Disrespecting Your Husband Without Realizing It
One of the top needs expressed by men is their need for respect. In its many forms, respect makes a man feel confident, worthy, and capable. Respect from his wife is especially powerful because it makes him feel worthy of her affection. Conversely, disrespect of him from her can cause him to withdraw from connection with her and feel less confident, worthy, and capable. Ironically, a wife may disrespect her husband without even realizing it. Here are some typical ways that a wife can disrespect her husband:
- Manipulating his emotions. If a wife says “you always” or “you never,” chances are she is manipulating him and laying a guilt trip on her husband. Using phrases like “It’s fine” when it isn’t or “I don’t care” when she really does is also indicative of emotional manipulation. Passive aggressive behavior, the silent treatment, withholding sex, and exaggerating problems are some of the many ways a woman can manipulate her spouse. This disrespects him and is an attempt to control him and the relationship. A wife must be able to express her emotions, whatever they might be, but to do so in a way that builds connection and shows respect for her and her husband’s feelings.
- Acting like his momma. A man might think that he wants a woman who will be like his mother was to him; however, this erodes his self-respect. A woman who is a nurturer may likewise step into the role and mother her husband. The problem is that she will believe that “mother (she) knows best .”This will make him feel less like a man and more like a boy. He won’t step up and be her equal as an adult and co-leader of the home and family. It will be a parent-child relationship, not a husband-wife one. He will feel less and less like a protector and be robbed of his standing as a man.
- Aggressively attacking him. This is a no-win situation for a man. If he is passive or silent in response to the attack, he is considered weak and a coward. If he responds angrily, escalating the situation, he is viewed as a bully or abuser. This is a no-win situation for both partners. Even if you “win” the argument, you lose respect for him, and he loses respect for himself.
- Holding too tightly. If you grab someone’s shirt sleeve and pull them toward you, what will they do? They will instinctively pull away. That happens emotionally as well. If a wife is clingy and obsessed with holding on to her husband, she is not trusting or respectful of him. If she constantly questions him and makes him feel like he has done something wrong, she devalues him and his commitment to her. (Of course, if he has been unfaithful to her or hurt her deeply somehow, there has to be time for healing and restoring trust.)
- Being his #1 critic. Constantly pointing out his flaws and the things he has done wrong rather than praising what he has done right will cause him to believe you are unpleasable. Not respecting his efforts will make him stop trying at all. Dr. John Gottman, the renowned marriage researcher, says that in successful marriages, the ratio of positive and negative interactions is 5 to 1. This means that a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions for every negative interaction. Both husbands and wives would increase respect and harmony in the home if they put this into practice in their relationship.
- Undercutting him. This is especially damaging to a man as he seeks to fulfill his role as a father. Undermining his parenting decisions will teach his children that he is not competent and deserving of their respect. Being overruled in front of the children is demeaning and brings discord and confusion into the home. At some point, he will have no other option but to abandon all parenting matters to his wife.
- Being flirtatious and looking at other men. This should be obvious. When a wife flirts, openly or secretly, with another man, she devalues and disrespects her husband. (Of course, this goes both ways!) When she talks about other men and admires their physical features, it is demeaning to her husband. Flirting and lusting after anyone except your spouse by either husband or wife is disrespectful and damaging.
- Keeping a record of wrongs. If a wife keeps a record of her husband’s wrongs rather than dealing with and forgiving them, she will grow bitter and resentful. When a new situation or argument arises, she will bring up past disputes and hurts festering in her heart. She has not respected or accepted his making of amends for these past grievances. This will cause him to believe that there is never any progress made in the relationship, so what’s the use?
- Verbally provoking him. It has been said that if a wife cannot get her husband’s affection, she will get his attention! Taunting or provoking anyone to get a response can backfire. The better, safer, and more productive approach is to invite him into a conversation about what is not going well between you using the tools for effective communication. You can learn these tools through Love Recon seminars or Recon Coaching.
- Being discontent. A man feels respected when his efforts are acknowledged and respected. One of the best ways for a wife to do this is to be content. Men typically are “fixers.” If a wife is dissatisfied, her husband will want to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed for her to be happy. If she is never satisfied, he will want to give up. If she compares him to other women’s husbands, telling him what he needs to change or who he needs to be, she will miss out on the person that he is. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Take advantage of the joy of your own relationship by refusing to compare it to someone else’s!
If you want to discuss how we can help you and your relationship, please contact me at [email protected] or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.