Have you lost respect for your spouse?
Think about that for a minute… how it shows up if you have communicated disrespect by…
- Needing to “be right”
- Discounting his opinion
- Eye rolling
Any of those ringing a bell? I know I’ve felt them, and am thankful those feelings and behaviors are for the most part GONE.
You might not see the correlation to respecting someone ELSE and generating their respect for YOU – but there IS one. Today’s post is a brutal awareness around this topic. Know I’m a changed person in this area, thankful beyond measure for the work the Lord has done in my heart.
Know also that BOUNDARIES are necessary if you want to be respected by someone else. We will cover those in a few weeks… AFTER you’ve got a foundation that we can build upon.
As an aside… one of the problems I’ve seen with The Respect Dare is it assumes you have boundaries – it’s more of a “die to your selfishness” book, so bear that in mind if you are reading it. The new Respect Dare I’m working on presents the whole notion around self respect as well.
More on that in a minute.
And let me first apologize for the bluntness around this topic today…
Maybe you feel like he deserves a lack of respect… that respect is something that is earned?
I get that. Used to feel the same way!
Kind of like, “I will treat you with respect when you act in a way that deserves it…”
Here’s a brutal truth that kicked my tail…
Contrast that with actually BEING a respectful person.
Do you want to be a respectful person?
That would mean treating those who don’t “deserve” respect WITH respect.
Even your husband.
Isn’t that what Christ did?
Don’t waste energy feeling shame on this – it’s a novel concept for most, and the world’s voice is LOUD, so OF COURSE you didn’t know! There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus!
The next question I usually hear when talking about this is, “Well don’t I deserve respect? How come it’s all about respecting him?”
Okay, so YES, you deserve respect.
As much as HE does.
Why? Because you are BOTH precious to God – and that’s what respect is – treating others with awareness of how precious they are to God.
What is it with our culture at the moment where to treat someone kindly or fairly immediately equates to treating others unfairly? Like why is it that when I say I appreciate country living do people assume that I also must simultaneously hate the city? And if I have empathy for men that I somehow hate women?
I’m going to rabbit trail for a second because I believe what happens in the small communities eventually ends up in the culture as a whole. Hang in with me, it’s relevant. Family members have stopped respecting each other, and over time, this has bred a culture of disrespect in our neighborhoods, academic institutions, and businesses, ultimately in our country. (Don’t know what this means? Check Amish Mafia and what these guys are addressing. Culture has seriously changed in the last twenty years). You may have seen how Bill Ackerman is in the middle of pointing out Title 9 violations and the discriminatory practices at Harvard (amongst other things) that have nothing to do with bringing the best people to positions, but rather, making race or gender status more important, and have ultimately resulted in a climate at Harvard where the culture is toxic for those who don’t align. One doesn’t have to kick the ball down the field far to see what this will do to our country. To fail to bring the most qualified candidates into positions, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, disability, and to hire based on skin color or sexual preferences (DEI is proving discriminatory in some situations) has little to nothing to do with actual SKILL and over time, lowers the organization’s potential. The best candidate, regardless of their age, race, etc., is what we should be looking for.
What does this have to do with your marriage? We CAN make a difference in the world by starting with how we treat those we should treat well, those in our family, starting with the man we married. Basing how we treat someone on outside factors like race is akin to respecting someone based on their behavior. Make sense? It’s not the same concept, but it relies on the same common sense and depth of understanding. This notion may be confusing at first, but dig deep and it will make sense.
Back to marriage…
To behave with disrespect towards another person is NOT a reflection of their character, but of ours.
Our mistreatment of someone else communicates that WE are disrespectful.
And can we please take the concept of “they don’t deserve respect” off the table? Last time I checked, we all, myself included, “deserved” the fires of hell for our sins against God, but through Christ, we are washed clean. Accepted. Honored even.
If you want more on this topic, check out this recent podcast, where Kyle and I dig deeper into the thought of losing respect for our spouse.
But first, we need to acknowledge the “Comfort Step” in our Connection Steps – where we respect ourselves as worthy, precious, valuable, allowing God to bring comfort, comforting ourselves, or asking for comfort from someone close to us, or our local canine companion (I highly recommend Golden Retrievers – they have comfort DOWN!)
After doing that, we move onto the “Gentle Truth Step” – which is where most people want to start, but that is NOT useful!! Resist the urge to do this first – it quickly devolves into judging yourself if you don’t first name and normalize your feelings, then receive comfort, THEN listen to God to speak a gentle truth to you. He will usually bring something you don’t see about the situation, or about the person.
Here’s what one of our class members has to say about the value of The Connection Steps:
The steps have helped me to have the ability to not react to situations and to take the time to take my feelings, emotions, and challenges to God BEFORE I address them out loud. – Elizabeth
I know you want to get into the nitty-gritty of how to create change in your relationships. I will tell you now, however, what we have learned is people who work through and create habits with what we call, “The Connection Steps,” have a much more successful experience with the rest of the skill development and mindset change.
This week we are adding the next two steps – both 3) receiving comfort, and 4) listening for a gentle truth.
Remember “The Connection Steps”?
1. Be in our Now by Naming our own feelings
3. Receive comfort
4. Listen for a gentle truth
5. Take responsibility
6. Act with Integrity
Comfort is a form of self-soothing. It’s not a complete distraction from what we are feeling, but rather a way to build up a greater tolerance to the emotions we feel, and the circumstances we experience. This tolerance helps us be the person at the funeral who is so mature, they are comforting OTHERS.
The truth is that life is hard, full of suffering, BUT we can learn to navigate those difficulties maturely. This is lost on us when we are too busy comparing our own social media status and numbers of “likes” to others’. We get caught up in the addiction to dopamine facilitated by the creators of social media.
One piece of the comfort step is receiving and that implies that someone is giving it. We can give it to ourselves (naming and normalizing are also verbal forms of comfort) physically by 90 seconds of rubbing our arms or legs, palm to skin, to generate the body’s production of serotonin, the stress-relieving hormone. We can also receive from others by grabbing a hug from a friend or a cuddle with our trusty pet. Touch can facilitate a reduction in stress hormones and is beneficial for bonding in relationships as well.
Now here’s the amazing part – when we have processed our emotions by naming and normalizing them, thereby lowering the intensity of them and then adding calming hormones through comfort on top of all this, our brain is in a place that is more open and receptive to a different idea. Then comes the spot where we listen for a gentle truth!
Listening for a gentle truth means that we are able to be calm enough to sit back, be objective, and allow the voice of God to present His perspective. We might have to ask Him, “God, what do you want me to know about this situation?” and then simply wait. It’s amazing how our eyes will be opened to things we couldn’t otherwise have seen.
This is a good thing because eventually, as we mature, He births within us the emotional strength and fortitude to not only BE THERE for others, but sit with someone else’s differing perspective – and we can then see where we may have contributed to the problem at hand – without becoming defensive. We might even find that there is an issue from our childhood that the Lord brings to mind and it is related to the emotional “triggering” response we just had in a situation that was seemingly unrelated to what we just went through.
Amazingly enough, if we ask God what He wants us to know, He will speak gentle truth, His Truth, and we can learn about ourselves. The lies we believe from childhood traumas (whether Type A or Type B) become filters through which we see our current reality. The exciting thing about this is as simple but overwhelmingly profound as Jesus said – The Truth shall set you free. You may not be instantly healed from future triggers and emotional responses, but you will have a surprisingly new awareness that gives you tremendous power (the healing power of the Holy Spirit) to overcome your mistaken beliefs and empower you to choose better responses in the future.
It’s a transformation you will want more of.
This week, keep naming and normalizing those feelings, and add comforting yourself and listening for a gentle truth. Journal about what God reveals to you during these times.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have a hard time listening to God, you might want to use a timer with your phone when you are online, keeping daily use of social media/scrolling under 30 minutes a day to increase your ability to focus. The Lord is within you if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He wants you to pay attention to Him, to “tune into” Him, to interact. Please consider choosing to spend less than 30 minutes a day scrolling aimlessly on social media to deepen your ability to think and hear from God.
Next time, we will discuss the fifth and sixth steps – taking responsibility and acting with integrity after making a commitment to do so.
We want to give you an alternative to the scrolling you and I are doing there already, and invite you to one of THREE things (read about them on the links, sign ups at the bottom of https://greaterimpactwives.org) :
- Our FREE Strength & Dignity community and foundation course (now in it’s 4th week – it’s The Connection STEPS and The BASICS – foundational elements to being able to then add the communication elements in the actual course if you decide to join
- Strength & Dignity LIVE on FACEBOOK – now it is LIVE again on Facebook, starting with a Steps and Basics review – already a few weeks in AND… all the science-backed life-changing processes that God’s blessed us with… and have been in the Bible for centuries hello. I’m leading the live class starting NOW – sign up and don’t miss a thing! You’ll get everything in the FREE Foundations PLUS all the great communication skill development details PLUS weekly live Q&A’s
- If you hate Facebook, that’s okay because the course is still also on Circle for those who hate social media so much they don’t want to even be there! You can sign up and get access to all the proven materials in Circle.