i wish that throughout my life of interacting with males that i had paid more attention to how the Bible commands us to treat them. specifically how to treat husbands, but i think it applies to all male relationships as well. RESPECT.
in Ephesians 5, God gives us His plan for how a marriage should be. husbands loving their wives like Christ loves the church, and wives respecting and submitting to their husbands. it works. it produces thriving, Christ-centered relationships built on the strongest foundation there is. it's not easy, but it is beyond worth it. i would highly recommend reading Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for an in-depth study on this. it also gives practical ways to apply what you learn to your relationship. love it.
i could quote that book to death right now, but i'm just gonna stick to my thoughts instead. you can go read it yourself. my thing is, i wish i would have read something like that a long time ago. and i wish that this treatment of the male species was actually taught and explained to young women. i know that i am going to be sharing this topic with my basketball girls in our little time of study that we have each week. i wish someone would have shared it with me.
guys need respect. it is a fact. yes, the way that they are & how they act ultimately comes down to their relationship with God - but, ladies, we can help them! don't we want our guy friends/brothers/relatives to grow into men of godly integrity? then we should always be treating them with respect. even the ones we think don't "deserve" it. it's not about deserving it. it's about what God wants.
so often we joke with guys about what we think are little things. when dealing with a girl we probably wouldn't, but with guys we think it's different or something. like "wow you have got some chicken legs" or "have you ever gotten over a 75 on a test?" or "shut up, no one wants to hear you talk". i've heard all of these exact words not only with the high school students i work with, but in college. do we think that guys are just tough enough to handle these kinds of belittling remarks? they may act like they are. it probably will make them seem even more cocky because their defenses go up. but it tears them down. i would bet that the most obnoxious, arrogant guys are almost always the most insecure. we cannot feed that. especially since we demand so much to be treated with love from all guys, we have GOT to step up and treat them with respect. every guy has strengths and talents that God has given them, and we should be highlighting those and building them up.
and it's even worse with boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. which i am a prime example of. i used to think that if i was treated badly, then it was okay for me to be demeaning and say destructive things because the guy "deserves" it. no, i didn't deserve to be treated badly, but how in the world would it help for me to treat him badly in return? it was like this was my line of thinking: "well he cheated on me. so i'm gonna let him know over and over how little i think of him. that will motivate him to treat me better and make him realize his wrong doings." i know plenty of other girls have been in the exact same situation and thought the same way. this is not okay! this is just as bad as going out and getting revenge! if not worse. disrespect does not produce love.
no, of course a girl should not put up with unfaithful actions or being treated badly. they should GET OUT. because God has better. a guy who does not treat a girl right is not ready for a relationship yet. but when dealing with any situation that tempts us to attack with cutting remarks, we MUST remember that respect is the way to have a successful relationship. it is imperative. God knows that, that's why He straight up told us in His Word. let's follow it.
i challenge you, ladies, to make a list of reasons why you respect your husband/boyfriend/dad/brother/friend. i bet it would encourage them tremendously. not only would it encourage them, but it would make them want to treat you more lovingly. it is a win-win-win (The Office reference) situation for everyone. so just try it. you don't have to be in a relationship to try it. this doesn't have to be about romantically loving someone. it's about showing respect and building them up in Christ.
before i read that Love and Respect book, and before Jordan and i got engaged, i happened to make a list of reasons why i respect him. he was really encouraged by it and it let him know how much i truly value and admire him as a man. i will share with you some of those reasons that i gave Jordan on his list. i wish i would have dated it, but it was from sometime in late June/early July i think.
1. he puts Jesus first always
2. he takes charge as a spiritual leader
3. he makes me feel safe & protected
4. he works hard at his job
5. he works hard to help others
6. he reads the Word with me
7. he prays with me
8. he is disciplined and responsible
9. he is a best friend to his friends
10. he puts family first and cares about them
11. he puts all of his attention on me when he's with me
12. he tries his best to communicate well with me
13. he would drop anything to encourage me, pray for me, or talk to me if i need it
14. he encourages me even when i don't ask
15. he's not afraid to tell his family & friends he loves them
16. he spends his money wisely
17. he prays about his decisions
18. he is kind to everyone
19. he listens to me even when i talk about dumb things
20. he doesn't talk about women in a degrading way
21. he gives me specific and meaningful compliments
22. he trusts me
23. he is absolutely trustworthy
24. he cares about my family
25. he takes my problems & concerns seriously
26. he has self-control
27. he stands firm in what he believes
28. he is affectionate towards me
29. he is not afraid to be sensitive or emotional around me
30. he keeps his word
31. he is passionate about what he loves, like music & sports
32. he does not have a bad temper
33. he is loyal
34. he is not arrogant even though he has every reason to be
35. he knows how to have fun the right way
36. he is not afraid to apologize
37. he is strong physically
38. he is smart
39. he keeps his mind from corrupt things
40. he will drive when i ask or even when i don't
41. he supports me
42. he is a man of integrity
43. he is honest with me
44. he is always trying to have a good attitude about everything
45. when he doesn't know something, he looks to God's Word for the answer
46. he forgives me
the list was longer, but i'll just stop there. i would love to make a new list for him every year, or even more often than that. i hope and pray that we can build our marriage on love and respect, and i know that it is my job to step up and respect him at all times. and to respect the other men in my life as well. i'm praying that God can help us to do this and to support and praise godly men!