Skip to main content

Worthy of Respect?

Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace pose for the cover of The Art of Relationships Podcast.

How do we define respect? In today's podcast, Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace discuss how scripture and research inform the different ways men and women interpret respect and share tips on how to make your significant other feel loved and respected. 

Speaker 1:    Welcome to another Art of Relationships Podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.
Chris Grace:    Well, it's good to be back with another podcast. Glad to have you guys listening in. What a fun opportunity to be together and to do this with you. We get to journey. And Alisa... I'm here with my lovely, beautiful Alisa today.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. Thank you.
Chris Grace:    We've been married, gosh, let's just say a very long time.
Alisa Grace:    Decades.
Chris Grace:    Decades. Yeah, it's in the threes. But Alisa, one of the awesome things is to be able to do this together. We're at Biola University, and we get a chance to come here and do a fun podcast on all things relationships. I think, Alisa, traveling and speaking and doing that has been awesome. We recently got back from some conferences, and then we've also had to cancel a couple because of COVID.
Alisa Grace:    Oh, man.
Chris Grace:    So, I don't know if COVID's hitting all, but it certainly hit our home.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. Gosh, about two weeks ago, we both got hit. We're actually on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia. We were out there to be on a podcast, the Ronald Blue Trust Podcast, Wealth for Life. We flew in Thursday night. Everything's going great. We went to dinner with Russ and Julie Crosson, the former CEO and president of Ronald Blue. It was great. We had a great time. And by the time we got back to the hotel, Chris was not feeling well, he's like, "I think I'm getting the flu. This is crazy." And by the morning, we knew he was really sick.
Chris Grace:    Yeah, we knew.
Alisa Grace:    We had to go home.
Chris Grace:    We felt bad for our good friends, Colby...
Alisa Grace:    Colby Gilmore.
Chris Grace:    Yeah, Colby Gilmore.
Alisa Grace:    From Ronald Blue.
Chris Grace:    And his wife.
Alisa Grace:    Christine.
Chris Grace:    We didn't get to spend time with Christine much, but Colby was there. So, Colby, Christine, love you guys. How sad it was to have to cancel after-
Alisa Grace:    We had to bail and come home.
Chris Grace:    Flying all the way out there, we got so sick. But Alisa, I think what it does is, when couples experience things, whether it's good stress, whether it's just daily hassles, which can be really a problem, or whether it's events when you're both sick and not feeling well, there is some interesting dynamics at play because it doesn't change the fact that you still are honoring and loving and respecting each other in good times and in bad, right?
Alisa Grace:    Yeah.
Chris Grace:    In sickness and in health. And I think, sometimes, when we're at conferences, people ask questions of us like... Okay. I get this when it's easy to do or when things are going well, but when things are a little bit rocky or hard, how do you honor and respect someone, and how do you show that?
    Alisa, there was a great question. I think it'd be good for you to answer it because at a conference, a woman actually wrote and said, "How can I, as the wife, specifically, let my husband know I respect him and I appreciate what he does?" And Alisa, I think, as you answer this, remember there's a big quote out there of a study that found, 75%, three out of four men believed that they would rather feel unloved and alone than disrespected or inadequate.
    I think what that means is-
Alisa Grace:    Wow.
Chris Grace:    ... for men... Yeah, it is a big kind of a wow statement. It is almost, for a lot of men, more important to feel respected, to feel adequate, to feel like you are doing something very well, even if you said, "I'll put that up against feeling a love." To be honest, if you tell me you love me, I think that's great. But if I sense or know or you say that you respect me, then literally, the amazing number of 75% of men said, they'd rather have the respect than love, what do you think about that?
Alisa Grace:    I think that's really interesting. And somebody that's done some fantastic research on this and a fantastic book on this is Shaunti Feldhahn in her book, For Women Only and the inner lives of men. And one of the things that she says as she teased out the results of her focus groups and her research that she did with thousands of men is that, she said that in a man's mind, that he actually equates the two of feeling respected to a man, means that he actually feels loved.
    I found that very interesting because I wouldn't say that, that's necessarily in a woman's perspective, what is primary, but that really stood out to me. Would you say that resonates with you?
Chris Grace:    I think it does. I would put myself in the three out of the four category where, because my focus is to, let's say, for me, personally, I want to treat the marriage, the family with honor by loving well, but by also providing and doing whatever I can to try and make something work, make it healthy, make it good. And to hear that, that impresses you, I think that word, respect, maybe we need to think about other words. If I feel like you respect me, for me, I translate that as, "Ah, she feels impressed with me. She feels excited about the way I work."
    Alisa, for me, when you would say things like, "Oh, Chris, I love when you did that. That was so cool, the way you handled this." I think it really makes me feel like you're... Yeah. So, respect could be a bigger, broader word for me. It means you're impressed or you're-
Alisa Grace:    Proud of you.
Chris Grace:    ... proud, in awe, and that is almost as important as feeling love because I know you love me.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. So, would you say that in general... I mean, we're just going to use you as the representative for all men everywhere in the world right now, okay?
Chris Grace:    Oh, yeah, sure. That'll go well.
Alisa Grace:    Chris, since you're speaking for all men everywhere, would you say that respect... If you had to decide, what does that sound like, what does that look like when a woman or wife is respecting her husband? It sounds like, when she would say, "I'm proud of you. I trust you."
Chris Grace:    I think so. The words like that can hit very deep for someone, especially when, if told to the man, to the husband, to the father, I think a lot of man, a lot of people, in general... I mean, honestly, a woman would feel very similar, but since we're specifically looking at how a husband or how a man would feel using words like, "I'm proud of you. I trust you."
    I remember being dropped off the very first day of college. Unfortunately, I didn't even have a car my first day, you move in, and I'm going to my very first class, so my dad drops me off. And I was at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and I remember him saying... For one of the first times, I'm sure he said it before, but because it was such a seminal important moment in my mind, he says, "Chris, I'm so proud of you and I love you." And I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, this is a big deal." He's just going to college. I was just thinking, "Ah, this is something you do."
    But I think, at that moment, at least, was one of the first times I heard that word specifically directed. Now, I knew he loved me, my mom loved me, good family. It's just that, for the first time he used that word, and you have used that word, and there is something about that, "I am proud of you." Or another one you said is, "I trust you." It feels like it's an honoring... That is, I think, respect. Or sometimes, you would even say, "I admire... or you did that in such a way it makes me believe in you." I mean...
Alisa Grace:    You can do it.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. You could do this. And I think that is done in a way that I sense is genuine on your part, that there's genuine pride you feel, there's genuine comfort and trust, there is admiration in a person's voice. And so, when that happens... for a lot of men, if I had to speak for all men, I would say it's extremely powerful.
    And to add on top of that, to be honest, if you said that to me privately, it would mean a lot. So, for a lot of men to hear that from their spouse, from their significant others, cool. But to do it even in public, if you were to do that-
Alisa Grace:    Oh, in public. Yeah.
Chris Grace:    ... in the presence of other people, of a child, if our kid was there, if maybe my parents were there or your parents or whatever... So, I'm speaking for all the men out there, I think a lot of us men would go, "That is pretty cool." Especially expressing respect and complimenting me in public, woo, that'd be cool.
Alisa Grace:    I love that. I think one of the things that we have to talk through and think through, especially as women is that, sometimes, a question can come up, how do I do this if I don't necessarily respect something my husband's doing or his attitude? I don't respect him. And what if he's not living up to my expectations or being the kind of husband that he should be, should I still have to respect him?
    And one of the things that God calls us to is to respect our husbands in spite of their weaknesses, even when maybe he's not living up to it. And let's just qualify this. We are not talking about circumstances of emotional abuse, physical abuse, addictions, things like that, we're talking in normal, general, everyday relationships, what that respect looks like when maybe our husbands aren't living up to their part of it that, as wives, we're still called by God. In his word in Ephesians 5:33, it says, "Let each of you love his wife. Husbands, love your wife. And then, let the wife see that she respects her husband."
    And so, God is calling us to respect our husbands in spite of his weakness. And what we have to be careful that we're not doing is that, that we're not saying, "You know what? I'm going to withhold that and I'm going to respect my husband when he earns it."
Chris Grace:    Or when I love you, as Paul said. So, if I don't love you well-
Alisa Grace:    Exactly.
Chris Grace:    ... I haven't ruin to it yet. And you're like, "Well, he doesn't show me love."
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. That would be like you saying, "I'll love her when she earns it." And how would we, as women, feel if our husband said, "You know what? I love you when you earn it," because that's how they feel, that's how men feel when we, as wives say, "I'll respect you when you earn it."
    So, God is actually calling us as wives to give unconditional respect to our husbands. And so, we were talking about what respects looks like. Some of the things you talked about, it sounds like, when I would say, "I'm proud of you, Chris." or "I trust you." I want to unpack that one a little bit. If you talk about respecting your judgment, trusting your judgment, what all does that encompass? What does that include? Unpack that a little bit.
Chris Grace:    Well, for me... and again, you've asked me to speak for all men, which... There's no pressure there. But for me, it works out this way. And I think a lot of the guys I know it is like this. There are sometimes decisions that are made, that you make or that I make, things that we have to do, places like, for example, maybe... One time, I remember, our refrigerator went out. In fact, it wasn't all that long ago. In fact, it's kind of right in the middle of it. But the refrigerator goes out and at first, the company we were dealing with offers us, "Okay. Well, we can give you a rebate based upon how long you've had the refrigerator, even though it's basically a lemon. And okay, we'll give you $500." And I'm like, "Oh, man, I'm sorry. We paid a whole lot more for that refrigerator." Then, they said, "Okay. We can give you X amount. We can give you $800 or we can give you a 50% off coupon."
    And I think, Alisa, when I finally just said, "No, man, we're not going to do this." And I went and did a little bit of research and found out what a lemon law was and what it means to get reimbursed for something, then they moved up their offer. And you said, "Chris, I really love the way you negotiated with that. I really love the way you just stood firm. You were nice. You didn't yell and scream, but you did express." And I think, Alisa, you said, "I respect the way you handled this."
Alisa Grace:    And how did you feel whenever I said that? What-
Chris Grace:    Well, I think what it did was... I sat there thinking, "Was I too strong? Was I not too strong? Was I okay? If my kids were listening to this conversation, would they think I modeled appropriateness?"
    And so, for you to say, "Wow, you did that so well, man. You stood firm." And I remember thinking to myself. "Oh, thanks." But also wondering, "Was I too X or too Y?" You're like, "No, you did that. You were nice and kind, and you didn't blame the person, but you still were strong."
    All that to say, I think what happens is, I begin to feel like you are expressing something towards me, and it makes me feel valued or it makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing, right? I have this ability to make good decisions, and then act it out, and I feel loved that way.
Alisa Grace:    So, what I hear you saying is that, as a wife, it's important to you or it's meaningful to you when I notice and I affirm where you're winning?
Chris Grace:    Yeah.
Alisa Grace:    Where you're doing really well, when you've done something that's impressive?
Chris Grace:    No, that's it.
Alisa Grace:    And that I appreciate or value.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. For a lot of men, if they felt like... whether they're getting this right now or not, if they felt like they were being caught doing good, rather than always caught doing bad. And so, to be caught doing good is when your spouse or your girlfriend or somebody... you even catch children doing good. Man, you just waited out. I remember, we would do that with our kids even. We would just wait until they did lie still before bedtime. They're squiggling, and wiggling, and doing all of these things right before bed, and I would just wait until one of them would lie still for five seconds, and I would say, "Oh, Drew, I'm so proud of you for lying still for 10 seconds. Way to go. You did so well."
    Well, in doing that, because Natalie, she's three, sharing the same room at that time, and she's in her bottom bunk and she goes, "Well, daddy, what about me?" And I go, "Oh, wow. Okay. You can breathe. You don't have to hold your breath." But just showing, catching one of the kids doing well, modeled, the other one wanted it so bad that they would settle down just to hear my words.
    And so, Alisa, sometimes I'd say, "I want to do good or I want to hear not just..." I'm not certain about something, but the affirmation that I'm doing something well or good spoken by a wife, a spouse, a parent is pretty powerful to be caught doing good.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. So, I would say, one of the things that we're talking about is respecting his judgment, that means that we need to respect their decisions, we need to respect their opinions, and sometimes we just need to defer to them in some areas. And I would say, one of the hardest areas to defer sometimes would be in the area of the kids, especially if you're a stay at home mom and you're with the kids primarily, sometimes that can be hard to... you think, "Gosh. I'm with them all day. I know how this works. We've got our little system down. And here, you're stepping in trying to tell me what to do and it's not right." That's not "how we do it," if you could see my air quotes. That's not how we do it.
    But to be able to stop and just say, "Wow. You know what, Chris? If you want them to do it that way, if you want to do bath before dinner, okay, that's fine. We usually do dinner first, then bath. But you know what? What's a big deal? Sure. Go ahead. Go do bath time. That's cool." We need to be able to defer and relinquish sometimes.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. And that's to both of us because there was a season where I was at home with the kids, way more than you were during the early years, and it was the same way. If you would come home and do something out of sequence or I knew how to interpret what Natalie was saying at the time, who was very hard to understand, in fact, you had to-
Alisa Grace:    She had her own language.
Chris Grace:    Yeah.
Alisa Grace:    Oh my God.
Chris Grace:    It was her own language. She spoke so fast and so quickly that only Alisa and I could understand that.
Alisa Grace:    We had the gift of interpretation.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. We go back and watch our videos and we do not understand a single thing. We lost it. And I'm like, "Oh my gosh, no one in the entire world..." not even Natalie understands what Natalie was saying back then. But the point being that I... It could happen for both of us in that way and that is really important.
    I think, Alisa, related to that, in respecting, and his opinion is also deferring a little bit. And this, again, not to beat this, but we're going to say it happens for both that I want to also respect you in the same way. But for men, it could be very important to just know that we are not incompetent, or that we can do something well, or that it's okay to dress the kids that way, or it wasn't bad that we fed them that, or that we did it out of order, and that your respect that way is very important.
    Frankly, just one just happened here in the last day or two. I moved furniture around all of the time and you have your nice little couch set up the way you want them, it's all great. And then, one day, I'll just be sitting there... in fact, two days ago, and I just decided, "I'm going to move this chair over to here. I might move the couch back a little bit and see what it looks like." Well, you have a very good eye for things, you love the way things look, you set them up, you think about them.
Alisa Grace:    I also like them to stay the same. You get it perfect, and then you leave it, and you never-
Chris Grace:    For 25 years.
Alisa Grace:    ... change it for the next 20 years.
Chris Grace:    Yeah, exactly. And I grew up in a very different household, man. You'd walk in and in the living room furniture could be... Who knows where it would be? It could be anywhere. Yeah. We just moved everything around. And I think, Alisa, to know that you honor that by going, "Wow. Okay. That looks pretty different than what I had, but you know what? Let's just see how it flows for a while." versus "No, we're not doing it this way. We're going to move it back." That, right there, would be a lack of respect.
    Anyway, I think the other thing that you guys would do, that's really helpful is making sure you treat each other with kindness when it comes to saying or doing things like... I would never want you to speak to me, which you never do, like a child or, "Hey, you need to go do this. You need to do this part of the job or this chore."
Alisa Grace:    Right. Gals, one of the things we really have to stop doing is, we have to stop telling him what to do or ordering him around the house. Like you said, you wouldn't treat a friend that way. You wouldn't treat a coworker that way at work, I hope. And we certainly shouldn't be treating our husbands any less than we would treat a common stranger, right?
    And so, part of that is just affirming the way that he's doing things, and using the common words of please and thank you, instead of telling your husband what to do. I want to say, instead of, "Chris, you always leave your dishes in the sink, go in there and put them in the dishwasher. I'm not your maid." That would be pretty disrespectful. A better way to do that might be to say, "Hey, Chris, I noticed there's some dishes in the sink. And would you mind just going ahead, when you're done eating, rinse them off and throw them in the dishwasher?"
Chris Grace:    Yeah. Here's an example just real quickly that happened recently is, the way you said it was very good, but I knew, "Oh, okay. She wants this done." You said, "Hey, Chris, if I had three things that need to be done, they're pretty small today. But if I had three things, it would be, would you be able to get the hose? And it's tight and I can't get it off, and I've been trying, and I know you've got tool out in the shed to take it off there." "Second, would you be willing to take out the... We have a special pickup with trash, would you be able to move that out?" And I can't remember the third thing, whatever it was. And you just said, "Hey, I'd love to have that done."
    Well, you probably wanted it done the day before that day, but just the way you said it. And so, I was able to go do it on my time rather than being told or... I think that, at least, is what it means to not be ordered. And it's the same with me. If I say to you that, "Hey, Alisa, would you be willing to just move the flower over here or change something?" Let's say, you are watering the lawn like, "Alisa, could we just not do it this way? When you drive the car up and you run over the hose, man, you got to be more careful because I think what happens is, we're ruining these hoses when we run over and blah, blah, blah." And you'll say, "Oh, yeah, you know what? I forgot about that."
    It's the same kind of thing, not ordering you, "Don't do this, do it..." Instead, I think that's being respectful.
Alisa Grace:    You're going to ask kindly. Treat with kindness, right?
Chris Grace:    Yeah.
Alisa Grace:    And I think for us gals, another thing to keep in mind about that, especially... And I think this would come under the category, like Chris said, of expressing the idea of, I believe in you. I think you are able. I think you are competent. And one of the things I think we need to stop doing is just, don't tell him how to do something, how to fix something, how to... Yeah.
    The big joke or the stereotypical joke is about a man asking for directions. He just won't ask for directions when he is driving the car. And part of that is because, for a man, he wants to be able to figure things out for himself. Even if it takes a little while, even if you end up getting a little late where you're going, or maybe getting a little lost to suggest, "Hey, maybe we need to stop and ask for directions." Even when you say it nicely, what he hears is that, "You don't think I can do this. You don't think I'm competent. You don't think I measure up."
Chris Grace:    Yeah. And I think guys all react differently to this in general. Some are more likely to say, "Hey, man, I don't know how to get there. Can you look it up?" or "What should we do?" or "Do we follow your Maps or my Google Maps because they're different?" Or it doesn't bother them. But I think, in general, if you let the other person that you're with, whether it's your spouse, whether... and they know that you trust them, they know that while they're uncertain or not maybe confident, you at least express in it.
    And so, recently, Alisa, you've had to drive me around a lot more as we've dealt with cancer and chemo and not being able to fill my legs. And so, driving is rather dangerous, to be honest, I still have to do it sometimes, but...
Alisa Grace:    We've had a couple of close calls.
Chris Grace:    Close calls, but... For me, to not say, "Hey, turn right, turn left" is something that the person in the passenger seat has to work on, whether you're the husband or the wife.
Alisa Grace:    That's true.
Chris Grace:    And you just let them kind of do the way they do it and whether or not they should go around the other car or not, that's where it gets hard, but I think, at least, your point is, we can show respect by letting the other person say, "Hey, man, I know you can do this. By that, I trust you. And even if I kind of maybe say something about directions, I still trust you."
    And I think that's great for the man or the woman. But I think it is important for the man, Alisa, to know that, if he's the one driving and doing all the directions for the spouse to be able to say something, I think that is respecting my ability to figure this out. And I think it's the same for you and for women, that you can do this and do it well.
Alisa Grace:    Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. And I think, another way of looking at respect for your husband would also include respect for what he accomplishes. And so, Shaunti Feldhahn, she told a story that she was working with another author, they were working together and they were writing an article for some kind of parent magazine. And so, they were doing some research with differences between men and women, and it was interesting because some of the things that came to the surface as they did this research. And what she found out was, for the women and with the girls, what it came down for them was that, women and girls tend to ask themselves, "Am I special? Am I lovable?" But for men, it was very different. For the men and boys, what came to the surface was that, they tend to ask themselves, "Do I measure up? Am I good at what I do?"
    And what she noted it was that, most men have really deep seated feelings of inadequacy and fears that they're not going to measure up, and so that can be one of the problems when we criticize our husbands or when we correct them in public, like when they're telling a story, and "Oh, we were going to the store last Tuesday." "No, it was Wednesday." "Well, we were buying some watermelon and corned beef for St. Patrick's Day." "No, one corned beef, it was roast beef." "Well, whatever it was." But it's just that issue of publicly criticizing or correcting him is that, it makes him feel humiliated as a man. And then, the result is that, he actually feels unloved by you that it cuts him to the core to feel that his woman doesn't think he's competent or capable.
    One of the things we want to talk about is that... Well, let me ask you this, Chris, before we move on, what's your perspective of that? What do you think about that?
Chris Grace:    Yeah. I think that's exactly one of the relationship signs that would point to unhealth. If a couple is doing that type of criticism and correction, it oftentimes is done publicly. You might be driving with another couple on a double date or you might see them somewhere and she or he are constantly criticizing or correcting the other...
    Alisa, one of the things we've had to learn is to not do that. And I think we both can, at times, struggle with it, especially when the story is important or there's an important detail. But many times, the detail's not that important, whether it was June or July when something happened, I don't think people really care. You know? "Well, we went on a camping trip and we spent two weeks in the spring..." "Chris, it was actually the fall." We're like, "Okay. Well, it's not really the point. The point is, as we were camping..." "Well, Chris, even if you remember, we didn't take the camper that time we did the tent, like..."
Alisa Grace:    And it drives you crazy to hear somebody else doing that to their spouse, doesn't it?
Chris Grace:    It does. And so, I think for anybody to be able to know... But you asked the question, men would rather feel like they measure up and that they're good at what they do?
    We just met with a young couple and I noticed she came alive whenever he would talk about... And actually, we're going to perform some of their help with their premarital counseling, their marriage, whatever we're doing. But she lit up when there was times where he was sharing their story about how much he loved her, and how he made her feel special, and how he did things with flowers and planning, and she just felt loved, special. But he seemed to light up when he was said, "Man, you did that really well." "I know." "You went and planned that, you went and got this, you rented that and you bought this, and you took her here, and you..." And he goes, "Yeah. Didn't that cool?" Oh, man-
Alisa Grace:    It's like, he sat up taller?
Chris Grace:    Yeah. And he felt like he did it really well, and they were both expressing a love language. And I think that's probably one of the keys. What is that language that you have, that you love?
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. So, one of the things we want to talk about, that can be confusing too for women, especially is, what does respect not look like Chris? When we talk about respect, there are some things that come to mind.
Chris Grace:    Well, the first one... Yeah. No, you already gave the first one, and that is that criticism. I mean, that is the opposite of somebody that's respectful is somebody that is critical and criticizes, or changes your suggestions or... Well, I'm telling a story and you would, let say, go, "No, Chris, it didn't happen that way, it was this or that... Like, "Okay. I get it, but I don't feel it."
    So, I would say, one, it's not quite critical, but if it bleeds into criticism, like you're always messing up the story, you get it right, like, "Whoa. Hold on here now. It's just a story." So, that's one.
Alisa Grace:    And would you say that there's a difference, a measurable difference, whether that happens, let's say, in the privacy of our own home, if I were to do that versus if I did it in public versus in front of other people?
Chris Grace:    Oh, yeah. I think, at home, you would know at the time there's maybe not as much social pressure and social anxiety and wanting to look good in front of other people. And so, in the privacy of a home, it may not be that important if I say July or June, if I missed up when we... I get the dates wrong.
Alisa Grace:    Right. It might be annoying, but you wouldn't feel embarrassed.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. And I don't think you would even call it out as much maybe like, "It was June, not July." Like, "Okay. That's not the point."
    But if it's done in public, it's very hard for a spouse to respond back and say, "Sweetie, that's not the point here, really. To be honest, the point is that, we went camping, not went..." Right?
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. Very good. And so, I think another way that what respect doesn't look like is that, it doesn't mean that we excuse sinful behavior.
Chris Grace:    Yeah, right.
Alisa Grace:    Right? So, Ephesians 4:15 calls us to speak the truth, but we do it with love because in Genesis, it says that, "Woman was created, the wife Eve was created to be a helper to her husband," right? She was created to be his helper, his easer. And in fact, that's the same word that is used... I think it's used 21 times in the Old Testament, in terms of easer being a helper. And 16 out of those 21 times, it's referring to God, Himself, being our easer.
    So, it's a really powerful, dignified term when we talk about a wife being our husband's helper. And so, we don't excuse sinful behavior. We're called to help him. We're called to tell him the truth, but we do it with love. And it might sound like you would say, "Honey, I love you, but this just isn't right. This is not who you are." And then, you call that behavior out gently.
Chris Grace:    It's so funny because you use the words easer and that idea of helper, and it's the same thing. I mean, some of you all may have heard about an Ebenezer. Ebenezer means, stone of help, right? And so, ancient Hebrews would place stones and stack them. I don't know if you've ever been to a river bed area or places where people would stack stones, and it's kind of fun to see how they can stack them. But back then, they would do that, called the stones of help, as in Samuel. Or they talk about Samuel set up a stone to say, "Hey, this is where God came in and helped us." And they always go back. And years later, they walk back and they see that stone Ebenezer and they go, "This is where God helped us."
    Well, an easer, at least is, when you said a helper, it's used that many times. I believe that's exactly what happens for most men is, I get to feel like you are my helper, and a helper would never start with criticizing, they wouldn't tease you. I mean, teasing is one of those things too, where you can start to feel like you're not really helping me, you're kind of cutting me down a little bit. And I think that's another one that you have to be very careful of.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. I think so too. I agree. And I would say another one is that, we need to be careful that respect does not mean rejecting him because of his weaknesses. And I think when it comes to that, we have to keep in mind as women that, hey, we all have weaknesses, right? I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. We're all human. We all make mistakes.
    And to be honest, I wouldn't want my nose rubbed in it if I messed up, right? And so, I want to be sure that I'm not doing that to you. And so, as wives, we need to remember that when it comes to your husband, he needs you to build him up, he needs you to be his cheerleader.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. And I appreciate you saying that, Alisa, and you do it so well. But that point about somebody messes up and you keep bringing it up, "Oh, well, you shouldn't have done that. Why'd you do this? Why'd you cut that way? Why'd you take that X? Why did you change the tire this way? Why did you bring that home? You know what kind of milk we like, why did you always bring the wrong thing?" Whatever it is, it's so easy. And some of us are more likely to do that.
    I know, for me, I have to be very, very careful because for me to pick out the small, bad things, and then to tell you about them is probably something that I had to learn. It started to develop midway through, I don't know, after a decade or so, started to pick out things. And I realized it started to become a problem because I would feel like I needed to bring it up again.
    And then, the next day, "Well, Alisa, if you wouldn't have done that, we would've had milk today." "Chris, I know. I get it. I'm sorry." At that point, I'd see like, "Why am I exasperating her rubbing..." You said, rubbing your nose in it. It's hard. But respect means that you learn to manage or deal with your disappointments, even when the person might do something wrong or mess up. And I think that's real important that a husband or a wife feel that.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. I think the bottom line, as we wrap it up, Chris, I think what it comes down to this is that, we always need to assume the best of our men. We need to assume the best of him, and then we're going to find it easier to respect him. And the thing about it is, that it comes down to this. We have a choice. We have a choice, whether we are going to be obedient to the Lord and what he's called us to do in respecting in our husbands. We can choose to show him that we appreciate him. We trust and admire the men in our lives, or we can choose to disrespect or humiliate them. And it comes down to making that choice.
    And even when on those days where it feels hard to do, I'll give you a quick tip of one of the life lessons that, I think, has come to me as a believer, and it really helps me as a wife in marriage and it's this, it's Philippians 2:13. It says, "For God is at work in you, giving you the desire to do His will and the power to do what pleases Him."
    So, if it's God's good pleasure for Ephesians 5:33, "Let the wife see that she respects her husband." If that's His will, then he's going to give me the desire to do it, and all I have to do is ask him for that trust that he's at work in my heart, empowering me, giving me the agency to do that, and then choosing to cooperate with this Holy Spirit.
Chris Grace:    Well, you do it well, I'll tell you that much. And it's not just, I wouldn't say this on a podcast only, I would say it in front of people and I'd tell you privately, you do it very well. And it's been a process we both had to go through.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah, it's a process.
Chris Grace:    What does it mean to a love and respect each other in a way when it's hard and when things aren't going well, when you're not feeling good, things aren't going-
Alisa Grace:    And when culture tells you otherwise.
Chris Grace:    And culture sometimes says, "That's a bad word and..."
Alisa Grace:    Yeah.
Chris Grace:    They just...
Alisa Grace:    And have demeaned it.
Chris Grace:    Yeah. It's like, man, I'd just say, "Okay. Get off the word, then find a different word. Honor, admire. Give somebody the..." Especially if you can just use other words. I want to admire this person or whatever it might be.
    I think, at least, what a great way. And I love the research that Shaunti Feldhahn and others have done in this about how men feel and how women can show respect, as men both show respect and love as well.
Alisa Grace:    Yeah. We'd highly recommend that book, For Women Only, the inner lives of men. And then, in our next podcast, we're going to talk about the other part of that verse, which started out with, husband, love your wife as you love yourself. We're going to talk about, what does that look like? What does it not look like? And we'll be speaking to the men in that one.
Chris Grace:    Yeah, because she wrote two books, one for women only, one for men only. And it's great.
Alisa Grace:    Great pair.
Chris Grace:    Well, at least, it sounds good, man. Good talking with you. Thanks.
Alisa Grace:    Okay. Thanks, Chris.
Speaker 1:    Thanks for listening to the Art of Relationships. This podcast has only made possible through generous donations from listeners, just like you. If you like it and want to help keep the podcast going, visit our website at and make a donation today.