It’s important to know the difference respect makes – from the boardroom to the bedroom. This is a man’s language, and it is really important if you want effective communication with men.
Hear me out….
If you are suddenly feeling annoyed at my approach to this topic, can I ever so gently, kindly, because I actually do love you, let you know that is defensiveness kicking in? The Bible tells us to NOT be offended, but I can remember hearing about how I was to respect my husband, and immediately and often took offense.
It didn’t seem fair.
What I didn’t know is THAT thought was selfish and immature of me. It is like me saying I like Carol and another friend thinking I don’t like HER because I said I did like someone else. Full-on insecurity on her part. Those two things are not related.
But our response to the notion CAN tell us a ton. Please know this is the judgment-free zone, also. I have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and asked for the refund.
But let’s keep going…
If there is even a drop of “What about me? Don’t I deserve respect?!?” that is a CUE that there is something worth exploring with God within you. Feelings aren’t wrong, but they can be based on lies, so choose to dig into that response with the Lord with an open mind. He wants you to be free from the notion.
Here is why: when we learn the value of applied respect, when we actually become a respectful person, no matter who we are around, we stop being a victim and see our relationships start to change.
There are five modes of communicating that we commonly employ (maybe more, just anecdotally what I see frequently that shows up in marriage situations.
- Doormat – agreeing to whatever your spouse wants, not taking care of yourself because their spouse and kids or whoever else always comes first… to their own detriment. I have seen this show up later as resentment for a lack of reciprocity, but we disrespected ourselves and actually taught the other person to disrespect us too. “I’ve done everything around here forever, done everything for them and they just walk all over me!” This isn’t serving… it’s suffering without boundaries and it isn’t good for others to take advantage. Many times there isn’t even a “please,” or “thank you,” but this is relatively simple to change.
- Steamroller – making sure everyone knows what YOU need and hears about it til it happens. Being so bossy with a little extra dash of control and contempt for noncompliance rule the day. This shows up in a spouse who avoids interacting with you because they don’t feel seen or heard, not that their opinion would matter anyway because you always get your way. This is also relatively simple to change. Often people will fluctuate between this and doormat.
- Director – this sometimes works at work, usually when a man asks a woman a question, he wants a direct answer. What women don’t know is that being TOO direct can create a negative perception of them – so cushioning with the reason you think xyz is often super useful. Speaking this way in marriage without femininity (gentleness, kindness, our superpower of nurturing care) will not be attractive to a man. (As an aside, men with women who have it all together often “check out” because they don’t feel needed.) There are many challenges here, but also pretty simple to fix.
- Seductress – this is when a woman uses her physical availability or attractiveness to manipulate a man into doing what she wants him to do. It is slimy and bad form, just saying. Yes, be a wild thing in the bedroom, but don’t use seduction as a communication tool. Eventually you will be found out and thought less of… this pattern of behavior is also simple to change.
- Respecter – this is a means of communicating that brings value to the person you are speaking to. It recognizes how precious they are to God. It is open to their thoughts, considering them as valuable as your own. What is crazy is this method is only authentic when we have boundaries and self respect. It is the most effective way of connecting with others and with men, facilitates the experience of love for them. It also motivates them to protect, provide, and serve. This can be somewhat challenging even though simple to learn, but worth the effort!
So… how about you?
As you read through these things, anything bubbling up?
I want to say I’ve been through it – I personally know how respect can make a friendship and create connection with your husband. And how disrespect can nearly destroy your marriage. We have been friends, enemies, and are friends again. I’m seriously not asking you to do anything I haven’t already done – and helped many others navigate and change their marriages also.
I want that for you, too!
Feel free to drop me a comment or an email at coachnina (at) greaterimpact.org (just reply if you got this in your inbox) about how I can pray for you, or if you have a question. I’d love to help.
Love to you,
PS… if you are ready to join us in what works and change your marriage in 2024, grab a seat in our Strength & Dignity eCourse. You will learn how to STOP walking on eggshells, STOP being triggered, handle conflict, create and hold healthy boundaries, deepen your relationship with Christ, and how to deeply impact ALL of your relationships!