Love and Respect

So there's this book.

And it's called Love and Respect.

And while I'm not even half-way through yet, the basic premise of the book is this: In any marriage or relationship, men need to feel respected, and women need to feel loved.

Pretty true, I think. Usually. Nodding my head.

Only I feel like the roles are reversed in our house in relation to the book, as they often are in other areas.

You see, for those of you who don't know, I am married to a man born and raised in Argentina. And while he has made great strides in the way of English speaking and adapting to American customs, there are still a few things that get lost in translation...not just in the literal languages we speak, but also in our love languages.

Now, I know I just threw the themes of 2 major tomes at you that, if you're not familiar with either, could lose your interest right off the bat. But hear me out: Ladies. Don't you sometimes feel disrespected too? Like your time isn't respected, perhaps? As if all the efforts you put into getting the kids up, fed, dressed and out the door to school go unnoticed?

And dads, don't you want to feel love just as much as we moms do? A squeeze of the hand after a rough day at work, a pat on the back and a peck on the cheek for finally finishing that project around the house, or perhaps even a big huge bear hug for no reason at all?

I'm going to finish reading both books — some day, I swear — but in the mean time I have been really stewing about being lumped into the I Just Need Love category. So since I'm the woman here, I'm going to give you guys 5 ways to love AND respect your woman today that take less than 5 minutes each. Do even just one and I guarantee you'll earn major brownie points. In fact, you may even be motivated to try out another — and receive some love and respect in return:

  • The holidays are stressful. Grab a foot, a hand, a shoulder or WHATEVER and give your girl a 5-minute massage (seriously, I think even a minute would do. Thirty seconds would even feel nice). No questions asked, no prompting, no prodding. After dinner or in front of the tube, take the leap and reach over. This is major. Show love in the form of affection and respect for her rough day, too.
  • Go to the website of your wifey's favorite retailer and ORDER HER SOMETHING FOR CHRISTMAS. Even if it's the first thing you see or a plain old gift card. Quick. Easy. Then TELL HER YOU JUST BOUGHT HER SOMETHING FOR CHRISTMAS! No questions asked, no prompting, no prodding. Do it because you want to and because you know it will make her happy. Money is not the issue here; you're respecting her needs and making her feel loved.
  • Know your woman well before doing this one (it might kind of make me crazy if we're tight on funds): Right around dinner time, order takeout. Wait for the instant she makes a move to turn on the oven or stove, and say Oh hey, honey, you know what? I ordered takeout. I think you deserve a night off. BAM. I would be floored if someone did this for me, especially if I didn't have to pay for it! No cooking for the night? No trying to manage work, screaming children, homework and housework? Wahoo!!! And all you had to do was call the delivery guy. (Make sure you have at least some inkling of what she likes, or it could all go sour, you know.) Another simple effort, and you've again shown how you respect your wife's time and love to do things for her.
  • Take a quick picture of your gal with your smartphone. Make sure she hears the click. When asked why you just snapped a photo, tell her — and mean it — that you don't know, she just looks different today. Did she get a hair cut? Is that a new shirt? "You look nice" goes a LONG way and costs nothing, but it's a loving, respectful way to show you care.
  • Take out the garbage, pick up your clothes, organize your desk or turn on the Christmas lights, close the curtains and get out the jammies for the kids. Do SOMETHING your wife would normally do for you, before she does it and/or before she asks you to do it, because you are that one-step-ahead kind of guy. Do you have any idea how shocked I would be if my children were bathed and I wasn't involved? Put yourself in our shoes for just a minute — I know, I know, you work all day (so do we!) — and think about all the things that get done every morning, noon and night without your even thinking once, let alone twice, about it. Put just one of those things on your plate tonight, even if it's a 5-minutes-or-less task, and even if she doesn't notice, you know you did this for her. Even, even if it's just this once.

Whether you are in a relationship, dating, living together or married, these are kind, nice, thoughtful things that show both love and respect and will be well received no matter what your love language is. We all deserve to be shown both love AND respect — not either/or — and these small acts of kindness can help you remember why you're with your mate in the first place.

 

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