Men's greatest need in marriage is respect. Yet, too often, wives neglect to give their husbands the respect they need, which significantly damages their marriages.
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Nina Roesner's book, The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and your Husband (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
When you withhold respect from your husband, it's as painful to him and harmful to your marriage as if he is withholding love (women's greatest need in marriage) from you. Respecting your husband is a challenge - especially when he doesn't deserve it. But God stands ready to help you learn how to give your husband the unconditional respect that's necessary for your marriage to thrive.
Here's how you can learn how to respect your husband more:
Reflect on how your parents' relationship has impacted your own marriage views. Think about the kind of example your parents set for you growing up about how men and women respect each other. What good and bad choices did they make about respect, and how has their example impacted your current views about respect in marriage?
Evaluate how spiritually mature you currently are, and ask God to show you areas to improve. Learning how to truly respect your husband requires great spiritual maturity, but God will help you every step of the way. Honestly consider the various aspects of your spiritual development so far - from your character, to how often you communicate with God. Then pray for God's help to grow in each of the areas in which you need improvement in order to be able to respect your husband well.
Develop the self-control you need to respond rather than react to your husband. When you're communicating with your husband, aim to be quick to listen and slow to become angry. Ask gentle questions to clarify what your husband says rather than arguing with him.
Practice acts of kindness. Do something kind for your husband (such as taking over a chore of his when he's especially busy) without expecting him to notice or thank you for your effort. Develop a habit of being kind simply to express your love for him. Cut back on unnecessary activities in your life to free up more time to serve your husband through regular acts of kindness.
Choose words of respect. When communicating with your husband (in speaking or in writing), choose your words carefully, making sure that they express your message respectfully. Be careful to respect your husband's reputation when communicating with other people about him (so avoid venting your frustrations about him or your marriage to others) Make a habit of complimenting and praising your husband whenever possible.
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Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer