11 April 2012 ~ 21 Comments

5 Ways Wives Unwittingly Disrespect Their Husbands

ArgumentOne day my wife and I went shopping at Costco. I began to lead her in one direction fully expecting her to come along with me, but instead she seemed upset and asked me where I was going.

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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21 Responses to “5 Ways Wives Unwittingly Disrespect Their Husbands”

  1. Aprilc 13 April 2012 at 3:59 pm Permalink

    Great article, Daniel!  We wives sometimes need help seeing what we are doing that is hurting our marriages.  We can truly be blind to our disrespectful words and actions at times.  Thanks for your perspective and very practical advice!

  2. Hannah Williams 1 May 2012 at 12:53 am Permalink

    so true. We as women don’t always see exactly what it is we’re doing to hurt our marriages. I’d like to add “You interrupt him when he’s talking,” going along with the “answering questions for him” way. My husband and I process at different speeds and I know him so well, I often know what he’s trying to say and finish his sentences. Sometimes he says it’s cute, but usually it’s annoying to him. I know a lot of wives who interrupt their husbands when they’re talking and who don’t let their husbands finish their thoughts at their personal speed. It can be detrimental to the relationship, and awkward if you’re around other people.

    • Daniel Robertson 1 May 2012 at 3:28 am Permalink

       Haha, my wife will tell you I process things MUCH slower than she does. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Phil 25 May 2012 at 11:49 am Permalink

     Just stumbled into this by mistake. I had no idea such sexist piggery still exists. Do you not have any respect for your wife? Do you not believe in communicating with her? She is a human being with the same need as you to be treated as a person, not a shopping cart, so why wouldn’t she be upset at such behavior?

    • Daniel Robertson 25 May 2012 at 2:39 pm Permalink

       Of course I respect my wife and treat her like a human being. She is a very capable woman. And this post only provides a limited view of one incident that happened only weeks after we were married.

      If you read my post, you would realize that I understood the mistake I made with my poor communication skills. And if you were there to witness it, you would know that we discussed it in the car later and made up.

  4. JAndrews 25 May 2012 at 12:50 pm Permalink

    This is very sexist.  Your marriage does not appear to be founded upon an equal relationship, nor communication.  I feel very sorry for your wife.  She must feel so alone with a husband who doesn’t think even basic communication is important.

    • Daniel Robertson 25 May 2012 at 2:42 pm Permalink

       This is not sexist. My marriage is founded on Biblical principles, which places the responsibility of headship on my shoulders.

      This post only provides a very limited view of my marriage, and from a time when we had been married only weeks and we didn’t have a clue what we were doing.

  5. sher 26 June 2012 at 3:14 pm Permalink

    Thank you for this post. As a christian wife I understand it and try to live by it. I was only wondering if yuo could advise me on this, think I do respect my husband. He recently made a decision which I am not very comfortable with. How do I tell my husband about my concerns, my feelings about his descicion without being disrespectfull

  6. Kerrie 3 July 2012 at 6:18 pm Permalink

    Actually, this is a GREAT article. So many women emasculate their husbands and as a result, tear their house down w/ their own hands!
    * We can’t expect ppl who don’t adhere to the Bible to understand what you’re saying. Obviously, it’s foreign to them.
    This is an excellent article!

  7. Mammy 16 July 2012 at 2:43 pm Permalink

    This is a very helpful article for women who are seeking to do God’s will.Too many woman are disrespecting their husbands and this is not the way the bible tell us to live. Ladies if your objective is to have a happy and God-approved marriage, allow your husband to lead.

  8. Debbie 29 July 2012 at 1:29 pm Permalink

    I better stay single then because if my husband were to motion for me to follow him and didn’t answer me when I asked where he was going I would say he was disrespecting me. I doubt that God would approve of a man disrespecting his wife. It just seems as though you find it ok to make your mistakes and you blog about your wife’s short comings? I am a christian also but I don’t agree with you. The husband is supposed to take care of his family and his wife is supposed to be his help mate but she is not supposed to put him on a pedestal and treat him like her king, that is the position of Christ.

    • Marie 30 October 2013 at 2:07 pm Permalink

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Debbie!! It seems as though he thinks he can do no wrong but has no qualms about pointing out all of his wife’s short comings in his posts. I am so thankful that I am married to a Christian man who treats me as an equal and doesn’t blog about everything I do wrong or expect me to put him on a pedestal! Don’t give up hope on finding a good Christian man…they exist. 😉 I found one!

      • Daniel Robertson 30 October 2013 at 2:27 pm Permalink

        Marie, thank you for your comment.

        I never said I could do no wrong. Where did you get that idea? Right in the post I admitted that my move was a bonheaded mistake. God knows I make plenty of mistakes.
        It seems to me that you are maybe missing the point of the post. I felt disrespected and attacked by my wife’s comment, and I then sinfully responded in an unloving way. This is what Emmerson refers to as “The Crazy Cycle” in his book Love and Respect.

  9. jeff 22 August 2012 at 8:12 am Permalink

    With all due respect, look at the June/Ward Cleaver sitcoms of old. Now look at the newer sitcoms. June gave Ward tons of respect and when he screwed up, she did not bash him. Often when he made a mistake it was obvious and they both knew it. He would come around to admit it and appologize. Now lets move into the male bashing world. It’s everywhere and constant. The stupid husband commercials, sitcoms, movies. If you are unaware the school systems are set up and geared toward little girls. Boys are not allowed to be boys and men cannot be men.

    I have friends that talk about their “man cave” and I cringe because their hobbies and likes have been relagated to some small corner of the house.

    I don’t think daniel was trying to be sexist. He screwed up and he came around to realize it. Those with half a brain who do not look at the bigger picture that he is trying to paint are missing the point. They are not seeing the forest through the trees.

    If you truly, truly think society has gotten better since the feminist movement I feel sorry for you. If you see how it has emasculated men and you like the “sensitive” side of men than expect him to “man up” you are asking for and oxymoron. You may think your dear husband is both, but I caution you about possible future resentment.

    I shut down in my marriage due to a disrespectful and nagging wife. She had an epiphany and is struggling to be respectful, but the nagging has never stopped. We are picking up pieces of our marriage that do not fit any longer because too many years have gone by. We are both physicians, but for some reason her feministic ways of disrespect has killed true love that we both wanted.

  10. jeff 22 August 2012 at 8:31 am Permalink

    What I really wanted to get across is that men and women are different. Men are told to love their wives and women to respect their husbands. Think about that. Ephesians 5. God tells us to do this. Why? Because it is difficult. Most Men do not have the romantic, card writing, crying sensitivity that women have. Most women do not have the fight to the death for your neighbor, honor above all else, on guardism that men have.

    Jesus says there is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for another. Think about this ladies. Think, don’t feel, because feel is not in the NT. Think, 4 men died in Aurora, Colorado recently. How did they die? The put themselves in front of their wives, girlfriends and took a bullet to protect them. They laid down their lives for another, something that is so instinctual for the male gender that they didn’t even hesitate. They just did it, and so would your husband or boyfriend… with out a thought.

    Daniel is just saying respect men for who they are, not what you want them to be.

  11. Mary 24 August 2012 at 7:50 am Permalink

    Thanks for these tips.my hubby stays far from me and the kids that i make most decision myself though i have been disrespectful,i had been longing for a change.may God help me

  12. jeff 25 August 2012 at 4:47 pm Permalink


    you are most likely my wife, only i do not stay away from my children. i am very present in their lives, but at times i don’t even want to acknowledge my wife, which is UNLOVING. That is what is so difficult and that is why God told men to love their wives… it is difficult. Women, respect your husband. If you think this or that, there might just be the possibility that you are acting of this world and not just in it. if you are christian i implore you to think outside the bun and be Holy or separated out of this world.

  13. lili 10 September 2012 at 7:38 pm Permalink

    I think communication is key here BUT I think many problems of demasculinity in the household come from a man just nor stepping up then blaming or feeling inadequate later. I had this exact experience. Just 2 weeks ago my husband asked me to plan a weekend of camping with our 4 year old. It was late to book a campground but I researched and did my best to choose a new place we had never been. I wanted to get there early because we only had one night and the ferry schedules were limited. The first thing he did as I was driving out of the driveway was complain…”why do we have to rush? Why do we have to leave so early blah blah.” I bit my tongue and explained. The entire trip he complained and was angry that everything was my idea even though I tried to show him where we were going and what attractions there was there the night before. He ended up laying by the campfire that night and watching a movie on his ipod!!! :O

    This happens all the time. In our business he will give all the responsibility to me, then take full credit for the entire business saying its his and tell me constantly that I don’t do anything right. Its a lose lose situation!

  14. G 9 February 2014 at 12:59 pm Permalink

    Regarding your Costco story – so, you treated your wife with disrespect, and then were surprised that she was upset and “disrespected” you? That little “follow me, I don’t have to explain anything to you” gesture is great for toddlers and pets, not so great for the adult who is supposed to be your beloved and life partner. How hard is it to say “I’m going over here to get some bread?” It looks like you are asking for (demanding?) a type of “respect” that requires your wife to operate at the level of a small child.

    The thing that seems to escape many Christians is that both husbands and wives need love and respect. The need for respect may be slightly higher for husbands, and love for wives, but it’s a matter of a few degrees. When you treat your wife with disrespect, it’s going to be very hard for her to feel loved, or to respect you in the way you seem to require.

    • Daniel Robertson 9 February 2014 at 1:18 pm Permalink

      G, thanks for your comment. I fully agree that both husbands and wives need both love and respect.

      What I didn’t get across well in the post is that she didn’t just ask me where I was going, she did so in a tone of voice that turned the question into an accusation.

      I interpreted this as a challenge to my authority and as a personal insult, and I reacted poorly.
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