Respect, but not the way Aretha Franklin sang about it
There is a beautiful symphony of respect and love that believers are called to in God’s Word, the Bible. I am still learning what that means and I certainly did not have a clue 18 years ago on our honeymoon. I was too busy swinging between self-pity and that undying optimism. Remember that doing things our own way rather than God’s way had led to a rocky start in marriage.
Thankfully My Man and I stubbornly clung to the little things that bound us together
We are not quite to the part of our story when I did the foolish thing I promised to tell you about. We were still having some laughs and special moments while racking up the miles on our honeymoon. Since it was Christmas time we were planning to end our honeymoon in Elko, Nevada to be with family. This was the perfect opportunity to call coyotes all the way across Nevada! We also had a lot of time to start working out some of the kinks in our relationship. Thankfully, as I told you before, we both love Nevada and it is at its height of beauty in the winter.
Beauty in the bare and the bleak
The desert landscape’s exposure to the elements means it has a built-in-story. Maybe that’s why I feel akin to the desert. Much like Corrie in my novel.
Staring out the window at the endless expanse of frosty sage is good for my soul and there would be a lot more of it in my future. But gazing outside and introversion couldn’t give complete escape from the moments of tension inside the cab.
Personalities…don’t compare your husband to your dad
Here we go again–back to my obsession with personality types and one problem we were encountering: a misconception on my part. Shouldn’t all men be as mellow as my dad? I have the most easygoing, kind-natured dad. I spent a lot of my young life riding horses and fence, and working cattle with him. When a horse or cow “blew up” or the gnats were biting during a hot day fixing fence–Dad kept his cool. Even if I did something irritating. In my mind he was the perfect man and I was a great help to him.
See me there on the floor? That’s my dad, my brother and a mystery girl in the cookhouse of our family’s old Nevada cow camp. It’s no wonder the desert is in my blood
So who was this man-beast I was married to and what had happened to me? Either I was suddenly incompetent or My Man was just plain mean. We couldn’t figure out which.
Since My Man had a bit more fire in him than my dad I just quickly assumed I had married a terrible person. Also, I had never witnessed conflict in a marriage–not a single fight between man and wife! My parents, truly two of the most wonderful people on earth, had calmly divorced when I was very young so I had limited exposure to married people period.
Were we doomed in the desert?
The moments of tension we were having made me wonder if we were doomed. My way of coping was to say things like, “you don’t really love me,” or to just cry. My reactions were foreign to him–my very logical husband.
THEN, I really did something foolish:
We had made it to Elko and had pretty successfully celebrated our first Christmas with my family. Then we had a lull in activity and were watching T.V. in our hotel room. I thought I had a great idea…
“I’m going to call __, my old college friend–he lives in Elko,” I informed My Man. “Maybe he and some other friends could meet us in the lobby.”
__ and I had maybe dated a week, but we honestly had just been good friends. That didn’t matter; to suggest calling an old boyfriend on our honeymoon?! I may as well have announced that I was leaving My Man for __!
It was our honeymoon, after all, and I had just suggested calling another man!
See how foolish I was? But I still couldn’t see that through my hard head.
My Man angrily left to go quail hunting with my uncle and I sat in the hotel room wondering what I had done wrong. My intentions had been innocent, so why was he so upset? I still had a lot to learn about the difference between men and women.
Primarily, the proven fact, men need and crave RESPECT; the kind of respect that is explained in the Bible–not by Aretha Franklin
Whereas women were created to be “loved”, men were created to be “respected”.
“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” Ephesians 5:33 NKJV
Women can “love” on people really well and men can “respect” all day long, but not the opposite. It is against the nature of woman to “respect” in the way God is asking and for men to “love” in the way God is asking. So this is a problem when men need respect and women need love. The absence of either deteriorates the marriage.
The presence of love and respect can do miracles in the marriage, effectively helping both husband and wife to grow in their walk with Christ
There are wonderful, well-researched books out there that go into great detail about men and respect, so I will just tell you what I learned through trial and error: nagging your husband (or even your sons), questioning or bossing them all translates into disrespect.
Nagging–you may as well kill them slowly
Our opinions and concerns are definitely valuable, but can be seen as an attack if not presented in a quiet and humble manner—and at the correct time. This is especially true of My Man’s personality type. Not every thought and concern is brought to the General, right? They are filtered first and I have likewise learned to weed out the inconsequential items.
This may sound harsh to some who don’t understand the “General” personality type or who don’t know the beautiful symphony God offers us to join. I’ll use many stories in the future to hopefully help explain this.
I married a strong man and I can help him be effective as a man by respecting him
Our son, JH, gave me “The Journals of Jim Elliot”, edited by Elisabeth Elliot. The young Jim Elliot made a request to God, while reading Genesis 24, about the wife that he might one day be gifted with:
…give me one like Rebekah, unattracted as yet by Isaac’s physical characteristics, unhesitatingly said, ‘I will go.’ Jewels I can never give her–she must be willing to take only a tent and love, and be able to give comfort (v.67) This wife was serviceable (bearing water), a second miler (‘for the camels also’), prompt and responsive (she ‘hastened and ran’ [v. 18, 20, 28])…”
We may think this inconsiderate of a man…to ask that of a woman. One should not make a judgement, however, without knowing the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot–a more beautiful love story is hard to find.
What Jim Elliot writes of is a high calling. I had no idea of that high calling on our honeymoon, and I am still aiming for it.
Now I am not ashamed to long to be that kind of woman, saying “I will go”, and being “a second miler, serviceable and responsive”
In my next post My Man and I will head back to our “cottage” and attempt to build our life together.
And, yes, that includes cooking for him.