Do you ever feel like your husband has completely shut down and shut you out? No matter what you say, how you say it he’s not hearing you. That was us for years and honestly we still go back to that at times. The truth is he gets tired of being told he’s failed or fallen short and just shuts down. I’ve learned the hard way that if I want my husband to open up to me I have to use the communication tools of Admiration and Appreciation. When I admire and appreciate my husband he hears respect. Respect is a way to improve communication in Marriage.
What does it mean to Respect your husband?
Respect is a hard concept. We know the Bible verses about love and marriage that say “Wives respect your husband” but How? How do you nail down the true meaning of Respect as a man understands it when you are not a man. It feels like there is a special Respect Definition for men and a different women definition. Can you relate?How do you nail down the true meaning of Respect as a man understands it when you are not a man. It feels like there is a special Respect Definition for men and a different women definition. Can you relate? Click To Tweet
What is respect? To me, respect is being heard, understood, trusted, looked up to, prioritized. My husband sees and feels respect in a different way. How about your husband? Has he ever accused you of being disrespectful and you honestly had no idea where he was coming from?
I know what my husband finds disrespectful. Tell me if your husband is like mine with these examples of disrespect in marriage.
- Being told to take the trash out more than one time in a day shows a lack of respect to my husband.
- Pointing out that the exit we need to take is four lanes over and 1/2 a mile away is disrespectful to my husband.
- Asking what he’s read in the bible lately is disrespectful to my husband.
- Scrolling Facebook while he goes on and on about a game is disrespectful to my husband.
I’m stopping now, but I could honestly go on for hours listing all the things I do that drive, my husband, crazy.
Your husband is different than mine. Be a student of that man and learn what he finds respectful and disrespectful. It will be eye-opening and help you avoid needless marriage conflict.
Have you registered for the Marriage Communication Workshop? This is one of the many marriage communication exercises you will learn in it.
Why is Respect important and what does it have to do with communication in Marriage?
Ah, so glad we got back to that! When your husband feels like there is no respect he shuts down and there is no communication. I mean, he may nod and grunt, but there is no real meaningful intimate conversation happening. And really, how long can a marriage survive without communication? What are the effects of no communication in marriage?
We disconnect. Our love tank empties. Both of us become irritable and hard to live with. Marriage becomes difficult when there are communication problems.
Words of affirmation – yes from the love languages book – are a way to show respect in a healthy relationship.
Lack of Respect is a barrier to effective communication in a Christian Marriage
What are words of affirmation?
Okay, I really wrestle with the entire concept of the Five Love Languages because when respect is lost in marriage – when there are marital problems when the lines of communication are broken – it just isn’t enough.
I prefer to focus on words of appreciation and admiration. No matter how difficult things are, I can reach into my memory and find things I appreciate about my husband. There are things I admire about my husband – even if they are things from years ago. It’s okay to walk down memory lane, I promise your husband will love it.
On the other hand, it is difficult to affirm my husband when we are having marriage problems, struggling with communication, dealing with a difficult season of marriage. Honestly, if I try to muster up affirmation, it will sound false and my face with give me away.
I don’t ever want to lie to my husband or be fake with him. That’s why I stick with admiration and appreciation.
When I speak words of appreciation and admiration my husband hears RespectWhen I speak words of appreciation and admiration my husband hears Respect Click To Tweet
Something magical happens when a man feels respected by his wife. Your husband will begin to show love the way you need it. Respect is this beautiful key to unlocking your husband’s heart. When we do and say things to him that show respect, he responds by doing and saying things that show love. This one change is high on my list of the best advice for a happy marriage.
Words of appreciation and admiration we speak life into our home, our husband and our marriage.Words of appreciation and admiration we speak life into our home, our husband and our marriage. Click To Tweet
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
It was hard for me to begin to speak words of Appreciation and Admiration to my husband. As I shared in the Playful Words Session, we were in such a difficult season of marriage and he was doing nothing admirable.
It took a lot of soul-searching and looking back for me to find things to say that would build my husband up. My mentor challenged me to 30 days of Appreciation Marriage Challenge. For 30 Days I had to speak, text, email or drop a note about one thing I admired or appreciated about him. I remember being so aggravated because my question was “how do you communicate with a difficult spouse?”. Her answer seemed to avoid my question though now I see she was wise to redirect me.
It was shocking how quickly Respect fixed communication in my marriage
I mean changed. Completely changed. My husband began looking for things to do to bring more of those words of admiration! Things I had begged him to do for years (but had shut up about and been praying over instead) were getting done around the house. Respect was filling up a bucket that had been empty in his heart for years.
It breaks my heart to think of all the time I wasted nagging and comparing. All he needed was a cheerleader. Your husband wants to be admired. Your husband wants to be appreciated.
A Marriage challenge to add Respectful words in your marriage
I want to challenge you to honestly evaluate your words over the past week, month, year. How often do you point out the good things in your husband? How often do you point out his mistakes?
When I took this challenge the ratio was about 98% negative 2% positive and I probably padded the numbers in my favor. I was so embarrassed. If someone spent 98% of their time and conversation dogging me about my flaws I’d walk away from them. There would be some serious boundaries put up to protect me from them.
Then it hit me. An aha moment.
Proverbs 25:24 It is better to live in a corner of the roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
My husband has shut down to protect himself from his contentious wife – me.
My husband’s lack of communication is a boundary he has set between his heart and the wife that hurts his heart with her words.My husband's lack of communication is a boundary he has set between his heart and the wife that hurts his heart with her words. Click To Tweet
I didn’t mean to hurt him. Those words were meant to help him – help him grow, correct things that will hurt him… so I rationalized.
But that takes us all the way back to day one, Session One. Do you know yourself? Do you know the you that your husband sees and lives with and protects his heart from?
I didn’t. I was completely blind to my part of the problem in our marriage. My heart cried out day after day – How do I save my marriage, Oh God I just want to fix my marriage. And all the while, my mouth was causing a lot of the problems.
My Mouth… my big fat stupid sinful mouth
- Those negative thoughts
- My inability to accept the flaws in my husband,
- The refusing to forgive his mistakes
- my refusal to see anything except his imperfections
That all fueled my words and those words were speaking death into my husband’s life. Can you relate?
Maybe your part is different than mine. I sure hope so. But if you are here, focusing on fixing the communication problems in your marriage, odds are we are soul sisters. Fellow naggers in the contentious wives club. We’ve seen the importance of effective communication – now we need to commit to it!
Will you join me in making a commitment? I challenged you to spend the next 30 days just shutting up about the things you can’t accept and praying about them instead.
Will you take that another step farther? Will you commit to speaking words of life every day for 30 days? There are prompts in the 30-day Words of Appreciation Challenge below to help you get started.
Take the 30 Day Respect Marriage Challenge!
For 30 days, no nagging, correcting, teaching, pointing out anything negative. Instead, admire him, appreciate him, respect him, flirt with him, be playful with him.
How do you speak words of affirmation to your husband?
First to know what Affirm means or the affirm definition – State a fact, offer emotional support.
I keep a journal entry on my phone with a list of affirmations to say to him. LOL, why do I keep a journal? Say a great idea comes in Walmart but a kid is tugging at me and as I’m driving home I realize I never wrote it down. Gr… that’s so aggravating. So as I remember something to affirm my husband about I speak to text it into my phone.
There are also some tried and true phrases that fill up his respect bucket every time (he never gets tired of hearing about things he did well). I put them into a printable 52 card set in my shop!
When he feels respected he shows love. He also opens up and wants to communicate with me! Win-Win!
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
Appreciation, Admiration, and Respect are key to communicating in our Marriage. They create momentum that drives real change in our Husbands lives. Playful words can be used as a tool to help our husbands step into their role as a leader.
In conclusion – Words of affirmation and appreciation speak respect and improve Communication in Marriage
Today we saw many examples of words that speak life through respect which are great marriage communication tools. When we commit speak words of Respect to our husband it becomes a life-giving habit that can fix a marriage! Remember who the real enemy is and determining not to speak words of death as we fight a very real battle for our Marriage! Words that Respect your husband are powerful communication exercises to diffuse tension and save a marriage.
If this is an area you are working to improve in your marriage be sure to join the Marriage Communication Workshop where you can download the effective communication in Marriage PDF workbook that is filled with even more Marriage Communication exercises!
Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children. Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.
If you enjoyed this you would also like these Posts:
- How to Fast and Pray in a Way that Pleases God
- Be a Biblical wife to an Ungodly Husband
- To The Wife Who Needs Security in a Christian Marriage
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18 thoughts to “How to Improve Communication in a Christian Marriage: Respect”
I just wrote a blog post touching on some similar points. Communication and respect are so important. Communication is something we learn honestly as we go. Communication has always been a bit difficult because my husband only speaks Spanish and Spanish is my second language so we definitely have had some barriers but with God all things are possible. Our big mouths really can get us in to problems. =) I want to be the wife that declares life over my husband!
That would certainly add another layer of struggle. Praying for you now. I’d love to read the article. shoot it my way!
Great advice with some good points! What respect means to me and what disrespect means to you are two entire worlds apart because we are all different and that is okay, but lack of communication can cause respect to crumble in a heartbeat. This is why we all need God to be the head 🙂
Amen to that Sheila!
Respect is so important to men. I remember reading Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, “For Women Only,” several years ago, and that was one of the main points. And I know in my marriage one of the most important things to my husband is that I listen to him and value his opinions.
That was such a good book… the first book to make me realize I am being disrespecting when I tell him how to drive 😉
I never really thought about how we could both have different definitions of respect. Knowing another person’s version can definitely help with communication and just being happier overall. This was a great read!
That is so true Jennifer!
Respect is certainly important in relationships. Thank you for sharing this post 🙂
It really is. Thanks for commenting Aurola.
I haven’t realized until I read your post that my husband and I might have a different definition on respect. I will need to work on more on that and re-evaluate how I show respect to my husband.
Praying for you and your marriage today Peachy.
Respect can be a tough thing to grasp because like you mentioned the defenition varies. Not just from man to woman but from generation to generation and culture to culture. Which is why communication is so essential. It’s weird, respect doesn’t typically happen without healthy communication, and gealth communication usually doesn’t happen without respect. The two go hand in hand.
I agree! That’s why it’s in the midst of a communication workshop 😉 Whew it is something I have to work on continually!
I definitely think respect is important in a marriage — but it goes both ways. My husband wouldn’t bat an eye to tell me when the exit is four lanes over, and so I wouldn’t bat an eye doing the same to him.
I love that you know that about him! That is what is so tricky about respect – we all see it so differently!
This is great advice! I like how you point out that respect is shown through admiration and appreciation.
It is one of the keys that God used to heal and fix our marriage!
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