show him (unconditional) respect. I subconsciously created this RESPECT yardstick based on behavior. In my world, Michael needed to jump high enough and be perfect enough to earn my respect. My yardstick of earned respect was based on fear, selfishness and what I thought I needed that he should give to me in this marriage.
You can only imagine what kind of home I built with that attitude toward my husband: one of confusion, conflict and bitterness. I modeled dis-respect with my tone, emotional manipulation and criticisms.
One day, while at lunch with some girlfriends the topic of conversation turned to how kids/teens seemed incredibly disrespectful these days. For some reason, I recalled the subject of respect in that letter which Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. Specifically, the part in Ephesians 5:33 where Paul wrote, "Wives, see to it that you respect your husbands." jumped out in my mind.
Now, I've read that fifty gazillion times, but for some reason, in that setting, I had what I call a 'holy moment.' The light bulb went on. I realized that all these years I expected my husband to earn respect - by measuring up to my behavioral yardstick of expectations.
This was an awakening for me, because God, through the writer Paul - gave a command to wives, "Wives, see to it that you respect your husbands." This was a wife's "ticket" to her part to make a marriage work - even heal a marriage - even heal a home, a community and today, I say heal a nation.
The respect mentioned in that scripture had nothing to do with a husband earning respect but rather it was about a wife giving her man unconditional respect - because of his position of authority as the head and the leader of our home. His position of ultimately being responsible for how he would guide his wife and children demanded a respect - one that would give him impetus to have good/Godly vision to lead well. (Men, today, often lead by not leading - doesn't remove the fact that they are still positioned to lead and will be - in the end of life - held accountable for how they did so.)
I realizes that "what love is to me - respect is to him." I need love and he needs respect - it's part of how God wired every woman and every man. God's requiring us to give the thing to our spouse that is most difficult for us to do because it's much about developing character and leaving a legacy that matters.
I also realized that it's the role of a wife to model respect in her home - so her children can learn to respect authority. Any wonder why so many children/teens/adults have no clue of respect for authority today? Guess who models that on the home front? I truly believe that a child can't really know God lest they understand how to respect authority.
The need for women to understand this is huge. Our husbands don't earn respect because God says he's to be given it. (There are, however, those relationships where respect is NOT given, but earned)
It's when a wife operates from that premise that God can THEN work a work that can't be un-worked - and actually heal a broken marriage.
If your marriage seems as if it's falling apart, then begin by looking at yourself - not your husband. Don't point the blame/shame/should finger at him. Look at how you are showing him respect.
In order for any marriage to make it today, it's imperative that a wife understand that her husband thrives, needs, requires respect and God says we're the ones to give it. A man needs respect like a woman needs love and when a man doesn't feel that respect coming from his wife, it's an open invitation for him to seek it out elsewhere. In time he will . . .
Lately, the news has been plastered with the sad situation between Jon and Kate Gosselin -- stars of the TLC reality. I have yet to watch one complete episode of the show, but everything I read is that she does nothing but verbal emasculate her husband - disrespect him in front of his children and anyone else. How often I've done that and probably you too?
What are ways you show your husband respect? How do you model respect on your homefront? Does your husband's heart trust you?
It's All About Respect
Step Toward a Stronger Marriage
Loving My Husband - How I Show Respect