Tuesday, September 8

Respect Experiment

As I said in my previous post, I had been reading the Love and Respect book and I had learnt a few truths about the importance of showing my husband respect. The book is based on the premise of this scripture in Ephesians 5 v 33 where Paul said: "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." The writer of the book practically promised that the best way to get my husband to love me was to show him respect. A good promise right? So I decided to conduct a little experiment of my own to see if the principle worked..... yep I decided to be the guinea pig!

In the book, it is called "The Respect Test" and there are a lot of tips for wives on how to start showing your husband respect. Most of the tips can be personalised, so after a quick glance through the tips, I came up with my own list:

  • Look out for the accusatory or nagging tone when you are asking him to do something
  • Appreciate his dislikes, don't force him to do or eat stuff he doesn't like
  • Don't argue over the TV programmes he wants to watch. If you want to watch something else, ask nicely
  • Appreciate everything good about him. Tell him often how much you appreciate who he is and what he does
  • Have his meals ready when he gets home
  • Listen and consider his ideas and opinions, even if you don't always agree

Okay, so I had my list and my watchword which goes something like this: Is what I'm about to say or do going to come across as disrespectful to my husband? and I was good to go. I was still a bit cynical about the whole thing and at some point I wondered if I was being a bit hypocritical, like I was putting up a false pretense. I didn't say anything to hubby about my experiment (obviously), but I prayed about it and asked God to help me. As I started to work through my list, it wasn't actually as hard as I had imagined! Most of it was a change in attitude: doing the right thing at the right time, knowing when to speak and when to be quiet, showing him positivity and letting go of my desire to "control" him. And I found out that once I took the first step and made the right move, the feelings caught up with me soon.

Okay, now to the results:

After one week, hubby must have noticed something was different, cos he suddenly asked me one day: "Babe, you've been very nice to me lately, what's going on?"
I smiled and said nothing, but in my mind, I was like "Oh my goodness, it must be working!"
That was very encouraging, so I decided to step it up a notch. By week two, there was a noticeable change about him. He was much happier, he was a lot more relaxed, he smiled a lot more. More importantly, he wanted to spend more and more time with me! Previously hubby had never kept me company in the kitchen while I was cooking, but that week, he actually came to gist with me while I was doing my chores! This was something I had been trying to get him to do forever!
By the third week, he was positively glowing. He was so sweet, he couldn't do enough for me. We had a short break to Germany and throughout the trip, he didn't say no to whatever I asked for! When we got back, he commented on how happy he was and he actually thanked me for making him so happy!

I was totally amazed at this. I felt like a huge burden had been lifted up. So all along, I didn't need to nag to get my views heard. I didn't need any of those power struggles. I realised that indeed as a woman, my strength is not in trying to control or manipulate my husband or try to bend him to fit my ideals. All I have to do is to let go of my pride and respect him and then he would do anything to please me! (Talk about several lightbulb moments in those three weeks, lol). Honestly, I can say that those three weeks were the best weeks of our marriage up to that point.

But of course, I had to go and ruin it, lol. After we got back from our trip to Germany, I did something that hubby said I shouldn't do. I knew he was annoyed, but more than that, because I now understood him a lot more, I could sense that he felt upset because I had disrespected him. I could feel him withdrawing and I knew that if I didn't make amends, we would lose the lovely rapport we had been enjoying in the past few weeks.

So as soon as I had the opportunity, I apologised to him and I made sure I used the words "I'm sorry I disrespected you" when I was speaking. As soon I said it, I could literally see the tension between us evaporate! I knew then, that the word "respect" truly resonates with a man in the way it doesn't resonate with a woman. That was all he needed to hear and I promise you, now that I know I will never let go of that precious knowledge!

Okay, so my experiment went very well, praise the Lord! Of course I have only talked about half of the book. Apart from respect, it also focuses on what husbands have to do to show love to their wives. So I'm going to recommend that hubby reads the book too, hopefully we can read it together and discuss the ideas in it so that we get the full benefits of the topics discussed. And I would recommend it to everyone reading my blog as well. Respect and Submission are not politically correct topics nowadays and I would not have believed it for myself if I hadn't seen that it works! So I would encourage you ladies, to try it out for yourself and see how such a simple thing can transform your relationship. I am not perfect at it yet, because I am only human, but I will continue to practice respect and by God's grace, continue to reap the rewards!

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