My husband Ron admits he used to be jerk, but I discovered a secret formula that turned him into a loving husband. I started treating him like a VIP!
Ron always wanted my respect, but I thought he should earn it — and I had to feel it — before I could give it. Wrong.
We women are good at pointing out our husbands’ faults and failures and punishing them for not meeting our needs. That only leads to discontent and distance in our marriages. Yelling, nagging, and belittling are disrespectful and ineffective.
I’m suggesting a radical alternative: Treat him like a king, and eventually, he may begin to treat you like a queen.
Instead of waiting for him to earn your respect, behave respectfully and watch him grow into the man God designed him to be.
Twenty-five years ago, we were on the brink of divorce. I was controlling, critical and disrespectful. Ron was defensive and angry. We were Christians but not living spirit-filled lives. My emotions dictated my actions, and I thought it was Ron’s job to make me happy.
Then, we made a decision to rebuild our marriage.
A Christian counselor read Ephesians 5:33 to us: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” He then said, “Nancy, if you want to win Ron back and stay married, you must begin to respect him.” I knew he was right. I swallowed hard and came up with a plan.
Here are three of the ways I began to respect Ron. They spell out the goal — to treat him like a V.I.P.
1. Respect Him Verbally. Replace complaints with compliments. If you want to have a peaceful, happy marriage, learn the art of the compliment. Compliments have magnetic pull. The more you compliment your husband the more he’ll be drawn to you. Notice what he does well and encourage him by complimenting him at least once a day.
Can’t think of anything to admire? Consider these categories:
• Physical traits
• Mental skills
• Financial strengths
• Spiritual growth
• Healthy relationships with others–children, parents, or friends.
If you want your marriage to grow and bloom, water it with kindness and encouragement. Don’t wait until he changes. Just start. Then, as he sees your sincere efforts, he’ll begin to transform too.
If you need to bring up a difficult issue, sandwich it between two compliments. Here’s an example, “Honey, I know how hard you work for our money and that Chloe’s braces will be expensive, but I need your decision before her appointment tomorrow. I hope we can do this for her, but if you want to wait, I trust your judgment. What should I tell the orthodontist?”
2. Respect Him Intellectually. Men are problem-solvers. They like to fix things. Appeal to his intelligence by asking him to help you solve a problem. Instead of saying “This garage is a mess, clean up your camping stuff!” Try, “I’d like your help with something. Could you figure out a storage system for the camping supplies?”
Avoid saying “I think you are wrong about…” Instead say, “I’m confused about…please explain it again.” (Remember to keep your tone of voice sarcasm-free.)
Request his help on spiritual matters, too. Ask him to explain a Bible passage or ask him to pray for you about a specific challenge you’re facing. He’ll likely grow as a spiritual leader when he knows you respect his spiritual life.
Men don’t give a lot of weight to feelings — show them facts and they’re more likely to listen. For example: if he wants to buy a car that you think is too expensive, don’t give free reign to your emotions. Instead, list your expenses and ask him which should be cut out in order to buy his car. Let the facts speak for you.
When you can’t reach an agreement, instead of trying to wear him down ask, “Is that your final decision or can I give you my input?” If it’s his final decision, then honor it. It’s freeing — let him carry the responsibility.
3. Respect Him Physically. Find out what his top three physical needs are. Ron likes the laundry done, sex a least twice a week (guaranteed!) and he likes me to keep my “girly make-up stuff” off of the bathroom counter.
Once these needs are met, he’s content and easy to get along with. I know it sounds simple, but ask your husband what makes him feel loved and appreciated. Then do it!
Be aware of your body language. You can communicate disrespect by rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or slamming doors. Commit to express your respect heart, mind, and body.
Change your attitude and actions.
Respect is both a verb and a noun: an action and an attitude — begin today to respect your husband in thought, word, and deed. He’ll be more willing and able to give you the love and affection you crave if he’s respected and admired.
When I began to respect my husband, he was skeptical. However as he saw my changed behavior, he began to treat me differently — lovingly. Now we help other couples discover the blessings of true love in action.
Ask the Lord to strengthen you as you obey His word.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13
Guest blogger Nancy C. Anderson is an award-winning author and speaker who loves to teach women and couples to avoid the “Greener Grass Syndrome” by watering their own lawns. Nancy and her husband Ron teach at marriage seminars and banquets. For more information about their speaking schedule and other marriage articles: www.RonAndNancyAnderson.com or their blog www.joyfulmarriage.blogspot.com