25 Ways (a rant) (Part 1)

“Men need respect, women need love.”

This is a current marriage-advice fad. It sounds like a cool insight, but it’s really like saying, “In order to survive, men need two hydrogens with their oxygen, women need oxygen with their two hydrogens.”

Can you really separate love and respect in a marriage?

Articles like this say you can. But read through it and ask yourself, How are these points any different from how a man would show “love” to his wife?

DJ assures me that it’s incredibly important that he knows I respect him. Granted. And it’s incredibly important for me to know that he loves me. But I’ll go out on a limb here and say that he would be less satisfied if I gave him all due respect, but preferred sex with somebody else. And I’m very confident that even if he lavishes affection on me, but shot down all my statements as “childish,” then we would have problems. Why separate love and respect, as if a spouse can live on one but not the other?

(For the record: DJ never shows disrespect to my opinions, and I never jump into bed with anybody else.)

Another thing about this list is that it doesn’t show how a wife relates to her husband. It’s how a decent, civil person relates to people in general. If you have to be told to thank him for what he does for you, or don’t interrupt when he’s talking, your problem isn’t your marriage. It’s your basic social instincts.

So yes. Show respect to your husband. And love. And also use good manners.

And stay tuned for another post, because my rant is far from over.

— SJ

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4 thoughts on “25 Ways (a rant) (Part 1)

  1. One of the biggest epiphanies in my own marriage occurred when my wife and I realized that we skewed the opposite direction from the stereotype.

    True, both must exist together in a healthy relationship, but the exact mix does vary.

    For my wife, she needs respect – and not just from me. She doesn’t need others to love her, but she will not tolerate anyone who disrespects her. So I had to learn to lead with respect rather than love. We communicate much better as a result.

    I, on the other hand, fear losing her love more than anything else. In fact, it would absolutely kill me to feel that she was respecting me out of duty. Or meeting my needs out of duty and respect. To quote Alison Krauss, “Take me for longing, or leave me behind.”

  2. Oh my gosh, yes! At some point in my life, thankfully before I got married, I noticed that all relationship advice that was any good basically boiled down to “treat your spouse/roommate/friend/brother/sister like a decent human being should treat another human being” — which I guess is just the golden rule but with more words. Articles like that take something very simple (though not necessarily *easy*) and make it complicated and holier than thou and stuffed into a cultural framework that I may possibly find superfluous and unhelpful (at best).

    Really, marriage is not that different from having a housemate, you’re different people with different needs, backgrounds and tastes, but when married you get some pretty epic perks to go along with the debate about who does the dishes.

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