Why Do Some Wives Say, "I Do Not Feel Any Respect For My Husband"?

When we say that God commands a wife to respect her husband we are not saying that God commands the wife to feel respect for her husband. She may feel little to no respect for him because of his reprehensible actions.  No person on the planet should feel respect for what is not intrinsically respectable.

So then, what do we mean by respecting one’s husband?

Respect is about how a wife treats her husband when she does not feel respect for him.

Respect is about the demeanor and behavior a wife takes toward her husband when talking to him about his hurtful deeds.

God’s call in Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:1,2 does not call her to feel respect for him, but to be a respectful human being. It is a call for her to choose respect-words, respect-tones, respect-looks, and respect-behavior so that he hears the truth of his wrongdoing.

This is about her respectful appearance and delivery, not about him deserving the respect or her feeling it.

Of course some of this information is tough for a husband to swallow, since he feels matters of honor and respect among men. He lives by the honor code and it compels him emotionally.  He cannot imagine how his wife could have such strong feelings of disrespect and contempt for him, since he knows he’d die for her. To him the lack of feeling respect for him makes little sense.

But I write this to wives. (For my message to husbands, click here.)

-Dr. E