A book fell into my hands ten years ago when I was fifteen called, “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. Shaunti worked for years as a Wall Street Technical Analysis for years before she began writing about love and marriage. Due to her analysis background, her books are written using focus groups and surveys of men and women and uses that data to help the opposite sex understand each other.As I read chapter two, my brain fell onto the floor. When she asked men if they would rather feel unloved by the world or completely disrespected by everyone in their lives, 3/4 men chose they would rather feel unloved than disrespected. Upon her further investigation it even showed that men tie their feelings of being loved to feeling respected.
Summary: A man feels most loved by his partner when he feels the most respect from her.
So what do we do with this information? I looked in the mirror and thought about how I felt when I was feeling rejection. I thought about how much it would hurt if my husband gave me the cold shoulder or made no effort to make me feel special and cared for. How I would feel if I KNEW he loved me but consistently didn’t show it. We say love is unconditional in marriage but respect is earned and can be lost.. I truly believe that just as husbands love unconditionally, women should respect unconditionally.
As I dove in deeper to the chapter they discuss just that: most of us women respect our husbands but don’t always SHOW it… And most of the time it is unintentional. So for me, I am learning unconditional respect has to be intentional!
Here are some of her main points that blew my mind and a few of my own “husband rules”:
1) Anger is the Tell All: have you ever noticed that your male partner seems angry with you and you don’t know why? Chances are he felt disrespected at some point. Women deal with rejection by crying and emotion, men deal with it via anger.
2) Always Respect him in Public: if you search through my blogs, I don’t think you will find a lot of me speaking poorly of him (plus I adore him and have a massive crush on him still.. Just had to throw that in there). I know he isn’t perfect as no human is but I am not going to use his failures or mistakes as a way to make a point. I would much rather use what I am learning or my short comings. This goes for out in the “real world”. It is never funny to make a good dinner party joke about your husbands’ inability to be a great cook, handyman, or diaper changer.
3) NEVER Bash him Behind his Back: I have three solid girlfriends that I talk to when I need a fresh perspective. This never is an hour long jerk bash fest about my husband being a tool. These women push me to be a better wife instead of pushing down my husband. If it’s an intimate topic, I always ask him if it’s okay if I talk to one of my gals about it.
4) Respect his Abilities: Our biggest fight in our marriage so far was over a toilet plunger… Yes… A toilet plunger. Our toilet was plugged and I just wanted to call our landlord to deal with it but man was he determined. He took pride in being able to take care of our home and I was trying to take that from him. My other downfall is I can be a horrible “backstreet driver”. Most men take pride in driving and my husband is not an exception. Rob isn’t dumb.. He knows where we are going, he knows what time we have to be there, he sees the clock in the car, and if we make a wrong turn and add five minutes to our trip it’s no big deal. Again a constant struggle to keep my mouth shut but it makes the trip so much more relaxing and happy for us both.
5) Lift him up with your Words: Showing respect is key! Constantly thank him for what he does, tell him you admire his character, give him lots of hugs when he has a success in or out of the home. In return you will feel like the most loved woman in the world!
I hope that you will join this journey with me in spreading the idea of unconditional respect. At first it was foreign to me based on what we see on TV and in movies but as women our number one job is to make our husband feel adored and treat them like the superheroes they are!