Do you struggle to show Respect to your Husband? It is a daily challenge for me sometimes. I am what you might call a “Strong woman” – I lead out and work hard. I respect others who do the same. Respect is something I don’t give easily. And I would never have thought learning to listen better was a part of that!
- Love – no problem.
- Acceptance – easy peasy.
- Compassion as you grow and struggle – Done.
- Respect… that’s hard to give – even in a Christian Marriage.
Why do I struggle to Respect my husband?
There are (at least) 2 reasons respect is hard in my Christian Marriage.
- I don’t always understand what he sees as respect and disrespect.
- For years I thought respect had to be earned – and it is hard to wrap my mind around God’s idea that respect is not something a husband has to earn.
Men and Women see Respect so differently
I see respect as a place of honor – earned through hard work, consistency, faithfulness, growth. Respect is earned.
LOL – Websters back me up: Respect as defined by Webster Dictionary is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”
But God does not agree with the cultures criteria for Respect.
Ephesians 5:33 NASB “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband”
The Bible says I have to respect my husband – whether I believe he has earned that Respect or not. For years I was Afraid that showing Respect to my husband would end badly (Read About that Here).
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Why does God command Wives to Respect their Husband?
Whew, that is such a loaded question. Honestly, God created men and knew that they have a Soul Deep need for Respect.
Now if you are like me (a woman) thinking that through you might counter with. “Then he should act respectable. He should earn my respect. He shouldn’t have done xyz.”
Yep, I get that. I agree actually. My struggle with that same kind of thinking caused our marriage so much trouble.
Any time “Should” enters the conversation things go south.
Should thinking gets us stuck! I talk about that and many other Communications Struggles in this Mini-Course to improve Communication in a Christian Marriage. Check it out in the HopeJoyInChrist shop.
It really took some time to get past the should’s in my mind and Fully Surrender to God about this issue of Respect in our Christian Marriage.
Once I Surrendered Respect to God and chose to start showing Respect to My Husband I had another problem:
My Husband’s idea of Respect is not my idea of Respect
I was trying so hard to respect him. Following the advice of so many wives – but when I asked him if he felt like I respected him he said no.
I was devastated – but pushed in to ask a clarifying question – aiming to Reclaim Respect in our Christian Marriage. In this series, I will talk about each item he listed.
What do I need to change to better show you respect?
You don’t really listen to me. I get frustrated trying to talk to you because you are always distracted by the kids, the housework, your phone. It is very disrespectful. I set out that day to make some changes and today I want to share them with you.
Respect in a Christian Marriage: How to Listen Better
Would you consider yourself a good listener? I would have… except at home.
There are so many things that need to be done. The kids are always interrupting me. Housework never ends. And if I have downtime I am scrolling through Facebook. Can you relate?
How do I just shut all of that off when he walks in the door and wants to talk? My thoughts:
Most of the time he is talking about absolutly nothing.
I’ve heard it all before.
So what if I fold the laundry while he rambles on about his deadbeat boss or the new hiking trail or the game last night.
If he were actually talking about something important I would stop everything.
My Aha moment about Listening better at home
Those meaningless conversations he’s trying to have… they matter to my husband. He wants me to care about the things he cares about. When I listen to his rambling he feels respect.
I want to show Respect to my Husband in the way he feels Respected.
How do I Listen Better at home amidst the business of life?
Honestly? I can’t hire a babysitter to keep the kids everytime he wants to ramble on. The Housework really has to get done. What is the real world solution for this problem?
There are 3 Things I’ve learned (mostly by trial and error) and changed in my Marriage to show Respect
3 Ways to become a Better Listener and Show Your Husband Respect Today
1. Uninterrupted time with me
He Just needs a little uninterrupted time with me. I was getting so aggravated in the beginning. Every time he started talking I would stop everything – give him full eye contact – and listen. He would freeze up and walk away. Apparently, that’s a little too intense. Who knew?!?!?
Then I started trying to initiate conversations with him when it looked like he was not busy. That also annoyed him – because he was apparently busy online… The conversation died quickly and he would start it back when I was busy. So aggravating!
A Mentor of mine suggested setting a time in both our schedules to talk. We set the time and explained to the kids that when mommy and daddy are talking – at this time each day- you can’t be in the room or interrupt us unless it’s a real emergency. (We picked nap time so it only applied to the older kids).
Just giving him a little uninterrupted time made a world of difference.
He doesn’t want to dominate my life or inconvenience me. He just wants to be important to me as well. It’s not too much to ask to rank higher than the laundry on my list of things to do each day.
2. Undistracted time with me
He wants to be more important to me than Facebook. One of the complaints was that I am distracted by my phone when he is talking to me. Who else zones out on Social media in your downtime? I really didn’t see the problem. There’s nothing wrong with Facebook in moderation… but I didn’t realize how often I was scrolling.
Do you know how much time you spend on Social Media when you are with your family?
He would be talking to me and I would completely miss what he said. I know if the table was turned he would be angry with me. But He sees that as disrespect. My phone was more important than him.
It’s been a real struggle. I delete my social media regularly – tiring to fix it. But I enjoy them and in moderation, I didn’t see any harm. Then in August, I decided to give up Social Media for 30 days (Read about that here)
Whoa. I saw it for real for the first time… I had a problem (maybe an addiction to Social media… is that a thing?). The urge to check my status and notifications rivaled my need for coffee in the morning.
Through this summer – taking that time completely away from Social Media – I saw amazing growth in our Marriage.
If He comes up to talk to me while I’m reading a book or watching a program I set them aside and focus on him. Even the kids have been thriving more with that new focus.
How do I keep from letting Social Media distract me from the ones I love?
We’ve set a charging station – well out of reach. If we are home the phones are put away and we are there with each other. If we want to spend time on social media we have to go get that phone – not just pull it from a pocket and keep it on while we do other things. That is helping us stay accountable for how much time we really spend online.
The point is to not let my phone be more important than my family. It made me listen better and show Respect to my husband!
3. Priority Time with me
He wants to be more important than my children. Any Momma’s out there? Here’s hoping I’m not the only one and you can relate.
My kids are impatient (understatement). They interrupt conversations with their “needs” and “emergencies”. Usually, the interruption is just that they had a thought and didn’t want to forget… rarely is it really urgent.
#MomFail – I have not been proactive to teach them to wait and not interrupt adult conversations. So they regularly interrupt adult conversations between me and hubby. I will stop our adult conversation to let them talk, then expect him to just pick up where he left off… the way another mom would.
He is not like another mom. Men – who are not the best at communication to begin with – can’t always pick up an interrupted conversation. Shocking I know… but true (or is that just my husband?).
When I allow the kids to regularly interrupt him, He feels disrespected. He feels like he is not as high a priority to me as the kids.
How do you teach kids to not interrupting adult conversations?
This is not a habit I want my kids to have. It is not polite in any setting. I have even been told my children are wild and unmannered because of this habit of theirs…
Will it be hard to recondition them to see adult conversation as uninterruptable? Absolutely.
- The world – they believe – revolves around them.
- Adults are not more important – they believe…
- Patience is hard – and I amen them about that!
oh, how I have failed at this. I needed help to fix this – can I say it is still a work in progress. But here are some steps I am taking.
- We routinely talk about what constitutes a real emergency.
- If they feel it is important to interrupt a conversation they take my hand and wait until I acknowledge them.
- I am trying to reward them with praise (and candy for the youngest) when they wait.
Can you relate to the Fear and Anxiety that comes with worrying about messing this up? I’d love to share my go-to verses for overcoming Anxiety in this Free 40 Day Reading and Journaling Plan.
When I last checked in with hubby he agreed that I am now showing him Respect by how I listen better. I only changed 3 things but it has made a world of difference for our family.
- Create a time and place for uninterrupted conversation
- Set aside the distraction of social media
- Teach the kids to not interrupt adult conversations.
Is respect a struggle in your Marriage? Have you thought about how you listen being a way to take 1 small step toward Respect the way Hubby understands it? I’d love to hear from you about it in the comments.