Wives Respect Your Husband Ephesians 533

Wives Respect Your Husband (Ephesians 5:33)

“Wives respect your husband” (Ephesians 5:33) is one of the primary commands for wives. Read or listen to this chapter from Your Marriage God’s Way to learn what it looks like for a wife to respect and disrespect her husband.

Your Marriage God's Way by Scott LaPierre
Your Marriage God's Way Workbook by Scott LaPierre

This post’s text is from Your Marriage God’s Way, and the audio is from the accompanying audiobook. I pray God uses the book and workbook to strengthen your marriage marriage and exalt Christ in your relationship.

During a counseling session, as I was helping a couple who struggled a lot with fighting, the wife had an epiphany. Most couples enjoy working together, but these two always ended up disagreeing with each other. The husband explained that nothing he did was ever good enough for his wife. She always countered him with a better way to do things, and she picked apart all his decisions. She was genuinely confused about her husband’s frustration because she thought she was simply trying to be helpful. It wasn’t until this session that she realized her husband found her “helpful” suggestions to be disrespectful.

Though a wife might believe she has good intentions in mind, if a husband feels she is being disrespectful, that creates a big problem for two reasons. First, a husband craves his wife’s respect. Second, Scripture not only commands that a wife submit to her husband, it urges her to respect him as well.

In Ephesians 5:25-32, the apostle Paul described in detail what it means for a husband to love his wife as himself, as discussed in the previous chapter. One might then expect the passage to end with parallel instructions to the wife: “Let each one of you in particular love his own wife as himself, and let the wife love her own husband as herself.” Instead, Paul commanded wives to respect their husbands: “Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

Why the difference? First, this does not mean that men don’t want to be loved. When we discussed phileo earlier, we reviewed this command in Titus 2:3-4: “Older women…admonish the young women to love their husbands.” Ephesians 5:33 also doesn’t say that wives don’t want to be respected. First Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with [your wives] with understanding, giving honor to [them].” Honor is synonymous with respect. In fact, the NIV Bible translates 1 Peter 3:7 as saying “treat them with respect.” Thus, it is important for wives to be respected, and it is important for husbands to be loved. But of the two—love and respect—respect is more important to husbands, and love is more important to wives:

  • Husbands want to be loved, but they want to be respected even more.
  • Wives want to be respected, but they want to be loved even more.

Consider how most wives covet their husbands’ expressions of love, such as cards, phone calls, e-mails, or flowers. Though husbands might appreciate such gestures, what they desire more is their wives’ respect. I don’t need my wife to buy me flowers, call me during the day and tell me she loves me, or write me poetry. I might appreciate these things, but what I need is her respect.

In marriage counseling, when I hear wives express their frustrations about their husbands, often they say, “I don’t feel like my husband loves me. I wish he loved me more. He never tells me he loves me.” But when husbands express frustration, usually they say, “I wish my wife respected me more. I wish she would follow my lead. I wish she supported my decisions.”

In truth, it’s much easier for a wife to say she loves her husband than to show it through respect. But it is through respect that a wife expresses her love for her husband—the very fact Scripture calls a wife to respect her husband confirms this. If a wife doesn’t show respect, her husband won’t feel loved. A good perspective for couples to keep in mind is that feeling unloved is as painful to a wife as feeling disrespected is to a husband.

Modern research supports the biblical instruction on this topic. Marriage expert Dr. Emerson Eggerichs shares some important statistics about husbands and wives in his popular book Love and Respect. In one survey, 400 men were asked, “If you were forced to choose, would you prefer to feel alone and unloved or disrespected and inadequate?” Seventy-four percent responded that they would rather feel alone and unloved than disrespected and inadequate.

When Dr. Eggerichs conducted the same survey with women, a similar percentage of women responded that they would rather feel disrespected and inadequate than alone and unloved. Dr. Eggerichs sums up his findings:

[A wife] needs love just as she needs air to breathe, [and a husband] needs respect just as he needs air to breathe.”

Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 36.

Another survey asked 7,000 people:

“When you are in a conflict with your spouse, do you feel unloved or disrespected?” Eighty-three percent of husbands responded with “disrespected.” Seventy-two percent of wives responded with “unloved.”

Eggerichs, Love and Respect, 160

This reveals that during marriage conflicts, husbands often react because they feel disrespected and wives often react because they feel unloved.


How does a wife convey respect to her husband? Here is a basic checklist of what respect looks like to a man.

First, admire him

A wife respects her husband by admiring him, looking up to him, and holding him in high regard. In the Amplified Bible, Ephesians 5:33 reads, “Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].”

Second, be trustworthy

Proverbs 31:11 says of the virtuous wife, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her.” A husband feels respected when he can trust his wife. When he is away, she acts in a manner that would please him just as though he were present. He’s sure that she won’t hide anything from him. Conversely, when a wife is untrustworthy, she communicates that she doesn’t respect her husband’s headship.

Third, be protective

A wife respects her husband by protecting his name and reputation. She doesn’t slander him or complain about him behind his back. With the prevalence of social media, a wife’s criticism of her husband can be more damaging than when she gossips to her friends. With a single click, hundreds of people can become aware of the wife’s accusations against her husband.

When our church gathers, because I’m typically trying to focus on ministering to people, I’m not able to be with Katie very often. Other than the associate pastor and me, I think she’s the most sought-after person in our church, especially by women. I feel very blessed that I never have to worry about what she says or how she acts when I’m not with her.

Proverbs 31:23 says of the virtuous wife, “Her husband is [respected] in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.” Why is there a verse praising a husband in a passage that is all about a virtuous woman? How is his position a credit to her? This husband would not be respected and sitting among the elders if his wife’s behavior caused others to lose respect for him. There are husbands who find it challenging to achieve respect in their circles because their wives slander and diminish them and damage their reputation behind their backs.

Fourth, be appreciative

A wife respects her husband by expressing appreciation for how hard he works to care for his family and by considering the sacrifices he makes to be a good father and husband. Few attitudes communicate respect more than thankfulness, and few attitudes communicate disrespect more than ingratitude. This leads us to the next point.


Conversely, no matter how much a wife might profess her love, certain attitudes communicate disrespect to her husband.

First, be discontent

When a wife routinely expresses frustration with her life, home, family, or possessions, inevitably she will end up disrespecting her husband. A discontented wife makes her husband feel like a failure because he is the one—at least in her eyes—who is not providing well enough to keep her content.

Katie and I have always been a single-income family. When we married, I was a schoolteacher, and then I became a pastor. We have nine children, and while God has always provided, our lives are far from glamorous. Yet if you were to listen to Katie, you would think we’re well off. She has committed to being content. Like love, contentment is also a choice. The same goes for discontentment.

Second, use disparaging speech and body language

A wife disrespects her husband when she

  • talks down to him or treats him like a little boy who is in trouble
  • interrupts or talks over him
  • rolls her eyes, huffs and puffs, or wags her finger at him

Even worse is when such disparaging speech and actions extend to others, such as telling friends “a funny story” about a husband’s inability to do something or how many times it took him to fix something.

This reminds me of a sad situation I witnessed. A man enthusiastically started sharing a story with a group of people. Those listening were enjoying what he had to say. His wife arrived, rolled her eyes, interrupted him, and said, “Let me tell you what really happened.” The man was visibly embarrassed. Oddly enough, her account wasn’t much different than his. I’m not sure what reason she had to interrupt him other than to make him look bad and draw attention to herself. When a wife treats her husband this way in public, you must wonder how much worse things are in the privacy of their home.

Third, frequently second-guess him

Even when a wife thinks she is respecting her husband, she sends the opposite message when she second-guesses everything he says, offers all the reasons he is wrong, constantly corrects him, or undermines him when he makes decisions. From her perspective, she might be trying to help, but in reality, her actions communicate, “I don’t trust you. You don’t know what you’re doing. I could do this better.” Sometimes the words “I’m just trying to help” don’t help.

Fourth, badmouth him to the kids

One of the worst ways a wife can disrespect her husband is by belittling him in front of their children. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a wife disagreeing with her husband, but there is a right and a wrong way to do this. Disagreements between a husband and wife should be thoughtfully communicated and resolved in private. When a wife tells the children “I wish your dad would…,” or “It’s too bad your dad doesn’t…,” or “I can’t believe your dad…,” it diminishes him in their eyes. When a wife corrects her husband in front of the children—or worse, slanders him—she destroys his credibility and ability to lead the home. Instead, a wife should strive to instill her children with a good opinion of their father.


As a wife looks for her husband’s best qualities, focuses on his strengths, speaks well of him to others, and praises him to their children, she will find her respect for him growing. Conversely, if a wife speaks badly about her husband to others—whether they be friends, neighbors, or the children—she will find her respect for him diminishing.

Katie thinks too highly of me. I am not the man she thinks I am. I am far from the father and husband that she tells our children and others I am. But I want to be that man. I want to live up to her praise. Yes, primarily I want to please the Lord, but secondarily, I want my wife to think well of me. I desire her respect and I want to be the man that she treats me as though I am. If Katie were to belittle or slander me, I doubt that I would be motivated to give my best.

Most men have no problem living up or down to the bar their wives set for them. If a wife disrespects her husband and treats him like he’s a child, he’ll have no problem living down to that level. If a wife respects her husband and looks up to him, he’ll be eager to live up to that level.


We will talk more about submission later in this book—for now, it is important to note that the biblical instruction for wives to submit to their husbands also includes the concept of adapting. This is captured in the Amplified Bible:

  • Ephesians 5:22—“Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.”
  • Colossians 3:18—“Wives, be subject to your husbands [subordinate and adapt yourselves to them], as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord.”
  • Titus 2:5—“[Wives should] be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands.”
  • 1 Peter 3:1—“In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them].”

One of the most important ways for a wife to adapt to her husband is by learning what he finds respectful and disrespectful. After listening to hundreds of hours of my teaching, Katie often knows how I will answer questions and can even finish sentences for me. Because of this familiarity, she helps me know when not to say certain things. She will discreetly swipe her hand across the front of her neck, signaling, “Not a good idea.” Perhaps the most common criticism I have received in response to my preaching is that I talk too quickly. During a sermon, Katie will make a hand motion that lets me know to slow down. I find these actions helpful, but Katie has had other women tell her, “I can’t imagine doing that to my husband when he’s talking.” And I have had men ask me, “Doesn’t it bother you when your wife does that?”

At the same time, there are things other men might find helpful that Katie knows I find disrespectful. This is why it is so important for wives to get to know their husbands well; this is how a wife adapts. She learns what’s important to her husband and makes it important to her. Consider the following examples:

  • Is your husband punctual? Work hard to be on time.
  • Does he have to be up early and thus wants to be in bed by a certain time? Strive to be in bed with him by that time.
  • Does it bother him when certain things are messy? Try to make sure these areas are tidy.

As my wife has shared with women: “Ladies, work hard to make your husband’s priorities your own and to put your priorities second. And when you adapt to him, do not make him feel stupid for the way he desires for things to be done.”


Scripture calls husbands to be the spiritual leaders of their homes. With that in mind, one of the best ways a wife can respect her husband is by embracing his vision for the family and doing what she can to see it fulfilled. You can do this by passing along his ideas and desires to the children. A wife who does this will have a husband who feels respected. A wife who mocks her husband about his wishes or desires will feel disrespected.

An interesting parallel to this in the military is the relationship between a platoon leader and platoon sergeant. Typically, a platoon leader is a brand-new junior officer. In contrast, the platoon sergeant may be a career soldier who is far more knowledgeable in many areas. Regardless, the platoon leader is the commanding officer responsible for developing the orders and vision for the platoon. The sergeant’s responsibility is to embrace the platoon leader’s plans and see that they are carried out. The relationship between leader and sergeant is not based on who is wiser or more experienced but on the chain of command. Still, a smart platoon leader will recognize his platoon sergeant’s experience and wisdom and seek his thoughts and counsel.

Similarly, a wife may have more experience and wisdom in some areas than her husband, but God has still appointed the husband to be the head of the family and He expects the wife to embrace his leadership. At the same time, a husband should recognize his wife’s wisdom and experience and seek her thoughts as he makes decisions and establishes the vision for the family.


There are plenty of men who feel loved by their wives but not respected by them. Scripture provides a perfect picture of a woman who loved her husband without respecting him: Saul’s daughter, Michal, the first wife of King David. Even though she was responsible for one of the strongest displays of disrespect ever recorded in the Bible from a wife toward a husband, Michal is also the only woman Scripture specifically mentioned as loving her husband: “Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David” (1 Samuel 18:20).

This is not to say other women in Scripture did not love their husbands— many of them did, but that’s not emphasized. Why is that? I admit I’m being a little speculative here, but I suspect it’s because—as we already discussed— the priority is for women to respect their husbands rather than love them. As a result, Scripture emphasizes a wife’s respect instead of her love. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is a case in point. We will read more about her in chapter 17, but for now, it’s worth noting that she is held up in the New Testament as an example for wives not because of her love, but her submission and respect. This also reveals why Michal, even though she is the one wife in Scripture said to love her husband, is not praised. The disrespect she showed David ruined any potential for her to serve as a positive example for women.

How was it that Michal showed disrespect to her husband? Soon after David became king of the nation of Israel, one of his top priorities was transporting the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, the capital. The biblical account describes this as one of the most joyful moments of the new king’s life. As the procession entered Jerusalem, “David danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14). Unfortunately, Michal did not share her husband’s joy: “Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart” (verse 16).

Michal thought David’s behavior was terribly unbecoming. Her father, Saul, was all about appearances, and he would never have acted this way. Perhaps this rubbed off on Michal so that she found David’s conduct to be below the dignity of a king. Plus, she was probably jealous of the maids who were watching David with admiration as he danced. Second Samuel 6:20 records her reaction:

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”

Her words dripped with ridicule. King David arrived home eager to share his joy with his family, but Michal was so disgusted with him that she immediately belittled him. Picture a mother reprimanding a child. You can hear the scorn and disrespect in Michal’s words. Wives will want to ask themselves, “Am I like this? Do I pounce on my husband and ridicule him over something inconsequential? Do I make him feel like a little boy who is in trouble?”

Note that Michal was not the only one who handled this situation wrongly. David did not respond lovingly to his wife:

David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor” (verses 21-22).

David harshly pointed out that God chose him over Michal’s father. How do you think this made her feel? Then he added, “You think this is bad? I’ll act even worse than this!” The phrase “held in honor” in verse 22 may be the clearest and simplest definition of respect in the Bible. David told Michal, “You might not respect me, but there are plenty of other women who do.” For David to point out other women’s feelings about him was prideful and insensitive. While I’m not at all defending the sinful actions of men who do this, how many husbands have been disrespected by their wives only to look to other women they believe will respect them?

Disrespect Can Change a Husband’s Feelings Toward His Wife

This encounter between David and Michal does not end happily: “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death” (verse 23). I take this to mean that David no longer had sexual relations with Michal. I am not defending David’s actions. God clearly commands husbands to love their wives unconditionally, and David disobeyed. As is the case in most marriage conflicts, both spouses were at fault:

  • It is sinful for wives to disrespect their husbands as Michal disrespected David.
  • It is sinful for husbands to punish their wives as David punished Michal.

With that said, it is important to notice how dramatically this one event changed David’s relationship with Michal.

Consider what occurred only a few chapters earlier. When Saul became jealous of David, he took Michal and gave her to another man. Saul’s general, Abner, defected from Saul and wanted to join David: “Abner sent messengers on his behalf to David, saying, ‘Whose is the land?’ saying also, ‘Make your covenant with me, and indeed my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel to you’” (2 Samuel 3:12). David wasn’t king over all of Israel yet, but Abner said he would help fix that. That was a wonderful offer, considering all the years David had waited to become king. Of course David would respond in the positive, but David told Abner he could join him under only one condition: “David said, ‘Good, I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face’” (verse 13).

David wanted nothing to do with Michal at the end of 2 Samuel 6, but only a few chapters earlier, he made every effort to be reunited with her. Once Michal disrespected David so drastically, his attitude toward her changed just as drastically. He now resented her. His was not the right response, but it was the reality.

It is no different today. When husbands are strongly disrespected by their wives, they become resentful and distance themselves from them. That is not a right response, but it is a common fruit of disrespect. If not dealt with, the result may be a destroyed relationship, such as that between David and Michal. The biblical account of what happened between them is instructive:

  • It gives wives an example of how not to treat their husbands.
  • It gives husbands an example of how not to respond to their wives.
  • It illustrates that wives loving their husbands is not the same as respecting them. Perhaps Michal still loved David at this point, but we can be sure that he did not feel loved because of the way she had disrespected him.

A Husband’s Love and a Wife’s Respect Are Not Optional

In the previous chapter, we discussed how a wife must feel supreme. It is not about what the husband thinks or says, but about how the wife feels. Similarly, a husband must feel respected. It is not about what the wife thinks or says, but about how the husband feels. Just as a wife’s perception about being the supreme relationship in her husband’s life is her reality, so, too, is a husband’s perception about being respected his reality.

We also looked at how husbands are commanded to love their wives even when they don’t feel like it. A husband’s love should not be conditional. The same is true about a wife’s respect. It should not be conditional. Ephesians 5:33 says, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband” without including the word if. Just as husbands are commanded to love their wives when they don’t feel like it, wives are commanded to respect their husbands when they don’t feel like it. As much as wives want their husbands to love them unconditionally, husbands want their wives to respect them unconditionally.

The moment any marriage becomes conditional with a husband saying, “I am not going to love my wife because she…” or a wife saying, “I am not going to respect my husband because he…,” the marriage suffers. You have the recipe for a miserable marriage when each spouse’s obedience is not conditional on his or her love for Christ, but rather, on the other spouse’s behavior. Only when two people are equally committed to obeying God’s commands unconditionally because of their commitments to Christ will a marriage experience the health and joy God desires for it.


Even though a husband is commanded to love his wife, a wife can make it easier for him to love her. Some wives are more lovable than others. Consider the following passages:

  • “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 21:9; see also 25:24).
  • “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19).

These verses describe women whom even the godliest man would have trouble loving. They act in ways that a man would rather sit on the corner of a rooftop and experience terrible weather, or be in the wilderness surrounded by wild animals. Some husbands say, “I want to love my wife, but she makes it so difficult. If only you had any idea of how she acts!” Wife, make it easier for your husband to obey God’s command to love you by being lovable.

Similarly, even though a wife is commanded to respect her husband, a husband ought to do what he can to make it easier to respect him. Earlier I shared about how difficult it was for Katie to respect me when I got caught up with playing World of Warcraft. I don’t intend to pry into your home when I say this, but if you are doing something that causes your wife to lose respect for you, you should determine whether you need to remove it from your life or do it in greater moderation. What could be worth more than your wife’s respect?

Some wives say, “I want to look up to my husband and respect him, but he makes it so difficult for me. If only you knew how he acts!” A wife finds it difficult to respect her husband when he doesn’t work hard to take care of his family, mistreats their children, or looks at things he should rip his eyes away from. Part of being a loving husband is being a man who is pure, holy, and seeks to earn his wife’s respect. Husband, make it easier for your wife to obey God’s command to respect you by being respectable.

To make loving your wife and respecting your husband easier, keep in mind that God is for you. He wants your marriage to be a joy and blessing. After all, not only has He given you commands for your good, He also helps you to obey them. As you strive to love your spouse, you can be encouraged that “[God’s] divine power has given to [you] all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Because your marriage is such a big part of life and godliness, how confident and encouraged can you be that God will empower you to obey these commands!

58 Responses

  1. Reading all of this has been helpful. I wish my wife would respect me. She has a very bad temper and anger issues that stem from some childhood and early adulthood trauma. Lately not even a day will go by without her cussing at me or calling me names or screaming or yelling at me. It doesn’t matter what I do or say, she’s just constantly angry. Hopefully I can use some of the wisdom I read here to help our marriage.

    1. Hello Randy,
      I’m sorry to hear this. I would encourage you to reach out to your elders at church and hopefully one of their wives can reach out to your wife. Also, do you think your wife would consider going through my marriage book and workbook with you?

  2. Almost every movie or TV show brands fathers as idiots, so that would be ridicule. Resistance takes many forms, and rumors are always a threat. Someone wrote, “A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth can even get it’s shoes on.” It takes a lot of courage to rise above opposition and negativity, rather than doing the weak thing and letting it defeat you. Really all that comes from #1, relying on God, which we have to continually do, so we are ready to mount up with wings when the opposition comes.

  3. I believe that I try to the best of my ability to respect my husband. But should Christian husbands not show some respect to their wives too by words of mouth and body language? Moreso, what about when you have this feeling that he sees you as competition, as if showing weakness, accepting faults, and doing some things for you makes him a lesser man? Maybe because he thinks you are intelligent, can be independent and strong. But I think in all of these, I still see myself as a woman and dependent on him. But most times he seems to run me down as if I do not possess anything, or have a mind of my own. He sees every act as disrespectful. Because of all that you have written, I don’t think I’m doing badly, though there is still room for improvement.

    1. Hello Victoria,
      Nice to hear from you, but I am sorry about the issues in your marriage. It is so difficult to respond to these types of comments when I have not heard from the other spouse. It is not that I doubt the truthfulness of what you are saying, but the Bible tells us to hear both sides. I’m sure your husband is not perfect, but just as he is commanded to love you unconditionally, you are commanded to respect him unconditionally. I’m sure that’s not easy at times. Are you part of the local church? Can you reach out to the elders or their wives for help?

  4. Pastor Scott,

    I found your series of posts on this topic when I was searching around for it on the internet. You see, I struggle to respect my husband even though there is plenty to respect about him and what there is that might making respecting him difficult isn’t egregious.

    I find it very difficult to shake the idea that I married the wrong person, even though, I do actually love him as Michal loved David. Unfortunately, reading your synopsis of that story actually spoke to me because it illustrated that what inspires respect or disgust in us can run deep emotionally; seeing her husband behave in a certain way repelled her and embarrassed her. Perhaps this is a matter of taste and compatibility?

    My husband last week just earned tenure with a unanimous vote at a prestigious university in the field of math, which is hugely admirable. He shared with me the letter that the department chairman wrote to endorse his tenure case, and it was filled with quotes from well respected scholars about how terrific my husband is in his field and how dedicated he is to students.

    Still, while I sincerely admire his accomplishments and also his commitment to education, I find myself resenting and not respecting what I perceive as his naïveté and weakness in areas that impact our everyday lives. I earn considerably more money in a business field, and I push hard to make sure all of our home and family responsibilities are met. We recently moved to a new house (it was my idea although we deliberated about it and decided together), and while he acknowledges that he fully committed to this decision, he has complained endlessly about how tired he is, taken naps daily while our house isn’t yet fully unpacked (his schedule is more flexible than mine), all the while I work feverishly under the threat of potential layoffs as our economy faces headwinds.

    If I were to fully adapt to him, as I know I should if we are to succeed as a married couple, we wouldn’t need me to maximize my income potential, and indeed we don’t need to, even with our new house. But I LIKE having money, and I LIKE scheming and plotting about how to grow wealth and take on new initiatives of various kinds. I like “pushing it” and he likes “taking it easy.”

    I believe he is naive about the world in many ways, and I struggle with this. I struggle adapting to him and following him. (We’ve been married 8 years by the way and have 1 daughter).

    After reading your posts, I feel I should simply give adapting to him and respecting him when I don’t feel like it a try for some sustained period. He does a pretty good job of loving me even when I am unlovable, although he is human and when I’m particularly awful he does pull away, understandably.

    Still, in the back of my mind and heart I feel I probably married the wrong person, that life would have been better and easier had I married someone who naturally approaches life in a way that emotionally inspires my respect.

    1. Hello A Conflicted Wife,
      I appreciate your humility in acknowledging your struggle to respect your husband even though he should be easy to respect.

      I am sorry to hear that you question whether you married the wrong person. I can tell you this: when you married your husband, he became the right person. I would encourage you to pray that God helps you view him this way. You seem like a driven person, and possibly a perfectionist. This would lead you to believe that you could have married a more “perfect” person. To be honest, I doubt that, because your husband sounds like a good man, and even if you were married to someone else you would find plenty of weaknesses, because all of us have them. You’ve shared many wonderful things about your husband, including the way he treats you. Rarely do I receive messages from woman who acknowledged being unlovable, and even rarer will they say that their husband loves them when they are making it difficult. I applaud your husband for doing so and your humility in sharing that.

      Yes, David’s behavior definitely seemed to repel and embarrass Michal, but this was more a reflection of her (and in particular her lack of heart for God) than it was of David, . I do think David might have embarrassed himself a little, but he didn’t care, because he loved God so much. This is part of why David was the Man after God’s own heart despite his failures.

      Every husband has strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths themselves typically have accompanying weaknesses. For example, the strong leader can be insensitive while the steady consistent husband can be boring. If your husband grew in some of the areas that bothered you, my suspicion is there would be other weaknesses that develop. You are going to need to focus on your husband’s strengths, because if you focus on his weaknesses they will begin to overshadow his strengths, and your discontentment and frustration will grow.

      Also, keep in mind that you also have weaknesses and you appreciate your husband, and more importantly the Lord, being gracious to you. My wife, Katie, and I just had a meeting this morning about the way our homeschooling day looks. I was a schoolteacher before becoming a pastor, so I would do many things much differently than my wife. I wish she followed more of a schedule. I can focus on that, which was a huge blessing to me when I taught, or I can focus on all the wonderful things my wife is doing with our children, such as reading to them, teaching them music, pointing them toward Christ, etc. Even writing that to you makes me more thankful for her. If she was more scheduled, she would lose some of the flexibility that blesses me and is probably essential to being a pastor’s wife.

      You might want to read this post I wrote, and in particular the section about your husband’s leadership style.

      After reflecting on your comment even more, I believe part of your frustration or discontentment comes from your own success in the business world. Because you work hard and make more money than him, it is easier for you to look down on him for making less and perhaps you believe he is lazy at times because of his desire to rest. You acknowledged that you don’t need the money, but you like it. You might have to decide what you like more: making money or having a strong, healthy marriage.

    2. You are a leader like the Proverbs 31 woman, but unfortunately you didn’t marry a leader like the husband she married. You married a follower and there’s nothing wrong with him. It’s just that eagles fly together and you’re trying to take him to heights he isn’t comfortable with.

      Your concerns are legitimate but unless there’s infidelity or physical abuse you can’t divorce him.

      Your husband is to improve you just like Christ improves his bride and that’s God expectations of him: not to limit or stifle you. And consequently, your responsibility is to trust and respect his leadership. And it’s obvious if you trust his leadership, you’ll have to give up on exercising the gifts that God has given you, because being a visionary is a gift. In fact, the Bible tells us to take notes from the ants that are always working and rest in times of rain. They plan ahead. That’s Godly wisdom.

      All I can say is, don’t beat yourself down because your frustration is legitimate. And also try to understand him because his nature won’t change to match yours. We are who we are. Instead, pray and ask God for wisdom. You sound like a great planner and like to think ahead. It’s possible to find joy in this dynamic without losing yourself or resenting him.

      I am sure you used to admire male leaders and it’s probably your comparison of your husband with them that makes it even more difficult. It’s perhaps time to make peace with the husband you have and you’ll start appreciating what he is. Ask God to help you with that.

      1. Hello Moore,
        I appreciate much of what you wrote as encouragement. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Bm glad that you told her she could not divorce her husband, Joe discouraged her from praying, you encouraged her to pray, and you encouraged her to accept her husband for who he is.

        But I might push back against your thoughts that she is trying to get him “To heights he isn’t comfortable with.” I never guarantee anyone that their spouse will grow or change, but I also would never want to discourage anyone from believing the gospel could produce significant growth and change in their spouse.

  5. What if your husband stays on the computer all the time, doesn’t even look at you when you talk and half listens to you, then rolls his eyes at you? I put up with this for 10 long years before I reacted. He sees no fault in himself of course.

    1. Leah,
      I’m sorry, but it is always hard to respond to comments like this that sound so one-sided. I think this is why the Bible tells us to hear both sides of a matter before responding. It is not to say that there is no truth in what you wrote, but the fact that you didn’t share any of your weaknesses is telling. If you would like to share something more balanced that includes some of your husband’s strengths and some of your weaknesses, it would allow me to try to help you.

  6. Hello,
    I am pastor Ray, and my wife is Annie. We have a marriage mentoring ministry and have been blessed by your teachings.

  7. I could care less about love from my husband. Flowers and cards mean nothing even if he did do this. I feel it is unfair of him to expect me to work outside the home spend our money on things and then ask/expect me to do all the things around the home that a stay at home wife does. While he goes into the room and gets on his phone and chills for the rest of the night. If I ask him to do something, he pitches a fit. But if I give resistance to his requests he has a problem. I need prayer because I am so angry with what I feel God has set up as an unfair abusive system where a woman is trying to please someone who only takes and it’s how God set it up.

    1. Hello BiN,
      I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties with your husband. Without hearing his side of things, which the Bible commands before coming to a conclusion, I’m not sure how to respond. When you married him did you talk about working outside the home?

      I will pray for you. I don’t think God has set up an abusive system, because He doesn’t force us to marry someone. God has provided wonderful instruction for marriages to flourish, but it is on us if we marry a selfish, abusive person. I’m not saying that’s what your husband is, but I am saying it is unfair to blame God for your husband’s behavior.

  8. Trust no one. It’s sad when your husband is having affairs with your best friend. I noticed my husband getting much closer with my friend in private. His calls were a secret, and he changed his phone password. I was wondering what going on. My sister helped me to hack my husband’s phone, which is how I found out.

  9. What happens when your husband says that he does not have to respect you as his wife? Then he says that I don’t believe the Bible.

    1. Hello Nichole,
      This is difficult to respond to, because the Bible tells us there are two sides to every story and we are not to believe one side until we hear the other side. It is not to say that I don’t believe you, but even when people honestly give their side it typically still leaves out many details.

      With that said, I will do my best to answer your question. First, I would ask your husband to share why he does not respect you as his wife. None of us are perfect, so assuming there is at least some truth in what he says, then you can apologize for that and ask for forgiveness.

      You can also ask him why he says you do not believe the Bible. Assuming you do, let him know that. There must be some reason for this accusation.

  10. I am interested in using your book in our mentoring of women. Do you have a book and workbook that I can buy and copy chapters for our women to use?

  11. Thank you Pastor LaPierre, for your post and your comment.

    I think in most marriages where both the husband and wife desire to treat each other in a godly way, misunderstandings can still happen. If not communicated about and corrected promptly they can spiral out of control and lead to a lot of hurt and disrespect on both ends.

    1. Julia,
      You are welcome. You are correct, even in the most well-intentioned marriages there are still misunderstandings and problems. Why? Because every relationship contains two people with sin natures. Yes, I agree that wives are commanded to respect their husbands, but husbands should also respect their wives. First Peter 3:7 says almost as much when it commands husbands to honor (almost synonymous with respect) their wives. God bless!

  12. If you can find a Woman that can do any of these things. let me know. If you do, you are blessed. If you get 50% consider yourself blessed.

    1. Craig,
      There are many godly women who desire to respect their husbands and avoid the things outlined in the post. Sometimes it just takes looking in the right places, such as biblically-ordered, Gospel-preaching churches.

  13. Thank you for the interesting and thoughtful discussions here. If asked, I’d say I would like to see more examples of how a wife should respect her husband. In our church, our pastor talks about how husbands should love their wives about once a quarter, and he often makes the husband out to be the root of marital problems, but he ha only once in 5 years alluded to the possibility of the wife being at fault in marital discord. From my perspective, my wife has rarely shown me respect even though she tells me that she loves me. When I disagree with comments or behaviors of anyone outside our household, she nearly always sides with them and frequently refuses to hear any arguments I have against their stance. For example, I wanted to remove our child from public school because of the very anti-Christian messages she was being taught and bringing home. My wife thought I was “going off the deep end” and wouldn’t listen to me for most of a year. I finally asked her to watch the documentary “Indoctrination” then pray for a few weeks before making a decision whether we should talk further about it. We did finally talk about it, and decided to homeschool, For me this was a spiritual decision. My wife usually discusses it with others as a decision for “better education” for our daughter and then sometimes will include the spiritual aspect. Another example would be our new youth pastor. He is very young (25 years old if I recall correctly), and has espoused many ideas with which I disagree, some that are theologically unsound. When my wife disagrees with him, she tells me and is very expressive, but if I attempt to discuss my disagreements with her about the same (and/or different) issues she immediately and vehemently defends him. I’ve even been in situations where she denigrates me to compliment hosts at parties or guests at our home. My apologies for the lengthy response on this thread, but I’ve struggled with this for some time and my wife refuses to listen to my side of this even when I’ve pointed her to Biblical teachings, sermons, etc, to try to be heard by her. Thank you, in advance for your thoughts.

    1. Hello Michael,
      I liked your request to see more examples of how a wife should respect her husband that I created a post on the topic! Here you go: What Respect and Disrespect Looks Like to a Husband. Also, I hope you’ll check out my message from a Marriage God’s Way Conference about wives respecting their husbands. It includes many examples of what you’re looking for. If you check it out, I’d be glad to hear your thoughts!

      I think it’s common for pastors – because they’re men – to put more responsibility on the husband’s shoulders and shy back from addressing the wives directly. Plus, it seems like in some churches it’s taboo to discuss submission, even though it’s the most common command in Scripture for wives.

      Have you asked your wife why she disrespects you? Is there anything you’re doing that makes it hard for her to respect you?

      I’m glad you have a heart to homeschool, and I love that you asked your wife to watch “Indoctrination.” I’m a big proponent of homeschooling and think that’s a great documentary. I would encourage you to pray that God changes your wife’s heart and gives her the desire to homeschool.

      Have you thought of checking out a family-integrated church? You won’t see youth pastors, because the youth pastors are the fathers.

      One more thought. Have you spoken with the elders in your church and considered receiving some marriage counsel from them?

        1. Fiona,
          I’m not sure what comments you are referring to, so if you can give me an example or two we can talk about why I wrote what I wrote and if I should have handled it differently. Thanks for helping me.

  14. If a woman loves and respect her husband and made a mistake once in not respecting him. Is it right for the husband to embarrass his wife in front of a visitor. Shouting to her and walking out of the house staying two nights presumably at a hotel. Can you please advise on this. Thank you.

    1. Hi Pamella,
      God’s commands for husbands and wives are not conditional. In other words, they do not contain the word “if.” God simply commands husbands to love their wives, and wives are commanded to respect and submit to their husbands.

      Since the commands are unconditional, we’re expected to obey them regardless of how our spouse acts. So to answer your question simply, I would say no, it is not right for him to act that way. It wouldn’t be right for your husband to do that regardless of how well you have or haven’t obeyed God. Similarly, God commands you to obey Him regardless of how your husband has acted. So just because your husband did what you said, it wouldn’t be right for you to mistreat him in return.

  15. Interesting thoughts. I believe you are right. I’ve often said I don’t believe I could love a man I didn’t respect but reading this, I think I’m wrong. But, respect is beautiful and I’m thankful I don’t have to experience it personally. Do you think it’s possible to grow respect in some areas — find and dwell on the good? Thinking about this post during my day.

    1. Hi Pam,
      Seems like perhaps you felt otherwise before reading. Thanks for withholding judgment and reading with an open mind.

      Just to let you know, in a subtle way, I do believe 1 Peter 3:7 commands husbands to respect their wives when it says to honor them. It’s not as clear as the commands for husbands to love their wives, but I believe it’s there! Just like it’s also there – in Titus 2 – for wives to love their husbands.

      Yes, a wife’s respect for her husband can grow, just like you said. I actually write that almost exactly in my book. Here’s part of it…

      As a wife looks for her husband’s best qualities, focuses on her husband’s strengths, speaks well of him to others, and praises him to their children, she will find her respect for her husband growing. Conversely, if she speaks badly about her husband to others—whether they be friends, neighbors, or the children—she will find her respect for her husband diminishing.

  16. This is an excellent reminder for us to make sure our husbands feel loved by respect as well as our other actions. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  17. I think when we look at the 1 Corinthians 13 definition of love, the simple answer to this question would be “no”. I think you can disrespect certain things about your husband and still love him, but that true agape love will always manifest itself as respectful. Hermeneutically, it is more important for wives to respect than to love, but that starts with agape for Christ, IMO.

    1. Hi Isa,
      Even if you disagree, I still appreciate hearing your thoughts. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      If you don’t mind me asking, what would you say to a husband who says, “I know my wife loves me, but I don’t feel respected by her” or a wife who says, “I love my husband, but I don’t respect him”?

  18. Respect and feeling cherished. With the busyness of everyday life, children, school, home, it’s easy to slowly slide into unrespectful unappreciated rolls. This doesn’t only exists in young marrieds, but also throughout a marriage, despite all of the scriptures of instruction for wives and husbands. It’s a catch 22. If the husband doesn’t feel respected, he doesn’t behave towards his wife where she feels cherished.
    Eph 5:33″And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband-that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.” This verse in its order shows the importance of an unselfish woman’s behavior towards her husband.

    Husbands are also commanded. Eph 5:25 Ampl. “Husband’s love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her”(Love includes leading and providing) Eph 5:33 Ampl”However let each man of you (without exception love his wife as (being in a sense) his very own self.” This counteracts and challenges selfishness and weakness in him. With an attitude of Christ to the church. It is the means of winning from the wife her respect and submission. These verses I’ve had taped to our bathroom mirror off and on through the years. It reminds me and my husband, how God wants us to behave and treat each other by keeping our focus on His basic life principle for marriage. Also for myself Gen 3:16 “Thy desire shall be to thy husband,, and he shall rule over thee.” This helps to keep my rebellion in check.

    1. Mary,
      Great thoughts, thank you. I hope people who read the post also make it down here to read your comments.

      I actually figured that probably existed even more in marriage veterans (than young marrieds), since they’ve had time to get in a rut, take each other for granted, forget the good things the other does b/c they’re so accustomed, etc.

      Funny to see you quote the Amplified; I’ve used the exact verse on respect before in a sermon on wives respecting their husbands.

      1. Thank you Scott. Sometimes we think in “big” as showing respect or cherish when it’s actually the daily “little” thing’s. My husband hates an empty sugar bowl when he has his breakfast, so, not using it myself this used to happen. Now I always make sure it’s filled. Also to always welcome him home at the door with a hug and kiss, and send him off with both and “I love you.” For me, I hate pulling back the bed at night, so he makes sure he does this for me. Also, since I do all of the cooking, he does the dishes, another icky job for me. Holding hands while walking together, I feel he, `covers` me with strength and protection. It’s the daily little actions that makes him feel respected, and me cherished.

        1. Once again, great thoughts Mary!

          I have a section like you mentioned in my book. Here’s the portion for wives:

          How does a wife adapt to her husband? By learning what is important to him and making it important to her.
          • Is your husband punctual? Work hard to be on time.
          • Does he have to be up early and thus wants to be in bed by a certain time? Strive to be in bed by that time.
          • Does it bother him when certain things are messy or left out? Try to make sure these areas are tidy.
          As my wife once shared at a woman’s event: “Ladies, work hard to make your husband’s priorities your own and to put your priorities second. And when you adapt to him, do not make him feel stupid for the way he wants things done.”

          There’s also a section for husbands based on 1 Peter 3:7 and husbands “dwelling with their wives with knowledge” (or in an understanding way). But it’s too long to copy here :).

        2. I’m currently just beginning Chapter 7. We both know by our previous conversation I jumped ahead to Chapter 14 .. addressing another issue. Now, Scott, ha…. where do I skip to for your ref?

        3. Mary,
          You go to Chapter Eleven and the section “Learning, Then Embracing” for the section I quoted above.

          You go to Chapter Eighteen and the section “Living with Her According to Knowledge” for the corresponding portion for husbands.

  19. Of course a wife can love her husband without respecting him. And a husband can respect his wife without loving her as well. It always amazes me how we can get our “love languages” crossed and jumbled up when we don’t take the time to understand one another.

    Both my wife and I have been working harder on loving and respecting one another better. This has led to some conversation that is hopefully open and honest to how we can serve and help one another better and I think our marriage is better off because of it. We have found that when we don’t invest into our marriage, we start falling by the wayside and our marriage shows the lack. This is actually one of my goals this year is to set aside more time to “date” my wife and learn more about her.

    1. Hi Steven,
      Good point! The opposite is also true.

      I’m glad to hear about the open communication taking place between your and your wife. If my book has any small part in that, I feel blessed. I received your message(s) about this discussion and it encouraged me.

      I’ve appreciated not just your goal-setting mentality, but the way you make it so quantifiable.

  20. When I read the title, I thought well YES she can. Love is a decision and sometimes it is easier to love a person without having full respect for them.

    I love how you pulled an example from Scripture of just this!

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