It’s easy to respect your husband if he’s a nice guy. But what about when he’s insensitive or sarcastic or leaves his clothes on the bathroom floor or refuses to help out or is just plain mean?
What if your husband is a jerk?
Every husband does jerky things now and then. And I’m not talking about jerks who are physically or emotionally abusive.
I’m talking about a man whose behavior makes you cray-cray. A man who makes decisions and does stuff you don’t respect.
Maybe you’re married to a guy who’s not occasionally like that. Maybe you’re married to a guy who’s like that most of the time. A guy who makes it tough to respect him because he’s a jerk.
My husband is a nice guy, but respect has never come easy for me.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s not perfect. There’ve been plenty of days in our 32 years of marriage when I’ve wanted to run away and never come back.
I’ve learned something I didn’t like admitting early in my marriage.
My problem with respect is about me, no matter how he behaves
I can be snippy and sarcastic, and sometimes I don’t feel like being respectful. But that’s not his fault. It’s not my husband’s responsibility to earn my respect.
As his wife, I’m supposed to respect him, even if he’s not a nice guy.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
It doesn’t say, “Wives respect your husband when he earns it. Or respect him when he deserves it or respect him when you feel like it or when he treats you well.”
It says Respect. Your. Husband, which means respect him no matter how you feel and even if he’s a jerk.
Respect has nothing to do with the kind of person he is and everything to do with the kind of person you want to be.
You can’t change him. But you can change how you respond to him.
I can be responsible for my own actions. No matter how he behaves, I can be intentional about my behavior and my attitude.
The dictionary defines respect as “considering someone of high regard.”
How do you respect someone when you feel like he doesn’t deserve it? When he’s mean to the kids or plops down in front of the TV or the Xbox for hours at a time. Or if he’s a poor money manager or provider?
If he’s a guy like that and you’re his wife. . . you’re directed to respect him.
It stinks, but when you get what respect is and what it isn’t, it’s easier to respect a man who’s a jerk.
You understand no matter how he behaves, you have a responsibility to be the wife God created you to be. You understand respect starts in your mind.
If you wait until you feel like respecting him or until he stops acting like a jerk, you may be waiting a long time. Whether he’s a jerk or a great guy, the way you feel about him is influenced by the way you think about him, treat him, and talk about him.
What Respect Is
Respect doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. It doesn’t mean his opinion matters and yours doesn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re less important that he is. It doesn’t mean it’s okay for him to be rude so you should just shut up and take it.
It means you try to see him the way God sees him and focus on being the wife God wants you to be.
So how do you respect your husband, even if he’s a jerk?
One thought at a time.
- Let go of expectations
When you give love expecting to get something in return, you stand a good chance of being disappointed. List three expectations you have of your husband. You may not even realize you have them. Then stop expecting things from him. Love him unconditionally, no matter what he does or how he responds.
- Decide to be more intentional about respecting him
Just do it. If you want to feel respectful, you have to act respectful.
- Be respectful in your communication. Try to cut out the eye rolling and sighing when he’s speaking to you.
- Offer to do something to make his life easier like wash the car or to take it to get the oil changed.
- Tell him something you appreciate about him no matter how minor it may seem.
- Brag about him to your children, friends and family. If they know your history, they may think you’ve lost it, but this is part of being intentional in your thought life.
God can use you in your husband’s life when you are the wife He’s called you to be.
I’ve discovered when I stop trying to do wife-ing the way I think it should be done and do it God’s way–regardless of how he behaves-it’s easier to respect my husband.
And when you show him respect, you may see your man become the husband God’s called him to be for you.
Need skills to build emotional intimacy in your marriage?
- Visit my website and join my private Facebook group .
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Check out my FREE resources and download How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to being married to a man who loves and adore her. (Yes, she’s married to the same guy!) Sheila started rocking her marriage when she learned to translate timeless truths into practical skills.
She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.