Rick Johnson is the founder of Better Dads, a fathering skills program designed to equip men to be more engaged in the lives of their children.
Bring Out the Best in
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Senior Producer
CBN.com "Behind every good man there is a good woman." Is the old adage true? Perhaps it is. In the Bible, women are described as “help-mates” to their husbands. Does that mean they hang in the shadows merely existing to cater to his every whim, or should they perhaps be serving a more important role?
In his book, The Man Whisperer: Speaking Your Man's Language to Bring Out His Best, author Rick Johnson says women often don’t realize the amount of power they have when it comes to the men in their lives.
“I don’t think a lot of women recognize it,” Johnson says, “but they have this power just by their words sometimes, or sometimes even a look, that they can literally destroy their husbands or they can lift them up to do things that they would never do on their own without her encouragement and support.”
Every man has a great amount of potential, the author says. He encourages women to learn about how their words and actions can influence the men in their lives to become all that God wants them to be.
“I think all men have the seeds of greatness in them, but those seeds need to be watered. They need to be nurtured,” Johnson says. “And I think that’s really a role that God gave to a wife. He gave her the power and the ability to be able to nurture and water those seeds of greatness.”
As he speaks at conferences, Johnson says women often ask him how they can change their husbands. They can’t, he explains, only God can change people. However, they can exert a great amount of influence in their husbands’ lives.
Contrary to what some women may believe, he says, most men truly desire to please their wives. But, the author points out, men will live up to the expectations that women set for them. If those expectations are low, men will not feel the need to put forth much effort to exceed them.
“A lot of women say to me, ‘My husband is just an average guy, he is never going to be great.’ And I say, ‘With that attitude, you’re right because he is going to fulfill whatever expectations you have for him.’”
But if women recognize that God has placed the potential for greatness in their husbands, and they seek to nurture that in them, Johnson says, then those men will soon realize that they can accomplish great things.
“Maybe that doesn’t mean that he goes out and conquers the world,” Johnson says. “Maybe that just means that he’s a great husband, a great father, and a great man.”
One area that wives sometimes overlook, the author says, is showing respect to their husbands. This is perhaps the greatest need that men have.
“I think, for men, respect is even more important than love is,” Johnson says. “It’s really intrinsic to our souls. You’ll notice that young men go out and kill each other over the issue of respect and disrespect. Unfortunately, they don’t understand what real respect is.”
One way that women can show respect to their husbands is by frequently telling them how much they appreciate them.
“If your husband does something that you like or admire, tell him, ‘I really admire the fact that you did that,’ Johnson says. “That is huge to a man. Tell him he’s a good man; we never hear that. That’s what we all want; we really want to be known as good men.”
He says that since men are often most vulnerable with their wives, they highly value their wives' opinions. They often do not give anyone else access to their innermost thoughts and feelings.
“That’s why women are able to destroy us, literally, with a comment,” Johnson says, “or to lift us up to do things that we would never do. I think if a wife can show the respect and admiration that her husband needs and craves, she can use that to influence him in a lot of different ways.”
Women often turn to other means of influencing the men in their lives, the author says. They do so through nagging, complaining, or using sex as a weapon. However, none of these will give the results that women desire. While they may succeed in getting their husbands to do what they want, it will come at a cost to the relationship if the men feel resentful toward them.
“We've all seen the henpecked husband who does whatever his wife tells him to,” Johnson writes in the book. “He is an empty shell of a man. He's not happy and neither is she.”
The key to bringing out the best in their men, he says, is to learn to speak their language and affirm their good qualities. The praise and encouragement of their wives inspires men to believe in themselves. In a sense, women hold the keys to unlocking a man’s potential.
Want more ways to bring out the best in your man? Check out Johnson’s book, The Man Whisperer.
Watch Rick talk about his book on YouTube.
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