I know it must seem – to some – like I am some kind of expert (or like I must think I am some kind of expert – ha!) on the whole respecting our husbands thing. I have been studying this topic for over 6 years, yes. And I have been writing about it for almost 4 years. But I still have SO VERY MUCH to learn and thousands and thousands of miles to go on this road! Please don’t put me on any kind of pedestal. We are all learning on this journey together! Anything good I have learned is by God’s grace and I am thankful for all that He has done, is doing, and will do in my life and in yours, too. Every husband is unique and has his own particular preferences, his own leadership style, his own desires, his own personality, and his own needs. Respecting our husbands is not a one-size-fits-all thing. I have learned a lot about what husbands find respectful – in general. Now, I am doing a lot more honing to understand Greg’s needs and personality in particular.
What matters most is what our husbands need and that we are the wives God desires us to be to our particular husbands. It is ok that our marriages are unique from other people’s marriages.
God’s principles are always the same – but how we apply them and live them out will look different many times. We don’t have to compare our husbands to others. It is ok for our husbands to be themselves and not to fit into a specific mold in a blog post or a book. It’s ok for wives to be the women God calls us to be and we will not all be cookie cutters. 🙂
What I am learning may not be what God has for you to learn. It will depend on the dynamics in your marriage and on the personalities of you and your husband whether what I am sharing today would apply to your marriage in any way.
GREG SHARED HIS HEART WITH ME (and I made sure to get his approval before sharing with y’all)
I was really surprised to learn a lot of new things about Greg a month or so ago. I would have thought that after 6 years of dating and almost 21 years of marriage, 6 of which I have been on this journey to become a godly wife – that I would know Greg and his preferences really well by now. I found out that some of his preferences have changed.
I had no idea that was a possibility with those particular issues. Most of them were small things. For instance – there are some things he likes but they are just not a huge deal to him. He often doesn’t want me to change anything just because he mentions, in passing, that he likes something. I had always tried to pay close attention to anything he mentioned because he says so little about his preferences, that I wanted to honor his preferences if he did actually say something!
The things he shared took me by surprise and threw me for a bit of a loop. It was good to find out that my husband’s preferences about some things may change at times or that some preferences are “minor” vs. “major” that I didn’t understand before – and to allow him the freedom to change without putting him “in a box.’ He doesn’t think in a black and white way nearly as much as I do. That is ok.
A few things I have been doing for Greg to bless him that really don’t do much for him:
- Asking what he would like me to change once a week or once a month – He doesn’t really like change! So, that kind of stresses him out.
- If I try “too hard” to be a good wife or mom – He feels that stresses out our family. And his definition of me trying too hard does not match my definition at all!
- Asking him what I can do for him that week to bless him – He would rather I not ask him what I can do for him. I will trust him to let me know if he needs something.
- Dressing up every day – He is fine if I do but it’s not a big deal to him if I don’t. He likes me to be comfortable. (I actually did the dressing up thing more for my own benefit than for his, but it was interesting to hear his take on it.)
- Makeup every day – “If it makes sense to wear make up and you want to, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. But I don’t usually care if you wear make up or not.”
These are things that I know that many husbands do like. My husband doesn’t say much about what he likes – so I sometimes would just try to guess and try to do things that might bless him because I knew they blessed other husbands. But – if what I was doing to try to bless him really isn’t that big of a blessing to Greg, or it stresses him out – well, it’s time to revamp my ways of seeking to bless him!
So – I am still learning. In fact, I am sure that I will continue to still be in the learning phase for the rest of my life! Some of Greg’s preferences haven’t changed. He still loves my hair long – for example. I hope to have more conversations like this. I was thankful that Greg was willing to share these things with me because I WANT to know Greg more.
It was kind of unsettling to think that these things I thought I understood about my husband that I thought would bless him really weren’t that important to him.
I am wrapping my head around the concept that many times – with my particular husband – “less is more.” That is not how I think. I would like to shower my husband with lots of attention and DO many things for him to bless him. To me “more is more!” But that isn’t really what he wants. So, showing him respect means, in this case, that I back off. It’s weird because it can feel like I’m not “doing anything special” for him. Then I think things like, “How can I be a helper if I am not helping him in some way?”
- Greg values me not being stressed.
- He doesn’t want to burden me.
- He doesn’t like to ask me to help him (which I can understand – I don’t like asking for help too much, myself!)
- He doesn’t want to be demanding or tyrannical (not really a big danger for him with his particular personality, in my view).
Of course, I don’t see doing things for him as a burden. So it is an interesting time of transition while I try to take my foot off the gas pedal and slow down even more. I had already been going MUCH slower than ever before. Going slowly does NOT come naturally to me!
I found out that sometimes Greg hasn’t really wanted to share small preferences with me because I tend to abruptly change if he mentions something – and he doesn’t want me to change too much. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of girl. It is difficult for me to change things “slightly” or “barely” – or to just hear Greg share how he feels about something without feeling like, “Oh, I could easily change that thing just to bless him.” But apparently, what my husband would most appreciate would be tiny changes – occasionally – not big huge dramatic changes.
He feels that I “over-correct” or “over-steer” a lot of times. Hmm.. I can’t really argue with that observation.
I was thinking about my walk with Christ, too. About Mary vs. Martha. And how easy it is to get caught up DOING STUFF for God – important ministry stuff, even – and miss out on sitting with Him and just soaking in His presence and love.
I don’t have the whole “relaxing” thing down. I like to serve. I like to DO things. Important things. Things that matter in light of eternity. But I think that God is using Greg to help balance me out and help stretch me in areas where I am not strong. I am peaceful. I have God’s peace every day. But I tend to push myself a lot. I don’t like to just “sit and do nothing.” This probably sounds weird but relaxing (well, certain definitions of relaxing) can be more stressful to me than doing things like studying, praying, reading the Bible, doing ministry, or even doing chores. I think I could sometimes miss the idea of resting that God talks about often in Scripture. So, thankfully, I do cuddle and rest with Greg many times.
I haven’t really counted a lot of things I do as being a blessing to Greg. Does that make sense? He counts some things as ways that I bless him that just haven’t been on my radar. I mean, I am really self motivated. I would keep the house clean, take care of the children, cook, do the shopping for the food, cuddle with Greg, and enjoy him without him asking me to. So it is hard for me to feel like those things would “count as a blessing” to him. It doesn’t seem like that is “enough” in my mind sometimes. But to Greg – those things are the things that bless him. He is content and really doesn’t want me to try to do a lot more. For me to pile on a bunch of more things to try to bless him that don’t actually feel like a blessing to him – would be a big waste of time and energy – and it can stress him out!
One of the things Greg values most is just me being there. He is happy to have my friendship, love, respect, and support. I don’t really have to DO anything for him. He just wants to be with me. He values my company, companionship, and friendship.
I asked Greg the other night when we went out to supper, “Doesn’t it get frustrating to you that I still am not really wrapping my mind around the things you shared with me last month and that I am trying to process all of it but I am not sure I am completely ‘getting it’ yet?”
He said, “No. It doesn’t bother me that it is hard for you to understand me. You wouldn’t have a ministry if understanding me was easy for you.”
Well, that’s true! 🙂
I want to be very purposeful about slowing down and just being still before God, spending time listening to Him in silence, praying more, being in God’s Word even more. I want to stop rushing around DOING so much for Him, and actually enjoy Him and sit at His feet much more than I have been.
I also want to be very purposeful about slowing down and just enjoying Greg (and our children). I’m sure some husbands are different. Some husbands probably have a long list of things they want their wives to do – and many wives probably feel very overwhelmed by that. I’m extremely thankful that Greg is not demanding. He never raises his voice. He is the farthest thing from a tyrant. For some wives, what Greg talked about with me would be a super easy assignment – but for me, it is very hard and extremely counterintuitive! I am excited about God and Greg stretching me and helping me to slow down more and to enjoy both of them more.
What have you been learning in your walk with Christ or in your marriage? You are welcome to share!
Here is a peek into what Greg has been learning lately in our marriage – kind of eye-opening stuff, in my opinion!