Want to experience a happier relationship with the man in your life? Well, hear this: Your love is not enough for him. Your RESPECT is really what he is after.
When polled, men said they would rather feel alone and unloved than inadequate and disrespected. (It is the opposite for women. Most women would put up with feeling inadequate and disrespected over feeling alone and unloved.)
While men and women are created equally, and made to be partners that sail through life together, we are also created differently. And what helps a woman feel love does not usually translate for men. If you want to love your man in the way he needs and wants to be loved, then you need to ensure he feels your respect.
Men will not always express on the outside what is written below, but rest assured, it’s what they are thinking, wishing and praying for on the inside.
And, although wives may say they respect their spouses, men say we don’t always show it with our words and actions, and are often unaware of it. If your man is angry about something, you can bet, feeling disrespected may be at the root of the problem.
Just as women want to experience “unconditional love” in a marriage, even when we are not acting particularly loveable, men want to experience “Unconditional respect” even if their actions are not up to our standards. Our culture says, “Love should be freely given, but respect must be earned.” The reality is this: Men need to feel respected for who they are, apart from what they do.
Want to avoid a culture of disrespect that you don’t even know you may be creating? Here is how.
1.) Don’t be so quick to correct him.
If you feel you must, pause and ask yourself, “Is [fill in the blank] really worth making him feel disrespected? Unfortunately, the message you convey if you constantly correct him is, “I do not trust your judgment in the little things, therefore I can not trust you in the big things.” And at some point you will begin to sound like his mother, not his sweetheart.
2.) Give him a chance.
Men need to figure things out for themselves. That is why men hate to ask for directions. Your telling him to pull over or just listen to the GPS only sends the signal that you do not trust his capabilities. Men say they often want to scream, “I’M NOT STUPID!” Let him conquer Mount Everest and sail the seven seas — or at least your little piece of the highway. Is being on time to the party really worth him feeling your doubt?
3.) Tell him, ‘I’m so proud of you’ and ‘I trust you.’
Just as most women feel a deep sense of reassurance when hearing, “I love you”, a man thrives when told he makes you proud and he has your trust. As my friend Holly says, “Put a crown on his heads and let him grow into it!” And do it even when he is not with you. No male bashing! You carry those feelings home with you. Instead, brag a little. Find something to say that is life-giving about your spouse.
4.) Build him up at home.
Men admit to sometimes working overtime because their opinions, knowledge, and areas of expertise are acknowledged and affirmed at the office. Often times at home, they are ordered around and made to feel less than successful. Find ways to make your man feel as much of a success or even more so in the home than he is at work. Be creative! “You are the best [pancake maker/fire builder/diaper changer] in the world!” “You really know how to trim hedges!” “Wow! You did that in record time!”
5.) Do not tease him in public.
We may think it is funny. Men think it is torture, especially in front of other men. Some men are very vulnerable and have extremely fragile egos, and if it is perceived that his wife doesn’t respect him, why should anyone else? A man is designed by God to want to be your protector, provider, and to try to take care of things. If you make him feel inadequate in any of these areas you may be destroying his desire to even keep trying.
You can pierce his heart like no other. Do not do it. A laugh is not worth his self-esteem.
Bottom line: If a man feels disrespected, he will feel unloved. But if he feels respected, trusted, honored and loved, he can take on the world, and he will, for you.
All relationships are different, of course, and should be built on mutual respect and love. If your marriage is not grounded in the way I’ve described, perhaps let it begin with you and see what happens. And if you need help, please get some. I highly recommend talking to a Christian marriage counselor or priest. And pray, pray, pray for your spouse, yourself and your relationship. And check out “For Women Only,” by Shaunti Feldhahn, to read more about the ideas shared here.
“The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him.” (Genesis 2:18)
I never knew my dear husband truly felt like this. I need to repent to You, God, first for not respecting and appreciating the suitable mate that You have given to me. Then I need to ask his forgiveness for the times I showed him disrespect, even when I did not do it intentionally.
Sometimes this is hard, especially when I am not getting all that I need from him. So Lord, I pray that You will fill me up with all I need so that I will be able to pour forth to him from a full cup that overflows with the love that I have been given from You. Lord, make us each aware of You, and ways in which we can build up our marriage. And if we see we need help to do this, please give us the grace to seek help and guide us to the right safe harbor.
I love You, Lord, and I want to love You more by loving my husband well. I want to be his suitable helper, and him mine. Please give me the desire and ability to do this, for without Your help, I will surely fail. I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Melissa Overmyer is founder of Something Greater Ministries in Washington, D.C., and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years.