Yesterday, we talked about disrespect. Today, let’s focus on how we can bless others around us – but particularly our men by learning to speak the language of respect fluently. Men and women both need love and respect. A godly relationship will have love and respect flowing freely in both directions.
Whether you are dealing with your dad, your brother, your boss, your male co-worker, a male customer, a teen-age boy or your boyfriend – MEN OPERATE IN THE REALM OF RESPECT.
There are unwritten expectations, rules and codes of conduct in a man’s world. Most women aren’t aware of this world at all anymore. Our culture has almost erased it from our collective memory as women. But men haven’t forgotten. This is how God made them – to need and desire the respect of others around them. So it is DEFINITELY worth our time and effort to learn to speak this (new to us) language. Really, this is how we ought to be treating just about EVERYONE in our lives anyway: at work, at home, at church, with friends, in public… It is a wonderful thing for us to learn these godly relationship skills no matter where we are in life.
Men are hardwired to respond to respect – from everyone. But respect from a woman is particularly potent for a man.
- Men go where they feel respected, admired, valuable, powerful and like they are seen as “winners.”
- Men do NOT like to be where they feel like failures – where they are criticized, condemned, ridiculed, ordered around, made fun of, scolded, yelled at, mocked, and made to feel incompetent.
LADIES – THIS PIECE OF INFORMATION IS EXTREMELY VALUABLE IN YOUR ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS! IF YOU CAN TRULY GRASP WHAT I JUST TOLD YOU – YOU WILL UNDERSTAND MEN AT THEIR CORE! And you will know what they want, what motivates them, why they behave the way they do, how to inspire them, how to turn them on and how to turn them off.
WHAT DOES RESPECT LOOK LIKE TO MEN?
This list will vary somewhat from individual to individual. (Gentlemen, you are welcome to comment!) But here are some general ideas to get you started of how to show respect for your man:
- Tell him things you really admire about him sometimes (just a sentence or two several times a week maybe – don’t go too overboard.)
- Praise him when you like or admire something about him.
- Look at him with genuine adoration and faith in your eyes (that can be intoxicating to him.)
- Accept him as he is, don’t try to change him – please realize you can’t change him!
- Let him make his own decisions – don’t try to FORCE him into what you want. This is part of having healthy boundaries with other adults. God gives each person a free will. We must honor that and not try to cross into their responsibilities and try to make decisions for other people. We make our decisions. We allow other people to make their own choices.
- Ask for things politely, with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile – and graciously accept whatever his answer is.
- Share your desires, feelings and needs honestly, briefly and calmly – no manipulation, guilt, or expectations that he should read your mind.
- Be responsible for your own emotional well-being and find your joy in Christ primarily. Don’t make an idol out of your man, or the idea of a relationship, romance or marriage. (Idolatry = we put something above Christ in our hearts and believe we MUST have that thing/person to be happy.)
- Listen to him and be interested in what he has to say, stop what you are doing and really pay attention
- Don’t interrupt him
- Have a healthy appreciation/awe for his physical strength.
- Don’t ever try to egg him on into a physical fight. Respect that he is probably MUCH stronger than you are.
- Don’t tell other people the things he has told you in confidence – be trustworthy and loyal
- Speak well of him to everyone – in front of him AND behind his back
- Dress femininely and modestly – it speaks volumes about your respect for God, your appreciation of your own gift of femininity, your respect for yourself, your respect for your sexuality/purity and your respect for men and their visual temptations.
- Speak well of his family to everyone.
- Give him grace to be human.
- Have real faith in him.
- Desire to know his heart.
- Study him and explore his world, his wisdom, his perspective on life.
- Show trust in him (unless he has severely broken your trust – but that is another post!).
- Don’t expect your relationship to be like a Hollywood movie – have realistic expectations, understand that he is a man, and appreciate that it is good that he is a man and not a woman.
- Tell him how proud you are of him.
- Don’t try to figure out his problems for him – express your faith in him that you know HE will be able to figure them out and do a great job.
- Don’t rush the relationship, don’t try to force him beyond what he is emotionally ready to commit to.
- Appreciate that his time table on some things may be slower than yours – not wrong – but different.
- Realize that he has wisdom to offer you and a new masculine perspective that just might make your world a better place.
- Take his advice when you can.
- Be faithful.
- Accept his spiritual leadership style and don’t try to force him to lead the way you want him to.
- Appreciate anything he gives to you or does for you – be grateful, smile and show him that you don’t take him for granted.
- Smile a lot – genuinely.
- Enjoy him.
- Let him do the driving when you are together – if he prefers.
- Let him generally take the lead when you are walking together.
- Trust him to handle his own relationships with his family, his boss, his friends – without your intervention.
- Stay in the moment, don’t rush ahead to the future and try to have everything all planned out – trust God to take care of the future.
- Don’t criticize his prayers or his relationship with God.
- Don’t try to verbally drag him to God – let him hear God’s voice for himself.
These things also are things that will make us better, more godly women as we practice them. God desires us to be thankful, respectful, polite, kind, gentle, patient, full of faith in Him, not controlling others, not manipulating others, not insisting on our own way, not rude, not selfish, etc… We can ask God to help us become more and more like Christ – and as we practice respect for those around us, this can be a great way for us to learn Christlikeness.
RESPECTING AND REVERENCING GOD
God designed the picture in marriage of the relationship between a husband and wife to be a living parable of the relationship between Christ and the church – where the husband represents Christ and His sacrificial love, humility and servant leadership and the wife represents the adoration, reverence and biblical submission of the church to Jesus. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
As we learn to respect the men in our lives and learn about this masculine world of respect, we get a peek into God’s masculine heart, too, and how He desires us to treat Him. Of course, learning to respect men vs. learning to respect God is not exactly the same. Men are not deity, after all! But what does it mean to fear God, to reverence Him and to honor Him as Lord?
- accept Him as He is and don’t try to change Him
- come to Him on HIS terms, not ours
- have faith and trust in Him (without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6)
- enjoy Him
- worship Him
- speak well of Him
- represent Him accurately and positively to others
- be trustworthy and loyal
- be completely faithful
- care about what is important to Him
- tremble before Him, acknowledging His power, strength and identity
- desire to know Him deeply
- follow Him
- obey Him (John 14:22-24) – this is the fullest measure of our love for Him. If we love Him we WILL obey Him!
- praise Him – He is worthy of all of our praise!
- trust Him – even in the times of pain and suffering
- trust God’s sovereignty – this is a huge key to peace!
- embrace His wisdom
- explore His heart, mind and wisdom with awe for Who He is
- study Him
- approach Him with respect when asking for things
- have a thankful heart in all things (I Thess. 5:18)
- do not argue (Phil 2:14-16a)
- do not complain (Phil 2:14-16a)
- make Him the most important thing/person in our lives by a LONG shot! He is to be LORD, not just Savior