT truly open to him having a good reason for a different opinion, all the while respecting his take on things, that makes it manipulation.
If instead, you are interested in what God might want to facilitate through the two of you interacting together, tossing out the provision of your desire is wise.
And a side note for those of you who are offended at my “traditional roles” languaging… “provide” is the same as “nurture” as it accounts for, cares for the needs of others. If you are open to a fact-based point of view on the gender pay gap, please take a listen to Dr. Jordan Peterson as he reviews the literature here.
Men need to have a good reason to do something new or out of the ordinary. And that reason needs to be about what it will provide to you – and unless you’ve been so disrespectful you’ve emasculated him for a long time, he will still want to provide for you.
Now, having said that, there ARE times when men don’t act like men, and you could be extremely respectful and they will still act like boys. It’s likely you are missing boundaries, are disrespecting yourself, or he needs to mature. God will help you sort that, and it’s a whole different blog post!
Without giving a long drawn out potentially irrelevant lecture about the benefits of wood chips in the garden (watch this instead, if interested, if you are a gardener, it will seriously change your life!) suffice it to say sharing the purpose and the provision of the wood chips was all it took. Understanding this, likely combined with my respect for his time and a lack of demand for it, resulted in his natural desire to provide and care for me kicking in.
Or maybe he just loves working out by shoveling in the cold fall semi-raining weather…
I mean, he IS a dude, so maybe.
I’m guessing he also had about 400 other things he could choose to do that day.
We both had a blast, even though it was a serious 4 hours of hard work.
And I could have ruined it by being defensive over his pointing out that the garden wasn’t in the right position.
Can you relate?
And just to be clear, I’m not perfect at this, and I have blown it royally a time or eight. BUT, I’m on a mission to be a respectful human, and my heart breaks for the many men who are emasculated by their wives, talked about as if they are children, and then respond in ways that are not useful to their outcomes.
Having worked with a number of couples who have overcome domestic violence situations and built deeper connections, I can say God can heal literally anything.
He’s cool that way.
Back to our side of the fence…
When we start looking at being respectful, we need to do it from the position of identity – in other words, am I respectful person (because that is the character of Christ within me?!) or am I only respectful towards people who “deserve” it?
There’s no one righteous, not even one… so says Paul.
Do my circumstances determine my character?
If I’m dealing with someone who is unkind or disrespectful to me, does that give me license to behave the same way towards them?
That’s only true if you are operating with the logic of an 8 year old.
My dad, one of the most respected businessmen and people in the small Montana town I grew up in told me one time, Always be kind to waitresses, while it’s their job to serve you, they aren’t less than you are. You can tell the caliber of a person by how they treat people who can’t benefit them.
I think he was trying to quote someone famous as he read a lot, but he really was kind and respectful towards everyone. I sat outside his office, as his employee, for nearly a decade, and overheard him fire or correct multiple people over the years. They always emerged with a smile on their face, even if they were out of a job, thanking him for the opportunity.
I want to be that winsome.
I think our Savior has demonstrated how to walk the path of respect, truth, love, and grace. I want to be just like Him when I grow up.
What about YOU?
How are you doing in these key areas?
Are you open or judging?
Know I’ve been both and purposely work on being more open now. The Holy Spirit makes that SO much easier!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you about these things today? Feel free to comment and let’s chat!
Love to you,
PS… maybe you’re ready to join our community of women changing their marriages… He has saved many! The method’s proven. Find out more here. At the least please know you can grab our free PDF, Find Your Voice: 5 Tools to Stop Walking on Eggshells, right now!