Two Saturdays ago, Josh and I taught together in Part 4 our series I Want a New Marriage. We used the book His Needs, Her Needs as the framework for our talk. This week as a way of following that up, I’ll be doing posts through that book, some of the things we said, how to figure out if this is a need your spouse has, how you are doing at meeting that need and how this applies to your relationship.
You can listen to it here.
I’ll be looking specifically at his needs and how a wife fulfills those needs. To see her needs and how a husband fulfills those, check out Josh’s blog.
Need #5 Admiration:
I purposefully waited until today to post this blog about admiration until after Saturday’s message, “From this Moment“, to give it some context. Unlike women, men do not speak or listen in the language of LOVE, instead they speak in the language of respect and admiration. Early in our marriage, Josh and I attended a conference by Emerson Eggerichs called Love and Respect, this changed forever how we communicated and dealt with each other. If you have ever read Wild at Heart you know that a man’s deepest desire is to be used and found worthy of a great adventure. This is one of the reasons that they like to do things at 500 miles an hour and love adventure and risk. So what does this have to do with Admiration? Well, I am so glad that you asked:
- Your husband needs you to be proud of him. If you fail to give the appropriate words of affirmation to your husband he feels like a fake, and regardless of his true value, will begin to believe that at any moment someone will realize that he is not worth his salt and kick him off the team or fire him from his job or if taken to the very end… will start to look to other women to fulfill this need in their lives. Which will end up with disastrous consequences.
- Willard states, “Honest admiration is a great motivator for most men. When a woman tells a man she thinks he’s wonderful, that inspires him to achieve more. He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level. That inspiration helps him prepare for the responsibilities of life.” “For some men admiration also helps them believe in themselves.”
- For the most part men know that you love them, they do not need the atmosphere of affection that we as women do to feel constantly reassured of our man’s love. But the thing that will speak to him will be words that edify, respect, admire, and lift up your husband. He wants to know that he is worthy of the adventure that is calling, and he can overcome the obstacle that is staring him in the face.
- “An environment of carping and criticism is dangerous to your mental health. Those who support and encourage you bring out your true potential and spark your genius.”
- “Never fake your admiration. The first step in learning how to express admiration it so learn how to feel admiration. When you achieve that, you can express these feeling.”
- For me learning to feel admiration was not something that came easy at the beginning of our marriage. It took practice and an intentionality that I did not think would be necessary. Don’t feelings of love and respect come naturally in the arms of a committed relationship? Unfortunately, the answer for me was no. When Josh and I got married God was working on my heart in a huge way, but it took a few years for God to take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. In the mean time I decided to write down all of the little things that Josh did that should have sparked the feeling of Love and Respect in me. After the exercise of writing things down, I was able to more naturally recognize and then express my appreciation and respect toward Josh.
- Willard says, “Therefore her admiration depends on his ability to meet her basic marital needs.” This statement at the outset may ring true, but it rubs me the wrong way. In Eph. 5:33 we as women are told to respect our husbands. There are no qualifiers to it. Josh says you respect him until he becomes respectable…
- Willard goes on to endorse an activity to communicate to your husband what you admire and what destroys your admiration for him. I would strongly caution you about taking the step to list out all of the things that destroy your admiration for your husband and give it to him unless it is done in a clinical setting. From the depth of my toes, I believe that this could really destroy your man emotionally. Can you imagine, oh, by the way here are all of the things that I hate about you? Please NO! I would suggest thinking and privately journaling those things that bother you about your husband and try to figure out if there is a common thread throughout. Is it his lack of responsibility with the kids, or time away from the family or you? Next, make it your mission to find him doing right things in this area, if he shows a hint of moving in the right direction notice it, mention it, praise him for it, throw a party about. Also, you should be having those iron sharpening iron conversations where you are pointing out sin and areas that he can improve in his life/walk, but those conversations should not be how you always talk to him.
- Work on developing an attitude of respect and admiration for your husband. Let him know this week how much you appreciate him working and bringing home the bacon. How much you love the man he is and the man that he is becoming. Start with pointing out those things that he does that communicate love to you and how much you appreciate it. That will go a long way in expressing your admiration for him.
- In the book Whale Done, they discuss that in order to train a killer whale you have to affirm the things that he is doing well or on track with to encourage more like behavior. I think that the same principle works here, affirm your husband in the things that he is doing that you already like, so you can see more of those same behaviors.
All quotes are taken from Willard F. Harley Jr’s book His Needs Her Needs.