Respecting My Spouse:
Am I respecting my spouse? My husband is very passionate about recycling. It’s honestly a very small environmental contribution. We save our plastics, aluminum, and cardboard and take them to the recycling center once a month rather than throw everything into the waste. It means a lot to him! He frequently expresses his appreciation to me that I help him store our recycling in the pantry and then take it to the center together as part of Saturday errands.
Sometimes when he’s not home, I would much rather just throw away the empty salad dressing bottles and tuna fish cans. I would love to not add them to the endless pile of dishes in the sink, thoroughly wash out the food, wait for them to dry on the dish rack, and then put them into the recycling bags.
Respect vs. Obey:
This situation got me thinking: do I respect my spouse? Or do I obey my spouse?
When a kid obeys his parents, he behaves when they’re around.They eat all their food, they put away their clean clothes , and they do not interrupt people.. When a child respects his parents, he eats what he’s served whether he is with his parents or not, he cleans up after himself no matter where he is, and he waits his turn to speak.
Spouses should never act like they have a child-parent relationship! We’re not just roommates tolerating each other trying to look good when the other is around. We are equals, building a relationship and a home on mutual respect and love.
I do not like prioritizing washing the recycling when I have a toddler to keep track of and a list of chores to take care of during the day. However, I don’t look at my husband as a tyrannical father-figure I have to please whenever he’s looking and hide my mistakes from when he’s not. I do not want to just obey my husband, I want to respect him. And this particular problem has a very easy solution:
I leave the recycling containers in the sink and let him wash them after dinner!
It’s really, truly, very simple to find solutions to these little household “conflicts” when we try to approach them with respect instead of obedience. I don’t know why it took two years for this idea of respect vs. obedience to dawn on me. However, now it has me looking at all our little spats through this lens. It’s amazing to understand the things that annoy us are often annoyances because they are hurts- they’re signs of feeling a lack of respect and appreciation!
Now I’m wondering- where else am I simply “obeying” my husband instead of respecting my spouse? What’s building resentment under the surface?