A Husband's Greatest Need: Respect
- Monday, November 03, 2008
Most women are not aware of this, but the majority of men feel very unsure of themselves. In a recent survey, 75 percent of men admitted that they feel like an imposter. Many spend their entire lives fighting the voices in their head that constantly shout, You really know what you are doing! It’s just a matter of time before everyone discovers you’re a fake! You are a fraud!
A man’s home should be the one place in his life where those voices of criticism are silenced; where he is assured he is wonderful and competent. The ultimate ego boost of a man’s life is when his wife willingly and enthusiastically makes love to him (as opposed to lying there counting ceiling tiles and asking, "Are you done yet?").
Sadly, for millions of men, their home is a place where the voices of criticism are amplified, not silenced. I heard one women say to her husband who had just received a special plaque at an award banquet, “Everyone thinks you’re so great, but I know what an idiot you are!”
Women frequently make the mistake of insulting their husbands in an attempt to motivate them to change. “What’s the matter with you?” they’ll quip. “Can’t you do anything around here? Can’t you pick up your dirty clothes? What kind of loser are you anyway!” Women who do this assume that if their “criticisms” and “rejections” are properly received, they will correct the faults and character flows of their husbands and make them better men. But nothing could be further from the truth. Those criticisms and rejections create only anger and frustration inside the man. The result will be a man who is disconnected, bitter, and unemotional.
The reason so many women use insult as a tool to try to motivate men is that insults generally work on women. If you insult or embarrass a woman, she tries to do something about it; she tries to change. But this thinking does not work on a man. The insult of insults for a man occurs when he tries to make love to his bride and she rejects him and pushes him aside as she would set aside a pile of dirty laundry. Insulting a man will only end up robbing you of his heart, and you will not see the changes you want in the relationship.
Ladies, don’t ignore your man’s need for respect. When you disrespect your man by being unappreciative, corrective, demeaning, ridiculing, ignoring, or discounting, it will hurt him. But don’t misunderstand me: Respecting a man doesn’t mean you can’t work on him. You just need to be smart about it. If you are not careful, your attempts to change him will communicate to him disrespect. If you want a man to act differently in your relationship, you are going to have to put insults aside and learn to be unconditionally respectful.
Even God Deals with Men Through Respect
If there ever was a person who had the right to disrespect men based on their performance, it would be God. God is intimately aware of every flaw and defect in a man’s character. Yet look at how God dealt with men throughout the bible.
Abram was so cowardly that he denied Sarah was his wife so that a king would not kill him in order to get her. Yet God did not respond to the obvious coward, He looked deep within and saw a man of great faith. Even though Abram was not able to have a child at the time, God called Abram “Abraham,” meaning “father of a multitude.” God gave Abraham the respect due a father and a patriarch long before he became one.
The Lord called Gideon a Mighty Man of Valor” despite the fact that, at the time, Gideon was a chicken and was hiding so no one could hurt him. But God looked deep inside Gideon, saw what he was capable of, and treated him with the respect due a great warrior long before he was worthy of such honor. Gideon went on to achieve one of the most lopsided military victories in history.
Look at Simon. The guy was flip-flopping, not-sure-of-himself, run-when-the-heat-is-on kind of a guy. This is the one who told Jesus he would willingly die with him, yet fled when Jesus was arrested and three times denied that he even knew Jesus. But when Jesus first met him He said, “Simon, from now on you will be called Peter—the rock!” And sure enough, Peter went on to be a bold and compelling witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God knows that the key to unlocking the potential in a man is to treat that man with unconditional respect, long before he deserves it.
Excerpted from Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor (Atria Books, 2008).
Mark Gungor is a pastor, motivational speaker, author, musician, and the CEO of Laugh Your Way America. He and his wife, Debbie, have two grown children and three grandchildren. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he is the Senior Pastor of Celebration Church. Visit his website at www.laughyourway.com.
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