R-E-S-P-E-C-T

by Andrea Cooley

Did anyone else start to sing Aretha Franklin when they read the title of this post? No? Maybe it’s just me. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about motown music, but it is about respecting your spouse.

Adam and I spent the last week together. He worked a few days, but I didn’t. It’s been great sleeping in, playing games, and relaxing, but it’s also meant that we’ve started to drive each other crazy a little. Does this happen to anyone else? We just start to nitpick at each other, arguing about silly little things. Maybe everyone else is more mature and doesn’t bat an eye when her husband has 3 water glasses on the coffee table and goes to get a new glass for juice. And maybe I’m the only woman who always has a to-do list, especially on days off, leading me to try to do 3 things at once which means that dinner is over done because I was busy uploading pictures for a photo book while working on a blog post.

In an effort of full disclosure and because I’m hoping that maybe if I share my weakness publicly it will be less likely to happen again, at least for the next 24 hours, let me give you a glimpse into a ridiculous argument.

We got a nice camera this year before we went to Europe. I am the primary user of said camera. This means that more often than not, the camera is in the kitchen, under a pile of papers on the dining room table, perched precariously on a shelf, or generally NOT in the nice bag that Adam bought for it. (I’ll admit, part of the reason I don’t use the bag is that I didn’t pick it out and don’t necessarily like the bag, but that’s not the point, right?)

I have several good excuses for this. It’s much easier to have the camera out and easily accessible. If it’s in the bag, I might miss an ideal photo opportunity. Also, I don’t really like the bag. Adam picked it out and it’s a perfectly acceptable camera bag, but I don’t think it’s very practical (or at least that’s my reason for not using it). I know that the sensible thing is to keep the expensive camera in a bag, but I’m stubborn—as a matter of fact, Adam tells me I’m very stubborn. He’s even gone so far as to say that I’m strong-willed, but that’s another post. Back to the camera bag. Since I don’t like the bag and use the camera most, I don’t feel the need to use the bag.

This was our argument last night at 10:30 when I was straightening things up before going to bed. I thought I was being good, taking the camera off the coffee table and putting it on a shelf. Adam asked me to put it in the bag.

I immediately launched into all the reasons I thought the bag wasn’t necessary or convenient or even good. Poor guy! He was only trying to be responsible; something we’ve been talking about lately, especially in regards to the nice things God has blessed us with.

When the ugly beast that is my selfish will paused to take a breath before continuing on with my reasons for not taking an extra 30 seconds to put the camera away properly, he dropped the bomb. He quietly asked why I couldn’t just respect his wishes. That one word, respect, stopped me in my tracks.

Respect.

I know it’s what men desire from their wives. (I never finished reading Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs, but what I read was good!) I’ve commented on other relationships when I see a woman not respecting her husband and how crushed the man seems when little requests aren’t honored, ignored, or mocked. I want to respect my husband. And this was an easy way to do it. Why was it so hard for me to look past my own stubbornness and concede to his simple request?

So I got the bag and put the camera away. It really wasn’t that hard! Obviously, we need a better system for storing the camera. Maybe a drawer for the bag and the camera. It needs to be a convenient place where I can grab the camera at a moment’s notice and return it when done. But the bigger issue is how I respond to Adam’s wishes.

So we talked about it. I’m not always good at having those important conversations. It would have been easier to put the camera in the bag and go to bed, ignoring the bigger issue. I don’t want Adam to have to fight for my respect. I want to give it to him freely and willingly. He deserves it!

I told him I need him to call me out when I plow over his wishes and fight him at every turn whether it’s something small like what we make for dinner or a bigger issue like how we handle a tough relationship.

We both know that I am strong-willed and determined and tend to want to lead in most situations. In the past Adam has let me walk all over him, and I’ve done it. A couple things need to change. First, I need to slow down and think before I say things and ask myself if it’s worth resisting Adam’s authority when he makes a decision or asks for something.  Second, Adam has to stand up to me and tell me when I’ve stepped over the line. I’ll let you know how it goes! The good thing is we love each other and have grace for the other.

Does anyone else struggle with respecting her husband? I hope I’m not the only one!

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Andrea Cooley

  1. Andrea-we’ve SOOOO been there too! As far as the camera bag is concerned, check this one out: http://shootsac.com/toteandshootcamerabag.aspx I got it for my Christmas present and it was wonderfully easy to travel with over the holidays!

  2. Oh, Andrea, how I appreciate your honesty! Dave and I are so similar to you guys. I can hear such a similar conversation in my head, and then, that word. respect. Oh it is pain! and it is convicting! Here’s to both of us learning to love more richly by respecting our husbands!

  3. I had a sheepish smiled as I read this, because we’ve had the same exact conversation, except about the lens cap. My husband is such a kind hearted person and I usually plow him over with my (very type A neurotic personality).

    Lately, like you, I’ve been trying to do 10 things at once. This means that while my husband is talking to me about his day, I’m on the ipad searching for music to play while also looking up a recipe and making dinner and checking blog comments… my eyes glaze over and I look right through him. Certainly not respectful. I need to pay much more attention to showing the respect that I have for him.

  4. So glad to know Adam and I aren’t the only couple who has silly arguments and I’m not the only type A wife with a very laid back husband! Thanks for the comments!

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