[From Julie] Something has been rolling around in my head that has come out of the books Noel and I have been reading lately. This happens a lot. I’m not even able to put into words what God and I have been dealing with ever since I read the Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. Some of it completely rocked both Noel and I. Maybe we’ll be able to describe it coherently in the future however right now it’s just a big muddled mess in our heads.
In the Driscoll’s book Real Marriage Mark and Grace spend a couple chapters discussing the topics of a loving husband and a respectful wife. There were some good thoughts in those two chapters. You should read it. At the end of each chapter they said that it’s the wife who gets to decided if her husband is acting in a loving way and it’s the husband who gets to decide if his wife is acting in a respectful way. I thought about this a lot and Noel and I have been talking about it a little bit. Noel is just now getting some time to read the whole book so that will add to our discussions. It’s better if both of you have the context if you are going to bring up a topic like this to your spouse. I’ve asked Noel before if he thinks I’m a respectful wife. I feel like I am and I have a great deal of respect for him but that really isn’t the point. His opinion is what is most important here. Do I demonstrate respect when I speak and act? I want to know where I can improve and what it is that he finds disrespectful. We’re working on that.
Just last week I decided to tell Noel about something that he could do that would demonstrate love to me. We often need to take two vehicles when we are headed anywhere that involves the boys. Usually Noel is first to leave and I follow with the slow pokes of our family. This is not a problem at all however when we are all ready to leave at basically the same time Noel just gets in the car and drives away without a backward glance. I’ve noticed over 19 years of marriage that this sort of makes me feel unimportant and left behind. It’s not a big deal by any means and I usually just move on with things of greater importance. I know Noel loves me and I knew he was probably completely unaware of how this makes me feel so I decided to tell him. I simply said that it would make me feel loved and cared for if he would wait for me. It makes me feel protected and worthy of his time. Noel listened to me and has really taken this to heart. He doesn’t speed off anymore and I don’t feel like I’m constantly trying to play catch up.
Something like this may not be an issue to every woman but every woman has some kind of issue. What’s yours? Tell your husband. He probably doesn’t even know that there is something he could do that is so simple and would make a huge impact on how loved you feel. Be positive and thank him when he does it. In addition find out what you can do to demonstrate more respect to your husband. Guys, feel free to tell your wife what you find respectful and ladies, except what he says and work on what he suggests. If both of you are doing this and checking in with each other on how you’re doing, you will be creating a wonderful environment for growth together. Let’s face it. We all want to be heard by our spouse. Create a marriage that is safe for each of you to share your feelings and needs. That’s what Noel and I are working on over here at the Walker house. Now if I can just work on getting my boys to open doors for me I’ll be set.