We all enjoy the feeling of being loved and respected, in any relationship we may be in. Women desire love, men desperately need respect. Women were made to give love, it’s in our DNA. We love unconditionally. We want love, so we assume giving love will also give us love. One thing we aren’t aware of, are the love languages. Men know we love them, but are we giving them what they also really need, respect? Men need to feel respected, they need to know we are grateful and respect them for whatever it may be they do; income, supporting the family, putting a roof over our heads, having a job, protecting and providing, loving and that you value his protection and hard work.
When a women feels loved, she is happy. When a man feels respected, he is happy. When either of these needs aren’t met, things become out of sync in your relationship, causing conflict. Men and women speak a different language, but if we can learn each others language, what each other needs to feel loved and respected in the relationship, you end up having a very deep connection of understanding.
I’m going to go into explaining the different languages of men and women and how to better understand each other for a more connected relationship. I received most of my information from the book Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for marriage.
FOR WOMEN – Understanding Men:
Women can overreact to things men say, we look too deep into his words and assume something that isn’t at all what he meant. It’s because we are women, sensitive, verbal, and expect men to know what we are thinking. We always have something on our mind, over analyzing, over thinking, and wanting one thing, love and understanding.
I’ve been reading a lot of books and articles, from relationships, sustainability, spirituality, health, faith, and currently a book on love and respect in marriage. There was an example on how women over analyze the situation with a man.
There was this wife, her husband and her were always getting into fights. They were asked, how do the fights start? She proceeded to explain, she would be in the kitchen cleaning, and he would call her from the other room where he was reading or watching TV: “Honey, why don’t you come in here and be with me?” When she heard that, she assumed it was an opportunity to relate, so she would go to her husband and start talking to him. “No, no,” he would tell her, “Don’t talk. I just want you in here with me.”
Confused, she would say, “But you called me in here. You must want to talk to me.”
“No, I just want you in here. I don’t want you to talk.”
“But you must have something you want to talk about,” she would insist. “You called me in here.”
At that point, everything went downhill, and in no time they were in a huge verbal battle.
When I was reading that, I actually started getting frustrated with the wife. Just stop talking; he just wants you around him. He wants you near him, in silence just feeling your presence. She overreacted, putting an image in her head as to what he wanted, and sticking to it. When her husband told her not to talk and that he just wanted her in their with him, she should’ve said okay, cuddle up next to him, give him a kiss, and lay there with him. Just being together in silence, what I think, is wonderful.
In the book, he then goes on to tell her “If he is reading the paper, watching TV, or even working outside on some chores in the yard, if you will just sit there next to him or pull up a chair and watch while he works, you will see the most amazing energy flow into him.” He then says, “This is how men communicate, by sharing experiences. Women share experiences by talking about them to each other, examining and infusing the experiences with their impressions and emotions. Men are different. They share their experiences by sharing an activity. This is what your husband wants to do with you.”
“A woman must consider how to be a companion to a male; after all, God said, “I will make a helper who is just right for him” (Genesis 2:18 NIRV).
Women, be patient with “Just sit by me”. Tell him you like him and show it, he knows you love him, but he often wonders if you really like him. Thank him for his advice without acting insulted or like he doesn’t care about your feelings. You need to recognize his problem-solving approach as his male brand of empathy. Show respect, give respect and learn to sit quietly in the company of your man.
Appreciate his desire to work and achieve. Men have a natural inborn desire to go out and “conquer” the challenges of his world – to work and achieve. As a wife, if you can start to understand how important your husband’s work is to him, you will take a giant step toward communicating respect and honor, two things that he values even more than your love.
It’s very difficult for many women to grasp that a husband values respect more than love. God has made you (women) to love, and you see life through pink lenses that are focused on love. You give love, you want love, and you may not quite understand why your husband does not operate the same way. Does he not value love at all? Of course not, he values your love, more than words can describe, but he spells love, RESPECT. A man always feels the call to the field, while the natural instinct of a woman is the call to the family. Men want a woman who believes in them. It is so important that you thank him and let him know you admire and support him.
Your husband will feel you appreciate his desire to work and achieve when,
- you tell him verbally or in writing that you value his work efforts
- you express your faith in him related to his chosen field
- you listen to his work stories as closely as you expect him to listen to your accounts of what happens in the family
- you see yourself as his helpmate and counterpart and talk with him about this whenever possible
- you allow him to dream as you did when you were dating
- you don’t dishonor or subtly criticize his work to get him to show more love.
Appreciate his desire to protect and provide. In a man God built the desire to protect and provide for his wife and family, and if necessary, to die for them. An obvious example of this is life insurance. Life insurance is bought mostly by men. Why? Because of their instinct to provide. They feel a sense of security and restfulness knowing their families will be taken care of if they die.
The desire to provide for his wife, God put deep within every man’s soul. Men are very sensitive to put downs in this area of providing for the family. Always show him respect. It’s not a bad rule for a wife to always ask herself, “is what i’m about to say or do going to come across to him as respectful or disrespectful?” There are many ways to show your husband respect. Just look for ways to appreciate his desire to protect and provide, especially when things aren’t going too well for him.
Your husband will feel you appreciate his desire to protect and provide when
- you verbalize your admiration of him for protecting you and being willing to die for you
- you praise his commitment to provide for and protect you and the family (he needs to know you don’t take this for granted)
- you never, in word of body language, put down his job or how much he makes.
Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead. What your husband wants is your acknowledgment that he is the leader, the one in authority. This is not to grind you under or treat you as inferior. It is only to say that because God has made your husband responsible, he needs the authority to carry out that responsibility. God knew someone had to be in charge, and that is why Scripture clearly teaches that, in order for things to work, the wife is called upon to defer to her husband. Tell him that you see him as having more authority because he has more responsibility before God – the responsibility to die for you, if necessary.
Appreciating and respecting your husband’s desire to serve you and lead the family takes faith, courage, and strength on your part. But it will work, grant your husband authority, as Scripture describes it, and things are much more likely to fall into place. If you try to undermine his authority or subtly rebel against it, a crazy cycle will spring to life, causing conflict and distrust.
He will feel you appreciate his authority and leadership when
- you tell him you are thankful for his strength and enjoy being able to lean on him at times
- you support his self-image as a leader
- you praise his good decisions
- you are gracious if he makes a bad decision.
By respecting and appreciating a man, you are giving them the love they most desire. Making the relationship an understanding, protected, loving relationship.
FOR MEN – Understanding Women:
Being in a relationship with sensitive creatures like us women can be hard. We want to feel loved and cared for. We can be cracked, even broken if you are not careful. The first thing women need is closeness. We want to connect and have face-to-face involvement. An example the author has in the book; “You both have had a long and possibly tough day. If all you want to do is flob on the couch and watch TV while she fixes you a nice dinner, you are missing it big time. This kind of uninvolved behavior will not make your wife feel loved. She will feel loved if you come into the kitchen and help her prepare dinner. Another idea is to sit and talk with her as she gets the meal together. Tell her about your day and be sure to ask her about hers. She may be busy with children or other duties, but she will be listening, I assure you. What she tends to look for is your desire to ‘dwell’ with her for a short period to discover where her heart is.”
For a women, face-to-face time is heart-to-heart time. Women like involvement, you may notice she follows you around the house or tries to stay close to you. Its her way of showing you she loves you.
Women will feel close to you when you
- hold her hand
- hug her
- are affectionate, alone with her to focus on each other and laugh together
- go for a walk or jog (anything that results in togetherness)
- seek her out (set up a date night, eat by candlelight)
- go out of your way to do something for her
- make it a priority to spend time with her
- are aware of her as a person with a mind and opinions (let her know you enjoy discussing things with her and getting her insights)
- suggest the unexpected (make a picnic and eat on the beach, walk to see the full moon, watch the sunset).
Women need openness, they want you to open up to them. Women see men as mysterious islands, they are always trying to figure you out, trying to find a place to come ashore, but there is fog holding them back. There is no place to land. Leaving women feeling helpless and shut down.
When women ask you questions, try to get you to open up they are not trying to control you. They want to connect with you and feel an openness and closeness between you two. They want to keep things up-to-date. Moving toward you because she loves you and you matter to her. Women want men to share their heart with them.
She feels you are open to her when
- you share your feelings, telling about your day and difficulties
- you say “let’s talk” ask her what she’s feeling, and ask for her opinions
- your face shows you want to talk (relaxed body language, good eye contact)
- you take her for a walk and talk and reminisce about how you met or let her talk about her problems
- you pray with her
- you give her your full attention (no grunting responses while trying to watch TV, or write e-mails
- you discuss financial concerns, possible job changes, or ideas for your future.
Understanding, don’t try to “fix” her; just listen. When a women comes up to you to talk about something, simply ask “Do you need a solution or a listening ear?” Most of the time it will just be a listening ear. Women love to talk to release their emotions. Because a woman is an integrated personality, she is like a teakettle – she collects all the things that have happened to her over the day and there is a buildup. She needs to release some of those feelings, and it really can’t wait until tomorrow or the next day. Men are compartmentalized. You can stuff things away and not have to talk about them; you don’t have pressure building inside the way a woman does. When you let her share her small talk and give her a chance to “let off steam”, she will feel good. She will feel connected to you.
Women also need to talk to realize their feelings. Women can be feeling a lot of things but not know exactly what they are. As they begin to talk about what happened through the day, they can work back to the problem that they can’t seem to put their finger on. That’s why a wife sometimes says “can we talk?” When asked, “Why?” she doesn’t really know – she just had a bad day and, “I just need to talk.” As she talks to you, it clarifies things for her; then she feels better and she feels understood.
She’ll feel you’re trying to understand her when
- you listen and can repeat back what she said
- you don’t try to “fix her problems” unless she specifically asks her a solution
- you try to identify her feelings, you never dismiss her feelings, no matter how illogical they may seem to you, you say, “I appreciate your sharing that with me”
- you don’t interrupt her when she’s trying to tell you how she feels
- you apologize and admit you were wrong
- you cut her some slack during her monthly cycle
- you express appreciation for all she does
- you pray with her and for her.
Peacemaking – She wants you to say, “I’m Sorry”. Words are very powerful to women. Admit when you are wrong and apologize by saying, “I’m sorry.” That is a big turn-on for a woman, but an even bigger turn-on is to add, “I think I really understand your feelings and why you react as you do. Will you forgive me?” If you utter sincere words of apology, forgiveness and love, she will trust those words and trust you.
She’ll feel at peace with you when
- you let her vent her frustrations and hurts and don’t get angry and close her off
- you admit you are wrong and apologize by saying, “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?”
- you understand her natural desire to negotiate, compromise, and defer, and you meet her halfway
- you forgive her for any wrongs she confesses
- you never nurse bitterness and always reassure her of your love
- you pray with her after a hurtful time.
Loyalty – she needs to know you’re committed.
“A woman always likes to hear her husband exclaim, “you along are ‘my love’ ” (song of solomon 2:10 KIV). A wife must have reassurance her husband loves her. Your wife knows she’s a one-man woman, that she’s committed to you, but she may wonder at times if you are a one-woman man. It’s perfectly natural for a wife to think this, particularly when she sees her husband being attracted by some beautiful female walking by.
She is assured of your loyalty when
- you speak highly of her in front of others
- you are involved in things important to her
- you help her make decisions
- you don’t look lustfully at other women
- you make her and your marriage a priority
- you are never critical of her in front of others
- you include her in social gatherings when others may leave their spouses home
- you call and let her know your plans
- you keep commitments
- you speak positively of her at all times.
Esteem – she wants you to honor and cherish her. God has made women so that they want to be esteemed, honored and respected. The way to honor your wife, as well as to honor your covenant with God, is to treasure her. When saying your wife wants “honor” (respect), it is a different kind of honor from what you seek as a man. For her, respect is a part of love. Probably the only time you will ever hear her say, “You don’t respect me!” is when you dismiss her opinion. Respect, honor, and esteem are not qualities in and of themselves for your wife; they are components of the love she wants from you.
Learning symbolism. There is a lot about the power of symbolism and how it conveys to a woman that you value and love her. You will never be able to show her the amount of emotional openness and esteem that she really wants – no man could- but the symbolic things can do a great deal to bridge the gap. What I am particularly talking about are anniversaries and birthdays. Women put great store in these occasions. Women are the ones who have babies, and that’s one reason that birthdays are a big deal to them. For nine months she is asked, “When is the due date?” Birth is part of the culture of women. In a woman’s mind, who could possibly forget a birthday? She never would.
Much the same way, a marriage date is etched in the woman’s soul. Since childhood, your wife dreamed of the wedding day as they played dress-up, dreamed of the perfect wedding, the dresses, and flowers. For your wife, there are not more important dates than your wedding anniversary and her birthdays. All of these dates are opportunities for you to show her that you love and esteem her by remembering them and celebrating them with her. Buying her a gift isn’t a science, in fact it’s quite easy to please a woman and show her how much you love her through a simple gift. Just by taking her on a walk through the park, expressing to her how much you love her, and giving her a thoughtful card with words that will melt her heart. That’s the perfect gift.
Your wife will feel esteemed when
- you say “I’m so proud of the way you handled that”
- you speak highly of her in front of others
- you open the door for her
- you try something new with her
- you give her encouragement of praise with kindness and enthusiasm
- you notice something different about her hair or clothes
- you are physically affectionate with her in public
- you value her opinion in the gray areas as not wrong but just different-and valid
- you choose family outings over “guy things”
- you make her feel first in importance
- you are proud of her and all she does.
Now to summarize this all up.
How does a husband spell love to his wife? Love to wives is called C-O-U-P-L-E. Husbands should ask themselves these questions – one or two of them each day, to keep the positive cycle going in the relationship.
1) Closeness – Am I always remembering to move toward her and accept her need to talk and connect with me to be reassured of my love?
2) Openness – Do I share my thoughts with her, and am I sure I’m not resisting her efforts to draw me out?
3) Understanding – Am I careful not to try to “fix” her every time she talks about one of her concerns or problems? Am I remembering that she is an integrated personality and whatever happens affects all of her, especially her emotions?
4) Peacemaking – Am I always willing to resolves issues, and am I careful to never say, “Let’s just drop it and move on”?
5) Loyalty – Do I constantly look for ways to tell her that I will be loyal to her forever – that she’s the one love of my life, the only woman for me?
6) Esteem – Do I always let her know that I treasure her and bet highest value on her as a person? Do I let her know that what she does and thinks are important to me? Does she know I couldn’t possibly do without her?
How does a wife spell respect for her husband? Respect to husbands is spelled C-H-A-I-R-S. Use these 6 concepts to let him know how important and vital he is to you. Wives should ask themselves these questions:
1) Conquest – Am I always standing behind him and letting him know I support him in his work and endeavors in his field?
2) Hierarchy – Do I let him know I respect and appreciate his desire to protect and provide for me and the family? What have I said recently to communicate this?
3) Authority – Have I gone on record that, because he has the primary responsibility for me (even to die for me), I recognize him as having the primary authority? Do I let him be the leader? How have I helped in that regard recently?
4) Insight – Do I trust his ability to analyze things and offer solutions and not just depend on my “intuition”?
5) Relationship – Do I spend shoulder-to-shoulder time with him whenever I can? Do I let him know that I am his friend as well as his lover?
6) Sexuality – Do I honor his need for sexual release even when I don’t feel like it?
As a husband spells out love to his wife through C-O-U-P-L-E and a wife spells out respects to her husband through C-H-A-I-R-S, they can’t help but meet each other’s needs. The beauty of it is, if you meet a need in your spouse, it will come back to you as your spouse meets one of your needs. The key is in always being willing to cut your spouse some slack.
Relationships are built around understanding, commitment, love and respect. By understanding each other, you’ll have more of a loving relationship.
There is so much more I could talk about, but I’m going to end it at that. I enjoy reading books on relationships, that way I have a better understanding of any relationships I may be in. It’s never too early or too late to learn the importance of relationships for men and women.
A girl who learned about love & respect,