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8 Ways You Might Be Disrespecting Your Husband Without Knowing It

8 Ways You Might Be Disrespecting Your Husband Without Knowing It

We are all occasionally guilty of disrespect towards our husbands; I know I am one of the worst. Even though I know what my husband desires almost more than anything is my respect, I can definitely fail to show him that on a daily basis.

In his Crosswalk article on the subject, Mark Gungor reminds us that a husband’s greatest need is respect. Gungor writes, “Most women are willing to show respect, but they want their men to be worthy of it. If he is not, a woman feels that showing respect is disingenuous and she moves into “I-had-better-correct-the-situation” mode. She believes she can respect her man only if she can get him to act respectable. But that is not how it works. Respect is too great a need for a man to have it come and go based on performance. If a woman will learn to risk respecting her man when he is not perfect, he will open his heart to her and will become pliable to change.”

Well, I know I have definitely been guilty of this and I’m sure many wives reading this have been there too. 

I decided to do some self-reflecting on the things I need to work on to show my husband more respect. I thought I would share my reflections, because I know I’m not the only one. These are the top 8 worst things I do to disrespect my husband — most of them I do without even realizing it.

Adapted for this format by the iBelieve.com editorial staff.

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  • 1. Interrupt him

    One of the quickest ways to let someone know that you don’t care one bit about what he is saying is to interrupt him. I do this all the time. I know I do it, and yet I still have a hard time catching myself at it. I tend to do this without thinking. This is a serious issue because it shows a level of unconscious selfishness on my part. This selfishness prevents open conversation in my marriage.

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  • 2. Not including him in decisions

    One thing that I’ve had to make a conscious effort about is including my husband in social decisions. I have a habit of scheduling events with friends or family without checking with him first. I am a very extroverted and social person, but my husband is not. He is friendly and he is fun, but while social interaction is a release for me, he finds his release in being alone. When I make small decisions like this without him, I am inadvertently telling him that I don’t value his time. This isn’t about asking permission; it’s about remembering to include him in the discussion.

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  • 3. Throwing him under the bus in public and/or demeaning him in front of others

    This is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship, and I do not always follow my own advice in that regard. Marriage is a partnership, and the point of a partnership is working together. It’s impossible to work together if you undermine each other in front of others. I'm not saying you should try to make it look like everything in your marriage is perfect and you always get along. No one’s marriage is perfect, but words cannot be taken back. You don’t always have to like him or agree with him, but you should be his advocate and not his public critic. Also, be careful not to share information about his personal life that he hasn't given you permission to share. I’m an open book, but my husband likes to keep more to himself, and that’s something I have to be mindful of.

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  • 4. Halfhearted engagement in conversations

    I am terrible about this. My husband is not a big talker, except with me. He likes to come home and tell me what’s going on with his work or how his day was. He has a long commute, so he also likes to call and talk to me while he is driving home. Oftentimes, I have a tendency to let my mind wander while he is talking to me. Sometimes it’s because I’m busy with something — laundry, dinner, work — other times I’m reading, scanning social media, or my brain is off in its own world. It’s so easy to give only half of our attention to those mundane, everyday conversations, but our husbands notice these things more than we realize. It makes them feel like we don’t care about their day or their lives. Women are not the only ones who like to talk and be heard.

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  • 5. Marginalize anything that stresses him out or bothers him

    Women always get flak for needing to be taken seriously. When something bothers us, we want our husbands to care that it bothers us and to understand why it bothers us. The last thing we want is for someone to tell us our feelings don’t matter. We should never assume that our husbands don’t feel this way as well. Whether you are a stay at home mom, a businesswoman, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, or a waitress, your job is difficult and you know it. We all deal with stress. When your husband is open with you about stresses in his life, one of the worst things you can do is to act like what is stressing him out isn't all that stressful. Don’t compare his situation to your own and tell him how easy he has it. That isn’t fair and it likely isn’t true.

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  • 6. Holding a grudge

    I know I’m getting into some stereotypical woman stuff here, but all stereotypes come from a place of truth. We all do this, some more than others. It’s so easy to throw past failures back at my husband when he upsets me. If there is an ongoing issue that needs to be dealt with, deal with it, but if a past issue has been resolved we need to let it die. No one likes their mistakes to be thrown in their face. Thank goodness Jesus doesn’t throw past mistakes in our face. His example of true forgiveness is the one we should follow.

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  • 7. Using sex as a weapon/Ignoring intimacy

    There are a few things to deal with here. First of all, I know that if you are fighting, or hurt, or angry about something in your relationship, sex is the last thing on your mind. It isn’t just a physical act; it is emotional as well. I’m not trying to tell you to force it if that isn’t something you are comfortable with. However, it is demeaning to treat sex like it’s a treat for good behavior. Intimacy is important in a marriage, and unfortunately, that’s usually the first thing that goes when things get busy or tough — when jobs get stressful, when kids come into the picture, when we have a series of long, hard days. It’s easy to forget how important intimacy is. I’m not saying you have to be a sex maniac, just be cognizant of his feelings and remember that sex is important in a marriage.

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  • 8. Don’t expect him to fulfill you

    I struggle with this the most. Love is an incredible thing. It may not be perfect, but it feels wonderful to love someone and have him love you in return. However, the best way to set our husbands up for failure is to expect them to be the source of our fulfillment. It is unfair to my husband for me to gain my self-worth completely from him. He is not perfect. My confidence and my identity are my own. Marriage is made up of two people — two whole people. I am my own person, with or without my husband. Otherwise, I am only bringing half of what I could be bringing to the relationship. If I am expecting him to be my “other half” and to fulfill me, then I am not giving him the wife he deserves, and I am not giving myself what I deserve. Our fulfillment comes from Christ, not our husbands. To expect them to fill the role of the Savior in our lives is to set them up to fail.

    One final thing, let’s encourage each other in our marriages. Life is hard enough without us making it harder on each other. Create safe spaces in your friendships to share areas where you struggle in your marriage and in your life in general. Let’s encourage each other to be better wives and better people without degrading each other for our faults.

    I would love to hear from you, comment on Facebook with any other accidental disrespectful things we do that I haven’t included here.

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    Rachel-Claire Cockrell is a wife, a writer, and a high school English teacher. She is passionate about her students and does her best to exemplify the love of Christ to those kids who may not experience it anywhere else. She and her husband live in Arkansas. Follow her blog at https://rachelclaireunworthy.com/.