An email from a wife – thank you for your willingness to allow me to share your story!!! I know many wives will be SO VERY BLESSED by reading this post!
It’s been about 8 or 9 months since I discovered and started truly respecting my husband, and there is much healing that still needs to take place. It is honestly still lonely at times. (From Peacefulwife – things were still often lonely for me the first 2.5 years of this journey many times as well in my marriage) But, the Lord has become my Rock, the absolute source of my strength, and I KNOW that great changes have taken place in me, though it’s not something my husband really acknowledges!
A real breakthrough for ME came the other night when we had a pretty deep conversation about our marriage.
He finally came around to telling me he has built walls around himself to protect him from the hurt (not just from me, but also from some things that have happened in his past.) He said that he could not function (ie. wake up each morning and go to work and do what he has to do) without those walls.
Amazingly, for just a minute, I heard the old him in his tone of voice – the man that I first married! That really opened my eyes to see that he is still there! It’s like he’s trapped inside a cage, but HE IS STILL THERE! (What had been so hard for me all these months was thinking that he had just changed and wasn’t who he once was.) The love that flooded through my soul for him was enormous, because I was able to see all the hardness is just those walls, it is not him!
All this time I had been able to love him with a sacrificial / agape love (providing meals for him, doing his laundry, etc.), but really struggled to love him with a phileo / tender and affectionate kind of love. (If you recall I’m reading Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney which discusses the important difference between these two types of love.) I know now that he desperately needs phileo love from me. It isn’t enough for me to simply name off a list of all the ways I respect him, but from deep within my heart, directly from the throne of God, an outpouring of an abiding love that is real. (I likened it to being Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus, rather than Martha, who was so distracted with all the things that had to be done!)
So, my prayer now is that the Lord would somehow tear down those walls and remove the bitterness and help him to forgive. I pray that the Lord would enable me to saturate my husband with His love in a way he needs it most, and that my heart would remain soft toward him even in the times when he doesn’t reciprocate my love.
I love these lightbulb moments! Yes! Our husbands need us to love them in a friendly, affectionate, tender way. They need to know we LIKE them. They need our real smiles and real appreciation. Listing things we respect about them verbally really doesn’t cut it for men. Words don’t impress them much. They want to see our tenderness, understanding and friendship in our attitudes and actions. They want to SEE that trust and faith in our eyes, that adoring smile. They want to know that we look up to them as our heroes.
I know I have shared before – at first I thought I could just be “respectFUL” and that would be enough. NOPE! It’s not. Men need to see that we actually and truly see things in them to respect and admire. They need to know we are genuinely proud of them for the good things they do. They need to know that we appreciate all that they are and all that they do for us and our families. They need to know that we see them as they are and ACCEPT them without trying to change them. They need to see that their hearts are safe here with us. They need to see REAL, HONEST, UNFEIGNED respect from the heart. They can tell if we are being respectful vs. we actually respect them for who they are as men and we genuinely LIKE them.
Please pray with me for this wife and her marriage and for the hundreds and thousands of other marriages of those who will read this that the walls will come down and that we might love and respect our men in the ways that matter most to them and brings great glory to God!