What Is Respect In A Marriage?

9/365 days of blogging

I am putting a guest post up tonight about something that is really near and dear to my heart.  I remember reading the book YEARS ago…..”Men Are From Mars…Women Are From Venus”, and thinking wow! why did God make women and men so different but yet expect us to coexist in relationships together?

Fast forward about 25 years…..NOW I get it!  I was never told what it meant to be a biblical wife.  I didn’t know what God created women for and that I was not equal to my husband as far as being  the leader of my house.  I had grown up my whole life with a mother who was the primary care giver and handled every aspect of the family while my dad worked on the railroad.  So naturally when I got married I thought it was my job to “take care of the family.”  And boy did I!  I spouted off orders right and left to my husband and expected him to just follow along.

I am finally married to a wonderful man of God who has been very patient with me in this learning process.  He has pointed me to scriptures to help me find the way to a Godly marriage and the journey has been a wonderful one.  I have found that God gives us grace during the learning process.  Now, I teach a mentoring class to a group of women trying to teach them what I have learned and maybe get them on a path I wish I could have been on many years ago.

So back to the guest post.  This post is about showing respect to our husbands.  Sometimes when we think we are showing our husbands love….we are actually disrespecting them.  I have always said these words:

“Women need intimacy OUTSIDE of the bedroom to be able to give it INSIDE the bedroom.”


“Men need to FEEL respected in a marriage to be able to SHOW intimacy.”

So here is what April over at PEACEFULWIFE has to say about respect in a marriage.  If you woudl like to go to her site and explore it a little… you can go here.


When a husband shows love for his wife >> that motivates her respect.

When a wife shows respect for her husband >> that motivates his love.


This is a principle of marriage that is generally true across religious backgrounds and cultures.  Of course, there are some exceptions where one spouse is not good-willed towards the other, or where one or both are so wounded, that it takes a VERY long time to rebuild the trust.  But in general, MOST spouses are good-willed towards each other and want to please one another.  We are just built SO differently, that we often misunderstand and misinterpret the messages the other is sending.  Men tend to think in the realm of respect (blue – says Eggerichs).  Women tend to think in the realm of love (pink).  Unfortunately – what men often do to be respectful, can feel unloving to their wives.  And what wives often do to be loving, can feel disrespectful to their husbands.  By learning to stretch and reach our spouse and meet his/her needs, we achieve God’s glory (royal purple).

We are responsible to God to obey His commands for us as wives regardless of what our husbands do or do not do and regardless of the “results” we can see when we respect our husbands and cooperate with their God-given leadership.  Our priorities must be to honor God and to obey Him – and we leave the results and timing in His hands.


I think having a list of specific, concrete things that men find to be respectful and disrespectful is SO important for wives who are just beginning to learn to be godly wives and to obey Ephesians 5:22-33.

Some things are disrespectful to all husbands across the board.  And some things are respectful to just about all husbands.  But each husband is unique and there will be some things that would drive one husband crazy but would make another husband feel super respected.  My suggestion to wives is to read the list, and think about implementing some of the ideas.  But if you aren’t sure about one, ask your husband sometime if he would find that behavior or attitude to be respectful or disrespectful.  Then go with what he thinks!  His opinion is what matters most here!

Some of my amazing readers helped me with this new list – it is not exhaustive.  THANK YOU to all who contributed!

  •  listen without interrupting
  • don’t think for me.
  • don’t use your “dumb guy” voice when repeating what I’ve said that you don’t agree with/think is stupid
  • refrain from explaining how to handle the children
  • do not correct my handling of the children or anything else in front of anyone, ever
  • talk me up in front of your family/my family
  • support my decisions, and if you disagree, do so in private
  • be my friend
  • tell me what kind of physical intimacy you like – it makes me feel more at ease and more purposeful in pleasing you
  • don’t over-talk things — try to use short sentence and direct words (I’m not dim, but I’m a guy … we don’t do big conversation)
  • let me know I’m enough, more than enough if you can — financially, emotionally, physically, mentally
  • When a big decision comes up and the husband says he needs time to think about it let him think about it. If you tell him, “Don’t bother. I’ll just do it my way,” then what’s the point of asking in the first place?
  • When you tell your husband not now or not tonight how about tomorrow (about any topic) then keep your word and re-arrange whatever you are doing to make sure you keep your word.
  • Find out what your husband takes as his most important responsibility and praise him for it.. (being a great father, being a great provider, being a great husband, etc).
  • Find out what his love language is and surprise him with something spontaneous that’s just for him.
  • Flirt with him in public, at a party, where other people (especially his friends/co-workers) can see it.
  • Offer up a back rub. Even if physical touch is not his love language most men carry a large burden (physically, spiritually, emotionally) on their shoulders and to offer up a back rub without being prompted is a wonderful release.
  • If your husband comes to talk to you (about anything) put down the phone/tablet/computer with facebook/texting and give him your full attention. It’s no different than when you want him to pause/turn off the TV when you want to talk to him.
  • Let him know when he does things that make you happy. Most husbands biggest goal in marriage is to make their wife happy.
  • She never ever speaks “bad” about me to anyone – not a best friend or a family member
  • She yields to me when I am at home when it comes to our children’s discipline
  • My wife also seeks me out if there is a “big” decision to be made about the home, children or finances, even if it is something she knows I trust her with and don’t have an opinion either way, she realizes that I may see things from a different angle and wants to affirm the decision.
  • She respects me by involving me.
  • Most of all, she allows me to be me.
  • I have a passion for the out of doors and she has come along side me in these endeavors. She may not always think it is “fun” to hike when it’s muddy and cold but she goes along for the ride
  • She also encourages me to have time with the children one on one and also have time just by myself or with a friend standing in a river fly-fishing.
  • She realizes that I am ultimately responsible to God for the family she also knows that I trust her to make great decisions and that I support her doing so.
  • Put me, your husband, first and NOT the children.
  • Do not compare me with a pastor, a elder, another husband or a woman’s advice. I’ve already prayed and gone over it in my mind, it’s my decision I don’t want it to be someone else’s.
  • Try to have 100% faith in me! Try to build me up – with work, Bible study, my involvement with church. I believe God put you in my life to be a helpmate, not a tear down. I really don’t need you telling me to get a better job, or that I’m way off on my when I share a insight that I’ve had with scripture.
  • Anticipate my needs, wants and desire. In the bedroom and out of the bedroom.
  • Don’t yell and argue with me in front of the children.
  • Just remember I love you , chose you, I know you have feelings, as hard as you think I am, I have deep feelings also.
  • Put me above your friends and extended family and ministry to others outside of our family.
  • Care about things that matter to me.
  • When I ask you to do something, show me you really do respect me by making it a priority for your to-do list.
  • Listen to my advice sometimes.  I actually have some important wisdom and a different perspective to share that just might make your life better and less stressful!
  • Keep emails BRIEF and to the point.  We hear your message more clearly with less words and a lower intensity of negative emotions.  Too many words and emotions makes us feel like we are drowning – it is too much to process all at once sometimes.
  • If I’m driving, let me drive in peace (don’t tell me what lane to take or what road to take or ask me why I’m going the way I am going because your way is 30 seconds faster).  If I ask for help, then you can help me.  Having your trust and faith in my ability to drive around town is much more valuable to me than saving a few seconds or minutes in traffic.
  • Men don’t offer unsolicited advice or help to other men.  Show me that you trust me by allowing me to figure things out without feeling like you have to rescue me or do things for me.
  • Smile at me a lot – I love that!
  • Make sure that you have close friends who are godly wives, who show respect for their husbands and who will show respect for me as your husband.  Don’t let your girlfriends’ advice tear down our marriage.  Notice what kind of marriage your friend has before assuming she has wisdom to share about marriage.  Make my opinions and feelings much more important in your life than the opinions and feelings of your friends.  You are in a covenant with me, not them.
  • Talk to me with a friendly tone of voice when possible.  I usually know for sure that you love me.  But sometimes I wonder if you actually still like me or not.
  • Enjoy being with me.
  • Realize that I may take longer to process ideas, decisions, emotions and feelings.  If I do not have answers for you in 30 seconds, that does not mean you need to take over or that I won’t lead.  I just means I operate on a slower time table and need a little understanding and patience from you.  If you are able to wait patiently and be supportive, I am plenty capable of leading and making wise decisions.  (If there is physical violence, and untreated mental disorder, a drug/alcohol addiction – please find godly, experienced help ASAP!)
  • I may not show love with words as much as you would like, but stop and notice all the things I DO to show you my love for you.  To me, my actions speak much more loudly than my words.  And to me, your actions speak much more loudly than your words, too.
  • Don’t verbally push God, the Bible and church on me.  Nagging, preaching and lecturing make me want to run away just because of your approach.  It is your ability to be silent about the things of God  coupled with your gentle, peaceful, respectful spirit that is not anxious and worried that will help me better hear God’s voice.  I need to SEE you live out your faith, not hear about it.  Words don’t impact men the way they do women.
  • Realize that I am not a woman.  Make sure that it is safe for me to be a man – that I am not punished for being masculine.  I am different from you. I think and feel differently – but that doesn’t mean I am wrong.
  • Dress nicely and fix your hair and makeup the way I like it sometimes.  That actually makes me feel like  you respect yourself and like you respect me.
  • Flirt with me and no one else!
  • Act like you are happy to see me when I get home!
  • Give me that adoring look that says you trust me and have faith in me.  That means more to me than any words.
  • Tell me when you like what I am doing.
  • Tell me that you are proud of me.
  • Accept that I am human.  Accept that you are human, too.  Have grace for me when I make mistakes.  Your ability to forgive me and see the best in me can sometimes make the difference between me becoming paralyzed or between me learning and moving forward as a better man.
  • Look at me as an equal in God’s sight.  Realize that we are both sinners in need of Jesus.  Don’t look down on me.



5 thoughts on “What Is Respect In A Marriage?

  1. Why would you feel it necessary to write such a long scolding lists to wives?
    Wives are not the only ones to work on the marriage and everything you wrote on that long list should also be told to husbands.
    Many of those items are put down to wives and are another way to tell women there isn’t use for them in a marriage. This lists made me and my group/friends quite sad and discouraged. These items sound like the things men would write.

    • First of all Jean, I want to thank you for reading my blog. I want to first point out that I write what I do in regards to women and what God expects out of us as Godly women and wives. I would not ever write to men because I feel this would be inappropriate. I have spent a long time in this journey and although I do not do all of these perfectly…I do make most of them an example in and for my marriage.

      Early on in my marraige I felt the need to control every aspect of what was going on. It was only when I chose to relinquish control to God and strive to be the Proverbs 31 wife that he commands did I find peace in my marriage. My husband is not controlling, nor does he demand respect or any of the things listed. I simply offer him in respect and in return he loves me just as Christ loves the church, as he is commanded.

      I want to point out that I in no way intended this to be a post where wives are scolded, but instead a post where a wife who might be struggling to show her husband respect might get some ideas on what that might look like.

      Submissiveness is the most misunderstood practice in the Bible. My goal is only to inform and teach it to wives who are willing to step aside and allow God to be at the head of their marriage and let their husbands be the spiritual leader. I don’t believe they are put downs…only things that could be helpful practices to showing respect to our husbands where they might have a hard time showing it.

      Most women will try just a handful of these things and then message me and say it worked! He is showing me more love and intimacy than ever before!

      Why should men be told these things over women?

    • Kitt…if I am wrong I am sorry but I am assuming you might be “in the group of friends” that Jean talked about.

      If that is the case you can refer to my comment above. If not then I can only say that I live in a Godly marriage and these are only suggested ways to show our husbands respect. I, nor April, said that wives MUST do these things….but only said they are things that a wife could practice to show their husbands respect. In fact…it was list complied by Godly wives trying to live out the Proverbs 31 woman.

  2. Kitt and Jean,

    Hey! It’s great to meet you both. 🙂 I’m April – who wrote the original post with things that husbands shared feel respectful to them.

    On my post, I have a lengthy preface about why I am sharing this list – that may give you a bit more of a feel for how such a list could be a blessing to us as wives as we seek to become the women God calls us to be.

    I have now been married for 21 years myself. For the first 14.5 years, I thought I was the most awesome Christian wife ever. I prayed up to four hours/day. I loved my husband with all my heart. I read my Bible daily. I tried so hard to be close to my husband. But he became increasingly passive and shut down. I begged God to change him and to show him how unloving he was and how he needed to do so much more for me.

    Then, in December of 2008, I picked up a book at our church bookstore – “Love and Respect” by Dr. Eggerichs. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had always believed that men and women had the exact same ways of thinking and the exact same emotional/spiritual needs. But this pastor said that God created men to need respect primarily and that He created women to need love primarily – and that is why God gave wives and husbands the specific commands He did in Ephesians 5:22-33. He said women tend to love naturally and men tend to respect naturally – but it can take some stretching and growing for men to learn to love and for women to learn to respect.

    He said that when a husband feels disrespected, he has a knee-jerk unloving reaction. And when a wife feels unloved, she has a knee-jerk disrespectful reaction – and the Crazy Cycle spins out of control until someone decides to begin to meet the other person’s needs even if his/her own needs are not being met.

    I was shocked. I asked Greg – my husband – if it was true that men need respect more than love. He said he believed that was true. I suddenly realized that I didn’t have the A+ I thought I had on my godly wife report card if respect was the measure. I asked Greg to write down all of the things that were disrespectful and all of the things that were respectful for me so that I could change really quickly and everything would be fine. He said, “I don’t know what is disrespectful or what is respectful.” I was upset. “What!?!? Well, if YOU don’t know what is respectful and I don’t know what is respectful – how am I going to learn to respect you and give you the things you need?”

    I began a 2.5 year journey of reading over 30 books on becoming a godly wife and learning to understand godly femininity. I spent hours everyday praying, reading, studying, and journalling – begging God to change me. I spent so many years demanding that Greg change. I had no idea that he felt disrespected. He had never said he felt hurt or upset with me or that I had sinned against him in any way. I thought he was fine. I didn’t know that I had been sabotaging our marriage myself with my constant criticism, my negativity, my telling him what to do, my jumping in to take over if he took longer to answer than I thought he should, my expecting him to think/speak/act like me. I had deeply hurt him. Our marriage was sick. I wanted to do whatever I could to make things up to Greg and to seek to heal our marriage and to live in a way that pleased God. I repented of my mountain of pride, self-righteousness, idolatry of self, my disrespect for God, my disrespect for Greg, my unforgiveness/bitterness/resentment, my wanting to control everything, my unbelief in God, my lack of faith and trust in His sovereignty, etc…

    God began to slowly and radically change my heart, my soul, and my mind. Eventually, He also began to soften Greg’s heart toward me and heal our marriage.

    This list is something I desperately needed when I began this journey almost 7 years ago. I share this list – not to shame or scold women – but because some of us have husbands who can’t or won’t tell us what they need. This is a good place to start. A number of husbands shared what they feel is respectful vs. what they feel is disrespectful. Each husband has his own preferences. But this is a place where a wife can start to examine herself in the light of God’s Word and ask Him to give her wisdom to stop any disrespect she may have been involved in and to begin to breathe life, healing, and blessing into her marriage.

    Men have lots of responsibilities and accountability before God, too. More than we do as wives. God will hold them accountable for how they love us and how they lead and how the honor us and how they represent the love of Christ to us. We will be accountable to God for how we honor, respect, love, and support our husbands. The goal is that our marriages and our lives might bring great glory and honor to Christ and might be a light to draw many into His kingdom.

    May God richly bless your marriages and your walks with Christ, my dear sister!

    Much love!

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