Monday, January 28, 2008

The Interesting thing about Men...

Recently, my husband suggested to me that we pick up a marriage book and work through it together... As most women would, I responded with glee! My husband cares enough to work on improving our marriage, sigh, happy face. Now, imagine for a moment that I was the one making the suggestion - the more likely response from him would be: a) ignore the suggestion; b) reject the suggestion; c) ignore the suggesion; d) take offence at the implication that he is a less-than-perfect mate; or e) all of the above! (On a side note, this is not a commentary on my darling husband in particular, but more a general observation about the differences between men and women.)

Incidentally, the book we intended to study is available in DVD format, and being offered by the marriage ministry in our Church - being the kind of folks that we are (that is, just slightly this side of completely lacking in motivation, lol), we went for the easy route. Tonight marks week 2...

The author/speaker, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, has quite the humorous take on how the genders view things differently. Take, for example, the statement "I have nothing to wear." What does this mean? When I say it, it probably means I have nothing NEW to wear, or possibly I have nothing THAT FITS to wear. Heard from Pat, on the other hand, it likely means I have nothing CLEAN to wear. LOL!

Now, indulge me for a moment as I ponder the title of the book... "Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs." Huh? I get the love part - we all need love, right?! It's up there next to food and water on the hierarchy. But respect? Seriously? Shouldn't respect be EARNED??? According to Eggerichs, no! Unconditional love for the woman (that is, love that is not contingent upon actions and performance, but simply for being) is equivalent to unconditional respect for the man (that is, respect and honour for who he is and what he does, even at those times we feel his performance is lacking). I must say, this concept is almost beyond my ability to grasp!

An example? I recently picked up a picture of little Kai for our wall of fame (Pat's actually quite good at photography, and we posed the baby all nicely). Unfortunately, the picture was slightly off-centre. Pat comments on this flaw (I wonder if he's hinting that it's somehow my fault...) and my reply is this, "yeah, I noticed those pictures you took for my blog are a bit off-centre, too," with a chuckle. And we move on to living life with 5 kids...

A couple hours later, Pat enlightens me - somehow, in my casual observation, he has interpreted a slight to his ability. What he heard - "you are terrible at taking are a should never take pictures again." Again I say, HUH? My comment (or perhaps a better word is criticism) made him feel disrespected. Until that moment, I had interpreted the word 'respect' to mean ("you are a good person who does good things") - nope! Respect really means "you are capable, you are able, you do a good job." Ah-hah! No wonder my husband figured we needed a marriage book... (On another note, I have realized this to mean that every time I comment on, or God-forbid correct the way he parents, I am disrespecting him. Which is essentially the same as if he were not loving or appreciating me - for example not answering with a resounding "NO!" when I ask if something makes me look fat.) Shoot. I've got a lot of work to do!

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