I currently have several young women in my life suffering from the same problem in varying degrees: relationships with men who have no respect for them. This post is not from a place of judgment, rather from a place of been-there-done-that-and-not-going-back.
On one hand, this is fairly cut and dry, if completely upsetting: they are receiving the respect they have asked for. Worse, they are asking for the respect they think they deserve.
None. On both counts.
That hurts my heart a lot. I want to come alongside of every young woman in this position and say, “What are you doing here? You deserve SO much better.” I want to train them to see themselves the way God sees them, so they won’t be tempted to settle for less than His best.
But. When it comes to the human heart, things are complex. There is no formula because we are all unique.
Sometimes, even though we know his view of us is self-centered, we like the attention he gives us. And we stand by him. Sometimes, even though we know he is all wrong for us, his badness feeds our sense of adventure. And we go along with him. Sometimes, even when he makes us feel bad about ourselves, our heart has gone before our head and we have feelings for him. And we stay with him.
But at what cost?
We want to please him, so it all becomes about him. We begin to focus on what he likes about us, and sometimes forget what we like about ourselves. We let him take what he wants so we don’t lose him. And we let him hurt us, because we think we’ve provoked it by somehow not living up to his demands.
We lose ourselves.
And we deserve better.
We deserve men who view us the way God views us. Who pursue love God and want to live their lives for Him. Who love us and build us up.
Look. If I see you heading into one of these relationships, I will most definitely tell you that you deserve better. Once you’re in the relationship, I’m probably not going to speak against it, but I will take you out for coffee a lot, and seek to affirm you through God’s Word, because I know that man isn’t doing it. And if he breaks your heart, I’ll be there with the chocolate and chick flicks. (Same for if you work up the courage to walk away). I want you to understand your worth.
UPDATE: This may even seem simplistic, so I want you to know that the longer a relationship goes on the more complex the emotions about it become. I don’t want it to seem like I’m belittling anyone’s emotions. On the contrary, I respect them, which is why I’m generally the person who will support you no matter who you choose to date. Just don’t mistake my support of you as a person for my support of a harmful relationship.