The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!
Today was hard, again. I have tried writing this post so many times but have had to throw out so much because I’m trying to be respectful in how I write about today. I promised myself I would share this process with you, and that includes my thinking and frustration about respect and submission.
My husband starts on a new medication today to help with some of the medical-related mood symptoms I wrote about in Dare 13. Medication takes a while to work, so it will be some time before he can respond to situations with his usual clear thinking. When our sons were in their mid-teens, they often demonstrated a false sense of their own invincibility. My husband has a touch of that right now, but in a 50-year-old body.
Why did this mess all have to start while I’m in the middle of the Respect Dare?
Today, Nina Roesner gives us this bottom line: “Think about and treat your husband as the man God created him to be. If you do, your husband will feel more respected by you and your marriage will improve.” Sigh.
We had an incident today which challenged me more than I could have expected. My husband and I were in a situation that elicited a response from him that clearly was not grounded in thoughtfulness or good leadership. As his wife, what was I to do?
In the middle of the incident, Nina’s words flowed into my mind: “Treat your husband as the man God created him to be.” Does treating him like a man, and not treating him like a child, mean that I sit back when he is endangering himself or, possibly, others? Does it mean being quiet instead of verbally getting his attention to help him reset his thinking? Do I just sit back and let things unfold, or do I step in to alter the trajectory of a situation?
What is right? When does respect become enabling? When does the need for respect get overruled by the need for safety? I know that our situation is temporary. I’m grateful for that—but I think about women who are in marriages with men who are not good leaders and do not demonstrate responsibility. If this is hard for me, knowing that it is for a season and that this is not who my husband truly is, how much harder is it for my friend whose husband has lost multiple jobs due to his abuse of alcohol, or for the woman we know whose husband frequently berates her in front of their children and guests in their home, or our neighbor whose husband is hardly ever home? How do we develop an attitude of respect and the tools for demonstrating this while maintaining our own boundaries? I am blessed by my husband, and I know he trusts me. But I struggle with this process.
I decided today that his safety was more important than respect. I had to physically restrain him from doing something; my husband has thanked me for keeping him safe and says I did the right thing.
But I’m struggling. Is this a choice I will always have to make? What is the role of respect in situations where a husband is doing the wrong thing?
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)