10 Steps Towards Respecting Your Husband

Written by Cyndie Hamley

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.

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333 Responses to “10 Steps Towards Respecting Your Husband”

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Persevering, thank you so much for your incredible and encouraging story. No doubt, it will touch the lives and hearts of many facing similar circumstances. Thank you also, for your desire to please God and “sticking in there” as far as your marriage was concerned. Yes, what is impossible with man, is possible with God. He is a miracle working God, but it must be in His time. You’ve proved that. Let’s pray:

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for Persevering and her husband. A love so great it is unfathomable. Help them to grasp the magnitude of that love. Help them to comprehend the sacrifice You made for them in sending Your Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for their sins, and the sins of all mankind. Lord, cause them to put You smack-dab in the middle of their relationship, and to draw ever closer to You, for as they do so, they will be drawing closer to each other. Anoint them in the ministry to which You have called them. Keep them safe, strong, healthy, and vibrant for You, in Jesus Name we pray and agree. Amen.

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Dave, I would like to pray for you: Father God, You know and have heard the cry of Dave’s heart regarding the struggles he encounters in this world. Lord, grant him a double portion of the Holy Spirit’s anointing in his life. Cause him to be well versed in the Word so that he can use it against the devil as Jesus did in the wilderness. Give him the strength and fortitude he needs to resist the devil, that he may flee from him, in Jesus Name we pray and agree. Amen.

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Dave, you are right on. God does answer prayer, and the best thing one can do for his/her spouse is pray for him/her. Someone has said that the person(s) you pray for, you draw closer to. What a revelation. God bless you as you continue to serve Him by encouraging His people.

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Archford, thank you for your encouragement and your prayer. God bless you.

  • Persevering says:

    God is changing my husband and I so much through prayer. This October will be 12 years of marriage. We fought like cats and dogs before we were married and it continued afterwards as well. I thought “this is nothing a little counseling can’t help us with.” On our wedding night he refused me sexually and didn’t come near me on the honeymoon and hardly at all after that. I confronted him early on and he wouldn’t respond – just a doe in the headlights. It didn’t make sense because before we were married and before we were Christians we had sex all the time. Time after time I tried to be reasonable and get him to enter into a dialogue with me about what was going on with him. Still…a doe in the headlights. Then, I’d reached my threshold of patience. Rage took hold of me and time after time I would scream at him from the top of my lungs…”Get some help for yourself!!!!” I became physically, emotionally and verbally abusive towards him – he called the cops on me three times. After they heard my story, they didn’t take me in (not to excuse my behavior). So what was the deal? Was he gay? Having an affair? What??? I later remembered that he’d told me that when he was 14 he was sexually abused…at gunpoint. Yeah. That had to be it. So I got into therapy (again) to learn to deal with my emotions while going through the most excruciating trial of my life (at the time I was a sex addict)…waiting for my husband to come out of denial about his issues and get some help for himself. After one fight I heard the still small voice tell me to attend Celebrate Recovery. I did and three years later, so did my husband. With about five years each at this program, God has called us to lead a Celebrate Recovery at our church! One thing God told me early on was that my marriage was going to be hard. He also told me I needed to embrace the pain and carry my cross. Regarding my husband, He tells me to show respect and be patient. It has taken me 11 years of marriage to really really surrender my desires for the Lord’s desires. The Holy Spirit has been changing me so much and making me into a gentle and respectful woman. So opposite of who I used to be (I mean I used to love listening to bands like Rage against the machine and Alice in Chains – and curse words were my native tongue). We have seen counselors over the years but had to stop because of financial issues. Now, we both see the same counselor individually and soon as a couple. The Lord spoke to me and told me I will have a little boy. He also told me how much longer I’d have to suffer in my marriage…4-1/2 more years. I am here to tell you that I have gone from desperately desiring death or divorce (even asking God to take my husband or myself fervently in prayer)to bring an end to my suffering – to becoming so strong in the Lord and able to endure my trial with patience and even with joy!(Colossians 1:11). Five years from now I just might have my baby and my husband will no longer be held captive by his past. Then, the Lord can send us out to share with others that all things are possible with God! What was the other option? I could have disobeyed God and married someone else…a man with different issues… His issues, my issues…it’s all got to be dealt with eventually. I stayed with my husband because of my desire to please God and only because of the strength provided me by the Holy Spirit. With my background and my husband’s background, no secular counselor would ever say that it would last. But, what is impossible for man, is possible with God. After my husband and I have our son, I can only imagine the testimony we’ll have then…A true beauty from ashes story to encourage troubled married couples to stick it out and give God time to work! He will take care of you and grow you spiritually in the process. Painful? YES! Worth it? DEFINATELY!!!!!!!

  • Kennedy Dave says:

    Since becoming a believer, I have studied what the Lord captures for us in Scripture. And I have come to know that here on earth, my struggle is not against other people. It is a struggle between the evil one, who is defeated and The Living Lord of the Universe, who has won the battle. So, when a person offends me in one way or another, I can look at that person and know that my battle is not with that person. The battle is with the spirit of evil behind that persons actions. Jesus gives me the power to love the person. Jesus does not ask me to love their behavior. It is east for me to become confused with this. I confuse the person with their behavior. They are not one and the same.

    Ephesians 6 includes this “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    Lord Jesus, I struggle in this world. You have overcome the world. I am your brother. I am your servant. Help me Lord.

  • Kennedy Dave says:

    My wife and I were married in December of 1974. We were both in church, but not believers. I became a believer in 1997. For the first 21 years, she received my disrespect and that which my son learned from me. In the summer of 1995, she had enough and she told me and my son exactly that. I heard her. I knew I was who she said I was. And two years later, I reached out to the Lord and He grabbed hold of me. I praise God for that. I cannot believe that she decided to trust me immediately…..maybe 10 years later she would begin to trust me again. Perhaps the Lord gave her the patience and desire to do that.

    The article includes 10 Steps Towards Respecting Your Husband. Ten steps seems to me to be a little long, but the first one is prayer. That is a good thing. So I know that God is working on me and each human being in the universe. Each of us can learn from our failures as well as our successes. In the same way, give God the freedom to teach you to trust Him through our individual failures.

    Pray for him daily and 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.

  • archford says:

    thax alot for dicusing some life storys all i can say is this my friends dont loose hope do not give up be strong god will helpe you,now em going to pray you devil i know you are the couse of this problems but em going to reves you in the mighty name of jesus christ i command every forces of darkness to leave our marrieges right now in the mighty name of jesus i pray……..amen and ame GOD IS THE ONLY SOLUTION

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Nichole, sorry that no one has responded to your comment.

    That is the hardest part of relationships: doing what is right even when it is undeserved. That’s why I applaud your commitment to looking to God for help. He is the king of love without being earned and the more that we focus our attention on Him and follow His leading in our lives the more we reflect His character.

    Let me encourage you to make your first response to your husband be prayer like, “Lord, how do You want me to respond to my husband’s words/actions?” And then look/listen for His leading being ready to follow right away no matter how hard it might be. The more you follow His leading the more you will see your own attitudes change.

    Lord God I pray for this family and ask that You would help them to love one another through Your leading. Help this husband to humble himself and recognize the ways that he is hurting his wife. Give her a supernatural love that transcends her husband’s mistakes. Draw them both closer to You and in that, closer to each other. Amen.

  • Nichole says:

    I have tried to respect my husband in the ways that you have listed… What I am truly finding a hard time with is when it is not reciprocated. He does respect me on certain things as I do him, but I have noticed that I am the only one working on the marriage. I have been working on changing myself with God’s help, but he still does the same things over and over and over again that we have had talks about… I have also found out after we were married for two years that he cheated on me while we were engaged… He will not talk about it so we can move past it… He thinks because his conscious is clear, that all is A.O.K. When It really is not. He has dumped a HUGE burden on my shoulders that he refuses to help me build trust back with him… Not to mention the many ‘small’ lies I have caught him in… Every time I try to speak to him about any of the past issues, he says, “I knew I should have never said anything, because you won’t let it go.” Which to me is very disrespectful. How am I supposed to give someone respect that I have lost so much trust with and I cannot work on the relationship on my own… I just do not know what to do any more…. I have been praying and asking God to help us…. But I find myself being constantly reminded of why him and I have such issues…. Any help would be greatly appreciated… Thanks and God Bless!

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up my sister to you at this time in her life, that you will heal there marriage and talk to her husband about extra relationships. In Jesus Mighty name Amen

  • Reena says:

    I dont know how to start but I find myself very difficult to understand what ‘respect’ is all about. All I know is I raise my voice when I am angry over serious issues. And husband keeps saying to lower my voice and that I am disrecpecting him. He says that to everyone but I am trying to figue out why he says that. We are married for 9 years and it is now coming to a halt. He went on to look at another woman’s big breasts who used to wear revealing clothes and come to our house. He used to have sex with me every time he saw her (In 9 years maybe I can count the times we had sex as he was never interested in me). He keep hiding this till I confronted him and he admitted it. He kept telling me that he has checked out of this marriage long time ago. Now he is trying to be nice to me and said he is sorry and that he has repented of everything. Forget respect, I unable to even sleep on the same bed with him. I dont want to live with him anymore as all what has happened to me is tormenting me all the time. I cant love or trust him ever again. What would you say to this? Is divorce the right thing to do even though he is not willing to go that road being worried about what people would say. Actually there is so much going on between us and I feel we are not meant to be together.

  • Mary Pinckney Mary Pinckney says:

    Benditta,
    You are correct, it is difficult to have a lasting marriage now a days. It is however not impossible. The definition for marriage has gotten so mixed up in our society. We have to remember to go back to God’s definition of marriage. He is the author of marriage. He has given us so many awesome keys to lasting relationship in His Word. You can find some in these verses (Romans 12:9-21, Ephesians 5:30-33, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 Peter chapter 3, just to name a few)

    I am not certain where things stand with you and if you are experiencing troubles in your marriage, but I want to encourage you to not give up on your relationship. The Lord is still healing marriages and broken hearts. I want to encourage you to reach out to one of our mentors if you would like to discuss in greater details the issues that you maybe facing (http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/). This is a private site and a mentor will help pray and walk you through what you are facing.

    Father, I ask that you will continue to minister healing and peace not only to Benditta, but also to others that are facing tough issues in their relationship. I pray that you will grant them the grace and strength to persevere in the midst of heartache and pain. Grant them the wisdom needed to bring about change. Teach them when to let go and allow you to help them. You did not call them to this walk alone, but you are here to help them in every area of their lives. I pray that they will find freedom most of all in your love for them. In Jesus name, Amen
    Grace and Peace,
    Mary

  • lookingup lookingup says:

    Hi Benditta,I think that is a very good question. Just a couple of comments to that which is by no means a comprehensive answer but perhaps in part.

    I believe that there are many facets to marriage. The relationship must work through many differences. Financial, intimacy, child raising to name just a few are things that can bring many challenges and expectations that will not always align.

    I think unmet expectations is one of marriages biggest challenges. God made each of us so different and they often are an initial attraction for us to the other but after time it can also lead to frustration and conflict. Healthy long term marriages are harder to find I think because the most important aspect of it from the start is not given it’s proper role. Having God at the center can make such a difference. Now statistically Christians don’t have a much better record than non-Christians but of those that are, and those that prayed together each day, only 2% ended in divorce.

    I think that this is not just prayer but putting God first. My wife and I went to a marriage seminar, but a friend asked I didn’t know there was something wrong with your marriage. I said there wasn’t but I asked him if he waited till his car engine would make noises before he changed the oil. He said ahhhh, good point. At the seminar on thing was said that has stuck with me ever since. The leader said that the opposite of love is not hate, but selfishness. Ouch, that hurt. When I looked at my marriage I was struck with conviction.

    So Benditta, I believe that the two biggest reasons are not putting God first and selfishness. This is not to say we can not have needs and desires but are they always done with the others best intentions? This is where Jesus Christ is our example.

    Blessings

  • Persevering says:

    Benditta, I think it comes down to devotion to Christ. As a Christian, I’ve been tempted to divorce because it was hard (lack of intimacy, terrible communication and fighting are the main reasons I wanted to divorce) But because God’s Spirit lives in me, He compelled me and continues to compel me to stay. Because what is impossible for man is not impossible for God. It takes time for God’s plan to be worked out in our marriages. He’s continually disciplining us and healing us and teaching us. Our minds need to be renewed and understand that marriage is sacred. It’s God’s representation to the world of Christ and His Church. Faithfulness regardless of how hard it is. There are biblical grounds for divorce in some instances though. If a non-believing spouse wants to leave a Christian, they are free to go. If a spouse commits adultery the innocent spouse is free to leave and remarry. If a Christian divorces for any other reason that being cheated on, they need to stay single and serve the Lord with their time. Remarriage at that point would bring the title of adulterer/adulteress onto them which is a dishonor.

  • Benditta says:

    It´s so difficult these days to have a healthy long lasting marriage… my parents have been married for 50 years. Now it´s not so common to find long lasting marriages. I wonder why??

  • the one he loves...m says:

    Fantastic article

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Interviworld,
    Interesting perspective on what it means to respect your husband. Respect is something that is built on trust and love and is a lot more than just letting him do what he wants. A relationship is built on mutual love and respect and goes both ways. My husband and I both give and take….so yes, we want to allow one another the freedom to do what they want, but we also sometimes don’t when that hurts the other or isn’t in the best interests of our relationship or mutual goals.

  • Interviworld says:

    Just let him do what he wants. Do not control him all the time and he will be happy.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Great article

  • lookingup lookingup says:

    This is for schematic: I am prompted to ask you and your wife why you got married? May sound like a stupid question, but I really want to know.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    John that is terrible advice. Divorce is an awful thing to go through and I would not wish it on anyone.

    Schematic: It sounds like you’re having some intense communication issues with your wife. Can I ask you a question? How much time do you and your wife spend together? I’m asking because I’m wondering if your wife is dressing the way she does as an attention-seeking behaviour? Is it possible that she feels like you don’t see her so she’s dressing this way and picking fights with you just so she has your attention? I’m not saying that it’s a behaviour that can continue, but if you can get a sense of what it is that your wife isn’t getting (i.e. what needs are not being met) then that can help you as you both work toward a better way to live together.

    Have you and your wife ever been to see a counsellor? A professional can be a HUGE help when you’re dealing with communication issues. He or she can give you some excellent tools and resources to find a better way to communicate and can also help you get to the root of the issue that is causing the problems in the first place. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that counselling is only for couples in the brink of disaster but that’s not true. All marriages can benefit from some professional help. I would strongly encourage you to see a counsellor. If your wife won’t go with you consider going on your own. Have you been able to talk to your pastor? Are there people who can pray for you and your wife?

  • John says:

    Schematic,

    Please listen to me. You MUST get out of that marriage! You are only going to suffer because this woman does not love you. Is she really pretty? If I’m correct, then you will know.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Marriage is beautiful and wonderful, but the more intimate we are with another human, the more our sins are exposed. This is painful for everyone and each person has different habits or mechanisms they might use – like nagging or being silent or being secretive. God can use each and every circumstance to teach us, to shape us, to refine us, so let’s keep surrendering our will to Him and keep re-committing ourselves to honouring our spouse.

  • Persevering says:

    Hopeful,
    I looked up “respecting your husband” on line and was brought to a site that told me to treat him like a king. Also, the compliment sandwich i.e. give a genuine compliment, make a request, end with a genuine compliment. Most important is to be patient as God works. You won’t get immediate results necessarily but over time as you progress, God will honor that and you’ll see results over time.

  • Persevering says:

    Schematic – I know the raw feeling that you’re feeling. My husband and I are doing the Love Dare right now. You can do it to your wife w/o telling her. Have you seen the movie Fireproof? The Love Dare was created as a result of this movie. You can buy the book at Christian book stores or maybe even Barnes & Noble. It’s worth it. You will be giving without expecting anything back for 40 days. 40 days is significant in the bible. Watch Fireproof too! or re-watch it. God will give you the strength to do this. Keep looking up and moving forward. The devil is attacking every Christian marriage. You CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God. I pray that anyone who is struggling with there marriage that they will rely on our Heavenly Father, as He is the one who brought you two together by Holy Matrimony. In Jesus Mightyname amen

  • schematic says:

    I been married for a year and a half to my wife. I get absolutely no respect at all. She nags all the time and start arguements about the smallest things and im allways getting the passive aggressive behavior/silent treatment when she disagrees with me about anything . I have to ignitiate intimacy and sex all the time, which is starting to piss me off. I’m walking on egg shells and don’t feel like myself at all..I try to talk to her about all this and issues I have with her dressing a little to provacative to work and she still does it. It goes in one ear and out the other. I dont know what else to do..Im starting to believe good guys finish last. Ive done all I can do and Im leaving it in God hands now..I love this woman but, I cant take but so much. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP. IVE BEEN HURTING TO LONG

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Vale, thank you for sharing some of your story. You seem disappointed that you are having this problem so early in your marriage. May I ask what seems to be holding you back from speaking to one another? Please feel free to respond here. As you read through the comment treads, you can see that we try to keep this a safe and civil forum to figure out some problems together. If you’d like something private, we have free and confidential email mentors. Just click here if you’re interested: http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/ We can connect you with someone who is experienced at helping out with marriage problems. Take care!

  • Vale says:

    i’ve been married to my husband for a month now, things have went from better to worse, we havent been speaking to eachother for a week. im not sure if God will help because ive been praying im depressed now. thinking of divorce.

  • Kate Kate says:

    God is faithful to draw us to Himself however often we seek Him. He doesn’t promise to fix our situation or improve our circumstances, but He does promise that we can trust Him, His goodness, though everything and everyone around us should fail. Be blessed today with the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Persevering says:

    Hopeful,
    I’m so sorry you have to experience this pain. Your husband has broken his marriage covenant with you by sleeping with another woman. Jesus said “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:32. So, since your husband has committed adultery against you, you are free to divorce. Respecting him or anyone is what Jesus wants us to do out of respect for Him. It’s a practice of detachment from the person who’s not being respectful, personally speaking. We’re to do it unto the Lord for the Lord’s glory. Being still and knowing He is God is pivotal. God may want you two to come together again, I’ve heard of that happening. Although, if your husband is an unbeliever and wants to leave, then the Scripture is clear to let him go so there is peace between you. Jesus is your eternal Husband and will take care of you either way. He is your Provider. He will continue to guide you to make the right choices but again, as far as respect, God wants us to do the “unfleshly” thing and show respect to those who don’t deserve it. We can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. May God’s will be clearly revealed to you in this situation.

  • Hopeful says:

    Typo correction: He told me that SHE loves our kids and that means alot to him.

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