But her tone of voice turned that simple question into an accusation. I felt disrespected, not because she didn’t follow me unquestioningly, but because I interpreted her tone as a challenge and insult.
I reacted poorly. Being the boneheaded man that I am (and new to this whole marriage thing, at that point), I didn’t tell her what I was doing. Instead I just motioned for her to follow me. Now she was beyond upset. In fact, she actually stormed off in the other direction. We did most of our shopping separately that day.
I was floored. I went to grab the double loaf of bread I had been aiming for, wondering what on Earth I had done wrong. I remember feeling very frustrated.
Why couldn’t she just follow my lead, I thought. Did I really need to explain to her that I just wanted to grab some bread?
Apparently, I made one other fatal mistake as well. The bread was at the front of the store. You never start at the front of the store. You go all the way to the back and work your way forward.
The point of the story is that I felt completely disrespected. All I wanted was for my wife to follow my lead through the store and not question which direction I was taking her.
Ladies, your husband thrives on respect. Without it, he can’t be fully confident in the relationship. It is just as important to him as feeling loved is to you. When he feels that you respect him he is strong and confident.
But it can be so easy to do something that feels disrespectful to him. Many times you might not even have a clue what you’ve done wrong. You can just see it in his deflated expression. Could it be that you’ve made one of these 5 respect mistakes?
- You act like his mommy: This is a common mistake that almost every wife makes. You want to help him, but in the process you treat him like a child. You remind him to brush his teeth or put deodorant on. You set his clothes out for him before bed. You wipe a smudge of food off his face with a napkin you spit on. But guess what? Your husband didn’t marry you to get a new mommy, he married you to get a partner. He needs you to support him without making him feel incompetent to handle his own affairs.
- You undermine his decisions: You tell your husband you want him to lead, but every time he tries you end up questioning him or going against him. He sets his foot down but you find sneaky ways to get around it. He doesn’t want a certain TV show on in his house but you argue about how it’s not so bad and watch it anyway. Let your husband lead already! Nothing communicates disrespect like when you put up a fight against his every decision.
- You take over with the kids: Your husband is trying to discipline or instruct the kids and you just have to step in and take over. Unless your husband is being dangerous, there is no need for this. He is perfectly capable of handling them.
- You answer questions for him: When someone directs a question at your husband he is fully capable of answering for himself. He doesn’t need you to interject with what you think his answer is. In fact, you might learn something new about your husband’s thoughts if you let him speak for himself.
- You don’t consult him on major decisions: Marriage is a partnership. And yet, you make major decisions without checking with your husband first. Where to go for the holidays or how to spend a tax return are big decisions that your husband should have a say in.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, it might be a good time to apologize to your husband and set things straight.