A precious sister in the Lord, BlessedOut, has allowed me to share her response to a woman who commented on one of my posts:
One of the things you said made me curious: “…then we can go about having (men) understand that it’s much more about their perceptions than actually being disrespected…”
I have been raised in a very feminist environment, and when I read your statement, I interpreted it as, “Their feelings don’t matter, and now I can show them that.” I have felt the very same way in the past. However, can you see how unfair that is? How would you feel if you were in a relationship with a man and he didn’t care when you got hurt by his unloving behavior? If he thought you were overreacting, merely because you’re different than he is?
If I loved someone (truly love someone), I would think I’d be considerate of their feelings, even if I can’t understand why they feel that way. I read a quote earlier that said,
“The way we love people we disagree with is the best evidence of what we really believe.”
I used to expect my husband to behave exactly as I do… to be just like me in how he processes information, speaks to me, and shows me his love. But I didn’t marry myself, nor would I ever want to! My husband has insights that I would never think of, just as I have insights he wouldn’t think of. We complement each other, and we can’t do that by being carbon copies of one another.
My husband has never laid a hand on me for any reason either than to comfort/caress me. He is an amazing man and I’m very grateful to have him in my life. Is he a typical husband? In a lot of ways, probably not. However, I’m also striving not to be a typical wife. You mentioned abuse toward women, and that’s true. Some women do suffer abuse, and of course, that’s never OK. However, men are suffering on a continual basis as well, but don’t even feel like they’re able to express it. We poison our husbands with our words and sour looks. We cut their hearts out with our complete disdain for them and the way God created them. We wield our weapons far more than they wield theirs, because it’s socially acceptable to do so.
Even children’s shows make light of a husband’s role as head of the household. I couldn’t watch “Fairly Odd Parents” the other day, because Wanda was constantly calling her husband an idiot.
Of course, I can’t speak for everyone. I know there are women who are being abused and I know that’s not their fault. God needs to work on the man in that situation while healing the woman of the hurt she’s experienced. She needs godly, experienced help, and if kids are involved, it is certainly her responsibility as their caregiver to move them out of the dangerous situation. My heart breaks for women in those situations and I pray that they will get the help they need.
I’m not speaking from that point of view, though: I’m speaking as a woman who has a wonderful husband and didn’t fully appreciate him in the beginning of our marriage. I’m speaking as a woman who was being influenced by the world, even when I thought I was honoring God. I finally learned I need to accept the whole truth of God’s Word, and that means respecting my husband no matter what. (1 Peter 3:1-2 “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”)
I can respectfully disagree, of course, but I needn’t make him understand by being rude or hurtful in my tone and expression. That phrase “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” has a lot of truth to it. I don’t know about you, but when a man is being unloving toward me, it’s certainly never makes me want to be respectful to him. It’s the same way with men: Our disrespect will not motivate him to love us, or “show him how much he hurt us”. It will only lead him farther away from us… and then, (perhaps when it’s too late), we’ll wonder what happened to what used to be a beautiful relationship.
I have been practicing being respectful to my husband, and let me assure you: I don’t feel oppressed in the least. I feel freer than I’ve ever felt in my life. I feel like my husband and I now have a deeper understanding because I’ve come to realize that his desires are important as well as mine. I find our relationship much more fulfilling now, and the ugly feelings I used to have of jealousy, comparison, unmet expectations, having to “know it all” and “do it all” are all but gone. There’s a reason April chose “PeacefulWife” as her blog name… there truly is a ton of peace that goes into this. My husband didn’t point this blog out to me; I looked for it of my own accord. I read “Love and Respect” of my own accord: he didn’t even know what I was doing!
Showing respect is actually pretty awesome, and I’ve found that the opposite of your scenario happened with me: He was MORE loving with me after I started showing respect, not less loving. In response to another one of the things you said, yes, the male ego is very fragile… just as fragile as our sense of how loved we are is. We desire that need to be handled with care, so it’s not unreasonable for us to also treat their needs with care. 🙂
The truth is, no one can force a woman to respect her husband, in the same way that no one can force him to love her. It has to be of our own free will.
When She Surrendered – by my husband
Non-Verbal Disrespect – VIDEO