We were given this book as a wedding gift. Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I had read it before, in my frantic quest to save a dying first marriage- but this morning, as I re-read it with my hero in mind, I was brought to tears by the formidable grace of God.
The pain of our past relationships forged so many things in us. Determination, for one. The never give up, never say die mentality… we are two bulldogs for tenacity. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and all that. But the determination to love- to demonstrate it visibly and consistently, even when you are tired or frustrated… The will to model respect, even during disagreements. We have had hammered, tempered practice in these things. Do we mess up sometimes? Yes. But the habit is already there. And my hero makes it so easy. His love and regard pours gasoline on the fire of my respect for him.
In case you haven’t noticed, ladies- our men live for respect. They crave it the way we crave love. Dr. Eggerichs points out that the one feeds the other- she respects him, and he loves her, so she respects him more and he loves her more. In our blended family, we have together purposed to be the reason our kids want to get married. One of our oldest kids watched the crash and burn of the first marriage and has very loudly stated that they never want to do that. But together, we want to model the relationship that we wish they would have with their spouse someday. One way I have chosen to show respect and appreciation for my hero is at the end of a long 12-hour shift, when he is physically exhausted but still smiling (I love that, by the way)… I unlace his heavy, steel toed work boots and pull them off. I tell the kids that is MY job. He knows that I appreciate his long hours and hard work. The kids see that I value his efforts. When my boys get married, I hope that their wives will demonstrate respect and appreciation for them- because their daddy is most definitely training them how to love a wife. He calls me while he is commuting to work, and sometimes on his way home. He hangs out with me in the kitchen while I am serving dinner to The Horde, sometimes helps either cook or serve or referee- but he is there. He brings me gifts every time he goes to the store; small things, maybe raspberries or a new flavor of chips or a potted plant. We date each other- very purposefully, because you don’t just impulsively go out with eleven kids to take care of!
Yes, those eleven are a lot of work. And yes, I am flat out DONE at the end of the day. But the small effort that goes into a smile, or words of appreciation, or some honey wrestle time… that small effort pays such huge dividends, that I would be cheating you if I didn’t tell you. Love, to your man, is spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Appreciate his efforts, honor his achievements, and buckle your seat belt. You will enjoy the ride.