A Husband's Greatest Need: Respect
- Monday, November 03, 2008
Now, after countless hours of working with troubled marriages and after speaking to tens of thousands of couples, I no longer believe that is the case. When it comes to relationships, men are not stupid, clueless, twisted, broken, perverts, or sickos. We’re men. And the truth is, we are not much different today than men have been for thousands of years. It is not the men who have dramatically changed; it is the women.
In most cases, it is women who are upset with the whole marriage enterprise. Eighty percent of all divorces are filed by women. It is usually the woman who seeks out marriage counseling. Women of our day are the ones frustrated to the hilt. It is the woman who always seems to have her heart broken. It is the woman who is the most disappointed. I now believe women of the twenty-first century have completely unrealistic expectations when it comes to living with and dealing with men. And I am convinced divorce rates will continue to rise if women do not bring their expectations about marriage back to reality. Unrealistic expectations are often the culprits responsible for misery women feel—not their husbands. The unsustainable, unreasonable romantic longings of women are ripping marriages apart.
At one of my Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminars, a woman came up to me and admitted that she had spent the first eight years of her marriage in a constant state of disappointment. Her husband (poor fellow) could never live up to all the expectations she had. Finally she decided to sit down and write down all the expectations she had brought with her into the marriage. She said she filled out one page after another with all the ways she wanted to be treated by a man. After writing out every expectation she could think of, she put all of the pages in a shoebox, grabbed her husband’s hand, and went into the backyard. She dug a hole with her husband and, together, they had a funeral for all those unfulfilled expectations. That night she changed her perspective on marriage. Her eyes lit up as she told me the funeral took place over twenty-five years ago and that she had been happy ever since.
Sadly, millions of women seem completely clueless about this. So pervasive is their “drug-like” romantic thinking that many women enter marriage with the expectation that a man will meet all the emotional needs of her heart. But God never designed a man to meet all the emotional needs of a woman. He is supposed to meet some of them, but there is not a man on planet Earth who is wired to meet all the emotional needs of a woman.
“”But isn’t he supposed to complete me?” you may ask
No, he’s not. And while we are on that subject, let me say this: A successful marriage is not the result of two empty souls finding each other in an attempt to “complete” each other. Two empty, unfulfilled souls who get married will just be a marriage of two empty, unfulfilled souls. A successful marriage is possible only when two complete and happy people get together for the purpose of building a life together. They do not need the other to be truly happy, complete, or emotionally whole. They are already whole people who are joining together to enjoy the benefits of marriage. The Bible says that “two are better than one.” But that is only true if they are two healthy, emotionally stable, and complete human beings. If you are a single, miserable, lonely, incomplete, and hollow soul, for the love of God, do everyone a favor and get yourself whole before you get yourself married.
Who’s to Blame?
For most of human history, multiple generations of a family lived within close proximity to each other. Chores such as cooking, planting fields, washing clothes, caring for children, and harvesting crops were often shared by the family clan. Women grew up their entire lives with the same women around them. They had a network they could trust and garner support from. Sadly, today those kinds of networks no longer exist for most married women.
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