So anyone who knows me well and has ever talked about marriage with me, knows I am a really big fan of this book called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. It’s kind of what Matt and I have built our very healthy marriage on. Don’t hear me wrong. Our marriage has had its fair share of screwball moments, fights, disappointments, and all out prayers to God that one of us would be able to love or even like the other again. But here in lies a healthy marriage that just made it 20 years. We work on speaking love and respect to one another.
But, I’m not sure I fully realized how much this also applied to parenting until now. I recently looked at my now 15 year old son and I had this realization that what he is longing for more than anything from me, is respect. I have an 18 year old daughter also, and I’m a woman, so I know well what my daughter needs. Daddy’s the world over have seen enough to know that there are wounded girls all over the earth who struggle with not feeling loved enough by their father’s. And so we all understand to a pretty great degree that girls need love, and specifically by their fathers. This does not mean the single mom is without hope. But if she has a daughter, she better find some amazing trusted men to be coaches, leaders, and mentors in her daughters life. As women we need to be cherished and valued.
As a woman though, I struggled to realize that what my husband needed more than anything was respect, and I think that is hard for a lot of women. He doesn’t need to be doted over, he needs to be trusted and honored. And so do our sons. My son is becoming a man, and what he desires more than anything in his life right now is to be respected by his mom and dad. This gives him purpose, fills his cup, gives him a sense of value. And specifically from me, his mom, he’s looking to me as to how he is to be treated as a man, and he’s looking to see if I respect him as a MAN.
I have the chance to affirm or emasculate him with my words and actions, right now during his developmental teen years. Am I showing him value and trust? Am I allowing him authority in his lifes decisions? Am I giving him the ability to be a provider and protecter? Am I letting him be a MAN?
What an amazing opportunity I have. I can help him become the man that God intends for him to be by showing him that respect, and in doing so, my husband and I can teach him how to be an honorable man.
Many of you know I have two new kids in my home, so I have three more teens coming up right behind these two. Two more young women who need to learn how to be loved and cherished and what that looks like, and how to be young women who love and value themselves enough to require it. And there’s one more young man who needs to learn to be a young man worthy of honor and respect.
What amazing, grown up, and healthy adults might leave our homes if we make this our goal and mission. We just have to be reminded, because it’s so hard to remember that we’re not raising young boys and young girls, we are raising men and women. They are merely temporary guests passing through and it is our job as parents to help them on their journey while we have them.