Everyone knows Rodney Dangerfield got no respect. His twin brother forgot his birthday, and his bank offered him a gift if he’d close his account!
Can you relate? Men’especially married men’often feel their need for respect has somehow gotten lost amidst the world’s preoccupation with love. It’s not that men are against love. It’s rather that they perceive it differently than women. For a man, love is spelled r-e-s-p-e-c-t. They usually express and receive love via respect. And that’s something women often miss.
We men, however, are guilty of forgetting the flip side of this coin. We prefer to mope around doing Rodney Dangerfield impersonations, taking solace that our friends are equally disrespected. But the truth is there may be a good reason why we’re missing out on respect from our wives: maybe we’re not loving them well!
‘Husbands, love your wives’ is a repeated instruction that the apostle Paul gives us in the book of Ephesians. It isn’t rocket science. To get respect requires giving love. And whether you’re single, a newlywed, or married forty years, loving that special someone involves a universal yet entirely unique ingredient: loving her the way she wants to be loved.
Don’t do the typical ‘man’ thing and toss out generic signs of affection. Discover’or in the case of you relationship veterans, remind yourselves’what things matter most to her, and what she appreciates receiving from you the most.
There’s something built in to us men that wants to say, ‘I know the way!’ And I’m not just talking about driving directions. I’m talking about the way through life. So, when a man encounters a woman who seems to know the way all by herself’if she’s successful and ultra-competent’it literally can scare him. It can tempt him to pull back and say, ‘Whoa’who, or what, is this?’ When in the presence of a woman who is already successful in life, a man can be tempted to feel like he has no place, like he’s simply not needed. Have you ever felt like that?
If you meet, live, or work with a woman who doesn’t seem to need your strength, protection, or provision, you can be tempted to feel useless. Where do these feelings come from? Man was created to live in a perfect world, to know the way through life and to provide strength for the woman that was his co-partner in life. In addition, there would be things the woman was created to contribute to the relationship. Together, they would complement one another. They would both be successful without a trace of intimidation.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. Yet we men still ‘feel’ those hardwired preferences and inclinations. The challenge then, men, is to learn to manage yourself appropriately in an imperfect world. Guard feelings of intimidation. Join forces with the successful women in your life. You’ll be better together!
David Sper writes in his book Designed for Desire, ‘The root of all sexual perversions and immorality begins with the desire to relieve one’s pain with pleasure.’ It’s natural for us to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. So when pain doesn’t go away when we try to satisfy our cravings, we seek bigger and bigger pleasures to satisfy them ‘ to override and erase our pain.
Every sin is the result of an appetite going astray and seeking fulfillment in something other than what God intended. First, we experience that something is missing inside. Then we begin seeking ways to compensate for the void. This becomes especially destructive when we try filling an emotional or spiritual void with something physical.
We want to believe the reason our appetites get out of control is that we’re deprived of something we really need. We may say, ‘If I just had enough money to pay my bills, I wouldn’t need to drink like this.’ Or, ‘If I had someone to love me, I wouldn’t need pornography.’ Harry Schaumburg writes, ‘When people seek a taste of heaven by their own means, they create a living hell of uncontrollable desires.’ He’s absolutely right!
Men, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is something you need to learn how to do. The Bible tells us to do it first! Otherwise, you’ll misdiagnose your problem and seek the solution in sin. Learn to direct your temptation to a redemptive end by letting it drive you to Christ.