If I had received a report card to assess my performance as a husband in the early years of my marriage, I would have been graded an underachiever. Like most men, I had absolutely no clue what it took to make a relationship work. Raw, untamed masculinity often creates hurt, pain, disrespect and dishonor to the feminine soul. In fact, if dishonor were a course of study, I would have passed with flying colors.
Often when partners look at each other, it’s all too easy to see only the irritating habits, the failures, the broken promises – and forget that beneath the tarnish, the pure steel is still intact. It didn’t occur to me that honor meant placing a high value on my wife and considering her needs and interests as important.
If you are to honor each other, you must learn to look past the weaknesses and affirm the value and inner beauty within your partner. You must view your significant other as something precious, like a 100-carat diamond. When you do, your positive thoughts and feelings increase. This is known as “confirmation bias,” an intentional search for evidence in your partner to support the feelings you hold in your heart for them.
However, beyond words and feelings, true honor is expressed in deeds and actions. Consider this condensed list:
Become a student of your partner. How can you honor someone without knowing how all the parts work – the hot buttons, preferences, loves, hates, joys, favorite everythings and pet peeves? You need to study your true love and create an instruction manual. Utilizing this vital information will allow you to bring honor into the relationship.
Sweat the small stuff. Couples often make the mistake of thinking of honor as being only the big things they do for each other. But the big things don’t make up for the little things you should be doing all the time. It can be as simple as cooking a favorite meal, making a needed household repair, or simply opening the door for your partner.
Make yourself appear worthy. Your physical appearance can reflect the high value you place on your mate. If you are 50 pounds overweight, start counting your calories. You honor your mate by taking care of yourself – your health, your grooming and your general appearance.
List your mate’s positive qualities. Make an actual list of all the things you admire about your partner. Put it in a highly visible place in your home where you and, more importantly, your partner can see it every day.
Display your mate’s significance. Show your partner that his or her happiness is your highest priority, welcome his or her thoughts, display genuine interest and interact from an attitude of gratitude.
Hasani Pettiford is an award-winning author, media personality and speaker who has addressed more than 1,000 audiences throughout the U.S., Latin America and Africa. His organization, Touch & Agree Family Network, offers coaching, seminars and educational materials to enhance relationships.