Wednesday, May 14, 2008

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. , Part 2

We now find ourselves at the letter E in our study of respecting our husbands. Of course, there are two "e"s in the word respect, so I'll be splitting them up.
Lucky you! Shorter post today!

Here are our words for today:

1) Examine - I believe that the first step on this road is to truly examine our own hearts. Sometimes we don't even realize when we are doing something wrong, because it's become so normal to us. While I would encourage you to look at the Self-Assessment we did on Monday, this will require a deeper look into your heart and attitudes.

I know this from personal experience. I know that whenever my husband disciplines the kids, I feel that I would do it better, that he shouldn't have done or said this or that. I know that when we are not finding our way, I feel that if he would just listen to me we would be there sooner. I know that when he asks me to do something that I don't have the time (or more likely the inclination) to do, I feel that he just doesn't understand how busy I am.

All of these attitudes stem from a place of disrespect. They stem from not trusting him and assuming that I know better. Now, granted, maybe sometimes I do indeed know better. I'm not saying that men are inherently smarter than women. But I am saying that we need to learn to trust them and and allow them freedom to work, freedom to make mistakes without condemnation, freedom to be who they are.

Perhaps you disagree with your husband on child discipline. Do you remember that he is just as much a parent as you are? Even though you may stay home with that child all day, husbands often see things in our children that we overlook.

We need to examine our hearts to see if there are areas where we feel superior to our husbands or where we might, unknowingly belittle them.

2) Encourage - Once we have done this self-examination, we can move forward and begin to build up our husbands. Everyone can use more encouragement!

Sometimes our husbands are like flowers (don't tell them I said that!). Have you ever seen flowers that are wilting, but then with just a little water, come back to their full beauty? That is what encouragement can do for a person - particularly from spouse to spouse.

Encourage them in the things they do around the house. Encourage them for being good providers. Encourage them for being a good dad. Encourage them for every positive thing they do. It will inspire them to want to do more to please you.

Positive reinforcement is a much more powerful motivator than criticism. Rather than nagging at them for what they have failed to do, be it painting the bedroom or holding a job, find something good that you can praise and encourage them for and focus on that. You will probably find that he will begin to flourish under your attention.

The definition of encouragement is "the expression of approval or support." Even if you don't feel that approval or support, begin to treat him like you do. Feelings follow actions. If you begin to show him your approval of him, he will do what it takes to keep that approval.

Just a word of warning here - if you have been overly critical of your husband for some time, it may take him longer to come around and to believe your words of encouragement. There may be damage that you need to repair. Hang in there and commit to continue blessing him with the gift of encouragement. Eventually he will see that you are being genuine and come to trust your words.

Ok, now, just a warning - tomorrow I have LOTS of things to talk about, so bring your coffee or tea or whatever you want and be prepared to settle in for a good long talk!


Tracy said...

What a great series you have going on here I've been enjoying it. Your so right positive encouragement goes so much farther than saying the smallest negative one. Thank you for all the great reminders.

Karen said...

Oh, that one went straight between the eyes. Especially the "I'm to busy (insert I want to do my own thing here) to do what you've asked." This has caused more than one disagreement in my household. And when I look back, it would have been much easier and would have taken less time to just do whatever it was. Sigh. Keep it up, girlfriend.


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