The book Love and Respect suggests that women are interested, primarily, in looking to their husbands for love. And for men, the bottom line involves the desire (from their wives) for respect.
Even though such a hypothesis involves generalizations, there’s a lot of truth to the over-arching idea. It’s a theory that goes a long way towards explaining the desperate lengths and compromises made by women and men looking for both love and respect.
As All Pro Dads, it’s critically important that we approach the respect challenge with some careful thought. So, upfront, let’s consider a couple of points:
- First, respect cannot be demanded. You will always be disappointed. Just like the coach who yells and intimidates, threats and coercion are always lose-lose.
- Next, understand that “Fear” and “Respect” no longer mean the same thing! Today, in this 21st Century, any man who believes that fear and respect are interchangeable concepts needs to stop, read this “10-Ways” list carefully, and backtrack a long way!
OK, now the preliminaries are out of the way, here are 10 Ways to get your wife to respect your judgment:
Love your wife
Why does it seem, list after list, that we always start here? Because when we learn to love eloquently, proactively, and selflessly, so much else will fall into place.
Respect her decisions
Respect is best developed in a collaborative model. This isn’t about you. It’s about the relationship.
We’re not suggesting you be all “strut-my-stuff.” But, do learn to give yourself a little credit and then add belief to your commitment to earn her respect.
Examine your track record
Be honest about your lapses, make sure it’s obvious that you learn from your mistakes, and do not confuse being sure with being right. Don’t be afraid to backtrack and to apologize when you’re wrong.
Live according to a consistent code of ethics
It’s easier to be convincing when your behavior and your decisions are rooted in an ethical code that’s larger than you are.
Make sure that humility is your watchword
Make some great decisions, collaborate with your wife, demonstrate allegiance to the wisdom of the ages… and then don’t say a word about it. Refrain from patting yourself on the back.
Live moderately in all things
Your wonderful wife (and anyone else, for that matter) is going to follow your lead with more conviction when you demonstrate a pattern of moderate living and reasonable choices. Simply put – don’t be a loose cannon when you know how to be steady and on target.
Base your value judgments on ideals other than “me first”
When you put others first, consistently, the evidence is going to take care of a lot of doubts. Worried about your history in the respect department? Put up some selfless numbers for a good stretch of time before looking for the kudos to start flowing in.
Demonstrate trustworthiness in matters both large and small
Respect typically comes through supporting evidence. Stockpiling honesty, in everything from how much you spent on Starbucks last week to what happened to the joint savings account, will accrue the trust you are looking for. Respect does not grow on trees.
Always include your spouse in the decision making process
When the general rule is collaborative judgment, if and when you feel it is important to take a stand, your pattern (the evidence) of teamwork and partnership will predispose her to the kind of result you’ve been working so hard to realize.
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