In the same vein as Kate’s post on Thursday, this week we’ll be discussing ways that we cultivate respect for our husbands. Here are some things that have helped me grow in respecting Andrew and to guard against developing a critical spirit.
Understand his personality – I know I talk about personality all the time… but I do feel that understanding one’s husband in this way is crucial! Knowing that Andrew is an ISTJ helps me to appreciate him more because I look at the strengths of that personality (faithful, hard-working, thorough) and it increases my respect for him. Knowing the way Andrew approaches life also helps me when he does something in a totally different way than I would (which is often since we are total opposites). I can step back in a potentially frustrating situation and realize that Andrew has good reasons for approaching it in the way he does.
Talk about things right away- In the first couple of years of our marriage, in certain instances if Andrew did something that upset me, I would tell myself, “That’s not a big deal, Andie. You are being silly. You need to get over this.” This was a bad idea. Inevitably, whatever it was that “wasn’t a big deal” would come up later…. like months later. By refusing to talk with Andrew about what had upset me, I inadvertently allowed bitterness to sink in. Bitterness usually led to a critical spirit for me. Now I am careful to talk to Andrew right away if something upsets me, even if I feel embarrassed about it.
Unconditional Respect – the other day, I heard a very good answer to an oft-asked question. That question is: How do I respect my husband in those times when he is not acting in a respectable way? Our speaker at MOMS the other day addressed this in a helpful way. She asked us wives, “Are you always lovable?” (Um, NO.) “Do you expect your husband to love you unconditionally?” (Yes, that’s what marriage is all about.) “In the same way that our husbands are called to love us unconditionally, we are called to respect them unconditionally.” Unconditional respect for Andrew is a key aspect of my job description just as unconditional love is a key aspect of his. I found this to be a great new way to look at God’s requirement that wives respect their husbands.