Several years ago I did a series of posts on this terrific book. I'll use it for our next section on the inner world of a man. I've found it helps men to put words to important, but previously undefined areas of their souls and helps women to understand just how significant struggles can be for the male gender.
Ladies if I could give you one book to read about your man this is it. Shaunti Feldhahn has written For women only: what you need to know about the inner lives of men. She interviewed tons of men through open ended conversation and questionnaires.
I felt honored by her as a woman who sought to understand the battles men face in our internal worlds each and every day, each and every moment. So men, that makes it a good read for you too.
I had not read a book in many years that left me feeling, "I'm not crazy" until this one. She really pegged my inner world. There is much of what she pegged that previously had me feeling shame because I couldn't change it. She honored me in my struggle rather than telling me I shouldn't have that struggle. Thanks Shaunti.
Alright, so on to our first piece about men.
Men want Unconditional Respect.
Listen to this. Shaunti poses this scenario, In the middle of a conflict with my wife, I am more likely to be feeling:
- That my wife doesn’t respect me right now. 81%
- That my wife doesn’t love me right now. 19%
Most women are floored by this. Women often drastically underestimate the power of their words with their men.
Given the power that you do possess, know that it is important for you to know that you can choose to respect just as men can choose to love during difficult times.
The choices both spouses make in the midst of conflict are critical to the health of the marriage.
Showing respectful behavior when you don’t feel respectful is evidence of maturity. This is a key place to live out the gospel. Finding that place deep within where God resides in you when you feel hurt or misunderstood or just plain ticked off and about to erupt like Mt St. Helens can greatly alter the trajectory of your relationship.
Respecting him unconditionally keeps an eye toward the future. In the moment, you may feel justified taking him down a notch. Seek something deeper in you than exacting revenge.
Know that respecting him unconditionally is more about trusting God. This is a place in your marriage that requires supernatural relating. In your own power destructive conflict will take place. Trust can be scary and painful in the short run but trusting God is exactly the place to pray into in this moment. In deepening your relationship with God and living from it you will communicate your respect to your man.
Try to see the image of God in him to show that unconditional respect. When I worked at the Mental Health Corporation of Denver I lived for 24 hour stretches with a dozen men that struggled significantly with thought and mood disorders. They couldn't live on their own and function in society. They also didn't really care about all this fancy new counseling stuff I had learned.
I determined at that time to respect the image of God in each one. Whatever was showing at the moment, I could choose to relate to the reflection of our creator in the man in front of me. My supervisor Clayton said his co-workers were floored when I shared in reports that Kyle had co-led a daily debriefing group with me. They had never seen him take any initiative whatsoever. I chose to see something more in him and he made the choice to live out of it.
Have a vision for the man in your life. Relating with unconditional respect to him will be fresh water to his soul.