It is my sweetie’s big day! In 1970-something, God gave a special gift to a special couple. He was a little ball of curiosity, excited by new discoveries. He grew up enjoying books, problem solving, chemistry sets, and even sought out entrepreneurial opportunities before he was ten years old. He is truly a remarkable person and I am blessed to have him. (Sometimes, I do not feel worthy of him.)
Early in our relationship, I tried so hard to make his birthdays memorable. Sadly, I have slacked off considerably over the years. Though, I do not love him less; I guess I have just not focused enough energy into birthday celebrations over the last nine years. ~frown~
The first birthday we were together, I planned an entire day’s worth of events. He even received twenty-eight individually wrapped gifts in honor of his twenty-eighth birthday. The next year, he had to pop twenty-nine balloons to release twenty-nine coupons. My parents came up from out-of-state and surprised him for his thirtieth birthday and I attempted a surprise party (that he totally saw coming). ~smile~
Since then, however, his birthdays have not been as magical. (Wow. I am really bumming myself out right now!)
Still, on his unforgettable birthdays and his more mundane birthdays, there is one constant. He would rather have my respect than any other gift or celebration.
If he had to choose between grand birthday celebrations (large parties, food tours, expensive gifts, etc.) or my respect, he would always choose my respect.
The Mommy Trap
Women often fall into a trap. We effortlessly turn into moms. We love on our men in motherly ways. We make sure they are taken care of on the outside – feeding them, washing clothes, reminding them of appointments, and keeping their lives scheduled; but, we lose focus of their most important needs: to be honored, appreciated, trusted, and respected.
When we talk down to them, often (… sometimes) unknowingly, we slowly begin to rip away at their masculinity. When we criticize them for every mistake and remind them – repeatedly – of their “flaws” (i.e., habits we do not like), we shred a part of their heart. Sadly, it is the part of their heart that is attached to us – their ladies… their companions… their princesses.
There is not a man alive who does not want to be seen as strong, courageous, and able to take care of business. All men want to be viewed with adoring eyes. (Ladies, this need for unconditional respect does not make men inherently arrogant any more than our needing to be unconditionally loved makes us inherently vain.)
Most men will not demand respect. Some certainly do, but most do not. In homes everywhere, men sit in front of the TV and computer, tuning out the unsatisfied voices of their wives. I am not trying to incite anger in anyone here and I am not dreaming this up. It is a fact. It happens all over the place. We ladies tend to feel justified in our frustrations and we let them fly from our mouths.
“If he does not like the way I am talking to him, then maybe he should get his act together and I will shut up!”
No… instead, maybe we should take a step back, speak kindly to our men (whether they are living up to our expectations or not), and watch how they thrive when we show them unconditional respect.
Flowers and Buildings
We ladies are like flowers. With love, we open and bloom. Without it, we wither and die emotionally. Whereas, men are like buildings. When they are respected, we add another brick to their tower. Before long, it stands tall and provides us with shelter and protection. When we emasculate them, we tear at the building and it begins to crumble – the very tower which is to care for and protect us. Before long, there is only a shell of what could have been amazing architecture.
What business are you in? Are you a building contractor or are you in demolition? As a married woman, you will be doing one or the other.
Sadly, I have removed many bricks from my husband’s structure over the years. I have nitpicked and nagged when I should have uplifted and encouraged. Eric is a strong man with a strong personality and sometimes I forget that he still needs my unconditional respect.
There is no greater gift a woman can give her man (or her dad) than her complete, unconditional respect. It is every man’s need and it is our privilege to provide it – even when we would rather yell and scream. ~smile~
A parting thought: One act of feminine respect will yield more effective action from him than twenty acts of feminine nagging and berating.
Happy Birthday, Eric. I hope you feel more respected this year than ever before – and more still with each passing year!
With all my respect,