How do we communicate trust and respect…
without becoming a door mat?
Do any of these phrases sound familiar?
- Why don’t you ever help me with the children?
- I’ve worked all day, too—it’s your turn. I am not happy with the amount of time you’re at the office.
- I swear, you always talk about business and leave me out of the loop. I never know what you’re up to.
- Where is all our money? I thought we had XXX amount in our account?
- I wish you spent time with us instead of always being gone.
- Why don’t you…I wish you’d…
- Shamefully, at one time or another, I said every single one of these phrases. I never realized how much these statements conveyed disrespect, or how much I communicated disbelief in my husband’s abilities.
But, how do we communicate trust and respect…without becoming a door mat?
Here are ten helpful hints:
1. Choose to trust his decisions. I used to have to know all the details…now I determine to know my husband and the specifics of how I can help him. Obtaining too many details (for me) was a means of control.
2. Trust the Holy Spirit. God is a better negotiator than we could ever hope to become. As wives, we must learn the delicate balance between our incredible influence and our sinful desire to manipulate and coerce our husband’s actions.
3. Learn when to remain silent. Remember, tame your tongue. Galatians 5:15 says, “Watch out if you continually pick at one another you may end up devouring one another.” Say feelings positively rather than negatively. For example, “Why don’t you ever help me with the children?” could be better phrased—“Could you please get our son a glass of milk while I change his diaper?”
4. Never patronize or use condescending remarks demeaning your husband’s abilities or judging the intentions of his heart. Keep your heart in check. The emphasis on your words must reflect sincerity of heart.
5. Listen to your spouse with an open mind (whether you agree or not) and check for your understanding of his viewpoint. Ask yourself, what does my spouse need? How is he saying I can better support him?
6. Learn what to let go of. Don’t major on the minor stuff. In marriage, each day produces the opportunity of small offenses.
7. Never point out your husband’s flaws until you’ve spent a great deal of praying about it first.
8. Think about how you might respond to another man in authority over you, like your boss. Show your husband the same respect you might show your boss. Guard and choose your words carefully. Demonstrate the same control and respect you would for him, for your husband.
9. Practice what you know to do, and eventually you’ll crave and inherently do what is right.
10. Practice praise. Tell him…You know what I respect the most about you? I am so proud to call you my husband. I am so proud of how you handled that. I loved when you helped me… Thank you for being such a great friend…Zero in on what you respect about your husband and start there.
Ephesians 5:24 & 33 says—“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything… Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” NIV
Respect often equals love to our husbands. What we say and how we say it expresses trust and respect or doubt and lack of love. As we need them to demonstrate their love for us, they need us to unconditionally demonstrate our respect for them. Since I’ve practiced the ten steps listed above, I’ve enjoyed a fulfilling marriage and partnership. Hope you do too!
Want to resist other falacies that sabotage your intimacy? Pick up a copy of What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me About Men.