If you’ve ever asked your husband something that seemed totally innocuous (“Honey, for the hundredth time, will you please fix the leaky faucet?”) and have been baffled at his response, keep reading. :)
I recently finished reading For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhan. Her book opened my eyes to a few differences between the way men and women think: mainly, a man’s need for respect.
After surveying hundreds of men and conducting dozens of interviews, Shaunti learned that most men would choose to feel respected over feeling loved.
As a woman, I personally wouldn’t care if half the world thought I was an incompetent idiot—as long as someone out there loved me the way I was. (You too?) But most men need to be perceived as competent, able, and worthy of respect even more than they need to feel loved.
3 Ways to Give Men Respect
1. Respect men as providers.
Shaunti’s book gave me more appreciation for the anxiety men live with from having to stay on top of their game 24-7 at work. She says many men feel like they are always just one step ahead, or worse, that they are impostors who don’t know what they’re doing and are on the brink of being found out. They also feel tremendous pressure to provide a comfortable lifestyle for their families. Imagine what a difference a supportive wife (or mother or sister) at home can make.
2. Respect men as problem solvers.
Think about every time you have been lost on the road with a man in the driver’s seat. Think about every time you have called a repairman because you knew it would take your husband three times as long to figure it out. Think about every time you did something for your son because letting him try on his own would make you late. Think about the way your husband offers solutions when all you want is a little understanding. Men have an innate need to solve problems, and their ability to do so is tied to way they see themselves.
3. Respect men as husbands and fathers.
I had always thought nagging was a bad idea just because it’s annoying. Well, that, and it usually makes my husband want to do the opposite! After reading For Women Only, I learned that nagging him implies failure. Every time we ask our husbands to fix that leaky faucet, we’re telling them we think they’ve failed. That they just can’t get it together for us. (In reality, they simply have different priorities!) And for most of us, men and women alike, failure is not a motivating feeling. (At least not initially.) Neglecting to recognize what our men do for us makes them feel like we don’t trust or respect them.
So the real question is, how do we show our respect? How do you? I’d love to hear!