It has been a good practice to read through Love and Respect and be reminded of the insights I learned my first time reading it a year ago and to discover new practicalities now that I'm in the thick of marriage. I'm about half the way through, so I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the notes that I've been taking at the end of each chapter, which summarize most of the main points thus far in my reading. (And check off one of the items on my to-do list for this week!)
Understanding the importance of unconditional respect
- Must give unconditional respect to my husband. Men need to feel respected at all times, but especially during conflict. He hears criticism as contempt. Respect is the key to motivating men--not criticism!
- We must inspire them by acknowledging their great potential. Build him up, don't tear him down!
- Men fear they never can fulfill their wives' expectations, which is why respect is empowering!
- The real issue in marital conflict boils down to Love and Respect. Every time. When he is frustrated or icy or angry, consider whether he's interpreted something you've done, said or not done/said as disrespectful.
How can I exhibit respect to my husband?
Here are the key ways respect and disrespect are exhibited (whether intentionally or not):
- Through your facial expression and tone of voice.
- Delivery is of utmost importance. Consider how he'll interpret what you're about to say and protect his heart from any harsh words!
- Respect is also telling him what I appreciate and admire about him. It's a good idea to take some time to mull on this and come up with a list of things I respect and admire about him--particularly in the areas that matter most to him. (This is the section I'm reading through now--learning about the priorities that matter most to men and that we, as wives, must seek to respect even moreso.)
Respect during conflict in marriage
- Often an apology can neutralize an argument. But an argument can be avoided altogether if we take time to clarify the situation, our needs and interpretations. Beware thinking you are being respectful just because you're willing to apologize. It's important that we act respectfully all the time--not just after an argument!
Misinterpreting our spouse's actions
- Because we tend to focus on our self, we misinterpret our spouse's actions and words and true meaning. We often assume they don't love us, rather than stop and think about their needs, situation, vantage point.
- I must assume he is not meaning to hurt me or act unloving, even though I feel that way. I must assume the best and try to see the alternatives--perhaps he's not trying to hurt me but acting a certain way because he's frustrated at work or stressed about some decision?
Inspiration to keep trying