Honoring the Men in our Lives 101
As I began to think about ways we could honor the men in our lives (our fathers, brothers, leaders, sons and male friends in our life), I couldn’t help but first recognize that this may be a really difficult topic for some women. It may be difficult for you as a woman to honor the men in your life, because maybe men or a man in general has hurt you deeply in some way. I recognize that we all have had different experiences with the men in our lives. Some of us have had great and wonderful experiences, and yet some have had devastating experiences. These experiences could be long gone in the past, but the pain is very present in our hearts and minds.
This blog will not be exhaustive. That’s why I called it 101, because it includes basic but important principles. It will be an encouragement of moving from complaining and talking down to the men in our lives, to coming to a place of honoring and supporting the men in our lives. This may look different for each woman reading, but there are some principles that I think we can all apply.
So first things first…before you move on in reading…say this prayer and pray whatever else comes to you.
“God, I understand that I may have thoughts and feelings about men that are stemming from the past. Heal those wounds, God. Help me to see the men in my life with different eyes. Help me to honor and respect them the way you have called me to. Help me to see them the way you do. Don’t allow me to make the men in my life pay for what others did to me.
In Jesus name, Amen.”
Now, how can we honor the men in our lives?
Here are three things we can BE in regards to honoring the men in our lives:
What do you think is the most powerful part of your body? Now I know some of you may be thinking about how much weight you can actually lift. No, I’m not referring to that kind of power. I am referring to one of the most powerful parts of our bodies, ladies, which is our mouth.
With our mouth we can build up or we can tear down. With our words we can actually speak life or death to someone. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21)
Another scripture says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)
In 1st Timothy 5, Paul exhorts, “Never speak harshly to an older man,but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”
Are you seeing a common thread here?
How we speak is just as important as what we speak.
One of the best ways we can honor our father, son, husband, and/or brother is to build him up with how we speak and what we say. When we share something that we disagree with, we shouldn’t be harsh. I looked up harsh, this is what I found: Harsh-unpleasantly rough or jarring to the senses. We should watch our tone. Some of us speak more respectfully to our bosses than we do our husband or father. You will likely disagree with the men in your lives, but ladies, we should appeal respectfully if we disagree on something.
Let us be builders. Now just to be clear, I don’t want you going up to random men in church like, “I really want to build you up brother”; because he might be thinking something different. I am speaking of building up the men you are in alliance with, whether that’s a relationship through family, work or church. I am sure you yourself can recall a time someone said something to you that hurt so bad it impacted the way you view yourself. Or rather even someone who spoke such an encouraging word that it gave you the strength to face something you never thought you could. In the same way, we should be very careful to build up and be life givers. We should be careful not to tear down with our words, but be gracious and uplifting. Be a life giver and speak life!
In this section I am addressing how we can honor the men in our lives by protecting them. I want to address how we can help protect our brothers in the area of purity. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of men protecting women’s purity as well. But I hold women to just as high of a standard. I believe that a man has FULL responsibility over his eyes, body and actions. But us as women have ways that we can help protect them as well.
We should seek to protect the men in our lives by guarding the words we speak, being mindful in how we dress, and checking our motives when we do things. In regards to men we interact with, let’s be intentional in protecting our brothers purity. It’s bad enough that we live in an overly sexualized world, but now guys have to face this in church too? May it not be so! Here’s how we can protect them:
Three basic things that have helped me when it comes to modesty:
Flattery is “excessive and insincere praise, especially that’s given to further one’s own interests.” This is dangerous because as women, if we’re not careful we can use our words to get our way with the men in our life. If we’re saying things we really don’t mean just to get what we want, that’s manipulation and it doesn’t honor God or the man in your life. Be careful, too, that you don’t use spiritual flirting or spiritual manipulation. Don’t get it twisted, if you’re doing this to your husband or fiancé, he can feel it and it can cause a wedge in your relationship.
Wives, do dress nice for your husband. Do wear things he likes. Do flirt with your husband. Do show how much you love your husband with your body. I heard a godly married woman share at a conference, “Wives, remember your husband chose to be with you and only you; and you and only you are choosing not to have sex with him? May it not be so wives!” One of the best ways to honor your husband is love him with your body and not withhold from him. You betta take care of your man! Ok, I’ll keep that one right there, because that’s another blog for another day. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)
The third way we can honor our father, husband, brother or son is to give him respect. This is a man’s number #1 need from a woman. Just as much as we desire to be loved, so a man desires to feel respected. Respect will look differently for different relationships. Please use discernment and wisdom as you apply these principles.
Shaunti Feldhahn, who writes many books and articles on what men wish women knew, says we can show respect to men by respecting his judgment, respecting his abilities, respecting him in public, and respecting in our assumptions.
Respecting His Judgment
Shaunti writes, “Several men confessed that they felt like their opinions and decisions were actively valued in every area of their lives except at home. Some men felt that their comrades at work trusted their judgment more than their own wives did. Also, while a man’s partners or colleagues will rarely tell him what to do (they ask him or collaborate on the decision instead), more than one wife has made the mistake of ordering her husband around like one of the kids.”
Yikes!! Even if you may feel like he doesn’t know something; there’s a time, a place and tone to share that. Sometimes things aren’t even worth sharing either. We need to be wise women, who are careful with our words.
Proverbs 11:22 says, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Meaning you can be beautiful and yet really ugly at the same time, because your talk doesn’t match your look. You look great, but your mouth looks like garbage by the words you speak. Ladies, we don’t need to say certain things.
Before you say something, ask yourself, “Does what I’m about to share build him up?” If it doesn’t, don’t share it. Or pray for wisdom on how to share it in a way that doesn’t tear him down.
Respecting His Abilities
I once heard a wise woman say, “Wives, your husband may not be that important outside, but as long as he’s a king in his house, that’s all that matters.” We want to make sure that we build up the men in our lives with respect. We never want to belittle them or make them feel like they can’t accomplish something. This goes from mother to son, wife to husband, and sister to brother. Respect their abilities!
1Peter 3:1-2 says to the wives, “In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.”
Whether your husband is a believer or not, you as a wife can win him over by the respect you give him and how you treat him.
I know it’s a joke out there about how men want to fix things in the house even when they’re not a handyman. But there is something to know about men. Let them figure it out even though you know you might be able to do it “better” or “faster.” This could be as simple as him fixing something in the house or finding his way to an event. Sometimes I can tell we may be lost, and I’ll go pull up google maps on my iPhone and my husband will gently notice and say, “Babe, I got this one.” And I respectfully will say, “Ok honey.” I put my phone in my purse and pray he knows where we’re going. Lol! Why? Because if we’re a few minutes late to something, but my man feels like I trust him, that means the world to him.
Let’s try to trust our husbands, fathers, or brothers even without complaining or giving him beef about it. Chose your battles. Some things are not worth fighting about or being right about! In the same example, there have been times when I knew we really needed to get to a certain place and right now was not the time for him to “figure” it out. I will lovingly and respectfully appeal by saying, “Love, we need to be there in 15 minutes, can I look up the address for you, just to see if we’re taking the best route?” And with no problem, my husband has said, “Sure babe. Yes please” and I gave him directions. End of story…
So I know every situation and marriage is different. However, it’s the little things that matter to them. If we don’t trust them with little things, they wonder if we trust them at all. I know women and men are wired a little differently in this area, but it’s so important to understand.
If we as women keep doing what he’s “supposed” to be doing, many men will abdicate their roles and sit passively as you do it. Then you’re all frustrated wondering why he won’t step up…maybe because you got impatient and didn’t let your man lead.
Respecting Him in Public
Never disrespect your man in public. You don’t want to ever say something or react in a way that would cause embarrassment to the man in your life. Even if, let’s say, you think he “deserves a few words”, wait until you are in private to be able to respectfully express how you feel .
Shauntee Feldman says it well in her book For Women Only, “Showing public respect goes a long way. Just as your man will be hurt and angry if you disrespect him in public, he will think you are the most wonderful woman in the world if you publicly build him up. Trust me—from the men I’ve talked to, that will be the equivalent of his coming home to you with a dozen roses and a surprise date night without the kids. He will feel adored.”
Here’s a phrase that would really touch the heart of your husband, father, son or brother…
“I respect you.”
To the wives reading this…your husband desperately needs your respect and honor. He needs your love and he needs your affirmation. He may even need your apology. He can’t win without you. Remember you’re a team, so love and RESPECT your husband like there’s no tomorrow.
I know this is not easy, especially if you feel the man in your life isn’t “worthy of respect”. Pray for wisdom; find a mature woman of God that you can pray and process with and seek counsel for your unique situation. In no way do I ever want a woman to feel she needs to respect or stay with a man who is abusing or hurting her. There’s wisdom and counsel to be sought when it comes to danger or abuse on any level or domestic violence. In no way do I advocate that. Please get help immediately if you are dealing with this.
Ladies, more than anything, know that our words weigh heavy and are very powerful. May we be known as women who build our homes and not tear it down with our own hands. May we be women who encourage our husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. May we speak life to them, protect them and respect them