Family Relationships

Respect – I think I know what my husband means now.

We all know men want respect, but we don’t necessarily know what that should look like. I respect my husband deeply, but for all of our 9 years of marriage, I have been confused by the term. I think we had a break through yesterday. The language used to describe the problem finally evolved to make sense to me. The respect my husband is looking for is not a feeling or a behavior in front of others, though those things are nice. It’s a form of discretion. It’s most similar counter part would be modesty or in Hebrew, tznius. In general terms, we dress modestly and behave modestly in public, and even in our own homes we maintain a level of modesty outside of the bedroom. There is a safe space for complete nakedness, but it’s a place we only go under certain terms of discretion. Respect is a level of modesty that goes beyond clothing and into all aspects of our behavior. It’s everything from the way we keep our house (do we clean up for friends, but not for our husbands?), to the way we speak to people. I’m not sure if it’s a level of maturity or if some people  are intuitively good in this area. It may be something that could be taught to young women, but I don’t know why I didn’t get this before. Ladies, don’t let it all hang out! I’m not talking about your body, I’m talking about the inside of your emotional personal existence. You don’t need to share everything with your husband. I know, isn’t this crazy? I thought I was just being real. I thought being myself was what it was all about, but the truth is, he wants a facade most of the time just like I put on for everyone else in my life. He doesn’t want to shut me out, but the truth is, he can’t handle being inside my head all the time, and I don’t actually need him to be there.  I don’t know why I never got this before. I want him to put on a facade too. I don’t want to get the unfiltered version of his existence, so why should I expect him to want that from me? For me, the application to this is huge. It starts in the way I dress and present my self in his presence, and goes far beyond that into the language I use to communicate with him and the way I keep the house. Can you see it?

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