I have to admit. I blame 80% of the problems in my marriage on Noah. Truly in my heart, I never thought that I was the cause of all our arguments. Sure I reacted and sure I was passionately angry, but I felt deep down that I was just reacting to Noah and his lack of "love" for me.
A sweet friend of mine was telling me about a book she was reading that was opening her eyes and changing her relationship. The book is called Love and Respect by Dr Emmerson Eggerichs
( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591451876 ). I immediately was drawn to the title because of a conversation that my grandfather, whom I greatly respect, had with me shortly before my marriage.
He told me so sweetly, "Honey, all a man wants is to be respected. And all a woman wants is to be loved."
I've thought of that probably every day since then and have done my "best" to respect Noah. But my best is pretty poor. Truly, in my heart I believed that I had been "mostly" respecting my husband for the past 4 years.
O my goodness! I started reading this book and even after the first chapter, I came to Noah in tears. Sobbing because I realized how wrong I have been.
Respect does not come naturally for me for several reasons:
-I am the oldest. So I'm used to being followed and being looked up to.
-I am a semi feminist because my father was hardly ever around and so we were completely diciplined, taught, and our highest authority was my mother usually. We respected her.
-I thought respect meant just keeping calm when you want to explode.
and mostly it doesn't come naturally to me because I am a woman and I'm so caught up with showing my LOVE to Noah that I just don't think it's that important.
What is respect? It has such a negative meaning to me.
To me it meant holding back my feelings and letting someone take over me. Negative.
But I know God made me smart and I don't think he wants me to be "walked over". In fact I know that he doesn't.
I thought that by thanking Noah for working hard for us, or praising his work was enough respect for me.
O my goodness how I was wrong! I feel completely broken, saddened and mortified at my lack of good, biblical respect for my husband. In fact, now I see everything as my "fault" because I can see now where my actions towards him have completely shut him off, not only love towards me but love towards other people.
Men are strange to me. When they are hurting (because they don't feel respected) they act like wounded animals and completely retreat from our love. Even though I'm always craving to be loved. Noah isn't...because I already do love him and show it daily. It comes so naturally for me to love and nurture. Just like it does for me to love and nurture Barclay. Respect is what Noah needs and it is the most unnatural thing for me.
How have I not respected Noah?
I put his essence down. I criticize how he does things, how he operates, how he interacts with people.
I put down his dreams without listening.
I criticize his decisions and don't give him any trust in future ones.
I make him feel like I can live without him, because I don't need him.
Even small things I do, like not caring about how he feels about something because I know the better way.
I came to Noah with tears streaming down my face to ask for forgiveness and I told him I was going to do my best to respect him. I don't know what I've done except bite my tongue once in a while to think how what I was about to say was going to affect him. But it has made a huge difference not only in how I treat him, but in how he treats me. I feel because he's not always on the defense with me, he's able to be that sweet, tender, husband that I married long ago, more often.
A small, very small example of how I respected Noah this past week was this:
I am really into recycling and also not using paper products. I stopped using paper towels a year ago and have used cloth dish towels instead. Noah, pretty much every day since then, has complained about how inconvenient it was. I simply didn't hear him and dismissed it as his being lazy. I knew I was RIGHT so I wasn't able to see how I was writing his opinion off as wrong and even too minute to spend my time listening to. So for Noah's birthday, I bought him a roll of paper towels and a paper towel holder. Such a small thing, but you should have seen the look on his face! It was like I cared enough about what he thought to change what I wanted to do.
Even though it pains me to use a paper towel still, they are there for Noah and he feels like he is valued in what he thinks. And he really doesn't use them much...
I have so much to learn and I really want to be better, but there is hope to get out of this crazy cycle of:
If you respect me, I'll love you...
But if you love me, I'll respect you.
I was waiting for him to make the first move, because of course, I was right. And then my world came crashing down as I started this book and I have seen how my actions have driven my strong, confident husband into a hole.
Thank the Lord for mercy!
I'll probably write more about this as I go through the book more, but I just had to share the discovery! Please read the book no matter if you are married or not. It is a wealth of knowledge.