Sing it with me: "What you want; baby, I got it. What you need; you know I got it? All I'm askin' is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)..."
But, you know what? I'm looking for more than "just a little bit."
Girls, we are all too quick to dismiss instances when we are disrespected in relationships, are we not? I know I'm guilty of it. I reason with myself that I can't expect too much, or that I haven't made my boundaries or expectations clear, or that I am not worthy of more. I put up with hurtful comments or way-too-fast physical advances because I would rather keep the guy around than go back to being single again. A guy's behaviour maybe mirrors what I've seen in other relationships or in the movies, so I justify it and learn to live with it. But enough of that. We are daughters of the King and should be treated as such.
No guy is perfect (and nor are we, girls) but there are good, honorable, God-fearing men out there who want to pursue you and love you as Christ pursues and loves the church.
These men take the time to get to know you and build your trust.
These men develop friendship through emotional and spiritual intimacy first, and earn the right to physical intimacy.
These men are intentional, purposeful, honest, and patient.
These men see your beauty, beyond just make-up and dress-code.
These men hold doors open, carry your heavy items, and protect you.
In 1 Timothy 3, we read about the characteristics of men who are called to be leaders in the church. Now, we may not all be destined to be a pastor's wife, but should we not still be looking for a man of equal character? God calls men to be above reproach; to be faithful to their partner; to exercise self-control and wisdom; to have a good reputation and not be prone to excessive drinking or violence. Men should be gentle, not always picking an argument or wishing to get their own way, and they should not place so much value on money that it detracts from more worthy things in life.
But these things don't come easily, or naturally, so, girls, let's be praying for our men. Pray that God would raise up men with characteristics like those listed in 1 Timothy 3. Pray that men would find their identity in their Heavenly Father, first and foremost, so that they can grow into godly men and godly fathers. Pray that godly men in our churches would set the example for younger generations and be willing to mentor and invest in these men. Rather than us sitting around complaining that there are few men that meet the criteria, let's be the spiritual force that intercedes on their behalf.
We, also, should be endeavouring to be the best version of ourselves and develop a good character, for a man who reflects these godly characteristics is also attracted to such. If we want to be respected, we should be respectful in response.
Are we honouring the man who has expressed an interest in us, even though we do not share his interest? Are we honest when we turn down a man or break-up with him and convey our feelings with love and honesty, rather than turning it into a slanging match? Politics, Twitter feuds, even news stories often respond in spite, anger or disgust. Let's, instead, be respectful in our approach and response to men, and remember that we are just as fallible as them.
So, girls, my point is this: don't settle for less because it is the only attention you have been shown in a while, or because you really like the guy and are willing to overlook some of his lazy habits. There will absolutely be times that failings and mistakes will need to be forgiven and forgotten - by both parts - but do not let it start out that way. Start as you mean to go on. Wait for the man who will see the beauty and hidden wonder in you. Wait for the man who will allow you time to trust him and feel safe with him. Wait for the man who will treasure you for all your hidden potential. Wait for the man who will wait for you: wait until he finally meets you; wait until he knows you and has resolved in his own heart that he wishes to pursue you with intentionality; wait to be physical with you to protect your purity and his.
"...And I ain't lyin' (just a little bit) When you come home; you might walk in and find out I'm gone. I got to have (just a little bit), a little respect (just a little bit)..." (Respect - Written by Otis Redding, Sung by Aretha Franklin)