Provocative title, right? It gets better.
If the idea that “your husband doesn’t have to earn your respect” is enough to put most feminists’ teeth on edge, finishing the sentence with “because you owe it to him” will have them climbing the walls for sure.
A couple of clarifications, before we continue.
First, notice it says “husband”. Not every guy is owed your respect. But that one guy to whom you said “I do” is. Even if he doesn’t “deserve” it and (you know what’s coming) especially when he doesn’t deserve it.
Why? Because the rest of the time, it isn’t hard to do it. Just like the love he owes you.
Yes, I went there. Guys aren’t to love their wives only when they’re wonderful, and affectionate, and pleasant to be around, are they? Of course not. Anyone can love their wife under ideal circumstances. It’s when time with their wife is anything but ideal that love’s true value shines forth.
It’s the same with respect.
Matt Walsh (whose post I’ve been referencing) builds on that idea.
Disrespect for men has become standard practice. That scene I witnessed was sad but unremarkable; we’ve all watched that kind of thing play out a thousand times over. Men are disrespected by their wives – they’re disrespected publicly, they’re disrespected privately, they’re disrespected and then told that they have no right to be upset about it because they aren’t worthy of respect in the first place.
He goes on to say:
It is a fatal problem, because the one thing that is consistently withheld from men and husbands — respect — is the one thing we need the most.
Yes, need. We need respect, and that need is so deeply ingrained that a marriage cannot possibly survive if the man is deprived of it.
Often, people will say that a husband should only be respected if he “earns” it. This attitude is precisely the problem. A wife ought to respect her husband because he is her husband, just as he ought to love and honor her because she is his wife. Your husband might “deserve” it when you mock him, berate him, belittle him, and nag him, but you don’t marry someone in order to give them what they deserve. In marriage, you give them what you’ve promised them, even when they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.
Check out his original post, which covers a lot more ground than I was able to in this short space.
And for bonus points, check out the short list of practical examples of how respect is shown in Wintery Knight’s commentary on this piece. It gives a good starting point for anyone interested in knowing more about the kind of respect we’re looking for. (H/t to him for pointing out this article.)