I have learned/am learning/will continue to learn that for a healthy marriage I need to respect my husband. And I do. At least I like to think I do.
So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
But then when it comes down to letting him know that I respect him, it seems my default mode is compliments. “You’re the best husband ever.” “I sure do appreciate you.” “You’re so awesome for helping-me-with-such-and-such.” What I’ve come to realize, however, is that he will hear NONE of that if I have been disrespecting him in other ways. The horrifying thing is that it’s taken me so.long. to even realize that these things communicate disrespect, longer to catch myself doing it, and it’s the rare occasion when I realize I was about to do it and actually stop myself! (If only I could bank up some Respectful Wife Points for all the times I don’t say or do something…)
For me, one of the best ways to learn how to respect my husband has been to recognize what disrespect looks like to him. So today I’m sharing some tips with you that sadly, I’ve learned from personal experience: 5 Easy Ways to Disrespect your Husband.
*Note: Most of these will work on any human relationship… They just seem to be particularly effective in marriages.
5 Easy Ways to Disrespect your Husband
- Correct him on petty things, regularly, and preferably in front of other people. If he’s telling a story about that deer that ran in front of the car Tuesday night but you know that it happened on Wednesday, speak up. If he mispronounced something, be sure he knows (right then and there, so everyone else knows too.) The facts must be preserved and truth must prevail.
- Get a laugh at his expense. Once again, this is a great one to do when others are around. His socks don’t match? Point them out. He did something embarrassing the day before? Tell the story. He will love receiving the attention and seeing everyone around him having such a great time.
- Ask for help on his behalf. You’ve been walking around the store for what feels like hours looking for that one thing. He probably doesn’t realize he can just ask a sales associate, so go ahead and do it for him. You’re out to eat and his meal didn’t come quite like he ordered it? Disregard his insistence that it’ll be great just the way it is; tell the waiter or call for a manager. He deserves it to be how he ordered it, and you’re doing him a favor. Besides, you might get a free meal or at least a coupon if you make a big enough deal about it.
- Compare him to others: friends’ husbands, coworkers, celebrities, ex-boyfriends, or your dad. It will motivate him to greater things when you remind him of all the mighty men you do respect whose example he has not yet lived up to. Let him know about your friends’ husband who get up with the baby every night, or the coworker who can do such-and-such super well, or the celebrities that look like this, or the ex-boyfriend that used to say or do that. And your dad, oh be sure you let your husband know of any ways that could be just a little more like your dad who knew everything, could fix anything, and was always there for you.
- Call in the experts. When your husband is in the process of fixing something – the car, the computer, the plumbing, whatever – and it’s not going exactly according to plan, stand by and continually suggesting that maybe he should call someone… a professional (or your dad).
Don’t get me wrong. There might be a time and a place for some of these things. Maybe your husband thought that embarrassing story was funny too and wanted you to tell the gang your version of it. Or maybe he’s frustrated about not finding that thing at the store and is happy for you to go find some help. Offering to call a friend who’s an electrician when he’s playing around with the wiring might not be a bad idea. And I’ll bet your dad has a ton of great advice that he’d be happy to share and that your husband can learn from. But think twice – or three times – about what you say, how you say it, and when.
I was the biggest culprit of the jokes-at-his-expense pitfall when we were dating. I was so confused when he didn’t think it was funny. I thought you thought I was funny? I thought we joked like that. I was just flirting. It had never crossed my mind teasing him in front of others made all the difference. One day he explained that when I teased him in front of others it felt like it was everyone against him. He wanted me on his side – him and me against the world. Yes! That’s what I wanted too! I just didn’t know that what I was doing could communicate the very opposite thing.
Let me take a moment to talk about ego, because I think that’s an argument that many would bring up when they see this list. Guys’ egos are big enough. It’s their problem if they can’t ask for help (or directions!). They’re offended at what?! They just need to get over it. Big ego? Pride? Easily offended? Maybe, I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not my job to fix my husband, to break his pride, or to wear down his ego. I know I have plenty, plenty, plenty of areas in my own life that need growth, and what I want from my spouse is support and encouragement, love and respect. We’re barraged enough by the rest of the world. Our marriage should be a safe haven.