Yesterday and today, we have the pleasure of having guest blogs from our Daily Broadcast guest, Nina Roesner. Nina is the author of The Respect Dare.
One thing many men don’t realize is that putting effort into their fathering has a positive impact on their marriage. My husband encouraged our daughter when she was struggling with a math concept, and my heart overflowed listening to him. The gentle way he tousled her hair and patiently explained the steps made me smile. When he points out something our boys have done well instead of being critical or harsh with them, I literally feel a deeper connection to him. Something within my mothering psyche responds and I find myself in the middle of a “warm fuzzy” moment, which for men is probably not a huge deal, but for women, it is. I spend a ton of time praying for and interacting with our children – and I realize my role is important, but few things impact them like time with their dad.
I’m so thankful that my husband tries hard to connect with these people we brought into the world, even when it is difficult. In leading our ministry, I also hear far too many stories from women whose husbands have checked out, are distant, or have literally left. I’m privileged to walk alongside these women, though hurting, to learn how to respect and encourage their husbands and change their marriages. Respect matters to their husbands, but it also matters to the whole family. One of the things I’ve come to admire greatly about my husband is how he manages our kids. He often holds them accountable by simply asking the question, “If you don’t put that away, will your mother have to?” This simple question helps to teach responsibility, and communicates that I am also a precious heir in the Kingdom, which is biblical. This small thing adds to my husband’s relationship with God as well, as 1 Peter 3:7 reminds us that God hears his prayers when he treats me with honor.
I know before I studied the concept of respect, I didn’t understand what it meant. I didn’t know how to apply it. I struggled against what I’d learned from the culture, which was, “Respect is to be earned.” What I’ve found, through literally hundreds of conversations with other married women, is simply this – most women just don’t even know what respect means to you. They don’t understand how important it is. They don’t realize they are being disrespectful and hurtful. I know I didn’t “get it” for a while. And as I started to understand, God melted my heart toward my husband. I’m so grateful he was patient with me as I figured things out! Sometimes I’m sure he felt like our marriage was a bit of a social experiment, but he put up with my questions and my learning. Overcoming the deep programming of the culture took time, but it happened. If you are separated or divorced, many of the circumstances that have led you both to that place are born out of ignorance and a lack of reliance on relationship with God. It’s never really been about you not measuring up – the culture’s voice is simply too loud. I hope that encourages you.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:24
I want to give you some hope today, as you interact with both the young and mature women in your life. I want you to know that even if you have a tough marriage or difficult family situation, that your voice matters. You are worthy of respect, even if your wife doesn’t realize it, because you are perfectly and wonderfully made – and you have a special place in your little girl’s heart. God tells your wife to respect you in Ephesians 5:33, However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Be patient with her, pray for her, and she may eventually get this figured out.
The bottom line is simply this – be patient with your wife while she learns to respect you, even if she’s learning at a snail’s pace like I did. If you want to impact your relationship with your wife, we offer a free resource to men which might be of interest to you. Even though I speak mostly to women, I put up the list because of requests. Be blessed, be encouraged, and remember that you matter.