I usually create my own titles, but, Nina’s title on this dare (in The Respect Dare) is SO KEY that I just had to quote her!
Something I definitely noticed as I studied respect, godly femininity, biblical submission and being a godly wife was that there is not a lot of respect for husbands in our culture today. In fact – many men in our culture are practically starving for respect. We seem to have dropped the concept of respect for husbands decades ago. Many women today have never witnessed a wife treating her husband with respect – the concept is very foreign to many of us. It was for me! I was shocked to find all the things that can make husbands feel disrespected. It is like learning a new language and culture when we begin on this journey, in my view.
The more you study respect, what it is, what disrespect is and the more you learn to communicate respect to your particular husband – you will begin to become very sensitive to hearing disrespect. It will start to sound like “nails on a chalkboard” before very long – and you will be amazed that you never noticed it before. You will also see and hear it constantly – from the media, from friends, family and coworkers.
Disrespect for men is the norm now.
“HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE?”
Nina’s story in The Respect Dare mentions this point today. I have heard countless women do this.
Someone asks a mom, “How many children do you have?” And she answers,
“Three, if you count my husband.”
Ladies, talking like this about our men deeply wounds them. Even if they never say anything about it.
How can I tell if my husband feels disrespected by me? Here are some things that can mean he feels very hurt and disrespected:
– if he suddenly shuts down
– if he suddenly gets really angry
– if he says he feels disrespected
– sometimes you can tell by his body language – the way his demeanor suddenly changes and falls, the clenching of his jaw, or his suddenly leaving the room
Our men have feelings, just like we do. They may not talk about them like we do, but our words can deeply hurt them. And many times we have no idea.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE TREAT OUR MEN LIKE CHILDREN?
- telling them what to do – what to eat, what to drink, how much to eat, what to wear, monitoring their “screen time,” etc
- our tone of voice – talking with an angry teacher/mother tone of voice who is scolding a 5 year old
- reprimanding them (especially in public)
- acting exasperated with them like we are so much smarter or they are “idiots”
- telling them where to sit, who to talk to, reminding them to use their manners
- telling them not to spend money. ie: my husband decides to take me out for a date and I say, “Oh no, we can’t afford to spend that kind of money!” Instead of graciously accepting his gift and trusting him with the finances (I have 3 posts about finances and marriage Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 – if you have severe money problems, please see a Christian financial counselor)
- telling them how to spend their free time
- telling them what their priorities should be
- making demands of them for “obedience”/”submission”
- trying to force them to love us a certain way or to say certain words or feel certain feelings and express certain emotions
HOW CAN WE TREAT OUR MEN LIKE MEN?
- allowing them freedom to make their own decisions
- trusting them (I know there are times when trust has been broken and must be rebuilt, but whenever possible, showing real faith and trust is really important)
- expressing that we know that they have wisdom, too
- allowing them to lead – which means we don’t try to take over
- talking to them like they are intelligent, capable, competent grown adults of equal value and worth as we are
- learning to understand their perspective and how very different men are from women. (Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” is SUPER helpful)
- accepting them
- allowing God to speak to them instead of us trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job
MY READERS SPEAK (Y’all have some GREAT insights on this topic! THANK YOU!!!!!):
I think it’s a lot of little things, and I think our culture has predisposed us to being disrespectful to each other. We’re sort of intrinsically trained to constantly one-up each other, to put the other down so we can have the higher seat.
Simple things like tone of voice, you know, that one with the twist on the end, or the beginning of “Maybe you could clear the table…” that states “and you’re an idiot for not seeing it needs to be done.”
Or the phrasing of “Could you ….” when asking for something. You are, by the very words, implying that if they physically are able to, they should cater to your whim. And if they don’t, it is because they are incompetent.
We hear these things all around us and I think never bother to stop and think about what the subconscious response to these are. Each one is a little, almost imperceptible, slice, and so, we die by 1000 cuts, as it were.
The opposite of both of those would be something like “Would you do ___ for me?” It implies you need help (raise the other person up to a position of being able to offer help), and also implies that you assume they are able to do the task you need, whether or not they help (again, raising them up).
Oh, and take commands sentences right out of your speech patterns. “Go do this”, “Get that for me”, “Stop doing that”
That’s my thought.
Great questions! When I treat my husband like a child, I think and act like I am the expert that needs to set him, as a nuisance, straight. I think about what is best for me in the long run.
When I treat my husband like a man, I respect that he has a different way to do things, even in an area that I feel like I am an expert. I wait, give him time, let him make mistakes if need be, support and give thanks for anything I can (from a mind that does not feel superior or deserving). I think about what is best for him in the long run. This way of thinking even affects the way I think about others beyond my husband, and I become less controlling and demanding as a whole. I have found this helps to even treat the kids more respectfully and not as a nuisance/”like a child”.
Treating him like a child would include anything that indicates he can’t think for himself or anticipate consequences, e.g. “Wear a jacket; it’s cold,” as if he can’t tell what the weather is like. If he didn’t check maybe he’ll be cold but he can handle that. For all I know he did check and decided he’d be comfortable without an extra layer. (My husband is always hot when I am cold!)
Treating him like a man would include anything that demonstrates trust in his intelligence and confidence in his decisions. Some of the most amazing decisions in history (battle maneuvers, business strategies, even Solomon’s handling of the case with the women arguing over the baby) looked totally absurd at first. If my husband wants to do something that looks like nonsense to me, I have to remind myself that he has another perspective.
Just because I can’t see his way leading to a good result doesn’t mean I am right.
(Maybe I am…but I can’t say that for sure, so if it’s not endangering anyone I can just wait and see.)
And then NOT say “I told you so” if I am right. Treating him like a man means letting him learn lessons without pointing out that he learned them….
I love helping my wife if she needs a hand with something…but I like to be asked for help, not being told what to do or being given a list. The only people I’ve ever had give me a list is someone in authority over me. When she treats me like the king of the castle I love acting like a servant. When I’m treated like a servant….
For me it comes down to trust, in the little things as well as the big things. Do I trust my husband to remember his wallet etc when he leaves for work or do I feel the need to remind him? And, even if he does forget, do I trust him to make his own mistakes and face his consequences without me standing over him saying, ‘If only you had listened to me, this wouldn’t have happened’.
I’ve been very guilty of treating my husband disrespectfully & like a child. (even joked for yrs that I had 3 children -incl. him – ugh!). I wish I’d known better. It was a mistake!
I’d stop acting too big for my britches & let him “be the man”, let him protect me (& our children); let him take care of me when he tries to show how much he cares in HIS masculine ways rather than me expecting him to show it in my too-high & emotional expectations; let him feel like he provides enough for me & our family; not tell him what to do – let him have his place as the head of our home & be the boss & I’d respect & obey him; let him do what he desires with me & show him how much I enjoy it, because now there seems to be so much less of it & I know it’s mostly because I pushed him away too many times.
I think this is a tricky question(s) to answer. The reason I say that, is even though I think the concept of respect and also being treated like a child resounds with ALL men…. all men are still different.
For example – I remember reading on another post of yours one time a list some men had put together of what was respectful to them – and some of those my husband didn’t agree with at all. For example – packing his bags when he is going out of town and asking him questions like “did you remember to”…
My husband prefers me to pack his bags and feels loved when I do that.
So, I hesitate to answer this question by saying “here is a list of ways we treat men like children” only because my husband loves when I make his plate for him…. other men would be highly offended and feel like one of the children. (From Peacefulwife – this is exactly why I wanted a number of different people’s responses because different husbands will have different opinions on what it means to be “treated like a child” or “treated like a man.”)
Which leads me to say, I think it all comes down to the attitude behind the action, and isn’t about the action at all.
Am I doing this for my husband because I don’t think he can do it right? Or do it on his own? Or is too stupid/lazy to get it done?
Or am I doing this because I love him, am serving him, or am meeting a need he likes to have fulfilled?
Is my attitude set on serving because I HAVE to, or because I LOVE to? If he’s a child I HAVE to take care of – it’s unlikely that he can be my best friend, lover, leader, and hero.
In my experience, when I treat my husband like a child, he is more likely to respond like one.
But in the instances when I die to myself and let the Spirit in me submit to him and respect him and treat him like a man, he responds by loving and serving me, putting my needs and wants above his own.
HOW ABOUT YOU? Feel free to join the discussion and add your own comments. 🙂