Give Him the Gift He Really Wants this Valentine’s Day: Respect

February 9, 2011

This month God has really been stripping me of every assurance I had about the type of wife I am.  I’m not the best wife ever, I knew that, but I never thought I was a horrible wife.  Recently, though, God has been showing me just how awful I really am–how my actions and my words (sometimes that I even thought were helpful) are practically emasculating my husband!

Years ago I read this little book called For Women Only.  I don’t even know why I picked it up or what about it caught my eye (except for maybe the colorful cover), but the truths inside the binding changed the way I thought about men.  It completely revolutionized my interactions with not only my boyfriend at the time, but with all men–it really did give me insight into how they thought, what they wanted, and what their fears were.  This lasted for about three months.  Then I was back to my old over-bearing, joking, and quite frankly, annoying self.

The reason this book was (and still is) so revolutionary is because it’s basically a book by men about men.  The subtitle is, “what you need to know about the inner lives of men.”  It sounds crazy–it actually sounds like a cover story in some women’s magazine, but it’s so much more than that.  The author, Shaunti Feldhahn, interviewed a thousand men (all sorts of different men) asking them all sorts of different questions–everything from their biggest fears to what they think about in terms of physical intimacy.  Then she recorded their answers in this little book.  The crazy thing is the results.  For so many of the questions 85% of men answered one way, with only 15% answering the other.  The point is this: most men feel the same way about most of these topics!  That means that chances are, your man probably agrees with most of the men interviewed for the book!

Remarkably, the one thing that almost all the men interviewed said they wanted more than anything else–the one thing that is most important to them–is to be respected.  All they want is respect–specifically from their wives.  They want their opinions to matter.  They want to make decisions.  They want to be esteemed and looked up to.  Ouch.  How often do I dismiss Tim’s opinions?  How often do I try and manipulate the outcome of a decision?  How often do I cut him down in front of others all in the name of a silly joke?  Too often.  Way too often.

Several things have started to completely change the way I think about and interact with my husband.  I cannot tell you enough how the following few things have completely changed my life.  And my marriage.  Please listen to these podcasts, read this book, and take this challenge–I am confident that the end result will surprise you. I am confident that you will be amazed by what you hear and read.  It’s likely that your husband will not know what’s hit him and that in turn he will begin to change for the better too.  Why not take the next few days leading up to Valentine’s Day to do these three simple things?  Why not make your marriage better?  Why not learn how to be a better wife for your husband?  Why not give him the gift he’s always wanted but has always been to scared to ask for?

Listen to These Four Podcasts

Last week, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, on her daily radio program, Revive Our Hearts (I’ve subscribed to her podcast and encourage you to do the same), ran an old series from several years ago in which her guest was none other than Shaunti Feldhahn. Here is the list of For Women Only broadcasts. The last four have been repeated several times.  To listen to the four that changed my life, click on January 31st’s program: “What Do Men Need?”  Then you can listen to the actual broadcast (if you’d rather not read the transcript) using the tabs in the upper right-hand corner of the page.  Then, also in the upper right-hand corner, click “next” to get the next day’s program.  The series is four days long.

I cannot encourage you enough to listen to this series.  I really believe if you go into it with an open heart, praying for the Lord to change your view, these programs will change your life.  They have mine–I’m not being over-dramatic.  I have a renewed love for my husband.  I feel like I understand him so much better and am able to love him so much more.  I am looking for ways to respect him, to encourage him, and to love him.  I’m sure after listening to these four programs you won’t be able to not do the next two things:

Read For Women Only

This book will just continue to amaze you and change you.  You can buy the book from Amazon or from Revive Our Hearts, but Shaunti has her own website for the book:  Without even purchasing the book (although you must register with the website for free) you can have access to both blank surveys you can ask your man to fill out and the nation-wide survey results that are published in the book.  There are also open-ended responses that the men Shaunti interviewed gave and even links to extra resources that are helpful in creating a strong, understanding marriage.  It seems from the website that you don’t really even need to read the book: all the information is right there, although I would greatly encourage you to read the actual book.  Shaunti’s writing and encouragement and insights are invaluable (and not found on the website).

Take the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge

Click here to learn all about it. You can sign up to receive emails each day during your 30 days of encouraging your husband.  Revive our Hearts has even made a journal to encourage you as you encourage him and for you to record the change in both your husband and yourself as you embark on the next 30 days.  I am so excited to see what this does for my marriage!

A Note about your Man: Remember, when listening to these programs and reading this book, that just because 75% of the men interviewed answered a question a certain way, that doesn’t mean that your man feels the same.  He may be part of that 25% that answered differently.  That’s why learning about your husband is so important.  God calls men to live with their wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7).  Well, why shouldn’t we do the same?!  You may think that you know your husband.  You may think that he just doesn’t struggle with a certain area or that he just doesn’t feel that way about that certain thing.  That may be true, but it could also be that you’ve forced him to give up that part of himself.  It may be that he’s so scared of your reaction that he’s hiding his true thoughts from you.  That’s why it’s so important to be open and honest about this stuff with your husband.  Ask him if he would take the survey and be willing to talk about the way he feels about some of these issues.  He may not want to, and that’s okay–it’ll just make your job a bit harder.  You’ll have to study your husband without him straight-up telling you how he feels.

A Note about how some of this makes me feel: Some of these topics are really hard to take in–some of the answers that all these men gave hurt my heart.  But that doesn’t make them untrue.  How much better can I serve my husband now that I understand him?  Now that I know where he’s coming from?  Now that I know it’s not just him that feels this way–that it’s a lot of men that feel that way.  That it’s not bad that he is the way he is–it’s how God created him?!  I can’t really tell you enough how great this has been for our marriage–and I’ve only just begun re-thinking the way I think about my husband!

I hope you’ll do these three simple things that I really do think will change your marriage.  Remember, it may be that God changes you and not your husband!  As we embark on this journey together, leave comments about how you’re doing, about how God’s changing your heart, and about what you’re learning. I’m so excited to become a better wife–I hope you are too!


One Response to “Give Him the Gift He Really Wants this Valentine’s Day: Respect”

  1. claire said

    Katie thanks so much for posting this blog. I really feel like this can change marriages. My marriage has radically changed in the last 5 days and my husband is a completely different person because of the changes I have made and how I treat him. I have been such a fool. God is so gracious to me to show me the error of my ways and is making our marriage amazing!!!

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