Stop Competing and Start Respecting
About the Guest
Do you speak your man's love language? Nina Roesner, author of "The Respect Dare," says that if you're not respecting your husband, then you probably aren't. Roesner explains that when a woman speaks a man's language of respect, he will reciprocate in kind with the love she craves. Roesner says she learned this lesson the hard way, by failing to communicate respect to her husband and focusing instead on what he could do for her, and not on how she could love and serve him. But when God showed her the error of her ways, she saw her marriage improve by leaps and bounds.
Nina Roesner, author of “The Respect Dare,” explains that when a woman speaks a man’s language of respect, he will reciprocate in kind with the love she craves.
Stop Competing and Start Respecting
Bob: Are you feeling alone in your marriage? Nina Roesner says, “If you’re a wife, you may want to ask yourself the question, ‘Am I showing my husband respect?’”
Nina: As women, we yearn for not feeling alone. We want to deeply connect with the man that we’re married to. When our husbands open up to us and trust us—and we’re a safe place to fall, for them—we get that intimacy. It’s only through the language of respect that they feel safe enough to share that with us.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, September 5th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey; and I'm Bob Lepine. Nina Roesner joins us today to talk about the power of respect in a marriage relationship. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I just wonder if there are going to be listeners, who are thinking, “I know why you two men decided to have this guest on FamilyLife Today. A little self-serving—don’t you think, fellows; huh?” [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, we have a friend in the studio with us who takes us right to one of the core issues in a marriage relationship—and that is the need for a husband to be respected by his wife. Nina Roesner joins us on FamilyLife Today. Nina, welcome back.
Nina: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Dennis: Nina is a wife—has been married to Jim since 1991. She has three children and lives in Loveland, Ohio—[Laughter]—not Loveland, Colorado. She has written a book called The Respect Dare.
Alright, what’s the respect dare? Unpack that. A lot of our listeners have heard of The Love Dare, which came from the movie, Fireproof, by the guys who produced Courageous. It’s a challenge to men to know how to love their wives.
Bob, to your point, we have had those guys on here.
Bob: We have, and we’ve talked about The Love Dare; yes.
Dennis: Challenging the men to take on the love dare and do a better job loving their wives—so I think we’re okay.
Bob: You think so?
Dennis: I think we’re okay with the women in featuring this.
Bob: This is one of the subjects that we dive into at the Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway, where couples come together for a two-and-a-half-day getaway to look at what the Bible has to say about building a strong, healthy, godly marriage relationship. We talk about a husband’s responsibility to sacrificially love his wife and a wife’s responsibility to respect her husband. It can feel at times like you’re stepping on toes when you talk about this; but at the end of the day, when people start to get it, this has a transforming impact on a marriage relationship.
I want to make sure our listeners are aware that, this week and next week, they can sign up to attend one of our upcoming getaways this fall and save 50 percent off the regular registration fee. We’re going to be kicking off our fall season, here, in a few weeks. We’re going to be in dozens of cities across the country between now and the first week in December. We’d love to have you join us for a practical, romantic, fun getaway where the two of you can kind of pull off the side of the road and recalibrate/refocus your marriage and make it all that God intends for it to be.
Again, if you sign up this week or next week, you save 50 percent off the regular registration cost. We know it takes 100 percent to make a marriage work. Right now, it only takes 50 percent to get to a getaway.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to get more information or to sign up for an upcoming getaway. You need to enter the code: “SAVE50” / SAVE 5-0 when you sign up in order to qualify for that special rate. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY if you have any questions or if you would like to register over the phone. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Our number to call is 1-800-FL-TODAY—-1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Again, today, we’re going to talk about the importance of a wife being purposeful and intentional in respecting her husband and about the idea of a respect dare.
Dennis: Explain what The Respect Dare is.
Nina: One of the things that women really, really want in their marriages is to feel loved. The interesting thing is that we have a very small chance of being able to enable our relationship to be healthy enough so that we can receive love if we’re not respecting our husbands.
There are gobs of research out there about how men perceive this as really important. It’s in the Bible—Ephesians 5:33 tells a wife to respect her husband. We’ve seen, in our ministry, that when women start learning to speak a man’s language of respect, that their marriage is improved.
Bob: You said, early in your marriage, you gave it a 2.
Bob: You did not feel loved by your husband. It took a long time before God said, “The reason you’re not feeling loved is because you’re not living up to your part of the bargain.”
Nina: Correct; yes.
Dennis: Her expectations were going unmet.
Nina: Yes; very much so. It was very humbling, because I have a master’s degree in communication. I worked for this communication training corporation for years. I really should be able to communicate in a way that would foster me receiving what I was trying to get, relationally. I was failing miserably, and my husband didn’t even trust me. We had this adversarial kind of relationship going on. Everything I tried just didn’t work.
God finally said: “I’ve been telling you this. You’re not doing it.” I mean, not literally, but that’s where I ended up. Once I started figuring out respect in my marriage and communicating that to my husband, that’s when my relationship started to change. It’s really taking the focus off of: “What can I get from my marriage? How can I be selfish?” and all those things—and [instead]: “How can I give?” and “How can I love?
“How can I be more like Christ?”
What’s so amazing is that, once we start trusting God—that His Word is true and that His ways work—suddenly, we start seeing things happening for us.
Bob: You have 40 assignments, one a day for 40 days, for a wife. These are specific action points you’re urging these wives to take, each day, to begin to cultivate respect for a husband in a marriage relationship.
Nina: Yes; yes. It’s a lot of the how-to kind of things. The most important thing that happens—I hear this from women all over the place—is that their relationship with God improves. I believe that’s the absolute most important thing here because, you know, in James 4:3, it says, “When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you gain on yourself,”—so, our pleasures, our desires—all those things.
When we start choosing to obey God’s Word, in the context of our marriage, that we can be more like Him—then, we start seeing those things. So, don’t be doing the book so that you can get; but do the book so that you can grow closer to God. Then, you’ll start seeing some different things.
Dennis: When Barbara and I first married, one of the big lessons that I’d say we both learned is that marriage can be very redemptive for a man and a woman who engage in this most intimate of all relationships. You really can’t do your assignment of loving your wife or of respecting your husband unless you’re vitally connected to Jesus Christ, and the Bible, and saying to God: “God, I don’t know how to do this assignment.
Dennis: “I need your help.” Those prayers—God will answer; right?
Nina: Absolutely. People don’t go into marriage intending to hurt each other. There’s not a purpose there: “I’m going to wound you today”; but that happens—people hurt each other all the time.
There’s miscommunication—all those kinds of things. When we have a relationship with God, we can see our husband or our wife the way that God sees them—a little bit differently—then, there’s grace.
Bob: Tell our listeners what you call the women, who engage in The Respect Dare, and tell them about the verse from the Bible that is kind of key to that.
Nina: The book actually emerged from a course called “Daughters of Sarah,” which is a training course that our ministry does. It’s participative. It works on communication and how to be a better wife, basically, but really, know your identity in God. The book emerged as a result of that particular course. The stories came right from the class, and a lot of them are mine.
Bob: But why “Daughters of Sarah”?
Nina: The Scripture—it comes from 1Peter 3—it is verses 1-6, really. It says, “Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands.” The interesting thing is—prior to that, it’s talking about submitting to authority.
We need to understand that, when God created the family unit, our husbands are the ones that are held accountable for what happens—not us, but our husbands.
Bob: It goes all the way back to Genesis 3?
Nina: Oh, yes; all the way back to Genesis.
Dennis: It doesn’t mean, though, that a woman is a non-person.
Nina: No; not at all. We’re equal heirs.
Dennis: She’s a partner / co-equal before Christ.
Nina: Yes; and God feels so strongly about His women that He tells them in verse 7 of 1 Peter 3—He says, “Husbands,” basically, “I’m not even going to listen to your prayers if you’re not being respectful, and honoring, gentle with your wives.”
Dennis: That’s right.
Nina: Some people like to talk about being second-class citizens. I think that’s ridiculous, and that’s from the enemy. It’s not even worth airing because that just does not exist in the Word of God. But the verse that the course is from—“Daughters of Sarah”—really talks about—I’ll keep reading here:
“If any of them do not believe the Word,”—so you’re talking about a man, who’s not even saved—“they may be won,” over to Christ, basically, “without words, by the behavior of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. This is the way the holy women in the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
“They were submissive to their own husbands like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters,”—that’s where we get the name—“if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”
Bob: I just heard a listener say: “I’m not going to any group that wants me to be a daughter of Sarah, and obey my husband, and call him my master. My master?—are you kidding me?!”
Nina: Oh yes; tough stuff; isn’t it?
Bob: “What does that mean?!—‘…call my husband my master.’”
Nina: If you listen to secular culture, it will tell you that it means to be a maid and that you’re a non-person. If you listen to God, it basically is telling you to respect and honor this man because he desperately needs that from you. You can have any amount of people in the world that admire and respect you, Bob; but probably, the most important woman—or person—that you would want to have that from is your wife.
Bob: Not probably—yes; that’s the bottom line. You’re absolutely right.
Nina: So, if we will honor our husbands and respect them, at that level, not only will God protect us, but it will build up our husbands. He tells us to do that, because we’re not going to want to naturally.
Dennis: I want to underscore what you are saying here; because, over in Ephesians 5, it says that “marriage is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the church.” Christ loved the church—He gave Himself for her / He died for her to redeem her—and He calls the church to submit to Him.
Submission is the route of life for those of us in a relationship with Jesus Christ. If we don’t submit to Him, and obey His Word, and call Him “Master,”—and, I mean, this is the ultimate Lord, with a capital “L.” God is not calling a wife to give a capital “L” to her husband, because he’s not perfect.
Nina: Absolutely; he’s a man.
Dennis: But the picture of Christ’s relationship with the church is being mirrored between a husband and a wife and how they do this dance, called life, together.
Nina: Yes; it’s a beautiful thing because, really, what happens is you start trying to out-serve the other person. The animosity, and the anger, and the confrontations become things that you just simply start working through.
Dennis: One of the things that you do in The Respect Dare—I almost called it The Love Dare—[Laughter]—one of the things you do in there is you exhort women to track their progress. Why is that important?
Nina: Because the world will have us think that we constantly fail. We will measure what we’re doing against what he’s doing. You get in a spot where you go, “Well, I’m still not perfect here; and I’m still not perfect there;” but we need to go back to what we started with. I mean, we’re here until we die to continue growing. It’s really discouraging to think we’re not moving forward in any way, shape, or form—so, versus going back to saying: “Okay; are you perfect yet?” we’re going to go back to: “Where did we start?” That part of reflection in the book is really important because, otherwise, we’re using the wrong yardstick, if you will.
Bob: You also encourage women, at the very beginning of The Respect Dare, to not focus on their husband but to really look at their own lives. You point to their childhood. You think there may be things in how we grew up, and the patterns that we saw, that are playing into your relationship with your husband; right?
Nina: What’s amazing to me—and this is why I tell people that God wrote the book and I didn’t—because that is actually something that psychologists use to determine where wounding occurs. I’m not a psychologist, but God used that example. I hear this over and over again from women—is that when they go back to that place in their childhood, where they had this interaction with their dad, or they watched their mom and dad have this fight, or they were afraid of something going on in the home, or the abuse that occurs—there are lies that are believed in those moments. They become filters through which we transpose every reality that we experience.
We go back there, and we ask Jesus to reveal: “What’s really true here?” God did this for me—I had some issues / some things I believed. God took me back to a moment where my mother had yelled at me and revealed to me that she was actually hurting over something that had happened with my dad and that it really had nothing to do with me at all.
He showed me that truth, and it set me free from that particular moment.
We hear from women, over and over again, that as they go back to these things---and we have women that do the book a number of times, which I think is just interesting and wonderful. I keep doing it myself just because I’m never going to arrive, and it impacts our relation---I’ve got two boys. It matters in those relationships too. Those childhood memories are the places where we can instill habits that are unhealthy, and repeat bad behaviors, and repeat unhealthiness; or we can go back and uncap them and be healed from those things. God is powerful. He will do those things if we seek Him.
Dennis: It’s too bad that, when you get married, you don’t see all the bags—
Bob: —that come in with you.
Dennis: —that come in with the spouse that you just married, plus your own. What you’re calling wives to do here is to do a little baggage check and kind of look where they’ve come from.
As you began to make the turn in your relationship with Jim, and you began to respect him and demonstrate respect in various ways, how did you see him change?
Nina: You know, initially, he was kind of surprised by my behavior. He continually asked me: “Are you feeling okay? Is everything alright?” Then, after probably about six months or so, he started, tentatively, stepping into pursuing more intimacy with me, relationally. He started trusting me with talking about his struggles at work. He started telling me when he was concerned or worried about something going on with one of our kids. I woke up one day, and I went: “This is it! This is what I’ve been aching for.”
As women, we yearn for not feeling alone. We want to deeply connect with the man that we’re married to.
When our husbands open up to us and trust us—when we’re a safe place to fall, for them—we get that intimacy. It’s only through the language of respect that they feel safe enough to share that with us.
Bob: Isn’t that a fascinating connection?
Nina: Yes; when you move away from critical communication, and nagging, and eye rolls, and disrespect—because that puts you in a position, relationally, with your husband where you’re a competitor. I had to untangle that competitive thing that I’d built in my marriage and create a foundation of trust through the language of respect. In doing so, I ended up with the intimacy that I wanted with this most important relationship.
Bob: Here is the way that I have said that—I have said, “Guys do not keep going out and playing games that they’re no good at / that they can’t win at.”
Bob: If a guy goes out—and he plays golf four or five times, and he’s just no good at it—he’s not going to say: “Hey, next Saturday, you know what I want to do? I want to go play another round of golf. I just want to go out there and prove to everybody, including myself—“
Dennis: “How bad I can lose.” [Laughter]
Bob: —“how incompetent I am at this.” What guys are going to do is—they’re going to find a game they can win. They’ll go play that game over and over again.
Bob: Well, if what your wife keeps saying to you is: “You cannot win this game with me. There’s no way you can win. Even if you do really good—guess what? I’ll find the mistake in what you did.” A guy just goes: “I’m not playing that game. I will go sit on the sofa and watch ESPN rather than engage in that kind of game.”
Nina: Right. We can create an environment where our husbands will keep trying, and feel engaged, and keep trying; or we can create an environment where they give up. We can make that happen just in the way that we communicate.
Before I went back to work part-time—I had this great situation, work-wise. I could work in the evenings, and Jim would be home with the baby. I went to a very, very small part-time job that I had been doing full-time—but anyway, before I went back, his mom called me. She said: “I’m not going to give you a lot of advice, but I’m going to give you this one. Whatever he does with the baby, while you’re at work, is good if he’s alive when you come home.” [Laughter] I said, “What?!” She said: “No; you just have to let him parent. Otherwise, he will be a distant dad. He will not engage.” I went, “Okay; what does that mean?” but I went back to work. I forgot something—I came home, and Jim had the baby in the high chair. There were cookies. I thought, “Oh-h-h.” I almost said something, but I didn’t. I left—I came back. I wanted just to control and go: [High-pitched voice] “Oh! You’re not doing that right! [Laughter] And…” but I didn’t.
I came home and said, “So, how did it go?” He said: “You know—it was really great. He’s so much fun. We did this; we did that.” He goes: “He didn’t eat much. I gave him some cookies while I was making my own dinner. I probably won’t do that next time. I’m probably just going to go ahead and feed him first; and then, I’ll make my supper after he’s taken care of.” I went: “Oh! Thank You, God!” and I didn’t have to say anything. I knew that was one of those times—if I’d criticized how he was doing it, or when diapering, all of those things—making him feel like a failure—he wouldn’t want to engage and keep going.
Dennis: Okay; we’ve called women to not compete with their husbands; instead, respect them. I don’t know if it’s possible for you to do this in 90 seconds; but I would like for you to give three respect dares to women, right now. Let them pick one of the three they’re going to apply with their husbands today. Go!
Nina: Okay. First one—“Don’t criticize.” Stop that! If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything.
Bob: Bite your tongue.
Nina: Yes; bite your tongue—that’s number one. Number two would be: “Nix the eye roll and the exasperated sigh.” That communicates disrespect, big time. Number three would be: “Join him where he’s at.” Go be his friend and just watch him do things. Offer to help. Just go be with him in the things that he’s engaged in—in doing so, you show support, even if you don’t have a conversation. How’s that?
Dennis: Yes; that’s a good one because a couple weekends ago, I had to run to town on an errand. Barbara said to me, “I think I’ll just go to town with you.” I said, “Really?” Now, you’d have to know Barbara. She is a very task-oriented person—for her to “kill time” by going with me on an errand for me—that’s a big deal. It’s a statement of my value. It didn’t go unnoticed by me. We had a good time. What you’re saying really does work.
It communicates: “I want to be with you. I respect you, and I just like you.”
Bob: Yes; and Nina, you have seen this work with hundreds of women who have gone through this material in your home church and in your community. Now, you’ve put the material in a book that is called The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband. This would be a great book for a group of ladies to go through together in a small group or a book club this fall—or just a book for you to read on your own and pray your way through it. We’ve got copies of Nina’s book, The Respect Dare, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com to order, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY—again, the website—FamilyLifeToday.com.
Keep in mind, when you go to our website, you’ll be able to get more information about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We’re going to be kicking off our getaway season, here, in a couple of weeks. It will continue through the first weekend in December.
It’s going to be in dozens of cities across the country this fall, and we’d love to have you join us at a getaway. Right now, if you sign up for any of the fall getaways, you will save
50 percent off the regular registration fee. You need to use the code: “SAVE50” / SAVE 5-0 in order to take advantage of the special offer. You can sign up online. All the information about dates and locations is available online.
I’m going to be speaking at the getaway in Parsippany, New Jersey, coming up in November. Would love to have our listeners, who live around the New York City area, come join us for that getaway. We’re going to be in dozens of great locations. All the information is online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, you can sign up and save
50 percent off the regular registration fee. You need to do that either this week or no later than next week—that’s when the offer expires. Use the code: “SAVE50” to take advantage of the special offer. You can also call if you’d like to register over the phone. The number is 1-800-FL-TODAY—
—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about the connection between respecting your husband and physical intimacy in your marriage; because there is a connection. We’ll talk more about that with our guest, Nina Roesner, tomorrow. I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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