A while back a wrote a couple of blogs about the inherent dangers that come when married people try to maintain relationships with members of the opposite sex. Sure they’re just friends and YOU’VE never found them attractive but that doesn’t mean they feel the same and that doesn’t mean your spouse doesn’t feel threatened by them to some degree.
I mean yeah, it’s probably childish for a husband to be worried or even a bit jealous of your “buddy” at the office. After all, the guy at work gets you for eight of your prime hours of the day. Maybe a little less but there are still board meetings, lunchtime “planning” meetings and coffee breaks.
Your husband on the other hand gets a few minutes of your time in the morning while you’re half asleep and running out the door only to come home for a couple more hours in the evening while you’re focused on the kids and worn out from the day. Somebody else gets you at your best, and he gets whatever you have left. Nope, he has no reason to be bummed.
That may be an extreme example but it illustrates the point and I’ve had numerous people agree that married or dating couples need to hold relationships with the opposite sex very loosely.
My girlfriend is a saint on this matter. It’s no secret that the entire 14 months of our relationship have been long distance, the first nine of which were spent on opposite ends of the country. With long distance, trust becomes all the more important. Because she’s in school, I recognize that she has guy friends and since she’s been there almost four years she’s actually known many of them longer than me. We aren’t married and I don’t forbid her from having guy friends but I appreciate her sensitivity to the fact that on any given day, her guy friends are in closer proximity to her than I am and there could be opportunity for me to be jealous or protective.
Because of her social position and being in college, I’m not opposed to her catching up with one of her guy friends over lunch or coffee. What I wouldn’t be a fan of is if it became a regular thing or if she was doing it without my knowing. (You can call me controlling but trust is HUGE especially when you live 3,000 miles away.)
Instead of making me wonder, question her loyalty or have any sort of fear about just how close any one of her guy friends might be, she asks me every time before meeting up with one of them. Not for permission, but to make sure I’m ok with it. She goes out of her way to ensure that I know that I’m the most important. THAT is what leaving no room for doubt is all about and I can’t help but feel so overwhelmingly respected EVERY time she asks (which isn't very often) that I send her with my blessing. She took the time to ask how I feel about it, and gave me the opportunity to voice any concern which in turn makes me fell the utmost level of respect.
If pictures surfaced on Facebook all the time of her out with friends and I was left to wonder who these random guys in pictures are, yes that would be a bit frustrating. I don’t want to negate her good time, but I want to protect what is mine and her checking with me regarding friendships with members of the opposite sex shows me more respect than almost anything else she can do at this point in our relationship.
In turn it creates such an immense level of trust between us and it motivates me to want to love her in return.
I wonder how many guys out there are begging for some similar form of respect from the woman in their life? For some it might be dinner on the table a couple nights a week. For others it might be an uninterrupted hour of serenity with the newspaper or sports center every once in a while. It might even be you initiating sex with him (if you’re married) for the first time in a while instead of him coming after you hoping that he doesn't get shut down.
Chances are pretty good, there’s something you can do to speak the same overwhelming respect to your husband or boyfriend that Kelsey speaks to me. Respect is our love language. There are different dialects ie words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time etc, but all of those are demonstrations of meeting a specific need of every man and that is the need to feel respected by the woman he loves.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, and if he’d give me a reason to I would.” I empathize with that and chances are good he’s done some unloving things that have caused you to distance yourself. But someone has to break the cycle. Someone has to go out on a limb and love the other even when they are feeling nothing in return. That’s the only way the repetitive cycle of no love=no respect and no respect=no love will be broken.
It’s worth a shot. It might not yield anything. But then again…it might. That basement bedroom you’ve been bugging him about for months might just mysteriously get painted. He might come home from work and tell you to load up the kids because he took Friday off and we’re taking a little vacation. He might surprise you with flowers, a note or a pretty new dress that he wants you to wear on a date later that week.
Sure you might go out of your way and nothing will come of it. But the quickest way to guarantee that outcome is to continue not showing him the respect he so earnestly desires. You are the person he desires attention and affection and respect from more than anyone else on the planet. It’s true, at times his behavior and attitude may suggest that he doesn’t even like you a whole lot. More than likely that is due to the lack of respect he feels coming from you, the person he has elected to the role of wife (or girlfriend) therefore you offer him a form of love and respect that he can get from no one else.
Every relationship is different and every man’s respect button is pressed in different ways. What can you do to show the man in your life overwhelming respect?
(Men can also be the one to break the crazy cycle of no love=no respect and I'll be writing about that as well so check back)