Since we’ve just celebrated Father’s Day, my mind has been drawn to our relationships with the men in my life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful dad, husband, son (now deceased) and father-in-law. But no matter their ages, personality, or life experiences, I’ve seen each of them demonstrate the need for genuine respect.
We all desire respect, but as I’m sure you’ve heard before, men especially have an unique emotional need for it.
I have come to the conclusion that I’ve never fully grasped how intensely crucial honor is for my husband. Although I can honestly say I have never admired anyone as much as I admire and respect my husband, I also recognize that I have hurt him at times by not demonstrating respect to him.
Disrespect wounds your loved ones.
Even if it’s not done intentionally, the fact remains that disrespect breaks down relationships. Just as I may know that my husband doesn’t deliberately do something unloving, I may still feel unloved.
Men may struggle to demonstrate sacrificial love to their wives, but women struggle just as much to respect this husbands.
Now before I go on, I realize many have a twisted view of what respect should look like. Respect isn’t synonymous with obedience or approval for actions committed. We can respect the men in our lives without respecting everything they do. Yes, it’s acceptable to gently confront wrong behavior, and respecting someone doesn’t give them permission to do whatever they want.
That being said, one of the reasons I wanted to revisit the topic of respect is because of how men are generally belittled and disrespected in our culture.
As I was looking through the Father’s Day card selections, I was perturbed by how many of them portray dads as “obnoxiously lazy, self-centered, beer-loving and dirty-minded.” If this is the expectation we are setting for our men, is there any wonder why so many are living up to this expectation rather than rising up as fearless leaders? While everyone is responsible for their own actions, I wonder what would happen if we set new expectations and spoke words of life to our men rather than demeaning them.
In the same way that men don’t always know how to sacrificially love the women in their lives, women often struggle in knowing how to respect their men. But sadly respect isn’t considered very important in our world today.
So what does disrespect look like? It may manifest as belittling, being critical or “talking down” to someone. Disrespect is also the absence of showing admiration for achievements, abilities or qualities or dismissing someone’s feelings or wishes.
Too many times I have viewed my husband as the strong one rather than seeing a vulnerable heart with the need to be honored simply for who he is.
Love and respect aren’t synonymous. Women can do a good job at loving while being terrible at respecting. We can respect someone without loving them, (think an employer or an authority in the government) and we can also love someone without respecting them (think of young children.) Both love and respect are crucial to relationships! Our actions can be motivated by love, yet come across as disrespectful.
Love alone will cause immense pain to the men in your life. We need to remember that disrespect can wound someone just as deeply as being unloving. A love-seeking daughter can have her heart shattered by an angry, unloving dad. In the same way, a respect-seeking son can have his heart shattered by a negative mom who demonstrates contempt.
Both love and respect should be unconditional.
Some women say their husbands need to earn their respect. However, let me ask you this, do you believe a woman should need to earn the love of her husband? If you want your husband to love you unconditionally, you need to be willing to respect him unconditionally. Like I said before, this can be different from respecting your husbands actions, but it’s respecting who they are as a person.
Men in general are belittled and criticized in our society. It’s time we turn this around. We can help to change this mentality by how we use our words, attitude, and actions.
Instead of requiring our men to earn our respect, let’s follow Christ’s words and see what happens when we graciously begin treating men as we desire to be treated.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)