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Friday, May 18, 2012

"Respect . . . Oh woe is me."

Before I got married, I think it's safe to say I had absolutely no respect for men. It's not that I hated or disregarded them, I simply had unhealthy, disappointing, unfulfilling relationships with most of the men I came in contact with.

Going into my marriage I knew I wanted to be the wife God called me to be, to take my vows seriously, and to love/respect my husband.

A piece of cake right?

More like yeah right! What I thought would be simple has become a daily battle. Oh who am I kidding? It's more like an hourly battle.

You see, I set my mind out to do something, but I never actually factored in my husband's actions, responses, personality, or priorities.

Men have a mind of their own and no matter what we say or how hard we try, we'll never put a dent on their perception of things.

Instead of being the respectful wife I planned to be, I shape shifted into the wife who didn't have an answer; a wife for lack of better words didn't really give a hoot. I became the woman who kept it all inside only to explode behind the scenes, breathing fire on anything and everything I came into contact with.

I wanted to be a great wife but all I found myself with was just the thought and a dwindling motivation to get there.

One misconception we have as women is that we can change our husband or partner.

Unfortunately this hasn't worked in the past, and I promise that it won't change with you.

The reality is, they don't change but how we react and interact with them can.

I had the privilege of marrying a man with strong cultural upbringing and an equally strong personality which didn't make things any easier when we got married. Since then, I have seen my level of respect raise from empty to quite full with much, much testing.

You see, I didn't gain respect from my husband changing miraculously. On the contrary, my respect level raised because I was determined in my mind that no matter how much I disliked his actions, responses, and overall behavior that I was going to do everything in my power not to react. (God would have to do everything else).

My husband will tell you that I'm not an easy pushover. If he really gets on my nerves, I have a pair of pink boxing gloves in my office that I'm more than willing to use.

In fact, about an hour ago he looked at me and said, "You know, you never have nothing to say." (You'll see quickly that my husband hasn't learned the art of keeping his thoughts inside his head).

For the record, I do always have something to say, but when words exit my mouth, you better believe I've swished them around, thought about it and didn't let them come spewing out like word vomit. (That's the quickest way to cause a problem and be disrespectful).

It's so easy to get caught up in the moment and before you know it, you've made your husband, fiancé, or boyfriend feel so small. As wives and women we've been called to be virtuous; to live above the cultural standard and to be loving, patient, and kind.

Coming from a person who is naturally none of these things, I know first hand it can be hard. Heck sometimes even impossible but we will be better for it.

 It is extremely important for us to learn not to let our husbands or boyfriends control our actions and reactions.

It's our first real step in the direction of respect.