From the time of Adam and Eve, men have needed respect in order to love the women in their lives and women need love in order to respect the men in their lives.
This need and desire hasn’t changed, no matter how big the house, or how many cars are in the garage. Even a man who appears to be very self-confident can be reduced to crumbles by poorly chosen words from the woman he loves (see previous articles on how words impact the fight/flight centre in the brain).
Dr. Emerson Eggerich discovered this factor in male female relationships during his many years as a counselor.
After watching and learning from his patients and from Biblical references, he developed his theory of love and respect. In the Bible Paul explains that men must love their wives and wives must respect their husbands. These are unconditional commands that are not given in the opposite order. In no place are wives commanded to love and men to respect.
This doesn’t mean that woman do not want the respect of the men in their lives. In fact, they want respect and deserve it. But, they don’t need to be respected in order to love. On the other hand, it is very difficult for a man to love his partner if she doesn’t respect him.
In research the Eggerichs’ did with over 500 men they asked the question: “In the middle of a conflict with my wife, I am more likely to be feeling:
a. That my wife doesn’t respect me right now.
b. That my wife doesn’t love me right now.”
The results showed that 81.5 percent of the men felt that during an argument or disagreement they were disrespected.
Unfortunately, many of the times they felt disrespected it was during a conversation in which the women were trying, in their own way, to communicate either their own needs or changes they feel will make him in to a better man.
Although men are “fixers” by nature, they do NOT want to be fixed by their partners.
This means that if you come to your man with a problem at work or with your family, he’s likely to offer a solution that will work. He’s a fixer and wants to provide (by fixing) for the woman he loves. However, when she wants to fix for him, he can feel disrespected, unless you approach the situation gracefully and respectfully.
The difficult part of the situation is that it is more difficult for men to love and easier for them to show respect. It is easier for women to love and more difficult for them to show respect.
But, in order to strengthen your relationship you have to stay focused on doing what is difficult and outside of your own comfort zone. Only in this way can you provide your partner what they need to provide you with what you need.