Monday, February 25, 2008

Respect for YOUR Hubby

As many of you probably know, the book Love and Respect is a huge part of my life and one of the books I most recommend to anyone who is married, getting married, or wants to learn about the opposite sex. It's a book that is very personal for me as God prompted me to buy it for my parents 3 and a half years ago after I heard Emerson Eggerichs on a Focus on the Family broadcast talking about his book. My parents were at the time separated after years of living out "the crazy cycle" and were on the brink of divorce. I was pregnant with Ali at the time and miserable at the thought of my family breaking apart. The great news is that God used that book mainly (although they read many other good ones and counseled with pastors) to get through to my folks and help them recognize patterns of sin in their marriage that were reaping disrespect and unloving behavior. God saved their marriage just weeks before Ali was born and they have been going strong ever since. They are actually counseling their THIRD couple now on the same principles (2 success stories so far!) and have seen God use them in amazing ways as they've shared their testimony with friends, family, and even at Men's Retreats my dad helps with. Love and Respect is one of my top choices for a wedding gift for someone and it has benefitted me and my understanding of my hubby as well as scads of other couples I know. While there may be little parts of the book here and there that seem redundant or generalized (putting all men and women in a box), the overall message is one we desperately need to hear today because we hear a lot of fluff about love, but we don't often hear about a man's need for UNCONDITIONAL respect and the fact that God created men and women with different needs in their relationship.

Even if I've heard the personal accounts, seen the way my parents have changed, read the book and discussed it many times, seen the video series and done the Bible study with my young adult's group at church, it's still not always easy to put into practice the concept of respecting one's husband. It's a lifelong process.

For example, the other day, I caught myself thinking of some other woman, "Well if you would just do that one thing he asked of you, your husband would feel so respected! My goodness, he's not asking for much! Give him a break!" But of course, pride goeth before a fall! That very evening my hubby happened to bring up to me the fact that he would feel most respected and loved if I would try to go to bed at the same time as him and get up with him! I was mortally offended! While many women would think that he had "not asked for much" if it would mean the world to him, it was a crushing blow to this gal who is a night-owl, enjoys personal time of absolute quiet in the late night hours, and hates to get up really early! I thought of my hubby's insanely early bedtimes recently (between 9 and 10pm) due to his 6:30 a.m. log-peeling shifts and thought there is no way I could do it! I began to pull out the excuses: "I'm pregnant for pete's sake!" "You want a groggy, cranky wife to eat breakfast with you?" "How can you ask me to go to bed at such an early hour when I have so much to do?" "I'm going to be up all night with a newborn soon! How dare you ask me to get up with you when I've been up all night nursing!!!" "How could you ask me to actually get up BEFORE the kids do?" Waaaahhh waaaahh wahhhh! I was not a happy camper! He could have asked me for homemade cinnamon rolls every day, for me to work on the cars with him or for more romance or whatever and been met with a smile, but this?????

As we discussed it, I realized that he wasn't asking me to keep his exact hours during this stage of life, with special circumstances like his earlier days and my pregnancy and the dealing-with-a-newborn-stage, but to be willing to make it a pattern when it is possible as a way of blessing him greatly so that he could have more time to spend with me and talk with me in a day. When the baby settles into a good schedule and when he goes back to working 8-6 ish hours it is more do-able. The fact that he said, "I know you would never do it though even when you are not pregnant or nursing" confirms to me that he knows me all too well!

It hit me so hard that it is easy to pass judgement on other women whose hubbies have different requests of them that seem so do-able to us, but it is so difficult to listen to the advice or rebuke of our own husbands because often what our spouse asks of us is so contrary to what we want to do and requires a sacrifice!

I have a very good marriage and am more in love than ever with my guy, but since no marriage is perfect, I have chosen to share this little area that I am going to work on to inspire other women out there to do the same. It may take a lot of time to get used to and it may take starting with one thing (getting up together for breakfast) and mastering that before I tackle going to bed at the same time but I am determined to change my hubby's mind and show him that he does mean enough to me for me to make this sacrifice in order to bless him!

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