With a nod to T.E. Lawrence, we're going to spend the next seven Wednesdays looking at seven supports of respect within marriage.
It's said that women need love and men need respect, but that's a half-truth. Women need respect, too, and they positively glow with the support of a husband who not only loves them, but respects them for who they are and what they do.
(And men need love, even though they often won't admit it. Look at a well-loved man in the company of his wife sometime. Look in his eyes, and you'll see what I mean. The 'lone, aloof hero' is a myth. Lone and aloof is just dysfunctional.)
Most wives and husbands think they're showing respect in their marriage...but a high proportion of spouses don't feel respected, so there's a disconnect somewhere.
The respect language spoken is not the one that's understood.
Respect is not cheerleading, applauding anything your spouse does to a faintly ridiculous degree. That will always ring false, and does more harm than good. Rather, it's appreciation based on observation, and observation informed by love and understanding.
And illuminated by faith.
So...what are the Seven Pillars of Marital Respect?
- Emotional respect - respect for your spouse's emotional response to life, whether it be tears in a sad movie or joy at the prospect of the Cubs going to the World Series. This is part of the package with which you fell in love, and it's important to respect its place in your mate's character.
- Spiritual Respect - we may not be unequally yoked, but we rarely see our faith in exactly the same way. God created us as individuals, and the relationship we have with Him is unique to each of us. We have to celebrate both our similarities, and our differences...even if we don't agree with them. And even if we are required to evangelize a mate who's lost faith, effective evangelism begins with respect.
- Physical Respect - Paul taught that our bodies in marriage are not our own, but we have to respect the fact that the physical feelings of the spouse's body we 'own' are felt by another. We also have to respect the fact that bodies may change over time, but it's still the same soul inside.
- Vocational Respect - do you know what your spouse does at work, or to keep up a home? You should. It's your duty to know and to understand as much as you can.
- Avocational Respect - do you know what brings color to your mate's life, and joy to his or her heart? Do you know and care what hobbies they pursue?
- Respect for the Past - your spouse came from 'somewhere'...a place and a home and a family. Do you truly respect the in-laws and the home ton, or are you in danger of rolling your eyes so far back that they stick?
- Respect for the Future - we all have dreams...do you give your mate a safe place to share them, and the support to work toward making them real?
Next week we'll start with Emotional Respect, but meanwhile...
What do you think? Is this list comprehensive enough? Would you add or change anything? Please share!
This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage (and I got to write today's!). If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.