Do you find it hard to respect your husband?
My husband and I just spent a weekend speaking at the FamilyLife Canada Weekend Getaway marriage conference in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia! So much fun. I love speaking with him. And today I just want to share something I told the women in the women’s only session about how to respect your husband.
I love speaking with my husband. I spend most of the year doing my “Girl Talk” event, where I come into churches and talk about marriage and sex, or doing women’s retreats, when I talk about how to trust God–no strings attached. And I do love speaking to women’s groups. But speaking with my husband is great because we get a bit of a break, away, and we get to do something together! Plus the more we talk about marriage together to prepare, the better our marriage gets.
I have no idea what we were saying here, but these are awesome expressions:
Funny story: we had a bit of a conflict before the giving the conflict talk–and the conflict talk went great! I told Keith we should do that more often. Then he said, “Well, the sex talk is next…”
Anyway, during the women’s talk I was sharing what I think is one of the problems women have with respect and husbands.
Now, I’m not talking about struggling to respect your husband when he’s leading a life that isn’t worthy of respect. That’s something different, and this post on respect in difficult situations is likely better.
I just want to talk today about respect in normal marriages: how do you respect your husband on a day to day basis if little things keep bugging you? So let’s jump in!
It all starts with that waffles/spaghetti thing, explained by Bill and Pam Farrel in their book Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. Basically, men are like waffles: they live their lives in boxes. When they’re in their work box, they’re thinking about work. If work is good, they’re happy. When they’re in their home box, they’re thinking about home. They tend to focus on one thing at a time.
Women aren’t like that. We’re multitaskers, and little bits of spaghetti weave their way into everything. It’s really so that children don’t die. We can wash dishes and talk on the phone and make sure that a child is safe all at the same time. Our brains are in multiple places at once.
It’s a good thing usually.
But this spaghetti, multitasking thing can be bad when it comes to respecting your husband.
Here’s why: Let’s say that your husband has one major area of weakness. Maybe he’s bad with money. Maybe he struggles with porn. Maybe he yells too much at the kids. These are all bad things, and they do need to be worked on. Absolutely. But because we’re spaghetti, we see these bad things, and these bad things worm their way into everything else, so that we’re really incapable of seeing our husbands as good anymore. That one bad thing has clouded everything.
I’ve seen this with friends of mine. He struggles with one area, but let’s say he’s a great dad. She never, ever praises him for being a great dad, because really, how can he be a great dad if he’s also bad with money–or struggling with porn? Sure he may have fun with the kids, but that doesn’t make up for it, does it?
Or let’s say that he texts you something nice, or he buys you flowers. You assume that he’s trying to make up for something bad he did, rather than just trying to show you love. All the bad stuff worms its way in, and you can’t see anything he does in a positive light.
What does that do to a marriage? A man may have an area he really needs to work on (we all do, after all), but it will be much easier to work on that area together if you are also thanking him for the things that he does do well. If you acknowledge those things and look for them and thank him, he’ll feel appreciated. And when you feel appreciated, you will want to work on your bad spots. You will know that you aren’t a failure; this is just one area, and you can tackle it together.
On the other hand, if you never thank him for anything, because how could you respect a guy who does X, then he will feel “nothing I ever do is good enough”.
And if he feels that, he’ll be too demoralized to try to work on the big thing.
So that’s my challenge to you today: fight against the spaghetti principle, and start really thanking him for what he does do well. Don’t let one thing impact the whole way you see your marriage.
I hope that helps, and I can’t wait to speak with Keith again!