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We Get the Respect We Give

Respect is a two-way street. There's a lot of advice out there about how to be more assertive, how to set healthy boundaries, and how to "demand" respect. The trouble with demanding respect is that any respect given at that point isn’t genuine.  So, true respect is earned by giving respect to others.

First, as men we feel like we're not getting the respect we want from our wives.  The answer isn't acting tough or being clever enough to persuade them to show us more respect. The answer is in asking ourselves a pretty basic question.

“Have we shown our wives respect?”

Probably not, right? Answering "no" doesn't mean you treat your wife like garbage, but it does mean you haven’t gone the extra step, which is the difference between a mediocre relationship and a great one. Try it and see what happens. The same principle applies to friends and coworkers.

Second, when seeking respect we often expect acknowledgment and praise when we do things. We've all been there. You do your wife a favor or help them out in some way, and they don't seem grateful or appreciative. It's human nature to want them to acknowledge what you did. But then, if we only help her to receive acknowledgment and praise we've really only done it for ourselves.

What’s the solution to this issue?  When you do something for your wife, do it as unto the Lord. Do it because it’s the right thing to do; you are a man of God.

Third, we need to remember that character means giving respect first, not simply as a condition that we receive it. It's easy to rationalize that since our wife doesn’t play by the rules, why should we?  Simple: God says that’s the type of man we should be.

Life lesson:  We develop character with our actions even when we don't directly benefit, and other people observe that about us. That's a big piece of earning the respect we'd all like. True respect is earned, after all, and not taken or coerced.

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