re·spect  [ri-spekt]


1. a particular, detail, or point (usually preceded by in ): to differ in some respect.
2. relation or reference: inquiries with respect to a route.
3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality orability: I have great respect for her judgment.
4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
5. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.

Several years ago, my sister gave me a book titled Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Its truths are simple, yet profound. If I, as a wife, respect my husband, then he will, in turn, be more prone to love me. And the opposite is true: if I feel loved by my husband, then I am more likely to show him respect. The question is: With whom does it start? The answer? Me.

OK. So, you might ask, how do I show respect? A friend of mine shared the other day one of the ways she does it: When her husband mentions something that he’d like to do, like watch Christmas movies together as a family, she doesn’t then come up with 10 logistical reasons why that might not work. She makes it work. It’s the little things that make him realize that his opinions are valued, and what he wants counts.

The other day, my husband told me that he wanted to get rid of all the different-sized plastic plates that we have in our cabinets. They don’t all fit nicely together in the dishwasher, and it bothered him. I could have easily just blown that off and not acted on it, knowing that he wouldn’t make a big deal about it. But how hard was it for me to go to our cupboard, pull out the mismatched plastic, leaving the nicer, matching melamine bowls and plates, and put some in the giveaway bag and some in the camping box? While I was at it, I got rid of a bunch of plastic cups we really don’t need to use anymore also.

Such a little thing; such a big statement.

What if you have a free Saturday and your husband wants to go on a bike ride, but you really just wanted to stay in and watch a movie? How about saying, “Sure, we can go on a bike ride. And do you think after that we might be able to fit in a movie?” How much more willing and happy is he to do what you want to do, when  you have so happily and willingly done what he wants to do also?

I’m not a marriage expert, but I’ve been married 20 years and 359 days, so I think I have gained a little bit of insight in that time. My husband’s a strong man, but he’s also a little boy who’s just looking for approval. It is within my power to provide that approval. I can scoff at his suggestions, or I can see what I can do about making it happen. I’m looking for the little things now, every day.

He is worthy of respect, and I am privileged to give it to him.

It’s easy to say, if your marriage is happy and healthy. What if you haven’t felt loved by your husband in a long time? I would challenge you to start showing him respect in the small ways. See what happens. The movie “Fireproof” included in it something called the “Love Dare.” That dare was to do something out of the ordinary and nice for your spouse every day for 40 days. In the same way, whether you feel like it or not, whether your spouse responds appropriately or not, take 40 days and do something that shows respect. Husbands, do something that shows love. (And, by the way, speak HER love language, not your own. See Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages if you need some help.)

It’ll make a big difference if you stick to it. I have a great marriage, but I’m going to take that dare myself anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’d love to hear how it goes for you, too.

Thankful today for:

I missed yesterday, so I’ll start with

48. a warm breeze blowing through my house

49. the weekend

50. Bunco with the girls tonight

51. the sound of windchimes

52. health

53. my bread maker, which is going to be put into use soon


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