Last night we had a great time at our Married Life Essentials event talking about the topic of honoring your spouse. One of the key things any marriage needs is an underlying sense of honor. Honor is the act of giving something high status and recognizing and admiring that thing or person. For most of us who have been married for a while it seems that we just assume our spouse should know we honor them and go about giving our honor to everyone else except our spouse. The lack of honor in a marriage is what can lead to extreme conflict and misunderstanding that can begin to break down the trust and connectedness in a couples life.
When conflict happens, the tendency of most couples is to win at all costs and we follow some predictable patterns of fighting that I have seen in couples time and time again. Guys tend to be competitive and if we can’t win an argument directly we will refuse to engage or even listen so our spouse ends up arguing with herself. The problem with this type of response is it attacks the very foundation of security that every woman needs. This lack of connection and openness leads many women to a place of contempt towards their husbands if this type of response continues over time. If every man realized how important it was to their wives to know that they could be trusted and that they care and create a safe environment for the relationship to grow in, he would never do things that intentionally rock that base.
Women tend to use criticism in fights in an attempt to “fix” the situation and end up walking all over their husbands deep seated need for respect. With an attitude of “any response is a good response” they settle for bad reactions and attempts to control their husband. The problem with this response is it attacks her husbands need for respect, the very thing that causes a man to draw close to his wife. So in effect this response has the opposite effect that most women want and ends up pushing her husband away instead of providing the connection and engagement she wants. Over a period of time if this response continues the husband will usually withdraw from the relationship and look for other sources of respect by burying himself in work and other hobbies. If every woman realized how important it was to her husband to know that his wife is behind him and admires him, she would never use criticism to try to connect with her husband.
The way to move past this pattern of engagement is to drop the demand that life go your way and choose to surrender those demands for the sake of being one with your spouse. When a couple realizes that they are in a bad pattern or just settling instead of really experiencing the closeness they want in their relationship, they are better able to communicate love in the way their spouse hears it best. If more husbands would understand and build a sense of security in their relationship with their wives and if more wives understood and built up their husbands by being the biggest source of respect in their husbands world, very few marriages would end up in divorce.
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