Respect – Super Glue for Wives
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Those seven letters catapulted a preacher’s daughter from Detroitto the top of the Billboard charts; and decades later, when the Queen of Soul belts out her signature anthem, everyone knows exactly what she needs.
But what does respect look like for the average husband?
The answer might surprise his wife.
One of the things we know is that women and men do, indeed, communicate differently. Wives, do you really want to “connect” with your husband? First, if you want to connect to him emotionally, you need to show him respect. Some recent research on this area of respect and love cites that a man will choose respect every time over love. And the Bible talks about that. Paul knew that when he wrote to the Ephesians. A man needs to love his wife; but look at the last part of Ephesians 5:33, it says, “And the wife must respect her husband.”
Wives, perhaps this describes your husband: “He gets beaten up all day in the workplace, he’s a tremendous guy, a man of God, and he needs to be esteemed, encouraged, affirmed and blessed by you.” But to communicate with him at the end of the day, if you really want to connect, don’t start by trying to engage his feelings. If you try to unpack what he’s experiencing in his heart, you’re never going to get anywhere because most men don’t know where to go to begin to unpack that. A man is wired to focus on his thoughts, ideas, visions, and what is going on cognitively. When you encourage him in that, affirm him in that, and esteem him in that, he feels connected to you. He will then have more of a willingness to take a risk to go down to the heart area. He’ll begin to talk about some of those emotions.
Now you may find that he only knows a couple of emotions – I’m mad, I’m sad, or I’m glad – that’s kind of how we’re wired as men. Yet, as his wife – when you’re completing him, when you love him unconditionally – I want to encourage you to help him explore. “Honey, are you frustrated? Are you insecure about something? Anxious? Are you apprehensive?” When you help your husband identify those needs, he will feel safe to move toward you.
So you’ve connected to his thoughts, you’ve connected to his feelings, and now get ready wives – we know that you love this – you’re connecting to his NEEDS. Just as a husband can learn more about a wife’s needs, when you ask a husband what he needs, be ready to hear something that may be different than you expect. Maybe he needs some space. Maybe he needs a hug. Maybe he needs you to defend him. Maybe he needs you to just say, “I’m here for you. We will figure it out together and get to the other side.”
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