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Deti and I had a short conversation at Dalrock’s the other day regarding the respect a woman holds for her husband.  Deti had this to say (edited for this post.  Click the link to see the conversation unedited):

Women respect and love men not because of who the men are, but for what men can do for them.

A wife respects a husband not because of the man he is, but for what he does for her.

A wife respects a husband not because of who he is, but because he does what she wants him to do FOR HER.

So therefore, the converse must be true:

If he is unable to do for her what she wants, then he is not entitled to respect and in fact she is entitled to disrespect him.

If he does not do what she wants, then the husband is not entitled to respect and in fact she is entitled to disrespect him. . . .

This is depressing. Because I know at bottom, this is true. I know at her core, this is how my wife probably feels about me, too. I know deep down that if I weren’t the sole breadwinner in my home, my wife would probably be divorcing me now or shit testing me within an inch of my life. I know at their core, this is about how nearly all wives feel about their husbands.

This really got me thinking about respect and where it comes from.  I asked this:

You said that a woman will respect a man for what he does not by who he is. I am going to ask this and leave the “for her” part out (not because I disagree with this but because my question doesn’t have to do with this part of it): Is not who a man is defined by what he does? I don’t care about the for her part, I’m just talking in general. How does one know who a man is without observing what he does?

To which Deti responded:

Not entirely. A man is also what he believes as manifested by what he says and does. A man is also what he speaks, because to a man, words mean things and men generally say what they mean and mean what they say. A man is also his past experiences.

But the “for her” part cannot be divorced from this analysis. A woman observes a man’s conduct and the sum total of his parts for the purpose of coopting him to serve her imperative. She assesses him to determine what he can do for her. She might not intend that. She might not be conscious of it. But make no mistake—she is doing just that.

I understand what Deti is saying and I think I agree with him, but I find that I still have several questions.  I’m still missing something that I can’t quite grasp.  Maybe it is as simple as I don’t believe a woman is entitled to disrespect her husband if he can’t do for her (I realize that this is what actually happens, but it’s not what should be), but I don’t think that’s it.
My first question then is, how does a man respect another man?  Is it in everything Deti said above?  What does it take one man to say/do/believe to garner another man’s respect?
Second, what of the respect a woman might feel for another man who is not overtly doing anything specifically for her?  The soldier who keeps her safe, (Thank you Danny and Dogsquat and any other military reading this) the boss, brother, father, or friend whom garners her respect yet directly provides her nothing tangible in the way a husband would?  Or is it that she still respects what these men provide even though they are provided in a less direct manner?
I think the key is in this sentence,

A man is also what he believes as manifested by what he says and does.

Many women will have difficulty believing what a man says, especially at the beginning of a relationship.  Many of us have been burned by men who said and did two very different things.  But, as we are talking about respect between a husband and a wife, I would think that this disconnect would be very rare.  I can’t get past the fact that, what a woman observes a man doing backs up everything he says, what his experiences are, are very much dependent on what he decided to do or not do in a given moment.  I originally said I didn’t care about the “for her” part because so often respect from a woman (respect that she feels, not necessarily respect that she pays because she knows she should) comes from seeing a man do what is necessary and right regardless of what she *thinks* is good for her.  What he does is simply right given the circumstances, what she thinks be damned.  Though, as I have said before, he is still doing for her as he is providing consistency and stability.  So, it is still coming back to what he is doing for her.    Maybe where my confusion lies is because so many man are doing for their wives (at least in provisionary terms) yet are still not getting the respect they deserve?

What about respect between women?  Is this any different?  I can think of a handful of women I respect and that comes from what I have seen them do.  This very much translates into who they are.  So . . . what is it that I am missing?

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