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When Love is Spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Feeling unloved is about the worst thing in the world for a woman. We value love as an essential part of our lives, and can often feel like the entire world is crashing down around us when our spouse has done even the slightest thing that was not loving or made us doubt their level of love or care for us. Love is an essential part of our make up; a critical part of our every day existence.

We are greatly affected by our husbands demonstration (or lack of demonstration) of love. A loving gesture from our husband has the power to motivate us and spur us on to greater acts of service. But an unkind word or uncaring act equally has the power to deflate us and completely drain us of all energy and stamina.

It takes a very special man to demonstrate love for his wife in a way that will give her the security she needs to feel confident and assured in his love.

Your very own Prince Charming

The fairy tale imagery of Prince Charming may seem a little “sappy” to some guys, but there is a reason why this type of character is popular among the ladies. In the tale of Cinderella, all the women of the kingdom come and present themselves to the Prince in hopes that they would be the one he singles out and chooses to be his bride. Every eligible maiden in the kingdom is present at that ball, but the Prince hardly takes notice of any of them.

We like to laugh at the silly stepsisters and their pathetic performance of trying to win the affections of the prince. We glance around at the faces of all the other young women standing in the crowd. Perhaps the thing that inspires us the most about this scene is the simple fact that all their faces are a blur, we don’t really take any special notice of anyone in the crowd. And what’s more, the Prince doesn’t either. He is civil and polite to each of them, a real gentleman to be sure. But he doesn’t take a fancy to any of these women, hardly even takes notice of them. In all their splendor not one of these ladies has caught his eye, until . . .in walks Cinderella!

At the mere sight of her the Prince stops, he stares, he is totally captivated, and for the rest of the evening he has no other thought than this beautiful woman who, in just one dance, has captured his heart.

Ah yes, a beautiful love story!

It is such a simple plot, but one that really touches a woman’s heart. Each of us women has a little Cinderella in her -- a desire to find her Prince Charming -- the man who will single her out from all the other women and love her so fully and completely that they really would live “happily ever after!”

But there’s one version of Cinderella that I really appreciate. It’s portrayed in the movie, “Ever After”, which helps to put a realistic twist on the story and reminds us for a moment that there is more to love than just a chance meeting and a happily ever after. In this version the Prince falls in love with Cinderella, but then later on, when he discovers her true identity, he scorns her!

A woman’s worst nightmare -- to be scorned by the one she loves! How deeply we feel for her as she runs home through the rain, takes her seat in front of a closed door, and weeps bitterly.

Scorned. Rejected. Unloved. What went wrong in her happily ever after? The entire scene portrays what we often feel in our own hearts, which is why we can certainly feel for her at this moment in time. The clouds of doubt, the painful distance, the rain of confusion, and a door that shuts out our happily ever after.

In order to really feel loved, we also need to feel accepted.

We can’t bask in the love of our Prince if we are worried about him scorning us if ever he discovers our rags; if ever we turn out to be less than he expected.

We need a Prince who will not only claim us to be his bride, but who will continue to let us know that we can never lose his love. Ball gown or rags, nobility or servant, for better or for worse we need his acceptance.

Daily demonstrations of his love for us can do more than anything to demonstrate the fact that we are still his beloved. We need to know that we are are still the one that stands out to him in the crowd, that we are still his one and only!

Do I have you nodding in agreement?

Well, before you go running off to get your husband to have him read this, let me slightly alter the focus of this article and give the husbands a chance to not their heads.

Acceptance. I think we can all agree that this is a crucial part of feeling loved, and it is just as crucial to a man as it is to a woman.

Acceptance -- knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what our husbands may discover about us they will still love us.

Acceptance -- the assurance that I am “good enough” and no action or fault on my part will change that.

Acceptance -- in a marriage relationship we need to feel accepted completely and unconditionally! He’s my husband, she’s my wife, we love each other, we accept each other, we are committed to each other, we over-look each other’s flaws, we are one!

Acceptance is a very real need!

It’s not uncommon to hear women teasing, joking, or even mocking men by quoting the common phrase, “Men only want one thing!” If ever someone asks what that one thing is everyone else just giggles or blushes, but no one will say. Well, if I had to give it a name, I would say that the one thing men need is acceptance, and that is no joking matter. It can come in many forms or be lacking in many areas, but deep down in the heart of every man is the longing to be accepted, the need to feel “good enough”, and the need to feel like in spite of his flaws his wife still thinks he’s her Prince Charming.


This is a word many women have a problem with, and a word that most women (if any) do not really, fully understand. We’ve heard many times that as wives we are supposed to respect our husbands, but for most of us if we really stop to consider it we would probably find it difficult to give a good definition of the word respect.

How can we really respect our husbands if we don’t even really understand what respect is?

And for many of us we don’t really want to know what it means. From what we do know of respect we feel like it is something that needs to be earned, and since our husbands still have a long ways to go to really earn greater levels of respect we feel like we are in a way “off the hook”, as though we can wait until he becomes worthy of respect before we take this whole “respect your husband” thing seriously.

Or, if you’re a step ahead of most wives, you’ve probably been convinced that respect needs to be given to your husband even if he hasn’t yet earned it, and you really do your best to show him respect as far as your understanding of the word goes.

But let me break the news to you . . . your female definition of the word “respect” does not come close to the definition that men put on the word. And the amount of effort you’re putting toward really respecting your husband does not come near to meeting the need he has to really feel accepted and respected by you.

But what does that have to do with love?

I think you can agree with me that it would really bother you if your husbands went for days, weeks, even months without doing anything to demonstrate or communicate his love for you. And what’s worse, you would feel the hurt very deeply if he did something unkind or inconsiderate that made you question his acceptance of you and made you feel unloved.

Think long and hard about how it would make you feel and then turn the coin around. Your husband also needs to feel loved and accepted, but the way in which he feels this acceptance is different from how you feel it. And the way he feels your scorn or rejection is also different.

If you go for days, weeks, or months without doing anything to demonstrate or communicate the respect or high regard you have for your husband, it will really bother him. And what’s worse, he would feel the hurt very deeply if you did something that was disrespectful or distrusting of him which would make him question the acceptance and question whether or not you really respect him at all.  

“But wait!” you say, “That’s not the same at all!”

Well, it is and it isn’t. Men and women have very different ideas about love, and different ways in which they feel accepted or unaccepted by their spouse. So in this way no, it’s not the same at all . . . men and women are different, that’s a fact I get to realize more and more the longer I am married.

But if you make “it’s not the same” in regards to the legitimacy of the so-called-need, I beg you to reconsider.

We women will be the first to agree that love should be unconditional. Our husbands should show us love simply because we are their wives. There shouldn’t be any conditions, obligations, prerequisites, or any other strings attached. Unconditional love!

But when it comes to respect we get all up in arms and say that our husbands need to earn our respect. We completely disregard the claims we hear about them having a need for respect. We don’t feel that same need, we can’t relate to it, we can’t understand it, and so we completely disregard it.

Well, I can assure you that you’re husband doesn’t fully understand your need for daily confirmation of his love. He’s heard that you need him to demonstrate his love for you, but he doesn’t understand it. He doesn’t feel the need in the same way, he can’t relate to it, he doesn’t understand it, so it is easy to disregard it. It is easy for him to think of it as more of a want, a desire, or a preference -- but a need?

In the same way it is easy for us to think of respect as being something he wants, desires, or prefers -- but do you really acknowledge the fact that it is a very real need he has?

Unconditional respect? Whose ever heard of that?!

And yet we completely miss out on the benefits of demonstrating unconditional respect. We completely miss out on the fact that showing our husbands unconditional respect can be the very key to unlock the Prince Charming within them and set him free to become a man worthy of respect.

Yes, if you really want to love your husband it’s time to realize the fact that sometimes love takes on different forms than you may think . . . sometimes love is spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T