Where do I begin? Back several years ago, the Peacefulwife and I were in our church’s book and coffee shop waiting while our kids were attending AWANA. We often times head over there because it is a great place to catch up with each other and maybe have a smoothie. While we were there she ventured over into the books section and came back a little bit later with a book called “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Well, the Peacefulwife loves to read, but self-help style books typically meant bad news for me, particularly books that might try to explain how I think. I guess over the years since we have been married I have been conditioned to be a bit apprehensive. I have been the test subject for a lot of these books over the years. Unfortunately, I typically failed miserably at providing the response (feeling) a book would indicate I would have. I would love to try to explain why this has been the case, but I really have no idea. I probably do not have to explain to you that my failure to provide the correct reaction did not make the Peacefulwife very happy.
Back to the coffee shop, the Peacefulwife leafed through the pages a little and then stopped and looked up at me. Then she said, “This book says that the single biggest need a man has is to be given respect by his wife. A man needs this more than being loved and more than intimacy. Could that be right?” I thought for a minute. Guys tend to do that a lot and it is a learned thing. Mainly, because they didn’t think some time in the past and now they are reminded word for word about something from years ago. Also, because they weren’t thinking about it when they said it they don’t remember that they said it but do not really have any defense against it because they forgot it. Yep, go ahead and read that again. So after exploring all of the many myriads of wisdom that I could provide in answering the question I said, “Yea.” After getting one of these book questions right for once, Peacefulwife asked if it would be okay if we purchased the book. In another long drawn out thinking session, I told her, “Sure.”
Over the next few weeks, the Peacefulwife read the book and occasionally would come and ask me if I agreed. Almost every time I agreed with the book. The Peacefulwife then came to me with a startling announcement. “I thought that I had been a submissive wife all of these years, but after reading this book I think I have failed miserably. Will you forgive me?”
I was a little shocked that the Peacefulwife wanted to be forgiven for not being as respectful to me as she thought she should have been. I think part of that shock was that I probably thought she had been showing me Godly submission since we have been married. I think we have always had a good marriage. We could always have improved in some areas and our communication was good most of the time. I know there were issues we would deal with and I would think that we had come to a resolution on them that would keep popping up again, but I was sure that was just how life is.
I probably should give you a little background into my personality. I am a pretty passive guy. I don’t like there to be a lot of conflict and I would rather let you have your way than work through something if it didn’t seem to matter. I try to be a gentleman where ever I am and I still try to hold the door open for a lady, let a lady enter a door before I do, and be generally helpful any way that I can. I am a quiet person and I don’t mind spending time by myself. I am rarely going to be someone that speaks up in a class. I am a very slow decision maker. I spend a lot of time working through decisions and want to evaluate what is the best overall solution to a problem.
The Peacefulwife is a big go-getter in everything that she does. She wants everything to be taken care of now and would rather make sure that happens by doing it herself. Any answers to any decisions she has to make are totally black and white with no gray areas. This also carries over into her Spiritual life. She has incredible knowledge of the Bible and such a command that it is a bit disarming to the Respected Husband at times. She is very friendly and able to provide great conversation. She is a wonderful pharmacist and prides herself in providing as much knowledge as possible to customers of the medicine she dispenses. Well, I could go on for a long time here. Let’s just say that she’s really great at a lot. Though, if you haven’t figured it out yet she may have just a touch of OCD.
Where was I? Not having any idea what kind of change this might make in my life, I told the Peacefulwife, “I forgive you.”
Over the next few months, the Peacefulwife would ask me questions daily about if she did this respectfully or did I feel disrespected by this response to something. She started asking me (making me at first) to make a lot of decisions she had always made. She had me start to keep up with the finances. She had me make more decisions about the kids. To start with I can tell you that I was a little uneasy with this. Who am I kidding, I was thinking when the aliens came in and either abducted or probed my wife did they get me too.
In the matter of a couple of months, my wife was letting go and becoming a Godly submissive wife. By giving up some control of these areas that bound her down for so long she actually was well on her way to a peaceful life. She was able to look at me with different eyes and our kids have been blessed by it. She understands me more than she ever has in our marriage. She sees me for all of the positive things I bring to our family and is blind to my faults.
I had to make some changes too. At first I was pretty unsure if I have to make more of the decisions in our marriage how would I reap some of the benefits as well. How did I win if most decisions around the house get sent to my shop? I am not good at making these decisions. The Peacefulwife is very good at seeing the immediate right and wrong on a decision. I should only step in to protect the kids when Mom has gone a little too far. I have a lot of grace to offer. After struggling with this at first, I began to get more confidence when I made a decision. As I got more confidence, the Peacefulwife respected me more. I have been more involved with our family. The Peacefulwife and I talk a lot more and about a lot more areas of our relationship. I feel like I am being talked to a lot more now and not being talked at. I feel like I know what I am going to come home to (a big smile and a hug) at night from work, instead of fearing what might have taken hold of the Peacefulwife’s thoughts during the day. Our marriage has truly gone from being good to great.
After a couple of years of the Peacefulwife devouring every book on the subject she could get her hands on and also wanting to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming, I told her that she should talk to other married couples and tell them what a difference this has made in our lives. Well, if I thought it was worth her telling other people about this topic I didn’t have any choice but to help when she asked if I would contribute some work to her blog. I hope to provide a little insight from a man’s perspective into what it is like to be a respected husband. I hope your husband will get to feel like I do.