Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

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*** Guest blogger April of Peaceful Wife’s Blog. “I love Jesus Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and desire to honor Him with all that I think, say and do. I love being Greg’s wife and am thrilled to get to live with him each day. I love being mom to our son and daughter and desire to raise and nurture them in the ways and wisdom of God and His Word. I have a huge heart for women and desire to see marriages be vibrant, God-honoring, full of life and blooming with the beauty of God’s design – shining brightly for Christ!” Follow Peaceful Wife on Facebook also.

What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

There is a whole masculine world of respect that I knew nothing about until December of 2008. I had been married for 14.5 years, thinking the whole time that I was the best Christian wife ever. I loved my husband so much, and wanted us to have the best marriage. I didn’t understand why he was so shut down and passive. I would tell him all the things he needed to do to improve himself and how he needed to step up and be the leader God commands him to be. I prayed constantly for God to change Greg.

Then, God showed me what I was missing as a wife.  Well… I was missing a lot of things. But one of the biggest issues was that I had unknowingly been extremely disrespectful to my husband all those 14+ years and I had deeply wounded him. He never said a word about it to me. I had no clue he was hurting. I just thought he was unloving and God needed to change him. I didn’t know that Greg had shut down and unplugged from our marriage and family in direct response to my disrespect and controlling behavior.

I have heard from dozens and dozens of husbands about what they personally feel is respectful and what they feel is disrespectful. I have a LONG list on my blog if you are interested in details. And I have a post called “Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected” that may be helpful for you to diagnose how severe the disrespect issue may be in your marriage.

Here are some general things that feel disrespectful to most husbands, these can be pretty surprising for many wives. Some wives think “all wives do these things” it’s no big deal. But to our men, it IS a big deal. We deeply hurt them when we do these things, and we are not being the godly women Christ commands us to be when we do these things, either:

  • Telling them what to do or how to do it as if they can’t figure it out for themselves (i.e.: how to drive, how to take care of the children, how to pack for vacation, how to do their jobs at work).
  • Treating them like children.
  • Telling other people that they are our children.
  • Making fun of them or humiliating them by pointing out their failures or weaknesses anywhere, but especially in front of other people.
  • Criticizing them.
  • Not showing appreciation for what they do for us, having an “entitlement” attitude and taking them for granted.
  • Mocking them.
  • Making demands.
  • Using an “an angry mama” tone of voice.
  • Rolling our eyes.
  • Giving them  “the look” like we think they are “idiots.”
  • Sighing like our husbands are “stupid.”
  • Not trusting them. (one caveat here, if trust has been broken, then you would want to show you WANT to rebuild trust, that you want to have trust again, that all hope is not lost.)
  • Withholding sex or demanding sex.
  • Acting like their thoughts, ideas, opinions and feelings are not important.
  • Thinking we are “always right” and they are “always wrong.”
  • Usurping their God-given position as leader in the marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, I Timothy 3:5, Titus 2:3-5).
  • Trying to force them to have a deep conversation when they are not mentally prepared yet (springing a “big talk” on them without warning). Many men need a few days to prepare and decide how they think and what they feel. That is not wrong. It is just different.
  • Acting like the things that matter to them are silly or unimportant.
  • Trying to force them to “submit” to us.
  • Dictating to them.
  • Calling them names.
  • Implying they are not capable sexually, financially or in any way.
  • Implying they are failures.
  • Assuming the worst about them instead of the best.
  • Comparing them to other men and saying they fall short.
  • Judging their spirituality.
  • Condemning them.
  • Showing contempt for who they are.
  • Not accepting them.
  • Being mean and hateful to them.
  • Complaining.
  • Arguing.
  • Not smiling at them, being unhappy all the time – that makes them feel like failures as men.
  • Holding them responsible for our happiness instead of finding all of our contentment in Christ and being responsible for our own spiritual growth and our own emotions.
  • Saying we want them to lead and then refusing to follow them.
  • Making them idols in our hearts, expecting them to be Christ to us – which is impossible for any human being to do for us.
  • Refusing to cooperate with them, not being on their team.
  • Gossiping and bashing them to our friends, family and coworkers.
  • Not believing them when they say they feel disrespected.
  • Telling them they must “earn our respect.”
  • Assuming we are more spiritually mature or morally superior to them.
  • Hurtful sarcasm.
  • Threatening to leave/divorce.
  • Undermining them as fathers.
  • Assuming they have no feelings or emotions just because they do not express themselves the same way we do.
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