Men need respect in romantic relationships like women need love. Most men would rather feel respected and alone/unloved – than feel loved and disrespected. Did you know that!??!?! I know that seems so bizarre to our feminine ears. But if we want to understand men – if we want to be able to have strong relationships with them – in any setting – we must understand their masculine world of respect.
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 all these 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 erased it from our collective memory. But men haven’t forgotten. This is how God made them – to need respect. So it is DEFINITELY worth our time and effort to learn to speak this new language.
God designed marriage to represent Christ and His intimate relationship, His One Spirit relationship with the church. (Ephesians 5:22-33) The husband is supposed to portray the love, selflessness, sacrifice, and godly leadership of Christ. The wife is supposed to portray the respect, reverence, adoration, joyful cooperation, submission and gratitude of the church. God’s greatest purpose in marriage is to display this profound mystery.
Men are hardwired to respond to respect. That is why the “admiring secretary” often ends up with her boss – even if he’s married, unfortunately. Men go where they feel respected, admired, valuable, powerful and like they are seen as “winners.” And 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 meet their needs.
WHAT IF HE SINS AGAINST ME? I CAN’T RESPECT SIN!
God never calls us to respect sin. But we can find things that we can respect. And we can act respectfully.
A man, or anyone else, can’t MAKE me sin against him. He can’t MAKE me disrespect him! If I react with disrespect – it is because that is what is in my heart! The time I am most tempted to sin is when I am sinned against (Gary Thomas – Sacred Influence). If my sin nature is in control – I will respond to sin against me with hatred, contempt, bitterness, unforgiveness, rage, screaming, name-calling, gossip and I will try to hurt the other person and tear them apart. It has nothing to do with the other person – and everything to do with me. If I have God’s Spirit in control of my soul – I will respond even to sin with the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
My disrespect reveals my carnal heart. It reveals how much I trust, respect and submit myself to Christ. It is a very accurate indicator of the level of my spiritual maturity in Christ.
Even if a man sins against you – if you can respond without sinning in return, and respectfully, gently address his sin and offer grace – you are so much more likely for him to repent and become a better man than if you flip out, scream, yell, throw things, make threats, cuss him out, call him names, tell everyone on FB what a jerk he is, talk about him to everyone you both know… Reacting with disrespect – even if he sinned against you – can put the nail in the coffin of the relationship. You be the more mature one. You respond in the power of God and treat Him in a way that honors Christ EVEN WHEN he sins against you.
That doesn’t mean you ignore his sin. You may have to confront him – but do it carefully, humbly, respectfully and make sure you take care of the log in your own eye before you talk about your man’s sin.
That way – you aren’t causing even more catastrophic damage by adding more sin of your own on top of his sin. Jesus commands us to repay evil with good and cursing with blessing. We are to respond to the sin of others in a godly way – with kindness, prayer, gentleness, love and respect!
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 (THIS is how he feels most loved and attracted to you):
- tell him things you admire about him sometimes (just a sentence or two several times a week maybe – men don’t like tons of words usually like we do)
- praise him when you like what he does or the way he does something
- look at him with genuine adoration and faith in your eyes – that is intoxicating to him!
- accept him as he is, don’t try to change him
- let him make his own decisions – don’t try to FORCE him into what you want
- ask him politely for what you want, with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile – and graciously accept whatever his answer is. You don’t control him.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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 handsome he is
- 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 sometimes
- 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
- 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 that stuff
- don’t criticize his prayers or his relationship with God
- don’t try to drag him to God – let him hear God’s voice for himself