10 Steps Towards Respecting Your Husband

Written by Cyndie Hamley

Try the Series: How to Have a Great Marriage (with Dr. Gary Thomas)

With downcast eyes, Kathryn confided, “I have a hard time respecting my husband. I want to be obedient to God’s command, but I don’t want to be dishonest to my feelings.”

God doesn’t command a wife to feel respectful toward her husband. She is to be respectful. Her responsibility is to obey God; not her feelings.

A wise woman once told me, “If you want a truly fine husband, respect him at the level at which you want him to reach. A man will usually not rise above the level at which his wife respects him.” This is a general principle, not a hard and fast rule because God does not put accountability or responsibility for a man’s character on his wife. Nevertheless, strong evidence indicates a woman holds great power to make or break a man. In his book His Needs, Her Needs, Willard Harley amends the saying “Behind every great man is a great woman” to “Behind every great man is an admiring wife.”

Something in a man needs the respect of his wife. He thrives and grows toward godliness when his need is fulfilled. This explains why God emphatically says, “The wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33 NASB).

10 Steps Towards Respecting Your Husband

  1. Pray for him dailyand trust God to answer your requests.
    • Pray for his well-being, wisdom, protection, blessings, guidance, knowledge, spiritual maturity, success, purity, strength in temptation, etc.
    • Look for God’s answers to your prayers.
    • Thank God for working in your family.
    • Thank God for your husband.
    • Pray for your attitude.
  2. Remember that God has put your husband in a position of leadership, and He will lead you through your husband.
  3. Make a list of your husband’s qualities that you appreciate. Review and add to your list regularly.
  4. Tell your husband what you appreciate about him. Tell others what you appreciate about him.
  5. Don’t criticize your husband to others – especially your children.
  6. Look for the positive side of things that you may find irritating. If you find it boring when he spends time telling you about his bad day, remember that at least he is talking to you, spending time with you, sharing his concerns with you, bringing you into his confidence, and giving you the chance to be an encourager and helper.
  7. Respond to his loving advances with enthusiasm.
  8. If you are concernedabout a decision your husband has made, ask him the following:
    • “I’m confused about _________. Can you explain it to me?”
    • “Can we talk about _____? I feel uncomfortable about ______.”
    • Don’t ask: “WHY in the world would you do it that way?” or ask “Why?” in any way that implies you think he is foolish.
  9. Respect his likes and dislikes. If he likes a particular food, make a point of serving that regularly. If he hates the color purple, don’t wear purple in his presence. If he likes you to wear perfume, do it.
  10. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about your husband, stop and choose to think of something else – especially things from your positive quality list.

Remember, God is working on you and your husband. You can both learn from your failures as well as your successes. Give God the freedom to teach your husband through failure. In the same way, give God the freedom to teach you to trust Him through your husband’s failure.

Try the Series: How to Have a Great Marriage (with Dr. Gary Thomas)


393 Responses to “10 Steps Towards Respecting Your Husband”

  • Tom Tom says:

    Well said Persevering!

  • persevering says:

    Oops! That last statement was supposed to end with!!!!!!!!

  • persevering says:

    Don’t get me wrong…God brings back the feelings over time! He is the resurrected Christ????

  • Persevering says:

    Re: Respecting husbands. I have been the worst of the worst at respecting my husband. Even so, God in His mercy has sympathized with me, disciplined me, comforted me, and instructed me. He told me to obey Him by “showing respect” to my husband. In other words, it’s a choice. Love and respect is a choice. Feelings are nice but they can fade. Life and marriage are hard so it’s about commitment and obedience to God. As I have made the decision to show respect to my husband (fumbling maaaaany times) I have seen God’s Hand at work in my husband. Although, the goal is not for me to change my husband. I am a broken human being too. So, I asked God what He wanted to show me about myself. Ya know what He said? He said I was selfish….and I know I am – we all are. So, the point is that if we press into God through Christ we can gain an intimacy with Him and in doing so we can give Him our pain, our worries, our fears, etc. and receive instead His peace, His strength, His comfort. We have to allow this to happen by keeping our hearts free from hatred, bitterness and resentment. He will help us forgive from the heart too! Let’s not fool ourselves. This is going to take time…a lot of time. We have to be patient as He makes the changes in each of us. Making a conscious effort to find things to be thankful for is pivotal Trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Fall off the horse, but get back on afterwards. Give lots of grace to our spouses and ourselves. Support groups like Celebrate Recovery are great places that facilitate the believer to put themselves in God’s hands and ask Him to help us each get to the root of our issues like people pleasing (codependency), anger, adult children of dysfunctional families, sexual issues, etc. One thing we need to do as Christians is embrace the pain necessary to allow spiritual growth. Stay committed and persevere! There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

  • corrie ann says:

    Corrie Ann
    You can pray that God reveal to your husband what you see
    Because it does not mean he don’t see it
    But maybe he don’t know how to address it
    So pray that God give him a back bone to say No
    Pray for the areas your husband is weak or fall short

  • Chris Chris says:

    corrie ann…sorry to hear of your inner struggle. to me, respect is the ability to accept anothers differences from us and still be able to live in harmony with them. how much better the world would be and life in general, if we could all understand that principle i think. personally, i am an american, Christian man married to a mexican Christian woman whose very much different than i am in personality, faith, beliefs, customs and mannerisms. were i to try to change her or not respect her for who she is, we wouldnt be able to have a marriage. for a marriage to prosper, mutual respect is a necessity and that starts with each partner to exercise. if you would like more information on being able to accept and love your husband the way christ accepts and loves us, log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. my prayer for you and for us all is that we would accept people the way God has made them and if they have certain defect, that we would let jesus see to that in jesus name i am praying now amen!

  • halbcust says:

    Re: Corrie Ann,
    If I did not come to this question from a Christian perspective I don’t know what I would say to you in response to your comments. But when I look at what scripture says then I find a response. Scripture teaches that a wife is to respect her husband and that a husband is to love his wife. It does NOT say that the husband is supposed to love her only when she is lovable, only when she deserves love, only when she is doing things that would make me want to love her. It is what husbands are to do.

    We are also to pray for one another and with all love and respect try and work out any issues that exist. If we find that they are bigger than we are then find help from someone who also understands these very important keys for building strong marriage.

    Do all Christians follow this, no but that is what they are called to and there would be many less problems if they were followed.

  • Corrie Ann says:

    I’m finding it impossible to respect my husband. When its just the two of us we are great, but as soon as someone else enters the picture he morphs into this people-pleaser with no backbone. He allows others (whether its his kids, his siblings, or his students) to treat him like a doormat. The more disrespectful they talk to/treat him, the more he goes out of his way for them.
    How am I suppose to respect someone who allows this? It seems like every time I try to build him up and show him how much I appreciate him it just enables him to be emasculated by others.
    Whenever I try to stand up for him, he chastises me, saying not to try to control other people but just to focus on myself. How am I suppose to be okay when others treat someone I love so irreverently? How am I suppose to want to respect him?

  • poonam says:

    Have you tried counseling or did he say why he don’t like the family

  • Chris Chris says:

    poonam…i regret to hear of your situation. we understand that if even in natural families there is so much strife and bickering today, how much more could that happen in families that are joined through marriages which is not excusable but logical because of the terrible condition the world in general is in today. my first suggestion is to you because as you know, we cannot live the life of anyone else but our own. be sure you have the confort, love, grace and salvation of jesus christ in your heart and life because only jesus can bring us through our troubled times unscathed. trying to live this life without the presence of God is like walking through the Sahara desert with no wáter. you can find out how to have jesus love and strength in your own life by logging onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or by clicking talk to a mentor above. as you receive the grace and love of christ in your heart, you will be able to communicate that to your husband, pray for him and see his heart change also by the power of the holy spirit and be a man of love instead of hate. i pray now that you would indeed open your heart to jesus to see that as he created the world, he alone is able to sustain it in his name i pray amen!!

  • Poonam says:

    My husband does not pay respect to my family. He always abuse them in front of me. i do not share this anyone not even with my family. i am so tensed.i fought with him many time. Sometime he was sorry also.But he has repeated this action many times. His attitude towards my parents is same.

  • Chay says:

    I understand your pain and began to seek God for directions on this issue
    We are never trapped
    GOD always provide a route to escape
    Even when Samson disobey God and marry Delia
    in the Bible . Please read psalm 37
    I will keep you in my prayers

  • Persevering says:

    Cheky, I’m so sorry for the pain and betrayal that you feel. Our enemy prowls around like a lion seeking to devour us. Cheky, I believe the enemy has led you both astray by your mutual decision to live apart. The bible teaches about how man and wife need to come together sexually regularly or else the devil will be given opportunity to tempt. He can only tempt man to give in to his own evil desires yet we Christians need to be aware of the enemies schemes and our own weaknesses so as to guard against falling into temptation. I too am familiar with the pain of betrayal. Even when couple’s live together if they are not loving and respecting each other, the temptations continue to come. Having accountability is a key tool in helping all of us from falling into various temptations. A trusted friend who is transparent about their own struggles would be a great asset. Also, support groups like Celebrate Recovery help people in similar situations. I pray God give your husband the gift of repentance and for you to be able to forgive your husband from your heart in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • vale says:

    i’ve heard enough

  • lerato says:

    Cant we divorce already prayers don’t help nothing does, this marriage has been nothing but pain… i’m pregnant my husband family never wanted me, his supporting them. i cant even speak to him. his no longer my friend i dont love him anymore. im trapped

  • Trish Hicks Trish Hicks says:

    Chay God may not be saying that he is not at fault at all,that may just be the way you could be percieving it. Most of the times when things are not going according the way we think they should go. It is human for us all to point the other finger and say “well if you” would do such and such,things would be better.
    It is called the blame game,it started with adam, Saying to God “it was the woman you gave me
    that made me eat of the forbidden fruit. As Jesus has said and we all even me are guilty of this. Matthew 7:5
    You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
    So Chay i just believe right now God is trying to have you focus on yourself we are all at fault .We are all always ready to point the finger to someone else instead of us taking responsibilities for our own actions.And that Chay i think is just what God is trying to do. He is not saying your husband is completely innocent. God just wants you to focus on correcting your own actions.If your husband is a believer and at fault at all in the situation you are referring to. God will also take care of your husbands actions in his own way and timing. I hope that can clear some things up for you.
    much blessings,

  • cheky says:

    Thanks Christ, please pray for me right now, ive seen my husbands new account on Skype, He doesnt talk to me for almost 2weeks now, he blocked me on facebook, now i asked him tonight on email if he wants divorce, i just cant accept that hes being unrepentant.

  • Chris Chris says:

    cheky….i am sorry to hear about your husbands struggles. internet useage has caused many a strong believer to be weakened its true. however a persons sins are personal. yes when we are married they are also personal between husband and wife but in general i believe 1 peter 4.8 applies where it says love covers a multitude of sins. of course there needs to be true repentance on your husbands part but sharing his sins with others is something that could prove to be counterproductive. that is why we have pastors. shepherds to guide us when we are going astray. yes, you did well to call his attention to his unfaithfulness towards you but if i were you, i would apologize for taking his sins to others without his knowledge. a sacred trust has been broken here on both sides. his, by speaking with other women and on yours by publicizing his sin instead of trying to cover it over through forgiveness and restoration. walkingthechristianlife.com might help you in your marriage situation and getting with your pastor if private counseling is needed, and i stress private. i pray jesus bring you the wisdom you need now to deal with this situation with his understanding and application of his words so that you can permit the holy spirit to guard your hearts together as one true voice in christ amen!

  • cheky says:

    Hello my name is cheky, my husband was chatting girls online, to me i have forgiven him, but what i did was to tell to 2couples about his sin, for me the exposure will help him to stop sinning because we are on LDR, Hes in Japan, we agreed that i should finish my degree in Philippines, there was broken of trust.

    now he dont talk to me anymore because hes very angry,
    what will i do? telling others about his sin is disrespectful.

  • Persevering says:

    Thank you, Chay!

  • Chay says:

    I will be praying for Tina
    That God intervene and help her find her way to Him
    my prayer is that he will keep his arms of protection around her
    and direct her path

  • Persevering says:

    Prayer team, Please lift up Tina who’s husband is a non-believer and physically abusive to her. Tina grew up with an abusive dad. She later married a Christian man who cheated on her so she lost faith in Christian men and married again but to an unbeliever. She’s been suffering physical abuse and no marital sexual intimacy for over 10 years now. She is a mess. She keeps justifying staying because she wants a man to take care of her. She is idolizing her husband. Please pray she come to her senses and seek safe harbor and that her husband be dealt with by the Lord as He deems fit. Many many thanks!

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Shawn, are you involved in Church, in some kind of ministry? Does your pastor know what your situation is? Are there women in the church who are considered “mothers in Israel?” If you can find it in your heart to seek help from such as these for support, or get involved in a ministry in the church, it may be of much value to you. When we are ministering to the needs of others, God will work in meeting our needs in one manner or another.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for Shawn and her husband. We ask that You would rebuke the enemy who is trying to steal, kill, and destroy that marriage; and we also know that You hate divorce according to Your Word in Malachi 2:16, ““For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”

    Lord God, grant Shawn the knowledge and wisdom to know what to do and how to do it regarding the relationship between her and her husband, in Jesus Name I pray, amen.

  • Chay says:

    I know you can not see the victory in this
    But trust God and dont look at how your husband acting
    But and see God doing a miracle in your marriage
    Continue to pray and trust God and ask him for directions and guidance and wait….
    When you done all and said all
    Wait on God
    Isaiah 41
    You are not alone

  • Shawn says:

    Seems like the more I pray and I work in me, the worse he gets. It’s sad and draining

  • God's girl says:

    Remember that both spouses need to have an ongoing relationship with God. In marriage, there is Man, God, and Woman and God is the main spouse and the foundation of the marriage.

  • Chay says:

    Thank you for that information on Smith wiggle worth wife

  • Chay says:

    Hi Shawn
    That is a hard thing to do
    But you have to trust God
    And ask for wisdom and understand
    Especially if we have not done anything to cause this
    Smith wiggle worth wife was a wise woman
    What I am finding out is that we can’t react off our emotions but pray
    Because pray does Change you and then you will be to know how to handle the

  • Chay says:

    Hi Shawn
    That is a hard thing to do
    But you have to trust God
    And ask for wisdom and understand
    Especially if we have not done anything to cause this
    Smith wiggle worth wife was a wise woman
    What I am finding out is that we can’t react off our emotions but prat
    Because pray does Chang you and then you will be to know how to handle the situation with your spouse
    I will be praying for you

  • Persevering says:

    Smith’s wife wasn’t a doormat. She was strategically winning her husband to the Lord and able to do so because of being filled with His peace and strength.

  • Persevering says:

    Smith Wigglesworth’s ministry was raising the dead to life. Before he got saved his Christian wife was locked out of the house by Smith for going to church. His wife spent the night in the car And when Smith let her in in the morning she asked him what he wanted for breakfast and made him what he wanted. Smith’s wife understood something that we all need to understand and that’s the power of the opposite spirit. When someone comes to us in wrath we respond with gentleness. Smith’s wife was strong in the Lord and Allowed God to use her to win her husband to Him by her submissive behavior instead of her words.

  • Shawn says:

    How do you respect your spouse? Especially if he isn’t showing love for example, sometimes he leaves the house to go to the store and and just walks out or for example if he has a trip away he won’t even call and say he arrived safe. Things I feel are important and should be to him he doesn’t

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Sunita, thank you for leaving a comment for our readers.

  • sunita says:

    Marriage is all about trust and respect, & when someone loves you truly, this things comes automatically, we don’t need to fix the relationship, we have to proud on our relationship.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    There is great deal of conversation going on here. One thing I’d like to point out is what God says in His word about our beauty, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

    Should any of you like to have one of our blog mentors connect with you via email in a private setting here is a link to request one: http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor/

    Father God, I pray on behalf of all these ladies that are facing difficulties in their marriages. I ask that Your Holy Spirit would give each one of them discernment and clarity as to what You would have them do or not do. May we all be reminded that You do not ask that we try to change anyone else or that it is our responsibility to “fix” that person. We are responsible to work with Your Spirit that resides within us in perfecting our inner lives and others are responsible to take responsibility for their inner being. God may You bring peace and restoration into these relationships. Let not the enemy continue to tear marriages and families apart. In Jesus’ name, Amen

  • Chay says:

    Hi Trish
    Thank you for your words of encouragement
    I do agree with you that you have to build up your mate with words and look and see the good in them
    Because there had to be something good in them that attract you to them
    I am learning also that life is too short to fuss and fight all the time
    I have been praying to God for directions on my marriage

  • Trish Hicks Trish Hicks says:

    Firstly i do believe that commnication is on of the most important aspects in a marriage. But too i now know from experiance that ,that communication must be opened yet not degrading.Not the fighting kind of communication am I speaking about.Because I am still learning this myself. We must watch what comes out of our mouths, always or tongues our words are powerful ladies and gents. For we are created in Gods image. All God did to create this world we live in just by speaking,”Let there be light” and it was good.
    Genesis 1:3 NIV

    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
    So We all must watch what we say.In respect of our husbands as we are to submit to them at the same time we are to build him up with our words.Our words have the power to build up or tear down. I choose to build up.
    I have been guilty of just the opposite also along with alot of us I am sure. However I am slowly learning with diffrent help of elders and advisors, Pastors. I don’t know how I made it this long without each of them.
    I had also heard a small tid bit that might be helpful I know I had a problem also with this. Getting offended. And the tid bit was. Any offense comes at you take the offense as if it were God saying .For no one can do or say anything with out the permission and grace of God . . Believe me people when i say it works.
    I pray this can shed some light on this subject .
    May the peace of God hold and keep you,
    love y’all Trish

  • Persevering says:

    Thanks Chay. I’ll keep praying for you and your husband.

  • Chay says:

    Thank you for wisdom and knowledge
    I am just praying for directions for marriage right now
    I am not sure about counselor
    I know she did suggest that I pray that God change my husband heart and find his way back

  • Persevering says:

    Hi Chay, one more thing…have you ever tapped in to the Holy Spirit’s power and felt the peace, comfort , strength and joy of the Lord?

  • Persevering says:

    Hi Chay, is your counselor a true Christian meaning are they bringing the word of God and offering prayer during your sessions? Sometimes they won’t offer prayer but you can ask. God wants to change your husband, trust me! He wants to heal all Christian marriages for sure. If only one of you is a true believer the bible says we can win our unbelieving spouse to God without a word but instead by our submissive behavior. If the unbelieving spouse is argumentative and wants a divorce he should leave for the sake of peace and we are to let them go. Check with your husband about whether or not he truly has his allegiance to our Lord as there are many who claim to be Christians but are not. If he really is a Christian and so are you, God’s will is clear that we must stay unless he’s had sex outside of marriage. If we sin and divorce for other reasons God wants us to remain single or return to our spouse. If he’s not a true believer and divorces you you are free to marry again but must make sure it’s to a true believer. This is what scripture speaks of these matters

  • rj says:

    I don’t know who your counselor is but I would find another. Nothing is ever one sided nor should be put on a single individual! This is a two way street… don’t even look at dating or think about another man after this… just focus on you and your relationship with God…

    Find another counselor. Period. THIS IS NOT ALL YOU!!!

  • chay says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful words of encouragement
    I just came from counsel session and I am kind of bomb out
    Because my counsel says that I have change and my husband will not.
    I know God is all powerful
    Do I am going to pray for directions on my marriage
    at this point at 48 years old
    22 year of marriage
    Just don’t want to start over with the dating
    I just drained
    And don’t have the fight in me no more
    I just pray for God will to be done
    Because when you don’t know what to do
    You stand still
    I am just wondering why would God allow me to change and my husband don’t change

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