Love and Respect

I’m a fairly avid reader.  I love a good fiction story.  Whether it’s a chick-lit, historical Christian romance or the Twilight series, I rarely can put a good read down.  I do, however, struggle with non-fiction.  It’s actually hard for me to admit this, as MANY topics seem interesting to me, but I just get…well?  Bored.  My recent attempt at non-fiction has been Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  This book has been highly acclaimed by my coworkers, and I value their opinions.  So I’m giving it a shot.

I appreciate the efforts the author puts towards differentiating between Love and Respect.  Because, I do think because I LOVE my husband, RESPECT just happens.  Apparently not.

So I decided to experiment.

Before I proceed, it may be worthwhile to note that I met my husband while we were both coaching for the same university.  Volleyball has always been a part of my life, and Track & Field is the same for him.  Because we’re active in athletics, occasionally we’ll be called upon to create conditioning or weight lifting workouts for our teams.  So I have a little knowledge in this area, but do not consider myself an expert by any means or measures.  But I do have opinions.  Considering the workshops, research and constant continuing higher education my husband puts towards this area, he is much more knowledgeable than I.

Dabbling in the ‘health and wellness’ field, one might expect me to be a fitness fiend.  One would be wrong.  Whereas I’ll rarely pass up a chance to ‘play’, I struggle to be driven to just exercise.  If there were a ball somehow involved with an elliptical machine, you might bounce quarters off my tummy.  I can get temporarily distracted by a super-awesome playlist on my iPod or an ‘Us Weekly’ magazine while walking the treadmill but the novelty eventually wears off.

Last year I was invited to play in a women’s volleyball league.  I’ve played in many leagues, but this one was more competitive than others.  We had an offense and everything.  But I had one big problem: I was out of shape.  I could keep up with the short plays, but if the rally lasted more than 45 seconds, I was in trouble.  And forget jumping multiple times in that time frame.  By the end of the night, my calves were cramping, my lungs hurt, and I had a hard time sleeping because my body was so keyed up from the random physical activity.

So THIS year, I’ve decided I’m going to prepare.  I haven’t been formally invited to play (probably because they are a bit leery to ask ‘the whiner’ back), but if I do, I’m going to be ready.  Here’s where the RESPECT comes in.  Rather than creating my own workout (read: showing up at the gym and just work on whatever machine has no line), I decided to ask my hubby to create me one.  My hopes were that by asking him to do something for me that require his area of expertise, he may feel the RESPECT I desire to him to feel from me.  The only stipulation I had was that I wanted to do squats.  Because that’s the one exercise I know I’m good at, and therefore, my favorite.

My initial request was ignored as I’m sure he thought I was joking.  Which is a good sign that I should ask for his help more.

After a few more requests (most likely received as nagging, which is addressed in the book), we scheduled our first session.  Below are my journal entries for the first week.

Day 1:

Got roped into three conversations with friends before entering the workout facility.  Noticed ‘elliptical machine’ was on the to-do list.  Promptly complained until he changed it to the treadmill.  He noticed the time and decided it was too late to start, as we haven’t had dinner yet.  Walked the neighborhood in lieu of weight training.

Day 2:

Spilled lasagna on my shirt prior to workout.  Didn’t change.  Work-out went fine and we even walked the neighborhood again.  However, about a half hour after we had finished, he called an audible and told me it was time to do abs (should I add that we just watched ‘The Biggest Loser’ during their last chance work-out?).  I flatly declined the additional exercise.

Day 3:

Walked the neighborhood again.  Couldn’t get out of abs this time.  We got extra ab work through belly laughs at my attempt at one particular exercise.  While lying on my back, rather staying stationary when twisting my lower body back and forth, I somehow would shimmy downward.  He finished his exercise in the same place he started.  I ended up near the fireplace.

Day 4:

This was actually the day of our ‘Get Some in Your Marriage’ event.  I didn’t have a scheduled work-out.  BUT, remember those cute desserts you got in your giftbag?  And those bottles of water that were at the drink station?  The Michigan Theatre does NOT have an elevator and 40 crates of dessert and 22 packages of water didn’t walk themselves up the stairs.  Okay, okay.  There were like eight of us doing the hauling, but this is MY blog posting and I’ll take as much credit as I want.

Day 5:

So. Sore.  Better take the day off.

When I started this experiment, I hadn’t gotten very far in the book.  In fact it was probably a week later that I read the chapter on how wives can show respect.  One of the tips is to TELL your husband you respect him (huh.  Novel idea!) and be prepared to have examples of WHY you do.  Since I’ve published my experiment thus far, I’ll include a few snippets of Why I Respect Mark.

  • He feels strong compassion for those who are treated unjustly.
  • He has moral convictions and never sways from his stance.
  • He is a fighter.  I’d love to share his Personal Testimony, but it’s exactly that: personal.
  • He is a good provider: we have a roof above our head, food on our table and can pay our bills.
  • He puts my needs/wants before his.  Always.

In short, he’s pretty awesome.