A man's biggest question is 'do I have what it takes' or 'am I enough'. A woman's biggest question is 'do you think I'm beautiful' or 'do you see the light in me'.
An essential ingredient of a good marriage is learning not to stomp on your spouse's question! But like I said last time the world is rigged so that we do stomp on each other's question and don't always know it.
When our question is stomped on by our spouse we feel it inside. Our response might be a deep sinking feeling inside, tears, or anger. Often we aren't aware of why exactly we feel so strongly we just know our heart has been missed big time. At this place it's important to lean into the gospel, lean into God and avoid attacking or checking out.
Men must have the courage to say something like, “I’m feeling disrespected, have I been unloving?”
Women have to summon their bravery and similarly offer “I’m feeling unloved, have I been disrespectful?
The struggle is humbling yourself, authentically making one of these two brief statements, and then letting them lead to an honest discussion.
This place is so challenging. My first impulse is rarely to humble myself. My first temptation when I feel disrespected is to lash out from my perceived wound. My second is to clam up and get out. It takes me a little bit to get down to what is most true in my soul to relate to Ann. I do want to love her and bless her.
For when we live out of our true design, with a deeper dependence on Christ, and act in an other-centered manner in our love for one another, our spouse will experience his or her question not being stomped on but answered affirmatively.
When a man speaks and moves instead of avoiding a woman feels loved.
When a woman nurtures and invites instead of controlling a man feels respected.
We have to be curious about how the soul of our mate works in order to love and respect well. Curious is an important word in knowing your spouse. Be an explorer of your spouse's soul. It's a scary, thrilling, rewarding adventure.
Sources for this gender section include times of teaching with Larry Crabb, Tom Varney and material from Silence of Adam by Larry Crabb, Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Thomas and for women only by Shaunti Feldhan.