Once upon a time, a long time ago, I got in an argument with my husband.
I know that might shock you. Pastors and their wives don’t fight, do they? With all that training and talking and generally being super heroes in the spiritual world, how could they possibly lower themselves to ugliness?
We do. And we did.
But the possibility of coming out the victor in a scuffle with a professional communicator has a probability factor of practically nil. And so, frustrated with my inability to wrestle him into agreement, I decided to write it down— to make a list of all the things I was mad about.
If I couldn’t out-talk him, I’d try to out-list him.
First, I decided I’d better read my bible.
After all, we all know that winning an argument with a preacher requires Scripture. I’d come locked and loaded. Clearly, I needed God on my side in order to sway him.
But this was a Monday morning and somehow I’d left my bible at church the night before, so I rummaged around the bookshelves until I found a different bible—an Amplified Bible.
Ah ha! Just what I needed to amplify my message of frustration to my man!
This, my dear girls, was way before I learned that God speaks to His children if we will only listen. I wasn’t listening. I didn’t know I should be. I’m not even sure I would have if I’d known.
I was just mad.
Retrieving the barely used bible, I sat on the sofa, ready to load up on I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong verses. And just as I did, a big chunk of pages fell out, spilling God’s Word, quite literally into my lap… to Ephesians 5:33:
However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self;
There it is! Surely, this must be the Lord giving me what I need to pound some sense into that man of mine…
I kept reading…
and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].
I put my pen down. Tore up my list. Got on my knees and wept.
My husband didn’t need a list of what he was doing wrong in order to love me the way I wanted to be loved…
He needed a list of what he was doing right in order to be loved the way he needed to be loved.
And that’s just it, isn’t it? The moment we launch a crusade to bring all his manliness under our control so that we will be loved the way we want to be loved, we lose all possibility to be loved… or lovely.
But when we finally get it, when we get sick and tired of trying to lasso all that wildness, when instead we set him free to go and conquer his world, his way— something unexplainable happens— we fall more deeply in love with the man that he is.
We don’t feel more loved… we feel more love.
After years and years of being surrounded by women… of leading and teaching and counseling and loving women… of being a woman, I have become convinced that this is the one beautiful, mystical silver thread of sameness that runs in every woman’s veins—
We respect and therefore we love.
Somehow, I think, if we understood this better… if we became convinced of the truth of who we are and who we are made to be, every one of us would pay close heed to this tiny tidbit of truth tacked on as a seeming afterthought to God’s pointed command for husbands to love their wives.
It’s almost as if God is trying to tell us something…
And too, I believe, if our men knew this about us… I mean really understood that our love for them is intangibly tied to our respect for them… it would make a difference in the way they live the every-day with us.
And so, my dear girls, don’t you think it’s time we focused our minds on honor; preference, admiration, respect… maybe even a pinch of… veneration? Knowing all his flaws and failures, eyes open to who he was yesterday and will probably be again tomorrow, might we dare let go control enough to just flat out admire him?
To see him through eyes free of bitterness for who he hasn’t been, for what he hasn’t done, for all those things that disappoint down deep?
Because, the truth is, when I purpose to notice those things about him that make me prefer him, when I regard him through the filter of honor, that’s when my chest fills with those feelings of love.
And so, my dear sisters in this struggle to get it right, here is our own list…
1. Respect him
2. Reverence him
3. Notice him.
4. Regard him.
5. Honor him.
6. Prefer him.
7. Venerate him.
8. Esteem him.
9. Defer to him.
10. Praise him.
11. Love him.
12. Admire him exceedingly.
And my prayer:
That… we would become a rare remnant of women skilled in the art of admiration.
That… we would do it on purpose, not mindlessly burying our heads in the sand, but mindfully choosing honor anyway.
That… single women would gift their brothers with golden words of sincere regard.
That… married women would grace their husbands with exceeding admiration, showering them recklessly with words and gestures and expressions of approval.
And that the men God has gifted us with would see themselves thru the eyes of the One who created them and is crafting them into His ideal… because we do.
From my heart,
PS. Some of you are great at this. Most of us are not. This week after Valentine’s Day might we focus on this aspect of loving our men?
And can you sneak in here and tell us how you did?
And for any men who dare sneak a peak into our place here, would you tell us how your wife or girlfriend or just-friend purposely gave you the gift of great respect? We want to learn.