Monday, February 4, 2013

Identifying with his identity...

If you asked your husband to identify himself, what would he say? I'm not asking his name.  How does your husband identify himself?  Is he a plumber?  Is he a mechanic?  Is he a teacher, a golfer, a runner, a painter?  Is he a quarterback, a policeman, a broker?

It's very important, ladies, that we see how our husbands identify themselves and that we respond accordingly.  Here's why - spoiler alert: It's another answer about respect!  

One gentleman I spoke with has served in pastoral care for many years.  Here's what he told me:

"Most guys need respect.  By that I mean – we work hard at work and are given respect (for various reasons) by our peers, and our bosses.  We may have a particular expertise, or we may have done well on a project, or may just be a recognized expert at something -  whatever the industry.  

Then we go home and perhaps may not get the same respect.  Since guys get their identify (mostly) by “what they do” – that’s frustrating.  And, in my pastoral opinion here, it’s what leads to most guys working late and jobs becoming a mistress.  Guys get the respect and identity they need from work/job and that’s more fulfilling than perhaps some challenges (kids, or nagging, or whatever – fill in the blank) that may happen at home."

Wow!  Have you ever thought of your husband's life outside your home?  Have you ever thought about the level of respect he gets at the office - and how that may drive him to excel and achieve?  Does he get that respect at home, too?

Lately, my heart has been saddened at the lack of respect I see some women give their husbands.  One woman I know speaks so derogatorily to her husband he just shuts down.  She thinks he can't hear well, but when she's not around his hearing is fine.  When she comes into the room, you can physically see him turn inward and try to escape.  Her words are hurtful, harmful and demeaning.  There is no respect in them.

Another woman I know speaks so dis-respectfully about her husband that she doesn't even use his name.  She literally calls him "the idiot." 

Yesterday I was in Target, there was a couple looking at candles, having what seemed to me a very normal conversation.

She:  Henry, come look at these candles.
He:  Yep, those are the perfect color.  Do they smell good?
She:  Well, let's see...

She picked up a pale blue candle and smelled it, offering it to her husband to sample.

She:  I think that smells nice.  It's not too strong or too fruity.
He:  Are they expensive?
She:  "Henry!  The price tag is right there!  Look, the small one is $--.---, the medium one is $--.---, and the big one is $--.---.  Jeesh!  You can be so stupid!"

In an instant my heart just broke for this man.  I wondered to myself, wonder what he does for a living?  Wonder how he would react if the people he worked with treated him that way, or spoke to him so harshly?

What if the tables were turned?  What if we were in a store and heard a man speak to his wife that way?  Many of us would feel she were being verbally abused.  Why are we not as outraged to see women speak to their husbands that way?  I fear it's because this behavior has become the norm.

So I ask you again, what is your husband's identity?  Are you treating him with the respect he desires or is your disrespect pushing him farther and farther away?

I hear it all the time:  "I would respect my husband more if he would [or wouldn't] _______________.  The reality is your husband desires respect - he may not recognize it as that - but he does...and he will find it...somewhere, at work, online, from friends...but he will find it.  

Maybe you struggle with respecting your husband.  Maybe your marriage is about to fall apart and you don't know why or how to fix it.  Try adding in a little respect.

Take away:

1)  Think of one thing your husband does super well.  Is he great at always taking out the trash?  Is he helpful at bath time or meal time?  Is he good at finding solutions?

2)  Tell him how much you appreciate that quality in him.  It can be a covert operation - you don't have to embarrass him - but the next time he takes out the trash, stop, and tell him, "You know what?  You take out the trash everyday and I don't always say thank you.  I really appreciate you doing that.  It means a lot to me."  Or maybe he's good at offering solutions... tell him... "You know what I really admire about you?  Your insight.  You always seem to see things from a different perspective and that really is inspiring to me."

3.)  Speak to your husband as if he were a king instead of a servant.  Please and thank you go farther than you can imagine.  Men don't want to be told to do something - ask them - respectfully.  Be sure and thank them gratefully when they're done.  You'll see a remarkable change in very little time.

Only By His Grace,


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