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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. Every woman 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 nod 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!”. And 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 ways, 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 that many women have a problem with, and a word that most women (if any) do not really, fully understand. As wives, we’ve heard many times that 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?

Plus, if we’re truly honest with ourselves, I think we could admit that we don’t really want to know what it means, because from what we do know of respect we feel like it is something that needs to be earned, and since our husbands are obviously flawed and still have a long ways to go in really earn greater levels of respect we feel like we are in a way “off the hook”, as though we can somehow 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 even close to the definition that men put on the word! And not even close to the level of respect that your husband is needing from you. Whatever amount of effort you’re putting toward really respecting your husband does not come anywhere near to meeting the need he has for 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 husband 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 discourage 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 (aka: love him) 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 mean that 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 easily dismiss it or even 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 that he has?

Unconditional respect? Whose ever heard of that?!

I wish I could remember which general it was that said, “Give a man a uniform and he’ll act like a soldier”, but it’s something that has really stuck in my head with relation to the topic of respect. You see, so many women are under the impression that if they withhold respect from their husband then that will somehow “motivate” him to try and work harder or do more to earn the respect. But ladies, it just doesn’t work that way! You do this, and you will discourage your man to the point where he will slink further and further away from being the kind of man you can respect, because he will become discouraged to the point of feeling deflated and incapable of even trying.

But if, instead, you started showing him respect even before he’s done anything to earn it, you will be surprised at how quickly he suddenly starts stepping up to the mark and striving to live up to the degree of respect that you are showing.

Do you know what this means? It means the more respect you show your husband the more he will earn it! Not the other way around!!

This is huge!

Let me repeat that for you: The more respect you show your husband the more he will strive to be deserving of that respect! Do you want a husband who is more of a leader in your home? Then start following his lead in the little, seemingly insignificant things!

You see, so many times we complain about our husbands not being the kind of “leader” we wish he were for the family . . . . but we don’t realize that we are the ones holding him back from being that leader.

It’s true!

Just think about how many times you tell him what he should or shouldn’t be doing. Just think about how many times you’ve turned down an idea he had, or told him why you shouldn’t buy the thing he wanted to get at the store. Just think of all the times you’ve nagged him or tried to manipulate him into going somewhere you wanted to go, or do something you wanted to do, but then turned around and laughed at him or gave some fancy, sophisticated (selfish) reason why you didn’t want to go or do something that he was wanting.  

We’ve all done it!

We want our husband to be the leader in our homes, but only if they lead in the directions and the ways that we want.

And when we do that, we destroy their desire to even try to lead. And then we further crush their self-esteem and any hopes of acceptance by criticizing them for not leading.

This needs to stop!

When we disrespect our husbands, fail to accept them just the way they are, and fail to follow their lead, we completely miss out on so much!

There are incredible benefits to demonstrating unconditional respect for your husband, and if you haven’t tried it yet, then you’re totally missing out!

You’re missing out on the fact that unconditional respect for your husband is the key to unlock the Prince Charming within him. It’s the key that sets 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