Women need love. Men need respect. The Bible says “Men, love your wives; women, respect your husbands.” (Eph 5) Is that not amazing?!In response to feeling unloved, women break down and cry. In response to feeling disrespected, men get angry. He won’t necessarily spell out “You’re disrespecting me!” but you can be pretty sure that if he’s angry at something and you don’t understand the cause, there’s a good chance that he is feeling the pain or humiliation of your disrespect. Unconditional Respect Just as you want the man in your life to give you unconditional love, your man needs you to demonstrate your respect for him regardless of whether he’s meeting your expectations at the moment. It does tremendous things for your man to know that you are choosing to trust and honor him. It’s a Choice! Just as our men can choose to demonstrate love toward us even if they don’t feel it at the moment, we can and should choose to demonstrate respect. It has to be Shown! Feeling respect for our men, but not showing it is the same as their feeling love for us but not showing it. It’s like that awful joke: “Why do I have to tell my wife I love her? I told her that when we got married!” Now comes the million-dollar question: How do we demonstrate this respect?! Respect His Judgement Many men wished their mate wouldn’t question their decisions all the time; there’s a need for us to defer to them sometimes…yes, even in these liberated days! Imagine your man feeling that his opinions and decisions were valued everywhere else but the home?! Women run the risk of making their men feel stupid! You don’t want that problem! Respect His Abilities Men want, and maybe even need to figure things out for themselves. Let him fiddle with it for hours; they’ll feel like they’ve conquered something and are affirmed as men. Sometimes, interfering because we really don’t trust them demonstrates that distrust and will come back to bite us. The lesson: let him drive around without asking for directions; choose to trust that he knows what he’s doing and will figure it out; it’s more important to have him feel trusted than get to that party on time. Respect in Communication Women hold an incredible power in the way we communicate with our men to build them up or tear them down, to encourage or to exasperate. Some things just push a man’s buttons – even how we say it and where we say it. Example of hearing disrespect: A wife tells her husband, who wants to take a crack at fixing something, “Well, you’re not really the fix-it-type” and he feels so insulted. Example or hearing disappointment: A wife reminds her husband that the kitchen wall still needed to be fixed. The man sees it as nagging or an accusation of laziness or mistrust. Example of hearing attacks: A woman asks “Do you know how to put together a romantic event…” and then switches it to “Suppose you had to plan an anniversary event…Do you know how…?” Softening the approach changes everything! Let us make every effort to put on a “disrespect meter” before letting words pass through our lips. Respect in Public Dozens of men confessed as to how painful it is when their wives criticize them in public, put them down, or even question their judgement in front of others. Teasing can be torture. Many of us have wondered why our men – normally so good natured – get so upset by a little public joking. The only time a guy’s guard is completely down is with the woman he loves. So she can pierce his heart like no one else. Be Respectful even when he’s Absent Complaining about your man to others, which perpetuates a dissatisfaction that affects him – we must kill this terrible habit! Showing Public Respect goes a long way Taking those little opportunities to honestly praise him or ask his opinion in front of others will build him up and he’ll think you’re the most wonderful woman in the world. “She has to make me feel respected so that I can command respect out there in the world. If she defeats me emotionally, I can’t win the race and bring home the prize for her.” In Conclusion We as women hold incredible power – and responsibility – in our hands. We have the ability to either build up or tear down our men. We can either strengthen or hobble them in ways that go far beyond our relationship. From now on, choose to demonstrate respect and choose not to demonstrate disrespect, starting with never humiliating them in public. Take every opportunity, in private and in public, to demonstrate – through words and actions – how proud we are of our men and how much we trust them. Behind every man is a great woman If a man’s wife is supportive and believes in him, he can conquer the world – or at least his corner of it. He will do better at work, at home, everywhere. By contrast, men can do well at work or at home if their wives make them feel inadequate. This concludes the first chapter of this book and only the first of seven incredible revelations about men. You deserve to get this book! I’ve learned so much and you will too. Go on and git it! Thank you Shaunti Feldhahn, for your gift to the world.
(written while my mac was being “saved!”) Mon, 11/2/09, 12:18pm
Jada Pinkett says about her [in my opinion, wildly successful] relationship, “Be friends first…Will knows more about me than my girlfriends. Passion and fire come and go, but friendship lasts forever.”
How wise and how true, Ms. Pinkett! I’ve always fantasized about finding the Will to my inner Jada and coincidentally, have subscribed to this school of thought as well (see my entry: “Save the Sex.”) It’s soooo true, so true…and so unfortunate that the lot of us arrive at this pearl only so late in our love lives…and usually as a result of learning the hard way!
One of my friends, who has recently married her long-time love, says of her new hubby, [insert Rosie Perez accent] “Hoooneeey! He and I are just friends that “^&*$%!” Marry your best friend!”
Again. Advice that I know is tried and true.
During our less mature and usually more debaucherous years ,a “friend with benefits” was something shallow, possibly shameful, usually a bit awkward, and basically stemmed from a situation without enough substance to even deserve a definition! We would insert these people into our lives just enough to satisfy our needs [the benefit], but keep them far removed enough to discourage anything romantic [the friend.]
The word “friend” is also so sadly perverted in this context. I really don’t like it. It should have been coined “doormat with benefits” because usually, this person wasn’t a friend at all, meaning someone we would spend hours on the phone with, share secrets with, and invite out with our actual friends!” No, the suffix of this “friend” freed those involved of any true friend-like obligations and in my opinion, actually raped this sacred relationship of its redeeming benefits! But moving on. I’ll leave this with clever marketing kudos to whoever did coin it for taking the bite out of this dirty deed. =P
So, yes, these FWBs usually just complicated our lives because the relationship, at its core, contradicted all that is natural and good about human relationships. Unrestrained love and honesty and affection were tainted with games and insecurities and a free ticket to hurt another human being. Share your bed, but not your heart. Why did we think this was so genius?!
Well, let’s fast-forward to today and sanctify this phrase. Let us lift it up, dust it off, and breathe a shiny new life into it! Let us redefine a “friend with benefits” as someone whom we love as a friend with whom we share the rare benefit of romance. How do you practically apply this idea? Well, before diving into the benefits of a romantic relationship (the hand-holding, the heavy petting, the French kissing, etc), enjoy the core friendship (the hanging out, the laughing, the sharing, etc). Be sure that a friendship truly exists before complicating things with the benefits. Just as you cannot take advantage of the benefits of anything else in life without having to put in the work first, so should it be with relationships.
Imagine hastily finding a job, any job, just so you can get the benefit of health insurance. You couldn’t care less about whether you enjoy the job or not…dreams, schmeams! You just want to skip ahead to your free dental plan. So sure, you’ll get your wisdom teeth pulled for free, but in the end, you’re in an un gratifying job..every day. Wouldn’t it have been so much better to patiently search for a career in your true passion and then allow the benefits to reward you as icing on a cake?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. And it’s true. If you really want to get technical, it’s never recommended to be without health insurance, but there are ways to tide yourself over until you create that perfect scenario. There is government health care and self-pleasuring. (wink!)
And if you really want to strive for the gold, think about the probationary period of three months that most jobs impose before allowing you to take advantage of their benefits. Those three months are a time for you and your job to establish that you truly get along, are committed to each other, and are ready to be in it for the long haul…then you get the health and dental and 401K package! There’s a reason for that, and we can directly take this cue when dealing with our relationships.
So, let us go forth and take a true friend from our lives…and beautify that relationship…with the benefit…of romance. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to be that “friend with benefits” now! It is only in this place that we will have the remotest chance of finding our life partner.
Mission: “Redefine a ‘Friend with Benefits’” Check!