Husbands most desire respect as a show of love from their spouse.
Researcher Shaunti Feldhahn found that for wives, their highest need is to feel cherished and loved. In contrast, the highest felt need for a husband is to feel his wife’s respect as displayed as trust, honor, and admiration.
If you’ve felt the sting of being criticized in public or had your decisions constantly questioned by your bride, you know you didn’t like it. It didn’t feel like love and respect.
When we feel this criticism, we often begin to pull away from our spouse to avoid that feeling, and this only compounds the problem.
But how do we change that? How do we gain respect? Not by demanding it. That is a recipe for disaster.
Earn Respect By Going First
Often, our wife’s jabs are actually her seeking connection, to be included, to be noticed and heard. We, men, often steamroll right past our spouse in many areas, including our decision making. When the Bible talks about men as the head of a relationship, it is not referring to a kind of brash, “You’ll do as I say and follow my lead,” leadership style.
Instead, it’s an inclusive process that requires conversation and understanding to reduce resentment.
This is why it is crucial that we, as husbands, take the initiative to include our wives in our thoughts and feelings and show we care about investing in the relationship. Many times, we husbands are like bumps on a log in terms of giving active energy to our marriages.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is our motto.
But usually, something is broken, or at least off-kilter, and we either aren’t aware of it, or we just avoid addressing it. This inaction builds up resentment inside our wife. Then, when that resentment pressure reaches critical levels, we hear an outcry that sounds like disrespect or criticism.
How To Regain Your Wife’s Respect: A Practical Way
One of the best ways to feel your wife’s respect increase is to take the initiative to lead in consistent communication and inclusion.
I am an introvert, Enneagram 5, Myers-Briggs INTJ by nature.It is not my natural tendency to take the initiative into talking about feelings and relational matters. Many men are like this regardless of your personality type. I know myself well enough to know I won’t spontaneously have these deep conversations with Amy unless she brings up an issue out of the blue, and if she did, I might feel attacked.
If communication breaks down, this is the beginning of the eroding of respect.
“Respect requires a conversation,” says Aricia E. Shaffer, MSE, a therapist. “We don’t know what feels respectful or disrespectful to our partners unless we ask.”
I needed a structure to help me take the initiative to start and lead these conversations–to do the asking. With my personality, and many men’s, this wasn’t going to happen spontaneously. I needed a plan.
This is how the concept of The Marriage Meeting started. By taking the initiative to call a weekly meeting to order, Amy sees me putting loving energy into the relationship. I try never to forget to lead out in this. My goal is never to have her remind me, “We didn’t do our meeting.”
When we as husbands go first in putting relational effort into our marriages, it WILL increase our wife’s respect for us.
When our wives see our investiture, it conveys the fact that we cherish and love them. They know it’s not natural for most men to propose and initiate a weekly meeting to talk and share feelings. Thus, it has a powerful impact.
Tell your wife you want to start having a weekly conversation about the state of your marriage, and then be consistent with having these conversations. You’ll feel the increased respect of your wife almost immediately. We’ve seen it time and time again with couples who institute The Marriage Meeting as a regular, set practice.
Public and private criticism will decrease because your wife will feel heard and understood every week. She’ll begin to trust you more as she sees you emerge as a healthy leader. Respecting you will come much easier for her. Husbands, you’ll love the way this feels.
The Marriage Meeting isn’t magic. It’s a structured, straightforward approach to guide us as husbands in making sure we talk about the 10 most important areas of marriage. It keeps us from just chatting about non-essentials and makes sure we cover the critical topics. (Though we find we often continue the meeting after the meeting, talking about all kinds of things.)
Of course, our wives need to feel respected, as well. This isn’t a one-way street. Initiating a weekly meeting will be a show of respect for her. She’ll love that you care enough to call a meeting to order each week. What wife wouldn’t like it if her husband said I want to invest in our marriage? Very few.
Each of you should ask one another the questions below.
Additional Respect Questions To Add To Your Meeting
- When do you most feel respected by me?
- When do you least feel respected by me?
- What are some practical ways I can make you feel more respected?
The questions above are additional questions you can ask in you weekly meeting.
The Most Important Questions
The most important questions are the the 10-foundational Marriage Meeting Questions covered in The Marriage Meeting Guide. Discover the 10 questions with an explanation of the significance of each at https://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Meeting-Guide-30-Minute-Transform-ebook/dp/B082323S4T