Ephesians 5:33b: And the wife should respect her husband.
Respect is his primary need, his deepest desire.

I Put My Followers First

Monday, August 09, 2010

Respect Is . . .

"Respect Is . . . not mentioning his mismatched clothes."

Tonight, as Bruce was heading for the door to meet a friend for a meeting, I stifled a snicker and a snide remark when he leaned in for a kiss good-bye.

Restraint, this time, was not as difficult as it could have been.  I had already considered that this situation would arise long before it ever did.

It all began last summer when there was a clearance sale in the men's department.

While I was at work, Bruce purchased two pair of summer shorts and two Hawaiian shirts for himself.  One pair of shorts was army green and the other was bright white.  One Hawaiian shirt sported a yellow and sage green print, the other was aqua blue with white palm trees and "Hawaii" in black script scattered all over.

Guess which shorts

he paired with which shirt for the meeting tonight?

I had realized last year, as I was beginning to learn this whole "respecting my husband" habit, that I could never mention the mismatch if it was already on his body before I saw it.  To say anything negative would not be encouraging, approving, appreciating or respecting.   For my husband, getting dressed is seriously time-consuming and an energy-exhaustive process and he takes "pride" in his appearance.

And, unfortunately, I could not simply tell him in advance.  With his short term memory issues I would need to repeat the observation many times if I ever told him once.  That would result in nagging.  I puzzled over the possible predicament many times but I never had to face it until tonight.

What I had realized is that taste, especially taste in clothing, is not necessarily a man's "thing".  I have always been grateful that my man is concerned about his clothes being clean and in good repair.  I appreciated that about him from the beginning.  I appreciate that his socks are always brilliant white and his shoes never, never, never have holes in them.  His hair is always combed, his teeth always brushed and a belt always cinches his pants up to his waist.

He is respectably dressed every time he walks out the door.  And he would be mortified to think that he was being disrespectful by his choice of clothing.  The failure to put coordinating colors together in tonight's ensemble was not disrespectful of me.  And it  was surely not disrespectful of the other folks at the AA meeting.  They have more important things on their minds than dressing to please.

Considering, pondering and planning my reaction in advance is what saved me this time.   What could have been a nasty exchange of comments when he left and who-knows-what-kind-of-atmosphere when he returned never happened.

Resolving to be respectful sure changes outcomes.

~ ~ ~

(Don't forget to "Like" me and can I get an Amen?)

~ ~ ~ 
Postscript added 11/11

My readers should know that Bruce collaborated with me on this article. Bruce does not embarrass easily. The clothes that are pictured made him smile as well. He shrugs his shoulders and with a sheepish grin, says, "Oh well. That's me. If people don't like it they can deal with it." 
He is quite open about his participation in AA. He honors the anonymity of his fellows but he speaks often of AA's influence on his salvation. Step Twelve says: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." Bruce allows me to write of his spiritual awakening as a result of the 12 steps because he cannot write for himself. 
There is much more to be said of how the 12 Steps led Bruce to Christ, but that is for another venue someday. 


Amanda M. said...

you're such an amazing person. i am so glad you found my blog so that i could find yours. i learn so much from your posts. :)

Shanna said...

I love your blog!!
I am your newest follower.
I look forward to reading more!!
Have a terrific Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

Another great insight/lesson. Thank you for sharing your life's experiences, Sharon. It's wonderful to read a woman's perspective and furthermore her sacrifice and acts of love given on behalf of her mate. This post made me laugh a little as well because this dynamic is not foreign to my own relationship. My wife and I have different tastes (naturally) and she doesn't favor all of mine; however, one in particular stands out. I have a pair of shoes that she firmly believes "goes with NOTHING." I bought them a long time ago, and did so for sentimental reasons. They are leather loafers made in Italy. They are very comfortable and I've abused them a bit. There aren't any holes in them but the leather does look a little beaten. They are a type of red-orange ochre color, which is the real eyesore for my wife. She usually rolls her eyes when she sees them but it's become more a spot of humor between us. When she concedes/resigns/relaxes to my wearing of them, if feels good...almost as good as my loafers. ;)

Xenia said...

I find the hardest time figuring out a way to gently tell my husband when he chooses an outfit that doesn't exactly match - great post!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

~ Noelle said...

thanks for the great post!
will be following, would love a follow back!

Karen said...

Amen, amen!

Shining 2 Save said...

Hi! I am your newest follower from the blog hop!

I hope you can stop by and visit my blog, I have some great givaways going on.

Have a Great Day!

Lisa said...

Hi! I'm your newest follower from the Tuesday blog hop!!! So nice to meet you and glad I found your inspiring blog! This is a wonderful post!

Would love it if you'd come visit & I'd be honored if you'd follow me back too. :)
Lisa xoxo

Can I get an Amen?