R – E – S – P – E – C –T
Respect. That’s a big deal to him. And something I’m not always very good at showing him. Did I say not always? Let’s put it this way, it’s something I really need to work on and I’m trying to do just that.
I remember quite a few years ago he told me that I didn’t respect him…or that I didn’t show him respect. I forget exactly how he worded it, but the statement stopped me in my tracks. Not because I disagreed with him. Not because I knew he was right. But because I didn’t really know what he meant. I was quiet for a minute and then asked him to explain.Respect. One of the definitions the dictionary gives of respect is the condition of being esteemed or honored…that’s as a noun. Another definition is to show regard or consideration for…that’s as a verb.
You see, I had a couple of things working against me. I have a quick wit and can be very sarcastic. I grew up around that sort of humor. You know, the kind where you say something mean about someone and then laugh and say “just kidding.” And I have a tendency to buck authority, be an independent spirit. I’ve never really been a people pleaser, someone who says yes all the time, or a doormat, letting others walk all over me. I hate to admit it, but it might be fair to say that sometimes I’ve been a bully. I didn’t think of it that way, but I’ve come to realize that was the case at times. : (Warning: bunny trail! You know, the feminist movement really did some great things for women. Of course we should have a vote, be able to work in the workplace, be valued just as highly as men, etc. However, I think it also put us in competition with men in a negative way. For instance, there’s that attitude that says we don’t want to be just as good as you, we want to be better. And I think it’s created some double standards also. There’s the sentiment that of course we should be asked for our input before you make a decision, but we can’t believe that you seem to have the audacity to think we should ask you for input before we make a decision as well (much less leave the final decision up to him). Instead of bringing men and women together, I think in a lot of ways it has pitted women against men, and that seems counter-productive to me.
Anyway, back to my struggle with showing respect to my husband. It has a lot to do with my mouth. Yes, sometimes it’s my actions that get me into trouble, but more often than not it’s my words and the attitude that goes along with them. One of my rules is that I’m to show him respect. He hasn’t given me a specific discipline to go along with that rule, not yet anyway, and for that I’m grateful. I realize that I may be disciplined for disrespect…all discipline is at his discretion after all. But I think at this point I would just end up discouraged if the paddle came out every time I said or did something he felt lacked respect. I think I’m making progress though. Many times I’ve been disrespectful to him without even really realizing it, not recognizing how hurtful I was being. Now I’m learning to recognize it, apologizing afterward, and sometimes, yes, sometimes even stopping myself before I disrespect him. I guess maybe there’s hope for me yet! ; )