Respect is everything to a man.
I had no idea until I picked up Emmerson Eggerichs' book Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires. The Respect He Desperately Needs.
This book taught me that the same way that MY primary need in a relationship is love, my husband's primary need is respect. This was so eye opening for me, and I can honestly say that this concept saved my marriage before it started.
In the first book I wrote, one section was focused on helping to prepare women for marriage. I spoke briefly about RESPECT, and I want to share it here as the words are concise and very true to the heart of who we are as males and females.
Sometimes we have become so hardened in our hearts toward our spouse, seeing things through the eyes of an optimistic young woman can be just the breath of fresh air that our heart needs.
I pray right now that you would allow these words to go straight to your heart and immediately begin to Affect your marriage, no matter what state it is in. That you would allow yourself to soften as a woman, and allow God to bring your thinking into a more beautiful and bright place, a humble place, in regards to your husband. Here is what I wrote:
In this book, Eggeerichs talks about how just like a woman’s primary need in a relationship is to feel loved, a man’s primary need in a relationship is to feel respected. And how we assume that men crave love because that’s what we crave, but what they actually want even more than love is respect.
Is that weird or what?
And it even lines up with scripture: “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” –Ephesians 5:33
Nowhere does scripture tell wives to love their husbands, and do you know why? Because it comes naturally to us! We are lovers!!! Respect, on the other hand, we struggle with. We tend to show men unconditional love, but very conditional respect. And we tend to make the mistake of showering them with love, but completely ignoring their ENORMOUS need to feel esteemed, respected and admired.
But if we would listen to the deepest cry of a man’s heart, we would see that it’s not the same as ours. What men are usually crying out for is respect. And again, while we women love very naturally, learning to show respect is something that takes work for us.
So what are some ways that we can show our men respect? Learning this thing is a process. But one that’s worth pursuing. Pay attention, pray, and ask God to help reveal to you these deeper desires of a man’s heart. And in the meantime, I will give you a few simple ideas on how to show respect to a man:
Admire him. Support him. Be his biggest fan.
In Eggerich’s book he talks about how a husband wants his wife to be like his cheerleader, like when she was first getting to know him. Noticing when he does something worthy of praise, listening with admiration to his dreams, and just reassuring him of her approval.
Men feed off of positive affirmation and we need to put time and effort into doing this! Letting a man know he is admired. Affirming him. That is everything to him, girls!
Another way to show respect to your husband is to resolve to not say anything really negative or bashing about him or his family, to anyone else, even your family. Mercy, girls! We need to get wise here. We need to get wise to the fact that what we say has very real consequences; and a lot of times those consequences are your friends and family members harboring strong feelings toward a person you’ve repeatedly badmouthed to them.
In marriage, this one is so important. Learning to go to godly people, for godly advice when you have issues is crucial. Otherwise, you end up with compounded emotions and problems all because you wanted an ear to complain to. Nothing kills respect quicker than talking about someone behind their back.
Talk that man up! With guys, what you focus on will flourish.
Lastly about respect, I want to say this: Let the man struggle. Whoever you are going to marry will be an imperfect human being, just like you and me, and there are going to be issues that he will struggle with. Lust is probably one of them. Men are up against a huge battle on that front, and if your man is sincerely seeking the Lord, he is probably going to battle. Let him. I’m not saying don’t elbow-jab him in the rib if he blatantly stares at a scantily dressed girl walking by, by all means girl do your thing. I’m talking about all of that poking and prodding and assuming that we do as women. That trying to get him to confess type stuff. The ugly stuff.
A lot of women make the mistake of using disrespect to try to open their man up to them. But disrespect makes a man shrink away and close up toward you. It sends the message that you’re not on his team. That he is bad and you are good.
Be on his team!
Encourage him, and you will help him want to be a better man.
It’s not easy. We all have issues here. But ask God to open your eyes now on to how you can show respect, rather than contempt, for your husband’s issues and struggles.
Just as hasty disrespect makes a man close up, wise and well-intentioned respect helps a man to open up.
R-e-s-p-e-c-t. That’s what your husband wants. So give it to him!
“When a wife respects her husband she does not become a doormat, in fact, he starts rolling out the red carpet for her.”- Emmerson Eggerichs
It is so true!
Now in the book I go on talk about the importance of intimacy with your husband- and how that is tied to respect.
If you feel you don't quite fully understand the link between intimacy with your husband, and showing him respect (or if intimacy with your husband is a struggle) I would highly encourage you to read this article.
This is the book that saved my marriage before it started. I remember being out of town and seeing it on display in a bookstore. God definitely placed it in my hands that day and the rest is history. If your marriage is in need of a major revamp, I pray you would consider reading this and applying the principals. They work!!