Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Way to Make Men Feel Respected

Episode Resources

Take the "30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge."

Download "The 'One Anothers' in Scripture."

Download "The Men Speak Out."

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth asks, Is your home a welcoming environment?

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Think about what it’s like when you and your husband re-enter the house at the end of the day. Do you make re-entry for him a joy, or do you make it a burden? Do you make him wish he’d stayed at work?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Thursday, June 21, 2018. 

Nancy: Today we’re going to think about ways that we as women can encourage and build up and, yes, respect the men around us. Before we start today's program, I want to take a moment and give a little context that is especially important when you think about today’s #MeToo environment where there is so much hurt and pain and broken relationships abounding between men and women.

So when we speak about building up the men around us, I want to make it clear that we are not saying that a woman ought to passively put up with abusive or illegal behavior from the men in her life. In His wisdom, God has set up some important steps that she can and should take to seek legal and spiritual protection. So I hope that gives you a little context for what you’re about to hear. 

Oh Father, gives us ears to hear and hearts to receive what You would say to us from Your Word today. May our relationships as men and women glorify You and reflect the beauty of the gospel to those around us. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

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Some time ago in this series on the True Woman Manifesto, I shared a number of responses that I received from men when I asked them what made them feel respected by women. Well there’s a man who heard that program where I shared some of those responses, and he sent us an email saying,

Dear Nancy,

I wish I had received your men’s perspective email questionnaire. Last summer I left the house to take my daughter to the airport. When I returned home three hours later, my wife had completely cleaned out our home. Everything was gone. Our home looked as if it had been ransacked. Even mementos and photographs were gone, some just left discarded as trash on the floor.

I was saved eight years ago. I have remained a faithful husband to a Christian (?) wife who was never happy. She had an insatiable appetite for all the things we did not have instead of being thankful for the many blessings given by God to our household.

I work with and lead men. Want to really connect with a guy? Sometimes when they make mistakes, I’ll give them a little correction [talking about the men who work for him]. However, when they make the big bonehead, thoughtless mistakes, I give them grace. I’ll end up with a grateful man forever.

Why can’t wives apply this simple principle? As men we don’t take the decisions that we have to make lightly, whether at work or at home. Often we agonize over direction and decisions. When I make a mistake, I usually know it right away. While I’m trying to regroup or correct my stupid way, I don’t need to find my wife right behind me rubbing my nose in something I’m trying to get cleaned up. At that moment I just need some grace.

So ladies: Want a leader? Then be a follower. Don’t tell us to be a leader and then tear apart every decision we try to make.

  • Be as quick to extend grace as criticism.
  • Let God work. He who created the universe is capable to shape a husband without a wife’s intervention.
  • Don’t hold back your affirmation or intimacy until you think we’re good boys and deserve a pat on the head. It wounds our spirits, and we know what you’re doing.
  • Sometimes we are just slow to speak our thoughts or emotions. When that occurs, please be patient and encouraging with us because we do have something important to communicate.
  • Stay in a Bible study with older women who will speak the Word of God into your life and home.
  • Do not allow the afternoon talk shows into your home. 

Your brother in Christ,

That was a sad letter, but when I read it, I tell you I had a real surge of conviction come into my own heart as I think about the men that I serve with in our ministry. I’m so thankful for those men, but how many times do I feel like it’s my duty to point out if something has not gone according to program or schedule or plan. As I read that I just thought, Oh Lord, how I can discourage and weaken and demotivate and emasculate the men around me.

I’m just thankful for that word from that man. Now, I know there are two sides to every story. I have not heard his wife’s side so I don’t know what she would write. And we often hear from women who have felt wounded or unloved by men, so this goes both ways.

As Mary Kassian, my friend and fellow author, reminds us,

Sin infused women with the urge to oppose, control, and act against men. 
Sin infused men with the urge to harshly dominate and/or passively resist women.

So male and female, we both have our sins and they often come out in the way we deal with those of the opposite gender.

So today we’re looking at one more “We will” statement in the True Woman Manifesto. It’s statement number seven. Let me read it to you, and then I want us to discuss it for a bit. The statement says,

We will show proper respect to both men and women, created in the image of God, esteeming others as better than ourselves, seeking to build them up, and putting off bitterness, anger, and evil speaking.

To help us understand the importance of this, I want to read through the course of this session just a number of emails that we have received that I think illustrate it so powerfully. One woman wrote recently and said,

Dear Nancy,

Your broadcast today is certainly timely as the Lord has been convicting me for a long time about this very thing [this whole issue of respect]. In fact, just Friday, my husband overheard me on the phone to my sister-in-law talking about him—even though it was because of my spiritual concern for him, it was disrespectful, and I know I need to change that.

I will need much prayer to do this—my critical spirit about so many things has become second nature after thirty-seven years of marriage. And when he speaks harshly to me, I just seem to react without thinking most of the time. I do want to begin showing respect to him and building him up. I know he needs that even though he might act as if he doesn’t.

Now, I don’t know what your husband or the men around you act like, whether they act like they need respect or not. But I will tell you, every man needs that kind of respect from his wife or other women around him.

A man wrote to us and he said,

Ladies, please, please, please hear and try to understand just how powerful and accurate this message is. [It was a message about wives respecting husbands.] 

Each day when I wake and venture into the world, I can handle almost anything that life throws at me even to the point of being diagnosed with cancer eight years ago. But my wife’s criticism, lack of support, lack of trust, and lack of respect for me leaves me utterly and totally broken inside, filled with deep, deep pain.

Instead of being my best friend and advocate, my wife has become my number one worst critic and adversary. I try hard to rise above this fact, yet it robs almost every ounce of joy I could and should be experiencing as a Christian. I’m an intelligent, talented, good father and decent man, yet my wife’s attitude towards me leaves me at times feeling as if I were a dumpster for her dissatisfaction in life or a horrible criminal.

Although I find my strength in the Lord and no longer need my wife’s approval in order to define my self-worth, it’s been a hard road for me to walk. I still long for nothing more in life than my wife’s support and friendship. I am fully committed to endure my marriage regardless of walking each day with an aching, heavy heart that longs for her satisfaction and love.

And yes, given the choice, I would rather be alone and unloved over being unappreciated and enduring such torment each day, longing for my wife’s trust and respect.

Ladies, this is huge in the hearts and minds of men and I think that most of them don’t express it quite the way that we’ve heard it expressed in these emails. Or maybe they’ll express it to someone who’s a total stranger by writing an email to a ministry like ours or sharing that discontent and that pain with a woman who’s not their wife.

Now I want to be clear that there is no excuse for infidelity, for man or woman looking elsewhere than in their marriage to get those needs met. Also, there are times when men or women do stray totally apart from any failure on the part of their mate. So I’m not saying if your husband has looked elsewhere it’s because you didn’t respect him. But I’m saying that this issue of respect is really huge.

If we’re going to be true women, we need to learn to show proper respect to both men and women created in the image of God, esteeming others as better than ourselves, seeking to build them up and putting off bitterness, anger, and evil speaking.

As I was discussing this session with a group of women who were helping to give me insights and feedback on this part of the Manifesto, one of the gals in our group said,

I feel really embarrassed to tell you this, but when I was in high school I would throw spitballs at Mr. [so and so, one of her teachers]. I never thought about him. I only thought about myself and how it made me feel more liked and more popular.

Well, as we talked about that, we said how do grownups throw spitballs, and how do we show that we’re only thinking about ourselves and not about others? It can be with or without words—in your home, in your relationships. It can be a raised eyebrow. We women have a way of being able to make other people feel like idiots without ever saying a word. Am I right? Body language, tone of voice.

It’s the opposite of seeking to build them up. And disrespect for others, particularly for men, has become mainstream in our culture. It is the way the current is going, and to be different you have to be willing to swim upstream. You think about talk shows, about movies, about television, and think about how people talk to each other, how women talk to men, how women talk about men, how people talk to each other.

They’re loud. They’re dogmatic, argumentative, interrupting, criticism, putdowns, lack of etiquette or manners, lack of gentleness or kindness or civility. It’s just become normal and acceptable to disrespect your mate, for women to disrespect men, for all of us to disrespect others—men and women alike.

The reason is that we are thinking about ourselves first. We’re not thinking about how to build others up but how to tear them down. So gossip falls into this. A critical spirit. A judgmental heart.

One woman wrote us and said,

My hubby and I got married last summer and were separated within eight months. I was not grateful for my hubby nor was I lined up with God’s Word. I always had to be in control and run stuff. I rarely had anything good to say to my husband. I was self-centered and every other bad adjective you can think of. The bottom line was, I was not serving God or my husband. It was all about me.

Isn’t that the way we’re born? It’s all about me. It will always be all about me until I begin to live as a redeemed woman and realize it’s not anything about me. It’s all about God. It’s all about Christ. It’s all about the gospel, and it’s all about how we can reflect His love, His heart, His grace to those around us.

Someday I want to do a whole series on Revive Our Hearts on the "one anothers" of Scriptures. There are many of them, but let me just read to you a list of about a dozen of them. Don’t try to jot all these down. We’ll have them with the references at ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll have it in the transcript, and we’ll also provide it for you as a pdf that you can print out and use it to remind yourself of these one anothers of Scripture.

But I read some emails that show what it’s like to be self-centered, to show disrespect. Now think about how life would be different in your home, in your sphere of influence, if we lived out these one anothers in our daily relationships.

  • Romans 12:10: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
  • Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
  • Romans 14:13: “Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer.”

Now these are not just things for first-century Christians. This is for you, for me, for your marriage, for my family, for our team, for us in our relationships. Okay? Don’t pass judgment on one another any longer.

  • Romans 15:7: “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Think about what it’s like when you and your husband re-enter the house at the end of the day. Do you make re-entry for him a joy, or do you make it a burden? Do you make him wish he’d stayed at work? Welcome one another. Now I know in the context of Romans 15 that’s talking about something more than just welcoming when you walk in the door, but let’s start with when we walk in the door. How do we welcome one another? How do we greet one another as Christ has welcomed us for the glory of God?

  • 2 Corinthians 13:11: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
  • Ephesians 4:2: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
  • Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
  • Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (NASB).

Now think when those harsh, critical, demeaning words are coming out of your mouth toward or about your husband or somebody in your workplace. Are you regarding that person that you’re talking about and that you’re talking to as more important than yourself? How would you speak differently, how would your tone of voice be different, how would your words be different if you were esteeming that person more important than yourself?

  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Encourage one another and build one another up.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15: “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
  • James 4:11: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.” He goes on to say there is only one judge and that is God. Don’t speak evil against one another.
  • James 5:9: “Do not grumble against one another, brothers.”

It’s sounding really quiet in here. Could it be that once we get under the ministry of the Word, just the Word, that it convicts our hearts?

  • “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door” (James 5:9). 
  • 1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”

Well, I could read a lot of emails that show how people have done it wrong and are realizing that, but thankfully, there are also emails from listeners and readers who by God’s grace are learning to show proper respect to their mates, to those in their family, as created in the image of God.

I enjoyed this one, it was not an email, it was a woman posted on our comment blog at Revive Our Hearts. She said,

I’m learning to affirm my husband’s strength and leadership by looking for ways that he initiates leadership. From how he drives to how he talks, I’m learning to sit back and let him be a man. I’m trying to build up his confidence by not criticizing the way he expresses his leadership. I’m learning to show respect to him in the way I talk to him and about him. I’m learning to praise him often for the things he does to provide for and protect me. I am making our home a place of rest and a refuge of peace and harmony. This has taken years to learn to do.

Notice she said, I’m still learning. You never get to the place where you’ve learned it. But then I love this last sentence. She said, “I want the remaining years of our marriage to be the very best.”

There’s so many marriages today where the first year was the very best. More early on was the best, and it’s gone downhill. In many cases that’s because of a lack of respect.

Now your husband may not show respect to you, and you may be thinking it would be a whole lot easier to show respect to him, to speak respectfully to him or about him if he would just speak words of love and affirmation and appreciation to me. And I’m sure that’s true in many, many cases.

But you know, it takes one to get into the flow of God’s grace and to change the dance steps so to speak, and to be the one who introduces the grace of God into the relationship. You may find that as you begin to speak words of respect and honor and blessing and kindness and love that it begins to soften and tenderize the heart of your mate or a child or a co-worker. Of course, it’s in marriage where so much of this really gets lived out, but it’s important in all of our relationships.

One of the things we’ve done at Revive Our Hearts over the years is to extend what we call a 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. I want to take time to just remind you of that challenge. Some of you have done it before, and it’s time to do it again. Some of you have never done it before, and so let me just remind you of what it is.

We will help you with this 30-day challenge if you will sign up for this at Revive Our Hearts. Every day we’ll send you an email for the next 30 days to remind you and to give you some practical tips about how to do this. Every day for the next 30 days. There are two parts to the challenge. First of all, you can’t say anything negative about your husband—to him or about him to anybody else. If you need to say something negative, tell it to the Lord, okay? But you can’t tell anybody else.

That doesn’t mean he’s going to be perfect or he’s not going to do negative things, but just that you’re not going to verbalize them for the next 30 days. And then every day for the next 30 days I want to encourage you to say something to your husband that you appreciate about him. Affirm something. Express admiration or gratitude or appreciation and say it to him and say it to somebody else about him. Tell his mother or your kids or a co-worker something that you appreciate about your husband.

I have on my laptop a document of probably 150 pages of responses that I have received from women over the years who have taken this 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. In so many ways they tell us how God has used this challenge in their lives. Again, if you’re not married, you can broaden this. I try to remind myself to practice this way of thinking with my co-workers.

The sad thing is the people we live with, the people we spend the most time with are often the ones we take for granted. Ask yourself, “Would I speak to a guest in my home the way I speak to the people in my home? Would I speak to some important visiting dignitary or my boss or whatever the way that I was just speaking to my co-workers or the person in the next cubicle.”

We just take each other for granted, so we need to have this practice in speaking words that honor and lift up and show respect, to treat everyone we encounter with respect, kindness and encouragement, but particularly in the context of the home this is so important.

So do you want to be a true woman of God? I believe that most of you do. I know that I do. That means that we need to learn by God’s grace to show proper respect to men and women created in the image of God, esteeming others as better than ourselves, seeking to build them up and putting off bitterness, anger, and evil speaking.

As we live out that aspect of true womanhood, not only will those in our families, but those around us see a reflection of the loving, gracious, kind heart of Christ, and it’s going to be one of our most powerful means of witness to a world that needs to see who He really is. Amen?

Women: Amen.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been showing us the importance of respect. Are you offering it to others the way you’d like to receive it yourself? I’ll remind you of the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge she offered. Don’t say anything negative about your husband for 30 days, and each day tell him something you appreciate about him. 

One woman who took this challenge emailed us. She’d always tried to get her husband to take her out on a date. These requests either ended up in a “no” answer or in an unromantic outing. She told us that she had doubted the husband encouragement challenge would make any difference, but took it anyway. Halfway through she wrote,

After seventeen years of marriage, we finally had a romantic night by the beach enjoying a beautiful ocean view in peace and a lot of love. My willingness to encourage my husband and God’s perfect will brought back the love He intended for every marriage.

Well, there’s no guarantee your husband will take you on a romantic walk by the beach, but why not give it a try? After all, encouraging him is the right thing to do.

When you sign up for the challenge at Revive Our Hearts.com, we’ll send you reminders by email. To sign up and take the challenge, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Then click on “Resources,” then “Challenges.”

The resources available at ReviveOurHearts.com and this radio broadcast is possible thanks to the generous support of our listeners. When you partner with us today and make a donation of any amount, we’ll say "thanks" by sending a set of three booklets by Nancy.

Each of these will help you explore what the Bible says about becoming the woman God designed you to be. When you donate any amount by phone this week, ask for The True Woman Essentials Pack. The number is 1–800–569–5959. You can also take us up on this offer by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow hear about God’s power to transform a life. We’ll hear how a young woman rebelled against God to pursue a homosexual lifestyle. Find out what happened after that on the next on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you develop true, inward beauty. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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