My Husband Doesn’t Respect Me – 5 Things To Do

Difficult Marriage | Marriage | Newlywed Advice

How should a wife handle disrespect in marriage?

More specifically, how can a wife figure out a healthy balance – accurately judge when she’s under-reacting or overreacting to disrespect?

It goes without saying that husband and wife should respect one another. Mutual respect is a foundational element in any healthy marriage.

When a wife feels disrespected by her husband, 5 things she needs to do

That said, the early days of marriage come with a training curve; a sometimes-bumpy season of learning what is right, almost right and plain wrong. And how to fix it.

As always, in this post, I am addressing wives in the early years of marriage, all though the same principles apply to older wives. And I am not victim-blaming – I hope you’ll see that as we go on.

Wife, I am pretty sure your husband has some growing to do: my chat here doesn’t mean he’s acting right.

Consider this post a chat between two friends; wrestling through a testy question, trying to make sure we are dealing with the possible log in our own eye and figuring out how pride plays into our responses and how we can better respond when we feel slighted.

If you’re facing significant disrespect (not a slight discourtesy, the focus of this post,) please read this post My Husband Has No Respect For Me or My Feelings – 6 Things To Do

Let’s start by looking at two extremes when you feel “my husband doesn’t respect me.”

The under-reacting wife

She’s married to a man who seems to have it together on the outside, but in the privacy of their marriage, he’s mean and a bully.

Since she’s new in marriage, she hopes it will blow away by itself. She chooses to pray, walk on eggshells, submit more, while hoping he will change without having to make a big deal about it.

The overreacting wife

She’s newly married and to a good man. At least most of the time, she thinks he’s good. But he also displays a lack of courtesy for her feelings and views, especially in stressful situations.

She feels slighted and cheated. She’s beginning to panic, wondering if his sometimes cavalier dismissive attitude is tantamount to abuse.

In this post, I am dealing with the second instance where a wife feels like she deserves more in the face of a husbands disrespect (and she does of course.)

If your marriage is in the first category, I have another post for you; please read it now.

So let’s dive into the thoughts – what to do/remember when you feel my husband doesn’t respect me.

1. Remember the goal

The big goal is health and wholeness in Christ.

But when marriage hurts, our typical response is to do everything to end the hurt – avoiding hurt becomes the all-consuming goal.

However, there’s a higher goal when it comes to wholeness in marriage, and that’s wholeness and health in Christ. If a man is not treating his wife well, it means he’s first and foremost failing God who gave him that mandate.

If he’s struggling to stop something that makes his wife sad, he has a broader issue, and that problem cannot be fixed by more tears, or anger or pride.

Taking this high road helps us put everything in its proper context; disrespect (and other marriage issues,) aren’t just issues to be fixed so we can be happy.

The reveal a deeper wrinkle in a man’s/woman’s relationship with God, and until these broader issues are addressed, we are blowing smoke.

Once we see it this way, it also helps us see God as an ally.

We see His closeness, and we are then able to pray “Lord help my husband love and honor you first. It’s the only way He will know how to love and honor me.” Instead of the more simplistic “make my husband respect me so I can be happy.”

2. Do your part

Unfairness in marriage is not your ticket out of your responsibility. Ouch.

We live in a world that believes in being treated right and taking appropriate action when it deems a wrong has been committed.

“One more aggravating thing out of your mouth and I am off to my parents” “One more (insert issue) …and you can kiss sex goodbye for ten weeks.”

Our world, yes even us Christians, relish punishment, broadcasting issues, shaming the guilty or a total walk-out when we feel slighted.

For the newlywed wife who dreamed of a perfect marriage union, a husband who doesn’t tickle all her “respect” bones is too much to bear.

But the Bible paints a different pathway when dealing with people who treat us wrong. It’s filled with instruction on how to live with difficult people and how to work through the complexities of relationships.

In the real Christian world (not the culturally-relevant comfort-first faith we’ve become accustomed to) there’s far less self-preservation and more suffering in relationships. (PS. I am not talking about accepting abuse in marriage.)

For example, Romans 12:9-21 says

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

More reading:

Loving those who don’t love you – Matthew 5:46

Correcting a fellow believer: Matthew 18:15-17

Self control and kindness 2 Timothy 2:23-26

The greatest is love 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

We see that God has a lot to say about patience, perseverance, restraint, and courage; it’s the currency of love.

If your husband is not sweet, if he doesn’t “get” what speaks respect to you, certainly he needs to work on that.

But remember that suffering is not a sign you made the wrong choice, and it’s not a ticket out of your personal responsibility.

When a wife feels disrespected by her husband, 5 things she needs to do

3. Guard against comparison

When you are married to a man who isn’t 100%, it’s most likely you’ll start to notice your more excellent neighbors.

Suddenly all the men in the church are opening car doors for their wives. Sappy marriage stories blow up your Facebook timelines all day every day. The world gangs up to remind you how everyone has it better than you.

And at that point, it’s easy to despair. You feel angrier, more petulant, fearful. And these things snap and kill any good attitude and your faith.

If you are feeling disrespected by your husband today, I want to you know that God does want you blessed and happy. No question that He desires healthy marriages.

But you need to know there are seasons when joy comes in spite of the marriage. Times when you will sing about the goodness of God when none is coming from your man.

I know it’s hard to think of marriage that way.

But if you are going to create a joyous marriage in spite of the ups and downs (and everyone goes through ups and downs, you are not special) you are going to have to raise your eyes a little higher.

4. Educate him

Your husband might not be aware you feel disrespected by his action/inaction.

One time as newlyweds, my husband and I were in a heated discussion when he, right in the middle of the conversation, stopped and asked I leave the room.

I was outraged. But oddly enough, I stood up and walked out. Later, after we cooled down, I brought it up.

“I really felt disrespected and rejected when you told me to leave the room. You treated me like a child.”

He looked at me, surprised. He remembered asking, not demanding. Then he added, “If you didn’t want to leave the room, why did you?” He set off another volley of emotions, but I’ll spare you the details.

Bottom line here’s something worth looking into; before you decide my husband doesn’t respect me, perhaps you need to round back to these instances and figure out what he really means.

Since we bring two different life views into the marriage, it’s likely he’s using a different filter. Once you circle back, be ready to wrestle and talk it out because many of these filters have a long history attached to them.

My husband didn’t see anything wrong with asking me to give him space because he believed I could say no if I didn’t want to. It’s how his guy-brain works.

I on the hand grew up being bossed around (disciplinarian parents and last-born of nine kids) and quickly resorted to childish hurts and reactions when triggered.

So be ready to figure out what’s actually going on. And who needs to change.

Wrestling with early marriage challenges? Wondering how to influence your “imperfect” husband and overcome hurdles? My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years might help! Start your journey here!Learn how to develop grit in marriage when you purchase Blues to Bliss book!

5. Make a decision

What if your husband doesn’t change? What if he still doesn’t listen well?

What if he still leaves his clothes on the floor instead of the bin? What if he doesn’t defend you when his family throws jokes and barbs at you. What will you do?

Will your marriage end? Will you barricade yourself in a pit of reactions and despair?

It’s a hard pill to swallow, all these (potentially) disheartening realities of married life. But you are not without options.

There are steps you can take to nudge your marriage towards health, without swinging to extremes (overreacting or under-reacting.) You can find a healthy balance.

Here are examples of possible resolutions

  • When he runs over you during conflict.

You can decide to end such discussions until he regains control and can listen. See this post: how to set limits with a difficult spouse .

  • Not picking after himself.

Put a bin somewhere closer to the door of the bedroom, or wherever “the trail” begins. Find ways to make it easier for you to maintain order and tidiness.

Of course, a bin is no guarantee he will actually drop the clothes inside. Therefore you might have to make peace with the fact that you are the neat one in the relationship; if you want a tidy sparkling home, it’s mostly on you.

  • If he won’t protect you from his family.

If he thinks their jokes and barbs are harmless, but they are not, you can talk about it and excuse yourself from gatherings where the jesting and jokes are likely to happen.

The reason you make these decision is because small problems grow to become significant problems, and I am not talking about your husband’s issues.

You alone decides what to do with the little foxes running in your heart. (Song of Solomon 2:15) Small offenses, if not nipped, tend to multiply.

In fact, they become a magnet, attracting other debris in the universe of your marriage and your entire marriage becomes train-wreck looking for a place to happen.

So consider this – if your husband won’t change, who else is left but you? You don’t have to suffer in silence; you can do something about it. But don’t swing to extremes because there’s a lot of room in-between.When a wife feels "my husband doesn't respect" - here are 5 things she needs to do

Final thoughts

My prayer is that your marriage will grow strong, on both sides.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty you can do to get it there, and that includes mentor help or counseling, which I didn’t include in this post because it’s obvious.

When you can’t solve something between the two of you, invite outside help.

But overall, don’t check out of your marriage because anger and pride got in the way. Spend a few minutes with God every day, be a little courageous and see what God can accomplish through a wife who is grace-filled, bold and intentional.

Related post

My Husband Has No Respect For Me or My Feelings – 6 Things To Do

What do you think? I know I haven’t covered everything – I would love to hear your thoughts. Lets chat in comments!

~

Are boundaries and respect an issue in your marriage? Are you wrestling with the overwhelm of new marriage and want a step by step guide on how to kick out fussing, anger, passive-aggressiveness from your relationship? Want to restore joy, healing and happiness to your marriage? Or maybe you just want to love better, create the marriage of your dreams, God’s way. Your marriage can change! Get on the road to a great marriage (or improve the one you have) when you pick up my book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years -> Amazon Paperback I Amazon Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I UK/Europe PDF . Or click here to go to book pageBlues to Bliss - Creating Your Happily ever after in the early years

Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels

29 Comments

  1. today I WAS SOOOOOO DEPRESSED my husband is rejecting me on many occasions prefering othrs ove me when I read your articles i felt relaxed and recommitted to Christ .unlike many others u talked about Christ teachings and harmony even in dark times … its from the Lord .thank you God bless you …..i dont know you but i felt blessed after reading it.

    1. I am so glad this was helpful. It’s meant to help wives who are experiencing mild discourtesy on occasion in their marriage. There are other ways to respond to disrespect and we looked at it in this post

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I’m not married yet but engaged. We have had a great many vulnerable talks about how my fiancé and his son speak disrespectfully. He wants to “try” to do better but the bigger issue is, he doesn’t even hear it when they are doing it. They can’t fix what they don’t get. It makes me feel like I am their mother pointing these things out as they are normally focused at myself and my children. I struggle with if this is worth continuing forward with.

    1. Elizabeth, I would want to be on a healthier note first. I hope you consider getting counseling.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful article.
    When do you that now you need to stop giving this marriage another chance? When do you know if I need to leave him?

  4. JESSIELYN PULVERA says:

    Hi, thanks for your words. I felt emotionally lighter.

  5. I feel very sad that my husband can’t be respectful to me when we are having a conversation. He says something demeaning, like, ‘ is this going to take all night”, and other put downs. At that point I try to defend myself and then have to walk out of the room.
    I ask him to share his dreams so as to encourage us to share our passions, so we can celebrate the wonderful life we could have together.
    I don’t know what he is afraid of.? It just makes me very sad that we can’t really enjoy each other.

    1. I understand what you are going through as I also went through the same thing the 1st couple of years of my marriage. However in my case it was the fear of failing and low self esteem although I consider myself to be an intelligent and beautiful woman. I was just trying too hard which at that time I thought to myself “how can trying too hard be possible” well it is. I didn’t value myself as a woman and a child of god. I would also ask him to open up to me so that I could understand him better as I felt distant from him. Now I know men don’t like this. Many men see this as weak and insecure. It took me about a year to finally get this. One day I was crying and he told me “maybe if you didn’t’ try so hard, things would get better ” ouch a stab to my heart. I thought showing my deep feelings would show him how much I loved him. Now I know he regrets telling me those words because I’ve stopped trying and once I did this my life changed. I’ve gone back to school and have placed my focus back on how to make myself better instead of how I could help make him better or us better. Since then everything has fallen in place. Now I place GOD first and cast my cares on the LORD. Yes it took me a while but praying and believing that GOD would take care of it, was all I needed. Now I have no fear of my husband leaving because I know if he ever leaves it GODs plan. Yes marriage is sacred but one cannot love for both. We need to stop being floor mats and support each other. My heart breaks when I see females disrespecting themselves having affairs with married men or belittling themselves by drawing attention (flirting) to themselves. Then they end up crying because they have a bad life and ask why men disrespect them….well this is another story. I value myself and GOD too much than to be wasting my time with a married man. Yes I continue to have hiccups in my marriage, and trusting in the Lord will not end our problems however it will just keep you better guarded than before. I pray that the Lord is with guide you and give you the strength that you need to overcome this hiccup in your marriage. God be with you. Amen!

  6. I feel that I’ve really gotten a lot out of blog. My struggles with my husband are that when I try to tak with him about my feelings about our relationship (things to work on) he immediately gets defensive. I hold as much of that in until I just can’t anymore & he doesn’t seem to care that things bother me. I have a friend (female) who I’ve known for 4 years. In the last 3 months my husband & her have grown closer, same interests, a lot of things in common. This has lead to lots of messages between the two. The messages have seemed harmless, surface type conversation, nothing very deep. But, I’m torn because I feel that he thinks of her more than me, he would rather talk with her about these things than with me. That hurts me. I’ve spoken to them both, her more in-depth (she assures me she would never be a homewrecker & is working on her own relationship b/c she is trying to prevent her children from being in a broken home), asking this to greatly reduce. I don’t feel that that’s happened & am now faced with either enduring it or bring it up again. Which makes me feel like the nagging wife too. Any advice would be very welcomed.

    1. Tabitha, what your friend is doing is WRONG and you have every right to let her know that and ask her to stop it. If she’s really your friend she’ll stop it and if she doesn’t then you know she’s not and you have the option of ending that friendship (harsh I know but that’s the way of marriage and boundaries) Of course your husband is the first person you need to raise it up with and he ask him to stop because it’s not good for either of you or the marriage.
      Regarding communication and shut downs, read more here
      About boundaries in general I hope these two posts are helpful too here and here

  7. I really like your focus — reminding us that “the Bible paints a different pathway when dealing with people who treat us wrong. It’s filled with instruction on how to live with difficult people and how to work through the complexities of relationships.” That this marriage relationship is not about our happiness, but about the training in righteous thoughts and actions while we are growing and dealing with less than perfect circumstances. I have much to ponder here and thank you for taking the time to write this post. Terry

  8. Halle Jackson says:

    Do a fast. God will do amazing things. In your fast, cry out to the Lord he will hear you. Love you Sister

  9. I hate this Article it obły made me feelings like I am guilty of my husband disrespecting me. Seriously the person who wrote this article does not understand a bit how disrespectful husbands can be.

    1. Ann, as stated in the article, this is for women facing moderate discourtesy. If yours is a severe case, there are other articles linked within the post that might be more helpful.

  10. Hi my name is Tanya, I feel like leaving my husband and just live in another house with my children, he does not care about me at all he ignore my feelings and then act like I’m the problem and if I say something about the situation he will verbally abuse me. I’m so so hurt how my husband is treating me. Whenever I complain about how his sister just Come around unannounced to our house he will get mad at me and “ say that’s his family and he know her before me” I cry a lot because we have 2 children a girl and a boy and he never address us as a family. I’m so hurt I don’t know what to do please help me.

    1. Halle Jackson says:

      Do a fast. God will do amazing things. In your fast, cry out to the Lord he will hear you. Love you Sister

    2. Tina Adesola says:

      Hi am Tina
      Am from Nigeria, here when you’re pregnant you can get the family introduced to each other and start leaving as a married couple…that’s my case but I don’t like it but I had no choice because those period I was pregnant my husband was not financially stable. We dated for 4 years but he dis flowered me and I got pregnant (I was that focused) after our introduction we started living together as a married couple moved from a room apartment to a room and a parlor, befor I deliver my baby we moved to our house that he put his mom as the owner in d house papers…now he has started his own little company which he put his dad has d owner also…anytime we have an argument he’s also the genesis of it and also abuse me verbally n tell me he will never marry me legal…there was the day my child wrong me and I slap her at her buttocks he slap me back and said I should never beat his child ever again n left the room so again out of anger I slap her buttocks again that is bcos of you your father had to slap me..he came back inside when he had her cry and started beating me Nd tell me again that he will never get married to me that am not a good wife and a mother and I told him I won’t have another child if that’s the case, he replied and said they’re many women out there that can get pregnant for him…my question is how am I going to deal with that can of man?
      And can I deal with that kind of family?

  11. My marriage is in trouble, I feel like a tool to my husband, not a human being, an employee, a subordinate dealing with a tyrant boss, my dignity is being affected and I feel it is never going to change because he doesn’t care to put on the work, or to honour God, my husband has even told me I am replaceable, hence why I think he think I am a tool. It is hard, but this situation is making me closer to the Lord and making me realize my joy comes from Him, and expecting my husband to give me happiness or be the reason for it, is never going to make me happy. I need to take my power back and only give it away to God, I, unknowingly, gave my power to my husband thinking he will respect me, love me and make me feel protected, but on this Earth is my responsibility to use my power to improve my life and never give it away to anyone only God. I love your post and the reminder to treat your enemies with love, I am going to do that and meet his basic needs but I refuse to engage with my husband in a loving and devotional way anymore, that only goes to God. If my husband chooses to keep treat me without dignity and doesn’t make the Lord his priority, I will have to leave. Sometimes all is left to do is for us to become our own hero, and with God’s help and on our side we should fear nothing. Thank you for your post! God bless you!

    1. I am so sorry about the situation in your marriage. Definitely the Lord wants for husbands to love and cherish their wives (and vice versa) and to do less is to dishonor His plan and purpose for marriage. Please seek counseling – mentor, pastoral or professional -, if you haven’t. I am glad the post was helpful. Blessings to you too

  12. My husband disrespects at lot. Right now am at the point of quitting the marriage. Can’t go on any more

    1. I am sorry, Kathy. I hope you have access to Christian marriage counseling/help.

      1. Hello as well as for myself, I have done nothing but made my husband primary as he has made me secondary to people that are way less important than I am, it has been 7 long years and I’m tired now, myself and my husband are going through a revolving door.I love him but honestly don’t think he knows how to love.I pray for change with the both of us but my husband keep me uncomfortable, he continues to have me feeling suspicious on top of being the other woman when I should feel like the ONLY WOMAN, I have asked god to take his blinders off so my husband can see that I love him,I’m just at a point now where I feel as if I don’t know how to love him anymore.

  13. As usual, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Ngina! And it seems like we are resonating with each other on our most recent posts. But then we are “two peas in a pod” when it comes to our marriage and spiritual views! I’ve already pinned this but will be sharing in the Twittersphere as well. Great content, my friend!

    1. Beth you are right, and I love reading your thoughts! Thank you for sharing it and your sweet comments and encouragement on FB too 🙂

  14. Nkiruka007 says:

    I can’t tell you how much this blog has been a blessing to me. I can only believe that God led me here today because this post is speaking right to my heart. I fall into the “overreacting wife” category and your words bring me immense encouragement. Don’t stop doing what you are doing Ngina, you are touching lives!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.