They Won’t Know It Till You Show It


Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving, from my home to yours…. As you count your blessings today, take time to tell those living, breathing blessings in your life how much you appreciate them!

8 thoughts on “They Won’t Know It Till You Show It

  1. Hello!

    I’m actually commenting on your former, much debated post about respecting husbands.
    First of all, I loved the post.
    But I have a gnawing question. I read blogs from lots of angles – the “respect your husband” ones, and also the “Oh, don’t be archaic, we’re all equals” angle. Obviously, it’s much more complicated than that. But…I have to ask,

    HOW do you distinguish between SHOWING A GUY PROPER RESPECT and simply FEEDING HIS EGO?

    I have some pretty ego-centric guy-friends. Don’t get me wrong…they are Christian young men that strive to honor Christ in what they do. However, I think they, whether from growing up with some imbalanced notions about being worthy of respect vs. demanding it or from a misplaced idea of what it means to be “masculine”…(or perhaps because others, women included, have contributed to a damaging view of their worth and/or masculinity through hurtful words and actions and they are unintentionally “reacting”) well…it’s just really hard to have a conversation with them. Because if they feel they aren’t right, they get all deflated like a balloon….and there goes the conversation. I really struggle to see the line between showing them respect (because I believe this is very important) and letting me get walked all over. (Also, it’s no fun to have an intellectual discussion with them because they get mad right away if I make ANY good points that might contradict thiers!) I don’t feel it would be right to simply default to “oh just respect him” because I believe that reinforces their imbalanced notions. Guys should be more worried about things other than their ego – like their character, integrity, and true, godly strength. And again – I KNOW that the way others treat them has a big play in their own confidence and freedom to pursue who they are in Christ. However, there is a line. And I don’t know where it is.
    I would love to hear your opinions on this!

    Thanks for listening.

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    • Hi, Beth.

      Your questions are valid ones, and I am happy to share my thoughts with you concerning the problems you mention.

      It may, as you say, be difficult at times to differentiate between showing a guy due respect and feeding his ego, but I’d try to err on the side of demonstrating respect and leave his ego for God to deal with. It is not really our responsibility to take egocentrics down a notch — especially not by being intentionally rude or disrespectful, behavior that would surely demean us much more than it would teach them.

      As for trying to have a conversation with your overly-sensitive guy friends: Acting respectfully toward them does not mean you must always be in agreement with them. I suspect that you are a very intelligent, talented, resourceful young lady, fully capable of dreaming up and rationally defending some very good ideas, including ideas that may differ from those of your classmates or colleagues. Showing respect to them does not necessitate keeping all your thoughts to yourself for fear of hurting somebody’s feelings or bringing an abrupt end to the conversation. Showing respect really has more to do with the tone with which you share those thoughts.

      A disrespectful tone communicates, “Listen, you idiot, let me set you straight on this matter, because it’s obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Of course, we’d never actually say such a thing, but men will sometimes hear these words in our tone, nonetheless.

      A respectful tone first hears the other person out. It gives thoughtful consideration to what is being said, even if the speaker isn’t able to articulate his ideas as easily as you yourself might be able to do so. A respectful tone validates the other person by saying, “I see your point,” before continuing, “but have you considered…?”

      I’m assuming you are not presently married to any of the guys you mentioned, Beth. If you are already treating them with this sort of respectful consideration and they still try to shut you down in conversation, I would avoid changing that status. No woman should marry a man who feels threatened by her intelligence if she can help it. Wait instead for somebody who is attracted to smart girls and will appreciate your brain power. (I held out for such a man and can attest that he was well worth the wait.)

      If I’ve misread the situation, and you are already married to a man who deflates anytime you disagree with him, then be especially careful to (1) build him up in every way you can, as he likely struggles with a lack of confidence and/or other insecurities, and (2) pick your battles. Many times, our husbands do things in a different way than we would do them, but that doesn’t mean their way is wrong. Go with the flow for as long as possible, then when an issue arises that you really feel strongly about, you will have stored up some goodwill by not having contradicted the two or three dozen decisions he’s made prior to the current one. It is easy for our husbands to grow weary and lose patience when we argue and second-guess each and every decision they make.

      I’ve known a few women who are very adept at sharing their ideas in such a way as to make their husband think it was his idea. I don’t have a clue as to how they do it, as that is certainly not my forte, but I know it is possible and might ease the situation for a wife whose husband might otherwise refuse her counsel.

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  2. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. It was good advice.

    You certainly read into my thoughts well – I am engaged to be married to one of these men and the wedding is in eight days.

    However, through counseling and prayer, my fiance DOES have an understanding that he has some pride/self esteem issues that have the potential to hurt me in our future marriage. (We actually were going to get married in June, but due to both of us having some issues we had NOT addressed in our own lives, we postponed it until we felt we had addressed them.)

    Right now I think he is struggling most with:
    1. Being able to react with humility when he realizes he is wrong, (which makes sense…he simply has a hard time admitting he is wrong)
    2. Intentionally sitting down and coming up with a plan to tackle his issues and find practical ways to keep them from hurting those around him.
    This one is mostly because he’s not a “planner” in that sense of the word – he is extremely hard working and gets things done, but he is just not used to sitting down with pen and paper, making mental goals, taking small intentional steps etc. It is also difficult to reach out and ask someone to be accountability for you, especially in the masculine world he lives in, where men are supposed to “have it all together”. He has done so in the past and it was extremely vulnerable of him to do so, and has benefited from that act of humility. However, I don’t want to be the one asking him to look for accountability – I want to see him doing it for himself.

    I think part of the reason for the timing of my questions is something like cold feet – I’ve wanted to marry this guy from the first time we ever had a serious conversation, and he told me he wanted to marry me a week after that conversation…Both of us feel God’s hand in bringing us together. (Some of the first interactions I ever had with him were him praying earnestly for me, and giving me godly advice in a humble, vulnerable way. I respect him and his passion for the Lord!)

    I know somebody giving advice to someone like me is risky, so I want you to know that I am aware that I am responsible for my own decisions, and will do my best to make a wise one. I want to marry him, and I know he isn’t perfect (and so does he!) However, I wanted to follow up on your comments especially since you commented about waiting on a marriage.

    One more thing. My mom has struggled with depression most of her life and partly because of that speaks extremely disrespectfully of my dad to his face. I have grown up watching those patterns – so I know there is ALWAYS room for me to practice more respect! It is something I am constantly working on.

    Again, I really appreciate the investment of time you have already put into my long-winded comments! Thank you again.

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    • Hello again, Beth.

      I had to smile when I read your response. Your story reminds me a little of my own. The day I first met my husband, we talked for about 3 hours. Afterwards, I went straight to my dorm room and practiced signing my name “Mrs. Douglas R. Flanders.” Within the week, I knew he was thinking the same thing I was, because when I tripped walking across campus, he quipped, “Oh, my, our kids are sure going to be clumsy!”

      He, too, had a passion for the Lord and godly wisdom and discernment, which I found very refreshing. Nevertheless, he wasn’t then and is not now perfect, and a few of the things his honesty compelled him to reveal to me before we married sent me scrambling for counsel from a Titus 2 sort of woman. I picked Elizabeth Elliot and wrote to her about my concerns.

      What she told me applies to you, as well, so I’ll share it: “Your dream of the ‘perfect’ man has to go–it is this man God has given you, another sinner (there isn’t anything else to marry!)–it is this gift you receive in thanksgiving, acknowledging the fact that in this fallen, broken world, there is no place where the heart may be perfectly at rest and wholly filled except at the Spring of Living Water. Drink there…and be at peace.”

      Yes, your fiancé has flaws, and yes, those flaws will most likely follow him into marriage. But by your description, he also has many admirable qualities. Focus on those, continue to communicate your respect, build him up, and don’t worry that you are “feeding his ego” by doing those things. God is faithful. You can trust Him to complete the good work He has begun in both of you, without any conscious effort on your part to “teach your husband a lesson” or do the Holy Spirit’s job for Him.

      Best wishes on your marriage. I’d love to mail you a copy of my book (Love Your Husband/Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage), as a wedding gift if you’ll give me an address to which I might send it.

      Blessings,
      Jennifer

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  3. I think that is one of the most precious pieces of advice I have ever received. Thank you so much. I will keep these words of two wise women close to me as I begin the journey of marriage!

    And I would love a copy of the book!

    Thanks again – your words brought a peace to my heart.

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    • The book’s on its way, Beth. I would love to have signed it for you, but was unable to do so, since it is being shipped to you directly from the publishers. Please know, however, that it comes with my best wishes for many long and joyous years together with your husband-to-be. May God bless your lives richly.

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  4. Pingback: The #1 Rule for Building a Happy Marriage | Loving Life at Home

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