Recently, our family has been talking about respect and how it’s often misinterpreted and lacking in relationships. We’ve come to the realization that we still have lots of growing to do in this area, and, I presume, we’re not so different than many of you.
What does it mean to respect someone? And how are we prone to disrespect each other? It’s important for us to understand that we can love each other, without respecting each other. But respect is crucial for any good relationship.
Let’s begin by looking at the husband and wife relationship…
My husband is certainly a visionary person. It seems as if he’s always thinking of new ideas and opportunities, while I sometimes feel as if I’m trying to hang on and not allow our life to get too crazy! But I realize when I consented to marrying him and being under his leadership, it meant just that. Being under his leadership.
My husband’s a strong, yet gentle leader. Sometimes I have to be careful not to overstep him. My biggest struggle isn’t in going against his wishes, but in questioning the validity of his wishes.
Wives, it can be easy for us to belittle our husbands by making them feel as if their decisions or wishes are absurd. It may not be in what we say, but in how we say it. It’s easy for us to disrespect each other by making our spouse feel as if his/her ideas, or how they do something, is ridiculous or illogical.
Men often understand respect and it’s importance better than women. They seem to recognize it (or the lack of it) much quicker. I, as a wife, need to constantly remind myself to respect my husband. Wives disrespect their husband when they act as if they’re his “mom” rather than his wife. Our husbands need us to be their helpmeets and encouragers, not their commandeers and criticizers. Dear love-seeking wife, it will be easier for your husband to love you if you respect him first. Don’t wait on him.
It’s often easier for women to demonstrate love and easier for men to show respect. This is why God’s word specifically instructs men to love, and for women to respect. Because it’s not what comes naturally for us. Many women who are wrongly treated in a relationship will say they love their partner, but they certainly don’t respect him.
A husbands who truly loves his wife is willing to sacrifice for her. This doesn’t mean becoming a doormat, giving in to each and every wish and whim. But it does mean being willing to go to lengths for her, even when it feels like a bother or unnecessary. Loving your wife includes spending time with her, hearing her heart. It means making the effort to learn what communicates love to her. Speaking her love language. Going out of your way to do special favors for her. Actively engaged in raising your children and in keeping up with things around the house.
Loving your wife involves helping to protect her from an overwhelming or demanding schedule, so she’s better equipped to be the joyful mother and wife God’s called her to be. A wife who truly feels loved and cherished will grow in loveliness and godly character. It will be easier for her to respect her husband. But a husband should never wait wait for his wife to be respectful before he loves her “as Christ loved the church.”
During times of marital conflict, wives have the tendency to reach out to her husband in love, while respect is his primary need. The husband is more prone to respectfully back away and give his wife “space” when he should be looking for ways to draw closer to her in love. He sees through the lens of respect while she sees through the lens of love.
Respect also means to bless each other for their abilities, achievements or qualities. In a family relationship, this means blessing each other regardless of personal differences or opinions about it. Allowing each individual to have their own likes and dislikes.
Recently, we thoroughly cleaned out our basement and garage. I wanted to declutter and organize. We soon found out we’re opposite in some things. I struggled with disrespect when my husband wanted to save things that seemed unimportant to me. I had to apologize for my wrong attitude. Showing respect is something we all need to work on daily.
Our children don’t always agree with our rules or how we do certain things. But they should be able to respect and bless us for what we do and why we make these rules. Even if it goes against how they think they’d do it. Children should also be taught to regard their parents feelings and wishes as well as their direct commands.
Your children may love you. But they should also be taught how to respect you. Respectful children will do things as they know you’d like, even when you’re not looking over their shoulder. If your children aren’t attempting to live out your expectations, they likely are struggling with disrespect.
It’s important we teach our children about respect, but most importantly, it’s crucial we show them the difference. That we live out respect to each other.
Let’s look for ways to honor and respect each other. To build each other up. Our words are powerful. May God help each of us to build up, rather than tear down.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)
“A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” Prov. 14:1