In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses a number of things that are integral to a man’s inner psyche. These things can sometimes be overlooked by a woman who is unaware and/or uneducated on the things that make men and women so very different from each other.
Perhaps one of those things that is most overlooked in our society today is respect. A very enlightening thing that Feldhahn’s book teaches is that this is not a standalone detail. Very closely integrated with respect is trust. Now most women (such as myself) really do love and respect their man whole-heartedly, but the problem is, these things are oftentimes lost in translation between men and women.
The thing that seems to challenge me is how these things are lost in translation between my man and I. until reading about it, I had thought that I do a pretty good job of expressing my respect and trust to my man, and consequently my love for him. What surprised me after some personal reflection and analysis, is that oftentimes it’s a lot of the smaller gestures that I have always assumed most men never noticed are the ones that really are monumental. Unfortunately these are oftentimes the gestures that show the most disrespect and distrust instead of the love, respect, and trust you might try to express to him on a regular basis. Usually these things are hidden in simple and ordinary everyday occurrences.
For example, the other day, my man was driving us to Seattle as another car veered towards us and I instinctively gasped. Having just read about showing trust and respect through small gestures, I was mindful of how these small moments and actions can speak to a man. So, I said,”It’s not that I don’t trust you, I do. It’s just that I don’t trust that [CENSORED] driving the black SUV over there.” He stayed focused on the road (like the good driver he actually is) and said “No, you don’t trust me.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“No, you don’t trust me, because if you trusted me, you’d trust me to be able to get out of the way of that [CENSORED] driver and avoid getting hit.”
After hearing that I was somewhat shocked. I’ve been telling my man that same thing since we started dating, thinking that I was expressing my trust in him, when in actuality, I have been expressing a significant amount of distrust. Consequently, I have been disrespecting him almost every time he was driving us around the [CENSORED] Seattle drivers on the road.
As if showing my man distrust and disrespect wasn’t enough, the truth is, many men (and women) connect those actions to the actual concept of being loved. While for most women, love is something that is purely emotional, most men will tie love and respect to each other that they end up practically indistinguishable. According to Feldhahn’s findings, many of the men surveyed and interviewed saw love and respect as the exact same thing.
This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings between couples. Men trying to express their love for their women will do so by showing her the utmost respect, but might be a bit emotionally disconnected. Women on the other hand might express a purely emotional love to their man but also be completely lacking in expressions of trust and respect. I believe it is when both man and women recognize these perceptions and needs (either consciously or subconsciously), that you see a couple who can be truly satisfied in their partners expressions of love.
It is not at all uncommon to find yourself unintentionally disrespecting your man (like you saw I have done earlier), there may be times where you are exceptional at trusting, loving, and respecting him – even when he is not around.
Historically, I have been known to moan, groan, and complain about my significant others to my friends, family, and coworkers behind his back (again, not to be intentionally disrespectful) as a means to air out my frustrations with him while avoiding a confrontation between us.
However, with the man I am with now, I find myself talking about how awesome and amazing he is even when he is nowhere around, and to people who have never even met him. I don’t ever find myself putting him down, but rather, I brag about him and how much I trust him to take care of my future.
I will admit, I do joke at his expense some. I would not be surprised at all to hear that the jokes I make tear him down some even. So I am now making an effort to shift what i say to be more constructive than destructive and praiseworthy such as commenting on all the awesome things he does for me and how lucky I really am to have him in my life.
In Feldhahn’s discussion guide for the book, she asks, “Consider the marriage advice of the Apostle Paul, ‘So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.’ (Ephesians 5:33) What us the connection of a husband loving his wife and a wife respecting her husband?”
I believe the answer is that a man will have a hard time believing that his wife loves him if there is no respect for him as survey results suggest that many men count love and respect to be one and the same. it is hard for a man to express love to his wife if he questions her love for him because of a lack of respect for him.
In conclusion, I believe that respect is perhaps the single most necessary thing for a woman to give the man she loves, as without it one might question if there ever really was love at all.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.