Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Rule of Engagement (and Marriage)

This post is the sixth in a series leading up to our anniversary tomorrow. Click here to start from the beginning.

When we are listened to,
it creates us,
makes us unfold and expand.
Karl Menninger

After a week of rambling about all the fun memories, bold dreams, and refining challenges found in thirteen very lucky years of marriage, I think it all distills down to this one bit. We really only have one rule that has always influenced every element of our relationship:


We have three off-limits words: Idiot, Stupid, Moron. Once you start calling names, respect starts to dwindle. When fighting, we never use these words, and we always try to address only the issue at hand without attacking the other person.

When we talk about one another to others, we intentionally always say positive things about one another. If I'm cutting him down behind his back, not only am I not behaving respectfully, but I'm diminishing the respect others have for him.

The Captain always treats me respectfully. If he doesn't, he comes back very quickly to apologize. He taught me about making up via that first fight in the shower.

My biggest challenge in marriage is that I struggle with respecting him the way he wants to be respected. I stew about money management or housekeeping. I raise his children. I worry about feeding him regular meals. I am his sounding board about external frustrations.

He appreciates all of those things about me. But those aren't the things he really wants, deep down. All this simple man needs to feel respected is for me to be emotionally and physically available to him.

The rest can be negotiated.

I love my man to the deepest part of my being, and want to help him be the man he is meant to be. The best way I can do that is to give him what he needs. Although we do have fun in our intimate time, it's not always my idea of fun to stop and play with him when he wants. I just have so many things running in my mind at a time that it's hard to settle down and be in the moment.

But when I don't make time, he doesn't feel respected.

And it diminishes him.

So many popular books talk about how a man needs to show respect for his wife. Many more talk about how the wife needs to create a haven for her husband, a well-run home with well-disciplined children. Those are both excellent points.

But I don't think enough of them stress this point enough: A man needs to be physically loved in order to feel fully respected by his woman.

I have found as I make that time and put away all the other distractions to focus on my man physically, his confidence and charm increase, and lead him in turn to focus more on me emotionally. Which increases my desire to put everything else aside and focus on him physically. Which increases his sense of having everything right with his world. It's a mutually beneficial cycle that builds our respect for one another as well as our sense of being on the same team.

I love this man. I love being on the same team with him. I love being treated respectfully by him. And I love the confidence in his eyes when I treat him with the respect he deserves.

Thank you for reading my lengthy discourse (not eulogy) about marriage this week. Please excuse me now, I think it's time to go respect my husband.

1 comment:

  1. i am so glad to hear that someone else does the positive only to others about her husband. i get tired of women ripping them to shreds.
    and all the rest is awesome too

    thanks for sharing. it's nice to read about someone who adores their husband, instead of the grumping.


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