I ask you the question “Would you rather feel alone and unloved in the world or would you rather feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?” Who would ever choose to feel unloved? A large majority of men will say they would. Respect and affirmation is so important to men that they would rather feel unloved than disrespected or inadequate. Many men have a hard time answering this particular question because they feel the choices are basically the same.
The basic truth here is that if a man doesn’t feel respected he cannot feel loved. Your husband needs to know that he is respected for who he is by you to be able to accept your love. Guys aren’t big on words and they aren’t big on expressing their feelings and this can be really frustrating to women. Showing a lack of respect can be things that you do not intend at all. It can even be gestures that you think are helping. In fact, the “helping” often times is what is the disrespectful part. It often comes across as “I do not feel that you are adequate enough to accomplish the goal” or “you aren’t doing it the right way so I will just do it myself.”
How a guy reacts when he feels disrespected:
Let’s look at how a man handles being disrespected. He is probably going to handle being disrespected by getting angry. He isn’t going to say “You are disrespecting me!” during a conflict. He will just shut down and has a hard time expressing his feelings. You can pretty well assume that a man is feeling disrespected if he is angry. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs has stated that, “In a relationship conflict, crying is often a woman’s response to feeling unloved, and anger is often a man’s response to feeling disrespected.”
Wives and Husbands both have critical needs:
Every woman would like to be loved unconditionally by their man. If a man could learn to pour out a little more love when their wife was particularly unlovable he could take care of a lot of his wife’s emotional needs.
A man on the other hand needs his wife to give him unconditional respect. Unconditional respect means that you are able to accept a man for who he is and keep that separate from what he does. That is a pretty hard-to-understand definition. A wife can show her husband unconditional respect in three ways: believing in him, liking him, and trusting him. If a man’s wife gives him confidence in those three things he will serve his wife with his all.
Biblical Admonition to Husbands and Wives:
The Bible is pretty clear in Ephesians 5 when love and respect is explained: A husband is told to love his wife and a wife is told to respect her husband. The passage does not mix the two roles to say that the husband should respect his wife or the wife should love her husband.
It is important to understand that the husband feels respected by feeling that his wife chooses to trust and honor him. He will put out his best effort to meet his wife’s needs above his own when he feels this.
Your Respect Matters to Him:
Respect is a choice. A wife chooses whether or not to demonstrate respect to her husband. Likewise, men can choose to demonstrate love toward his wife. Respect is something a man needs to feel. This is very much how a woman feels when she doesn’t hear her husband tell her he loves her. It is not that a wife doesn’t respect her husband or that he doesn’t love his wife as much as they need to be able to feel it.
Now would be a good time for you to consider how you are doing with God’s design for your role as a wife or husband. It is very easy for a wife to take control of the home and family, but are you following God’s design or have you made him and your husband very small? Have you left your wife to handle everything alone? Do you forget to tell her how much you appreciate her? Respect and Love are a choice. How are you doing?
The biggest mistake is that we forget the UNCONDITIONAL part of love and respect and place parameters around our spouse having to be or act a certain way to merit our giving. This is an erroneous belief because when we were bound in marriage, we already promised UNCONDITONAL love and respect.
This is not about our spouse’s worthiness.
Unconditional means NO CONDITION can arise that stops you from dealing with the situation in a loving or respectful manner. We might say your love or respect is UN-situational or UN-circumstantial. No situation, circumstance or condition in your marriage can CAUSE you to react in hostility or contempt.
No matter the conditions, show love and respect to your spouse.
No matter the conditions, you have the freedom to choose a loving and respectful demeanor.
No matter the conditions, your spouse cannot stop you from loving and respecting.
In a strange way, this becomes incredibly freeing! My response is my responsibility…and not dependent on my spouse’s behavior.
Are you showing unconditional love and respect towards your spouse?
Do not say: “He/She doesn’t deserve my respect.” Or “He/She hasn’t earned my respect.”
Unconditional love and Unconditional respect are not earned or deserved within a marriage, they simply are.
**This is the place where I probably made the biggest mistake in my own relationship. Although I loved my husband unconditionally, I did not always respect him unconditionally. I did not understand this concept of unconditional love AND unconditional respect. I cannot go back in time and change things, but I can express how sorry I am for not showing respect to the one person I promised to always love and respect. What I can do is take what I have learned into a new relationship someday and do it right this time.