7 Ways to Keep Respect as a Husband

Men, I’ve written before about your greatest need.

It’s respect.

You may not even admit it out loud, but I’d say it’s true most every time. You may use another word. You may even use the word love, but I bet if we could trace how you’d prefer to receive it we could easily translate that into respect.

The song says “All you need is love”, but that’s not true, is it? You need respect. It’s a man’s greatest need. I’m convinced.

If I’m right… (And why else would God command it in Ephesians 5?) …then it makes sense that if you ever received it you’d want to do your best to keep it.

How can you? Let me share a few suggestions.

Here are 7 ways for a man to keep respect as a husband:

Defend the family – Most every wife I know wants a husband who will defend the family. That’s not just against the bumps in the night, but against the blatant and subtle attacks against the family. Turn the television channel. Close the laptop. Say no to friends who distract the family from being healthy.

Be gentle – Men, you can’t talk to your wife with the same tone as you do your guy friends. Being gentle means being understanding in how she is wired and how to communicate with her. Remember your words can be heavy. Think before you speak. Protect her heart.

Be occasionally romantic – Let’s face it…most of us are not wired this way. Our wives know that. The good news is you get credit for trying, but every woman needs to know you are thinking of her unlike you think of anyone else. Be intentional to be occasionally a romantic. Surprise her. Spoil her. Make her feel special.

Don’t fix her – She’s not broke. God made her different on purpose. Don’t always have the answer to every problem. She isn’t always looking for one.

Let her know you’re in this…for keeps – You’ll do this one by being faithful. Do the right things, even when you aren’t with each other. Don’t let her see your eyes wandering. When she does (because we are visual and she notices when you look) quickly let her see you fighting temptation and focusing on her alone. Guard your heart.

Learn to listen – She likely equals love with attention. She knows when you’re listening and when you’re not. Show her that you care by listening carefully. Ask her questions, such as, “So are you saying…?”‘ just to show her you’re paying attention to her. She probably speaks in more subtleties than you do…most women do…ask questions when you aren’t sure what she means rather than ignoring her.

Tell her and show her you love her – Value her for more who she is than for what she does. Ask yourself, if she didn’t do anything for me, what would I love about her? Tell her. Do things you know she appreciates without being asked.

Those are some of my thoughts. Men or women…what would you add?

A Summary of Parenting Encouragement

Recently I preached a message on parenting. A man in the church took notes. In fact, he too great notes. He asked my permission to send his summary to a Boy Scout troop. I asked his permission to share his summary here.

A Summary of Parenting Encouragement

Of primary importance is to realize that as parent you have power over the child’s heart. The son likes to be “just like Dad”, the daughter plays “mommy” doing whatever her mother does, and little girls say “I am going to marry Daddy”. Take this fact very seriously.

First of all formulate a plan. What characteristics do you want your child to have, what beliefs, what do you want your adult children to be? It doesn’t have to be written but time must be taken to intentionally set goals and strategize. Don’t “fly by the seat of your pants”. The Bible says “train a child in the way he should go”.

Secondly, invest in your child. What you teach your child is what they will teach your grandchildren and so on for generations. Of primary importance is to develop character skills. This is the greatest return on investment, more important than anything else, even education. This doesn’t mean leave everything else out but you get back most where you invest most.

Thirdly, direct your child. Direction is probably the most lost fact in today’s parenting. The child has become the director. The child doesn’t know what they want or need. They are trying to know the boundaries. The parent knows what is best and what is needed. The parent knows what foods are needed, what rest is needed, the best use of time, what education means, etc. Direct the child when they are very young as you will not be able to gain control in the teenage years (at least it will be extremely hard). Remember, a child’s actions when they are young are their actions when they are adults. It is OK to say NO to a child. The goal is to establish control over the young child and gradually release it as they grow older. Remember you have a child for just a few years to train for a lifetime.

Fourthly, as the child grows older, let your influence become more of a factor in your child’s life. It is difficult to transition from direction to influence. Be sensitive to when a child is trying to direct and when he needs help in decision making (influence). Remember, you have power over the child’s heart, don’t push too hard. Be careful not to make an unimportant situation a primary battle of the household.

Lastly, model for your child what goals you have determined. Children see what their parents do and do the same. If you want your child to be considerate, be considerate, not rude. If you mistreat the restaurant server, why should you not expect your child to mistreat their teacher. Show your child what you want. Reflect on your actions and words to be sure these are what you want for your children. By the way, this doesn’t end for the rest of your life. You will always be a model for your children. (Also, we are a model or representative for any group that we may be a part. For instance, church members model what the church believes, rightly or wrongly.)

These are principles, not promises. Be intentional with your parenting, your marriage, your relationships. Pray for parenting skills all your life. Stop now and think about your parenting.

Here is the sermon from which he pulled these notes.

Things that make you grow up…

I’ve often heard it said some people “never grow up”. It is said in a humorous way. My wife may say that about me at times. But, many times it is said in a not so funny way, usually speaking of a person’s continued immaturity.

I have another thought. Maybe for some people it is that they have never had an experience that instills maturity in them. It’s possible.

I’ve personally experienced and observed that there are some circumstances in life that bring more automatic maturity…a sort of forced growing up mentality.

Here are 7 things I’ve seen force someone to grow up quickly:

Failure

A first child

Sudden authority

Tragedy

Losing a parent

Having to make it on your own

Betrayal

You can mature naturally. You can grow up over time. But, in my experience, you grow up faster when life experience grows you up. You don’t have to grow in these experiences. Some don’t. You either own up to the challenge, or you don’t. But, when you do, you grow up faster. At least, that’s been my observation.

(By the way, that’s why I believe in giving young leaders experience where they can grow. You can read a post about that HERE.)

Have you ever been forced into a new season of maturity? What caused you to suddenly “grow up”?

What would you add to my list?

A life principle my daddy taught me…

It is what it is…

My father was probably the most bottom line guy I know. One of his most quotable lines was “The main thing is don’t get excited.” If anyone was ever tempted to stress about an issue he would interject that often repeated line.

Occasionally, I remember him adding another sentence into stressful moments. He would say, “It is what it is…”.

In other words, you can’t change it now. That’s a fact, Jack.

Admitting that “it is what it is” allows you to quit complaining and actually do something about it.

Do you need to admit:

Your marriage is in trouble…

You have a spending problem…

You’ve let your weight get out of control…

You’ve been a lousy friend…

Your relationship with God is struggling…

You are surrounding yourself with bad influencers…

You are in over your head…

(Insert yours here)

It is what it is…

Now that you’ve admitted IT

What are you going to do about it?

Draw a Line in the Sand (Or on the Wall)

Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand…

Or on the wall…or in your mind.

I’ve worked with many people who can’t seem to move forward, because of a past failure or disappointment.

It could be a marriage damaged by an affair. The injured spouse is not sure she (or he) can ever trust again. After counseling, time to heal, and repentance on the part of the offender, the injured spouse simply can’t seem to forgive and move forward to build the marriage again.

It could be after a personal failure. The person feels they will never recover, so they refuse to take another risk. They remain miserable, but they can’t seem to pull themselves out of the emotional hold they’ve placed on their life. They may not be able to internalize the truth of God’s grace in their life.

It could be after a financial loss. The person can’t see that life will be any better than it is right now, so they refuse to invest or dream again.

Whatever the reason…and I’ve seen many…life has a way of sucking the passion to move forward out of us at times.

In circumstances like these (and many others), one mental “exercise” I’ve done is to draw a mental line indicating a starting over point. I’ve even drawn it on a board for people, such as the picture above. There’s nothing “magical” about this practice. It’s simply an opportunity to remind yourself of the truth that you can “forget what is behind and press forward”. (Philippians 3:13) You can begin again. You can make better choices. You can get up (again) and take another risk on life. You can do it today!

Get out a piece of paper, if it’s serious enough, draw it on the wall of your house, but maybe just a mental picture…then sign and dated it…Yesterday was then, today is today, and tomorrow is tomorrow. Move forward from this point with the rest of your life.

Do you need to draw a line?

Wherever you draw the line, draw it today!