In your marriage, do you respect your spouse? And if you do – how do you show it?
The Value of Respect
As a value, Respect has three powerful components:
an attitude of admiration or esteem;
courteous regard for others;
These components aren’t mutually exclusive, but they can be embraced individually or together.
In a marriage, respect can show up in different ways:
When a husband or wife openly admires or esteems their spouse. Perhaps it’s as simple as speaking words of affirmation and admiration, or it could be as elaborate as a celebration dedicated to the other spouse.
When a wife or husband is courteous to their spouse. This can be as simple as opening a door for your spouse, or recording their favorite TV show so they don’t miss it. It’s also found in expressions of “please” and “thank you”.
When a spouse yields or submits to the wishes or judgment of the other. It’s not pushing for your idea or desire but rather agreeing to go with the idea or desire of your spouse. (Another way of looking at this is acknowledging your spouse is leading on a particular topic and you actively support it.)
And yet, there’s more…
As we’ve been traveling, Lori and I have noticed a trend.
Husbands and wives are often involved in hobbies. But there’s more – they’re adopting a shared hobby.
(Lori wrote about the idea of shared hobbies HERE.)
Yes, this hobby may be embraced less fervently by one spouse than the other, but by becoming involved, by any degree, the by-product of this involvement is translated into respect for the other spouse.
One couple is heavily into restoring vintage cars. We’re sure the interest first began with the husband, but his wife has involved herself by more than lip-service to his passion – she also takes pride in contributing to the restoration by doing a bit of sanding, etc. Her active involvement in his passion has conveyed to him the feeling of being respected. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
Another couple trains for running marathons. Only the wife actually runs the marathon, but her husband is fully immersed in the training, up to and including eating differently. By being personally invested in his wife’s training, she feels he respects her hobby, and it translates to the wider feeling of being respected by her husband.
They are both primary needs. Neither are easy. Both require work. But the rewards are worth it. While love can be viewed as the “soft stuff”, respect tends to be seen as the “hard stuff.” However, to get to the soft stuff (love), a spouse must often work through the hard stuff (respect) first.
After much discussion, we’re not convinced “respect” is only for men.
We’re beginning to suspect both husbands and wives need and desire to receive a feeling of respect from their spouse…
What do you think?
Do you feel your spouse respects you? How does he or she demonstrate this value of respect?
How do you show your spouse respect?
Robert Ferguson is a speaker, writer, and consultant, with a focus on values in business. You can find him at http://FergusonValues.com
Robert and Lori are married 30+ years, and are on an adventure – traveling North America. They both write about marriage here at Encourage Your Spouse.
Ever wondered which values you and your spouse share?
It’s a challenge: try something new – it’ll make you a “keeper”!
Everyday Robert and I are seeing couples enjoying life. They’re no longer raising their children, and most are not working full time anymore, (or they could be on holidays) but they are exploring new experiences.
When I chat with these couples about their relationships, after a little while they’ll chuckle, and nod, then say,
“Yup. He’s a keeper!”
Or “She’s a keeper!”
They’re referring to the fact that they want to keep on enjoying life… together.
Most of these couples are trying new things. They’re playing euchre with other couples for the first time. Or they’ve bought a tandem motorcycle (two or three-wheeler) and are doing a drive with other motor-cycle couples or they’re volunteering in soup-kitchens. Some have gathered a “band” together to play the songs from their teenage years, and so many other activities.
They’re doing these new activities together.
And before you wonder, not all things are perfect in these couples’ lives. Sometimes they’re battling health challenges. Sometimes they’re grieving over their adult children, sometimes they’re really scrimping to make ends-meet. Not all things are going well… Yet. They’re still moving forward to try new things – to explore and challenge themselves.
Here’s your challenge: find something new to do with your spouse this weekend!
Then, when you get to the point of life that these couples are experiencing, you too will refer to your spouse as he/she’s “a keeper”!
It’s within your ability. Really.
It doesn’t take any money to
play a new game with another couple
volunteer your time to a good cause
bake cookies together and deliver them to another couple
check out your city guide to see what free events are happening
take someone else’s dog for a walk
take a road-trip just for the day
watch a YouTube video to learn how to juggle, or try some magic tricks
take your camera or smart phones and do a digital photo “hunt” (articles from A-Z)
learn some origami to impress your next dinner guests
visit a musical instrument store and try out some unfamiliar instruments
go to church on Sunday – or a worship service on Saturday/Sunday night
How do you encourage your spouse – husband or wife – to be healthy?
Health is a tricky topic. Being healthy in mind, body and spirit means something different to each person, yet being a husband and wife, and leading your life together, health is never a solo endeavor.
Yes. Each person is responsible for their own health. You can’t be healthy for your spouse… However.
Being healthy is not a solo act in marriage.
Your actions make an impact on your spouse.
I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty – I’m just bringing up a topic we all might prefer to put back on the shelf, and to deal with another day.
Over the years, Robert and I have seen many couples criticize each other because one person’s view of a state of health differed from the other spouse. Rarely did that criticism bring any positive change. Often it brought the opposite of what was intended.
What did the criticism bring? Anger – Hurt – Reciprocal Criticism – Deceit – Provocation… and many other negative reactions.
Health is one of those tender spots in marriage. And criticism never works to change a situation.
“Health” can mean any of these:
healthy body weight
healthy work/life balance
healthy sex life
healthy spiritual connection
healthy mental state/outlook on life
What will encourage your spouse to adopt health in any of these areas?
There’s no magic pill, cleansing aroma or hypnotic sound to miraculously transform a mind, body, or spirit to perfect health. (But you already knew that.)
Your actions can encourage your spouse.
Yes. Your actions. It’s not the words you use – although they are helpful. It’s not what you can buy – although that might support your actions.
Supporting your spouse with your actions to become healthy – in any area of life – isn’t going to be an overnight success.
But it is one positive way you can impact your life; encouraging a healthy life for both of you.
You don’t have control over your spouse – you do have control over you! You can take the initiative until you find a good solution.
What kinds of actions can you take?
invite your spouse to be active… with you. A walk, a swim, taking photos at the park, strolling through the exhibits at a museum or shopping at a flea market, etc. The key is to choose something you know your husband or wife already enjoys – or has been always wishing to do. Then invite her or him to be active, with you!
invite your spouse to get more sleep… with you. If finding the off button on the TV, gaming console or computer is difficult, offer a bit of personal incentive, with a massage, a shared midnight snack in bed, or a more intimate and affectionate offer. Sometimes, it could be as simple as a kiss, and an invitation to join you in bed. Letting your spouse know you value their presence is a greater incentive than you might think.
provide some mental health… with or without you. Is your spouse an introvert – needing time alone to recharge? Take yourself (and maybe the kids) away for a long while, leaving your spouse to revel in the quiet and “alone” time you’ve arranged. That’s a wonderful gift for your introverted spouse. What if your spouse is an extrovert and needs to be surrounded by people to charge up? Invite your spouse to a conference, or arrange a get-together with friends. Your pro-active behavior can make a difference in the mental health of your spouse.
I don’t want to make these issues of health – our health or the health of our spouse – seem trite. Or simple. Because they’re not.
This is a topic that’s close to home.
Robert has a constant challenge to encourage me to be healthy – to move and be active. He’s not always successful and I’m sure it’s disheartening. However, even after 30 years, he hasn’t given up. He’s still encouraging me, even when it means a personal sacrifice.
As a real-life current example, he encouraged me to take the opportunity to swim. (He knows I love to swim, but am self-conscious.) He came with me to the pool in the RV park where we’re staying, and sat with his computer while I enjoyed the water. It shouldn’t have been hard to encourage me to do something I love to do… but it was. And it took his participation, when I’m sure he could have been doing something else. He didn’t push – but he did encourage through his actions.
Rob doesn’t complain or criticize. He encourages.
By encouraging me to be active, and making it possible by overcoming all the barriers, (and there were more than I’ve listed here) I have a happy memory. Plus, I’ve been swimming twice more since then!
Sometimes words aren’t enough – it takes some action on your part to encourage.
Don’t give up –
Encourage health by supporting with action!
Take a break from criticizing your spouse – even if it’s only in your thoughts. Be a little creative…
What positive experience – today – can you encourage through your actions?
One of Robert’s favorite desserts is pudding. He doesn’t discriminate between flavors or styles –
rice pudding or caramel or butterscotch – they’re all good.
However, he does have a favorite.
Lemon Souffle Pudding
Lemon Souffle Pudding is a dessert Rob’s mum would make for special occasions for their family. It’s one of the many recipes we’ve incorporated into this next generation, and forwarded to our adult kids. The original recipe is from Rob’s maternal grandmother.
He loves to eat it warm or cold, so I usually make two dishes…
One for him alone and another for everyone else at the table!
Here’s the recipe:
1 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Lemon – juiced & grated rind
1 Tablespoon Butter – melted
1 cup sugar
salt – just a pinch
2 eggs – separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
just a bit of butter to grease the souffle dish
Heat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Prepare an oven-proof dish, by greasing it lightly with butter.(a round, 2-quart souffle dish is good, but any other shape will work – I’ve used square glass bakeware)
You’ll also need a larger pan, filled halfway with hot water to place the souffle dish within, as it is baking. This technique is called a “water bath” and it stops the souffle from cooking too quickly.
Stir the 2 Tablespoons of flour into the 1 cup of milk. Stir well, breaking up the bits.
Separate the 2 eggs into yolks & whites.
Beat the whites of the 2 eggs till fluffy in a bowl. Whip in 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar when the egg whites are fluffly. Set aside.
Add the slightly beaten yolks from the 2 eggs to the milk and flour. Mix well.
Add the 1 cup of sugar to the milk/flour/egg mixture. Mix it up.
Grate the yellow peel of the lemon – be sure to grate the peel very fine.
Add the finely grated lemon peel to the milk/flour/egg mixture.
Juice the lemon, and add the juice to the milk/flour/egg/grated lemon peel mixture.
Add the melted 1 teaspoon of butter to the above mixture. Add the pinch of salt. Mix well.
Fold the egg whites into the mixture. Gently.
Pour into an oven-proof, lightly buttered (souffle) glass bakeware dish.
In a larger pan of hot water, place the filled souffle dish. Make sure the water goes about halfway up the sides.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and pouffy. Remove the oven.
Let it cool slightly, and then remove the pudding/souffle dish from the water bath.
Enjoy either hot, warm or cold!
This souffle/pudding has a fluffy top layer, with a creamy custard-y bottom layer.
Give your spouse a taste from their childhood…
Do you have any recipes from your spouse’s childhood?
Our sense of smell and taste can trigger good memories. Which recipes can you make to lift up your spouse – to relive some happy times?
you could start small – just clasp hands and give thanks for your spouse
you could pray for your spouse’s physical health, career, role as a parent and/or grandparent, your shared intimate life, relationship with friends, attitude, mental health, fears, reputation, temptations, purpose, choices, priorities, self-image, integrity, trials…
Pray. Without ceasing.
You could take action to bless your spouse…
You know what I’m talking about…
What have you been avoiding doing that you know your spouse would appreciate?
It might not be a big thing. (or it could be)
What can you do –
where can you make a difference by taking action –