Rite of Passage: Letter to lovers, part III
(Check out the past two columns if you missed Parts 1 and 2.)
Dear Ashley (the beautiful one in this relationship),
God has brought a special young man into your life. I have known Daniel longer than I have known you. You have wisely chosen to accept a relationship with him. But Daniel is a man, and the only way to understand his needs is to understand the Word of God.
Ever since your childhood, you have practiced loving and nurturing. You played with dolls, combing their hair and playing house. Your playful activities were simulator tasks that prepared you for the significant task of caring for your own home and family. Not long ago, I saw a picture of you on the couch in your pink Snuggie, your dog beside you in a pink Snuggie of her own.
Ashley, a man is not wired to replace your dolls or your dog. Many women think their primary job is to love their man. That statement is only half true. That must sound shocking because you’ve spent a lifetime waiting for a husband to love.
To a man, love is only one side of the coin. If all we receive from you is love, it leaves us empty. You must season your love with respect. In Scripture, a deacon is a man who must command respect (1 Timothy 3:8). You are to respect the authorities in your life (Ephesians 6:5). A godly maturity is marked by a growing respect (Titus 2:2).
These verses speak volumes to me, but another explanation may communicate better. When I was a young boy, I had a small transistor radio and loved to listen to the Kansas City A’s baseball games. Back in those days, when you tried to find a station, you heard all kinds of squealing and popping sounds. I sat in the darkness turning the knob until I finally found the right setting and could enjoy the game. In order for Daniel to receive your love, you must first set the dial on respect. That will allow your love-messages to come through loud and clear.
A man’s need for respect ties into his need for love. Most men cannot distinguish between these two qualities and consider them interchangeable. If you love me, you respect me. If you respect me, you love me.
You ladies are good at the loving side, but few know how to show true respect. When men get together they grunt, hitch up their britches and slap each other on the back. These are their mutual signals of respect. A man will say he got some new 22-inch wheels on his truck, and another will grunt and nod his head in approval. Again, let’s look at the Scriptures. Ephesians 5:33 has two parts, the first for men, and the second for women: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Men are less complicated than women. Respect us, then love us, and you will be blessed in return. Ashley, your Daniel has two qualities that remind me of David: the King Warrior side and the Gentle Shepherd side. The first commands respect; the second requires love.
To respect your mate you must use the language of respect. That language says, “I admire you because . . .” The magical word “because” helps identify what you admire. Men love to hear comments like “You are a good provider,” “You make our family feel safe and secure,” and “Wow, those are incredible 22-inch wheels.” Any of these will cause a man to grunt in appreciation.
Men also like it when women show interest in the things that interest them. My wife excels at this. When our sons were little men, they loved basketball, so she memorized the name and nickname for each of their favorite players. When they brought over their little men friends, she ripped through the roster with the best of them. The boys all said, “Wow, you have the best mom,” and my sons grinned from ear to ear.
By now, you know there is very little difference between little men and grown up men. So use the language of respect. Affirm the things in which he takes pride. Show interest in the things that interest him. But don’t get too involved. Warriors don’t like their mothers or wives tagging along into battle. It’s a man thing.
Next week, I want to finish by addressing the two of you together. I will share how to become a Rite of Passage Parent. By the way, if you want your child to grow up to be a missionary, I suggest you consider the name . . . Walker.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail [email protected], phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.