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

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How should a wife handle disrespect in marriage?

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

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

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

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

In this post, I am addressing wives in the early years of marriage, all though the same principles apply to older wives. I’m also addressing mild discourtesy that comes from personality differences, life experiences or just the newness of marriage itself.

I am not excusing disrespect from a husband or assuming the wife is responsible for fixing it. Our chat here doesn’t mean a disrespectful husband is acting right or he should be mollycoddled. Not at all.

If you’re in a harmful marriage where disrespect is the order of the day, this post is not mean for you. Please check out this post instead, as well as these series of posts.

Consider this post a chat between two friends who are married to overall healthy men; wrestling through a testy question, figuring out how we can better respond when we feel slighted. Not because we’re responsible for fixing our spouse or “we asked for it.” But because we also need to take responsibility for our own responses and hold our spouses accountable too.

Remember: in this post, we’re dealing with slight discourtesy and irritations in marriage. If you’re facing significant disrespect, 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.

Sometimes she feels slighted, like her husband doesn’t really understand how certain things make her feel.

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

For Christians, health and wholeness in Christ results in health and wholeness in the here and now of marriage.

If a man is not treating his wife well but claims Christianity, he’s first and foremost failing God who created marriage.

Now many healthy men will address this type of problem as soon as they are made aware of it. But some men will struggle. If he’s struggling to stop something that makes his wife sad, he has a broader issue, and that problem cannot be fixed by his wife doing more gymnastics.

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 – all though happiness very very good!

But these issues often reveal a deeper wrinkle in a man’s/woman’s relationship with God, trauma or blind-spots and until these broader issues are addressed, we might end up blowing smoke.

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

2. Remember partnership

Common unfairness in marriage aka normal marriage problems are not a ticket out of all other responsibilities in marriage.

For the newlywed wife who dreamed of a perfect marriage union, it might be disconcerting when a husband doesn’t tickle all her bones.

The Bible paints a pathway when dealing with people who sometimes (not as a pattern) do us wrong. It’s filled with instruction on how to work through the complexities of relationships.

Relationships will not always be comfortable. We see that God has a lot to say about patience, perseverance, restraint, accountability and courage: it’s the currency of love.

If your husband doesn’t “get” what speaks respect to you right out of the gate, certainly he needs to work on that.

But alongside that, remember the normal stretching of marriage is not an automatic sign you made the wrong choice. If there’s empathy, mutuality, kindness and commitment to growth on both sides, (not just one side) it’s possible to work common marriage issues and thrive.

3. Guard against comparison

When you are married to an overall-healthy who takes responsibility for his issues for the most part but struggles sometimes, you might start to notice the more excellent neighbors.

Suddenly many of 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 apparently has it better than you do.

And at that point, it’s easy to feel more frustrated.

If you are feeling disrespected by your husband today, if he’s missing the mark sometimes, I want to you know that God does want you blessed and happy. No question that He desires healthy happy marriages.

But you need to know there are seasons when we rest despite the status of the marriage. We absolutely address issues, but we also guard against catastrophizing.

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.  Later, after we cooled down, I brought it up. “I felt disrespected when you told me to leave the room. You treated me like a child.”

He looked at me, shocked. He didn’t remember the conversation in that exact manner. He remembered requesting, not demanding to give him space. Then he added, “If you didn’t want to leave the room, why did you?” Which was good question but it set off another set of emotions.

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, there’s a chance your husband is using a different filter, language, outlook. 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 brain worked then. (Of course, a much better approach would have been for him to excuse himself out of the room, not  request me to. He and I learn a lot from hindsight!)

I on the hand grew up being bossed around by disciplinarian parents and older siblings and quickly resorted to childish hurts and reactions when triggered.

So be ready to figure out what’s actually going on.

5. Make a decision

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?

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 protect your health, without swinging to extremes (overreacting or under-reacting.)

Here are examples of possible resolutions

  • When he runs over you during conflict.

You can decide to end such discussions until he can listen well. Ask that you both attend marriage therapy. Check out 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. If he’s an overall great guy who is unable to follow a strict “clothes in the bin” policy, you might have to make peace with the fact that you are the neat one in the relationship; if you want a tidy sparkling closet, it’s mostly on you.

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

If he thinks their jokes are harmless, but they are not, you can excuse yourself from gatherings where the jesting and jokes are likely to happen. You can create boundaries with him and his family. You can get individual therapy for yourself to help you figure out some healthy next steps.

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

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  and that includes professional counseling with a licensed therapist.

Again, this post assumes a level of goodwill and empathy in both spouses, even where there’s discourtesy and tension. If your spouse doesn’t care for you or your feelings at all,  if he engages in constant and unrepentant disrespect, you might be in an abusive marriage. Please see a licensed therapist who specializes in relationship abuse and trauma. Call the national abuse hotline and get to a safe place.

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

Helpful Resources for Individuals in  Difficult, Abusive Marriages

If your spouse is toxic, abusive or chronically problematic, if they are engaged in unrepentant sin (repentance comes with fruit!) please get to a safe place and talk to a licensed counselor who is trained in relationship abuse and trauma. Talk to someone safe.  Here are a few resources and websites to check out. You are not alone.

  1. Hope For Hurting Wives with MaryEllen Brean
  2. Flying Free with Natalie Hoffman
  3. Leslie Vernick
  4. Confusion to Clarity with Helena Knowlton
  5. Life Saving Divorce with Gretchen Baskerville
  6. Sarah McDugal 
  7. Patrick Weaver Ministries
  8. Heather Elizabeth 
  9. Betrayal Trauma Recovery 
  10. To Love Honor and Vacuum with Sheila Gregoire
  11. Strong Wives with Bonny Burns
  12. If you’re in danger, call an emergency hotline in your country. Canada: 800.799.SAFE (7233). United States: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673). United Kingdom: 08 08 16 89 111. Australia: 1800 015 188. New Zealand: 0800 456 450. Kenya: 0-800-720-072. Nigeria: 0800 033 3333. South Africa: 0800 428 428.


  1. Isabel Telly says:

    Very good article but to the women who are hurting at the hands of their husbands have to remember we’re not on the earth to just connect with God we are here to have connection with our husbands and feel loved and safe. We’re here for relationships with our loving heavenly father to help.
    If you can’t go to you’re husbands for safety and encouragement there’s a serious problem that needs to be fixed and don’t ever lower ur standards. There is tools that can help that can get to the root of the issues and why there is disrespect. The Lords gotcha! Big hugs to those women who are hurting. You’re not alone

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?


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

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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!

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