WHILE this can be a slippery proposition for some women (“he doesn’t deserve my respect, he’s a narcissistic slob!”), most men want to be held in high esteem and be seen by their women as their heroes–even when they make mistakes.
Men want and need their mates to believe in them, especially when they are faced with the hurdles of life. And women hold the key because so much approval and affirmation comes from their wives.
While they are dedicated and hard-working husbands and fathers, they may have different emotional and sexual expectations, and at the end of the day–these men desire to be respected for who they are, not for what have you done for me lately?
Here are 10 ways that men need to be respected in a marriage:
- Don’t insult him in an attempt to motivate him to change. Women may think their harsh criticisms will fix their husbands and make them better. Nope! What you are doing is actually causing rejections that will lead to anger, which will then lead to bitter resentment toward you.
- Build a safe space for open, emotionally and honest dialogue to happen with him. If a woman can risk still respecting her man in spite of his Neanderthal habits, he will eventually demonstrate with his heart that he can and is willing to change. Respect is the gateway for such conversations to happen, and a wise wife will offer it frequently to build up her husband, and set the stage for such intimate encounters.
- Express respect in his love language. It can be spoken through “words of affirmation”– one of Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages. Nothing is as important for such a man to hear his woman assure him that he is awesome, competent, and heroic. So make your home a place of safety in his life, where those critical voices he hears in his business life are drowned out by the soothing voice of your affirmations.
- Respect him by offering yourself for physical affection (yes, sex). When wives willingly and passionately make love to their men (I said passionately, not passively), and initiate the act occasionally, this speaks loudly that you respect his need for physical affection, served up his way.
- Respect him by letting him be a man. If a woman allows her man to be man without mothering him, and let him “be” who he was designed to be without the need to fix him, he will come out of his cave more often, hand you his heart, and engage you emotionally….without losing his masculinity.
- Respect him by giving him space. Let’s say you and your man get into a heated spat. Sometimes the tendency is for a woman to push for instant conflict resolution. Is that true? What’s going on in your mature man’s mind is totally the opposite. He’s going, “I need some space now!” Give him the space he needs to go to his cave and process his thoughts. He might be new to this, so even allow for him to complain and express himself in a way he needs to be heard until he eventually comes around.
- Support and encourage him because he’s under pressure most of the time, but won’t tell you. A man fighting to provide for his family needs constant affirmation, and that she believes in him and looks up to him. Wives must see themselves in the privileged role of offering their men what no other person can — full acceptance of their masculine truth. A woman who reaches this level of respect for her man will have a man who’ll love her forever.
- Appreciate all parts of your man, not just the parts that connect to you emotionally. If you appreciate his muscles, athleticism, creative flair, how he takes care of the bills, mows your beautiful lawn with accurate precision, or fixes things around the house without you asking, tell him how much you appreciate it all, and often. What may happen next is he’ll start to open up the relational parts that have been lacking.
- Be attractive for him. I’m not talking about how a woman looks in a two-piece, three kids later, although taking care of oneself physically is important to husbands. The attraction I speak of that a mature man desires goes beyond the physical and into the emotional. When he connects with her at her best, sparks fly. That means a woman’s love of self, her passion for life, and how she carries herself will transcend his love for you. As you embody your attractiveness, he will reflect that same passion. A woman who wants a mature man will invest in living life to its fullest.
- Respect him by growing as a whole person. What can be more attractive to man than a happy and joyful disposition in a woman? It’s contagious, and it empowers men. To get to that happy place also means the road along the way took some work of healing and growth for you– like releasing shame, depression, anger, sadness, and fear along the way. But you’ve arrived, and you are now deserving of a mature, emotionally-healthy man so that both of you may have life, and have it abundantly.
Kindly stay safe and healthy.
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