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The Respect Dare, Day 14 – “Treat Him Like a Man”

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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.”

YIKES!!!!!!!

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!!!!!):

JAY DEE:

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.

LEARNING1:

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”.

MARIA:

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….

THANKFUL HUSBAND:

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….

HARRIET:

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’.

MICHELLE:

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.

KAYLA (www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com):

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.

AMY:

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. 🙂

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21 thoughts on “The Respect Dare, Day 14 – “Treat Him Like a Man”

  1. I totally agree with the general idea but my husband is real tricky because he has “mother wounds” from his mother being of a controlling spirit. He loves me to make his plate and he usually asks me to pack up when we go somewhere but I usually have to wait for him to take charge and be in charge of the situation before making a move I ask him instead of making assumptions about things although sometimes he feels like I could make the decision on my own but the point is I checked his opinion first before acting. Since reading these blogs and taking godly council and not my mom or mom in laws council my marriage has drastically changed for the better we have better communication about problems and feelings !

    1. June,

      You are wise to study your own husband and find what makes him feel respected and makes him feel that he is being treated “like a man” not a child.

      It doesn’t matter what a list on my blog says – the important thing is how your husband feels!

      It is also SO IMPORTANT who we go to for advice. I am very glad that you, your husband and marriage are doing so much better. THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!!

      I appreciate your willingness to share. 🙂

  2. Use too:I can state that I do treat him like a child by reading all your posts…I always try to remind him to put his stuff were they belong,tell him not to spend the money good(ME…because we have bills to pay )ME..because I get forcestrated cleaning up after him living his stuff in the living room) he’s also has a daughter from a previous relationship and she act up or being disrespectful I will try to tell or correct him on how he’s not handling it right (she’s spoile) and me telling what to do all the time is wrong that mean I don’t trust him to lead.. These are the signs..
    Please lady’s I’m in a working progress to let go of my you know it all not to treat him like a child… But I will say this he love when I fixed a plate of food,I totally feel like that was we suppose to do especially if we’re out at a cookout etc.please give me your in put. Thanks everyone good bless.

    1. Nyillah,
      I am so glad to hear from you! Thank you for sharing. Yes, do what he likes and what makes him feel respected. That is what is most important. Do it joyfully as a way of serving God. 🙂

  3. When asked how old are your children I would often respond “10, 19 and 41” and then say “but the 41 year old is harder work than the 10 year old”. Which was a lie cause in my house the immature child was really me. DH never said anything but I see now how insulting this type of comment is.
    Have you ever noticed how in all the adds on tv the father is portrayed as a bumbling clutz who fumbles his way through the add. Finally the wise mother comes along with her knowing look and patronising smile. She uses the right cleaning product or heats up the right prepackaged meal thereby saving the day.

    Could you imagine the uproar from the feminist movement if the adds were portrayed the other way around? Or if the clutz was always portrayed with black skin and the saviour was always white?

    Today’s Dare has been easier for me than the others. Mostly cause my husband is such a servant. And if we were at a BBQ and i got myself or my son a plate but didn’t get DH one he would feel hurt so I try to fix him a plate first. But I do see how respect for men in our culture is being trampled on. We are all taught to stand up for our rights and demand respect, but we are not taught to respect others.
    Somewhere along the line compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12) got swallowed up in favour of Self. At least that’s how I lived in my marriage for the first 16 years. I thought it was normal. Now I see that my way hasn’t worked so I’m gonna try it Gods way.
    Much love Tam

    1. Tam,

      I am so glad that you see this and I pray you will have an opportunity to apologize and learn do do things God’s way. 🙂

      I totally do see the way that husbands/dads are portrayed on tv and how the mom and children are often portrayed as much more wise than the dad. You are right – if it was any other subgroup that was treated with such disrespect – there would be a huge uproar about it.

      Thank you for sharing! You are a huge blessing! 🙂

  4. I am new to your idea and your blog. Do you have suggestions, ideas or other posts that you could direct me to on how to deal with a husband that doesn’t not want to lead! We end up arguing because my husband doesn’t feel confident to make a decision. Dinner is the prime example. He is a school teacher (and a fabulous husband, father, fixerupper, and good at all kinds of things!!) so he is home earlier than I am and he does dinner most nights. I have told him many times that I trust his decision on dinner. I have NEVER not even once complained about what he picked or cooked, but he WILL not decide. Any suggestions?

    1. Shannon, It is wonderful to meet you! 🙂

      Welcome!!!!

      I would recommend searching in my home page for “A husband answers – Why Won’t He Lead?”

      Thankfully, deciding what is for dinner does not have to be his job. A leader does not necessarily have to make that decision. He can delegate.

      What happens if you have some ingredients on hand that he likes to cook with and leave him a note,”Spaghetti tonight would be awesome! Thanks, Honey!”

      Would he be willing to cook if he didn’t have to decide what to cook?

      Or does he want you to cook?

      How does this usually play out?

      Much love April

      Sent from my iPad

  5. You are right, it has become so prevalent that women, children, and even other men disrespect men. It happens in families, in public, and church. It is so sad. Thank you for talking about this, I hope that we will all learn the lesson here and stop disrespecting one another.

  6. Thank you for adding what other readers have said. I gained a lot of insight from them. My husband too likes when I fix his plate. I am trying hard to figure out the little things that he does find disrespectful. He doesn’t want to have a conversation about it. I think from things he has says that he feels he is wrong or silly or not manly to feel disrespect sometimes although I know he does. He has even said to me that didn’t I think that was a little antiquated. I know he wants it but I think the modern world has made him believe he shouldn’t want it.

    1. DaisyMae,

      Respecting our men is extremely counter-cultural today. Some men don’t want to voice their feelings about respect/disrespect for fear of seeming egotistical.

      And yet, God made them to have this need. No wonder so many husbands are frustrated today.

      I talked with Greg about this just now.

      He felt a lot like your husband does when I started this journey. He says:

      “Some guys really don’t know what would feel respectful/disrespectful to them. Well, they know, but not in a way that they would be able to list it all out.”

      “As a guy, I don’t want you to do something for me just because I said it would make me feel respected. THen I don’t know if you actually respect me or if you are just doing what I said I would like. I want to feel respected because I am actually respected, not just because you are doing something I asked you to do.”

      Hmm…

      This is the same issue men often have with us when we tell them the things we want them to do for us that would make us feel loved. They don’t want to do things because we told them to, but because they want to do it.

      This puts a wife in a difficult position because we are not very good mind readers when it comes to what would speak respect to our husbands sometimes.

      Maybe I need to write a post on this issue! 🙂

      I wonder if you might allow me to quote this comment in such a post?

      Much love my sweet sister!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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