Has your wife said something along these lines to you?
- “How can you disrespect me like that?”
- “Do you know how that makes me feel?”
- “Why do you keep disrespecting me?”
- “You can’t just ignore my feelings.”
But you did not intentionally say or do anything to hurt or disrespect her?
You might have also tried making efforts to show that you respect your wife’s feelings, and yet she’s STILL unhappy.
If this fits for you, then you’re in the right place.
I had similar struggles in my marriage where I had to learn what my wife actually meant, when she asked me to respect her feelings.
So much so, she and I built this entire website around these topics to help other couples with their relationship and marriage struggles.
Let’s start with the fundamentals though, and then I’ll show you how to respect your wife’s feelings in a way that will not only make her stop complaining…
But will actually make her happy, while adoring and appreciating you for your efforts.
What Does Respecting Your Wife Mean?
Some things are better explained through a story, so here’s John’s story on how he learned what respecting his wife meant.
John and his wife Seline were visiting family.
Everybody had gathered at the dinner table and was enjoying the topic of current fashion until her aunt Natalie made a snide remark that shut Seline down.
“Well, with the way you look, I’m surprised you ever fit in your wedding dress.”
Seline lowered her head blushing, she felt ashamed, and her aunt had intentionally tried to upset her.
Now, even though John knew it was true that Seline had put on weight, and he had a tendency to take Julie’s families’ side, which would often result in her feeling disrespected by him.
He decided he would no longer participate, and this time he stepped in to defend her instead:
“I think you look absolutely stunning, honey, and wouldn’t have you any other way.”
He then lowered his voice to whisper, “And I don’t think your aunt Nat could ever have fit in your wedding dress.”
Seline muffled a laugh and beamed at John with fondness and appreciation.
Even though her aunt disrespected her, him not joining in and taking her side instead made her feel respected by him.
So respecting your wife’s feelings means that she wants you to make decisions that take her into account and show that you respect her.
What Does Respect Look Like in a Marriage?
Respect in a marriage can look like a husband deeply listening to his wife to make sure she feels understood. Or a wife giving her husband a massage to ease the strain from the day.
Think of it as two people having regard for each other’s feelings and wishes.
Both of them will be there for each other emotionally, intellectually and pragmatically and do their level best to work as a team to build a life they’ll BOTH value and enjoy.
Another way to understand what respect looks like in a marriage, is to know what a husband should NOT do:
- Don’t shout at each other
- Don’t lie to each other
- Don’t call each other names
- Don’t blame each other
- Don’t cheat on each other
- Don’t hurt on each other
- Don’t abandon each other
Nobody has a perfect track record, but it is vital to drastically REDUCE these behaviors in your marriage in order for both parties to feel respected.
How Does a Husband Show Respect to His Wife’s Feelings?
There are countless ways in which you can show your wife that you respect her feelings.
Some will carry more weight than others, though, so here are the ones that she will appreciate and value most and will help her feel respected by you.
1. Be Honest and Transparent
You cannot say you respect your wife if you lie to her, and certainly cannot build a sustainable marriage on half-truths.
Being forthright and transparent are hallmarks of a respectful husband.
This means that you openly communicate your thoughts and feelings with her, even if it’s vulnerable or difficult!
And believe me, although being honest can seem like the more difficult thing to do, trying to maintain a lie is far more work, and it inevitably crumbles into a heap.
I’ve heard the story too many times from my coaching clients, both with men and women: they tell me that they (or their spouse) chose to separate because they were hiding things or cheating.
Save yourself the trouble and pain by telling your wife the truth and being respectful to her feelings.
2. Show Your Appreciation of Her in Public
Another way to really help your wife feel respected is to express your appreciation of her in public settings.
So next time you are at a social event with friends or with family, say something genuine, and nice about your wife, while she is present.
Some examples might include:
- “You know, that’s something I actually really appreciate about my wife, she’s so attentive to….”
- “You look absolutely stunning, my dear.”
- “I think you’re incredibly intuitive when it comes to….”
- “I am genuinely grateful to have you in my life.”
Appreciating your wife like this in public is how to treat your wife right, and she’ll feel truly respected.
In doing so, you are also demonstrating that you stand by her side and she can count on you.
3. Respect Her Emotional and Physical Boundaries
Everybody has their limits and your wife will be no different.
When she’s reached an emotional or physical limit, she will verbally or nonverbally (her body language) communicate a boundary to you.
Whether it’s because she’s had a rough day, there were excessive demands that took their toll on her, she’s struggling with mental health, or she doesn’t feel safe for some reason…
Whatever the reason might be, it is vital that you respect her boundaries.
Seek to understand them and be there to support her, but never push past them, because you need to be her rock and protector, not someone crossing her limits.
When she knows you respect her boundaries, she will see you are a man who respects his wife’s feelings.
4. Do Your Best To Listen To- And Understand Her
Easier said than done, no?
Even though Karolina (my wife) and I coach others on communication, we too catch ourselves talking past each other and not listening.
Listening and understanding your wife is a SKILL. Not a one-off effort.
And just like any other skill, you’ll need to practice it regularly to get good at it.
Being able to listen and understand your wife is an invaluable ability that I promise will elevate and improve ALL areas of your life, not just your marriage.
Because everybody DESPERATELY craves to be heard and understood!
In the first call with a client, I spend up to 80% of the time deeply listening to them and asking questions to make sure I understand their story and feelings correctly.
Only afterwards does it make sense to coach them on what they can do to improve their marriage.
It should be NO DIFFERENT with your wife!
Do your level best to improve your communication skills, put yourself in her shoes and listen to her about how she feels,
This is a crucial way to respect your wife’s feelings, and she’ll respect YOU all the more for it as well.
5. Take Action To Show Her You Care
After having listened to her and understood her feelings, it’s vital to back it up with some action.
It’s not about getting it perfect, but rather demonstrating that you respect your wife’s feelings and are making an active effort to change something.
In practical terms, this could be:
- Listening to her consistently
- Helping her around the house with chores
- Supporting and being there for her emotionally
- Working hard to provide for yourselves and family if you have
- Showing her tenderness and care
Regardless of what it is that she needs from you…
When you make that active effort, and follow through with action, it will help your wife know that you respect her feelings and she will trust you more.
6. Be Transparent About Your Limitations and Struggles
As much as we may try, no husband is perfect.
And there are many things I’d wished I’d known about long-term relationships before getting into one.
We all have our private struggles and limitations, which impact our marriage (often negatively).
The best approach to these personal challenges is to be open and transparent about them to your wife.
It is vital that you convey your limits so that she understands that when you sometimes can’t provide what she needs. It is not because you do not wish to give her what she wants, but rather because you don’t know how to.
And you might need some help figuring out what’s creating your limits in order to break past those emotional or mental barriers.
7. Show Her That You Appreciate Her
Karolina and I could sometimes get so lost in the day-to-day grind of life, that it could feel like going through the motions and taking each other for granted.
So, another great way to help your wife feel valued and respected is by saying or doing things that convey your appreciation of her.
- “Thank you, I really appreciate the effort you made today.”
- “You bake the best cookies. Period.”
- “I appreciate how much effort you put into taking care of….”
- “One of the things I like most about you is….”
Say something you GENUINELY FEEL but might not normally say.
And if you’re a man of action and not words, you can give her the things she’s been talking about for a while.
Or take her out to that place she’s been wanting to go to. And when she asks “What’s the occasion?”
Tell her, “I’m just celebrating having you in my life.”
Your wife will immensely appreciate how much effort you make to respect her feelings.
8. Be Kind, Gentle and Affectionate
You would be surprised how much the little things count.
My wife sometimes tells me how much she appreciates me being gentle and affectionate throughout the day.
So whether that’s a soft kiss on her forehead, or gently caressing her cheek, let your wife feel special and loved with small gestures.
A vital component in this, is that your intentions are NOT sexual.
Otherwise, she might feel like it’s more about your needs than hers and feel pressured.
These things go a long way in sustaining a healthy and happy marriage, that can otherwise be cluttered by routines, and taking each other for granted.
Simply snuggling also has some great benefits for couples.
She will feel safe, and notice that you respect her feelings when you are kind and affectionate towards her.
It’s one of the easiest ways a man can make his wife happy.
9. Be a Gentleman
Chivalry is not quite dead yet, and many women appreciate some traditionally upheld values.
To be clear, this does not mean being condescending, patronizing, or sexist in any way.
It means being attentive and caring towards your wife as though you were on one of your first dates.
Some very simple yet classic gestures, can go a long way:
Don’t be vulgar, don’t belch or break wind in her presence, charm and compliment her, get the door for her, lend her your arm as you stroll down the street together, etc.
These little details can go a long way in respecting your wife’s feelings.
10. Abide by Your Marriage Vows
I’m not sure how much this needs underlining, but it should go without saying that you should abide by the agreements you made to your wife.
Everybody will have their own preferences, differences, and ways of making their marriage work.
But what is important is that you stick to your agreements. Or at the very least modify them together.
This means if you have an exclusive marriage, you do not commit emotional or physical infidelity.
It means you make an active effort to live up to the promises you made to each other on your wedding day to the best of abilities.
(And certainly don’t keep secrets or lie.)
These are not simply words.
They are a promise to your wife, and to yourself, to be the best husband and man you can possibly be.
11. Make Decisions as a Team
Much like Karolina and I share the tasks of this website together, you and your wife will also have shared responsibilities and decisions that need to be made in your marriage.
And a crucial way of respecting your wife’s feelings is to take her seriously and involve her in all important decisions as an equal partner.
Under no circumstances, should you ever try to blindside her and make big decisions whether they be financial or pragmatic without her involvement.
You are a team, and you will make wiser decisions when you work together. Four eyes are better than two.
I personally learned this lesson and in retrospect, it became obvious that not involving Karolina in a decision not only led to a worse choice, but also made my wife feel disrespected.
So avoid this mistake and treat her with respect and as your equal.
12. Balance the Power in Your Marriage
Every relationship is a power struggle of sorts, and in your marriage you will ideally strive towards BALANCING the power dynamic with your wife.
She will have certain areas of life where she holds more power and control.
Just as, you will have other areas of strength and influence.
So a great way to help your wife feel respected is to share your power with her, and do your level best to create an equilibrium.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to endlessly increase your influence and control in your marriage, it will only backfire.
You may both argue along the way, but it’s normal to fight every once in a while.
These are the best ways in which you can respect your wife’s feelings and make her feel loved and appreciated.
Consider them good examples to reference on how a husband should treat his wife.
What Does a Wife Need From Her Husband?
I will admit that there have been times where trying to understand what my wife needed from me felt like an impossible puzzle.
To me, it seemed like regardless of my efforts, she would be unhappy and dissatisfied.
It was as though no matter how hard I tried, it was simply never good enough.
If you’ve experienced the same with your wife over a longer period, it might make you want to throw in the towel and settle for an unfulfilled marriage.
But fear not, there is a SOLUTION to this problem that Karolina and I eventually figured out together, and it’s not what you think!
Firstly, you need to understand that you SHOULD NOT make her feelings about you.
Instead, truly listen and seek to understand how she feels. Keep the conversation about her and don’t make it about yourself, no matter how intense it gets.
And even if explaining or defending yourself seems like the logical thing to do. Don’t.
And secondly, do not suggest solutions for your wife’s feelings.
She doesn’t need solutions, she needs you to help her make sense of what she’s feeling and going through herself!
And you do this by listening and not providing solutions (unless she specifically asks for them!)
Finally, don’t judge her emotions, otherwise it’ll shut her down, and you won’t have a chance to figure things out.
Instead, be empathetic and comfort her when the moment calls for it.
If you find yourself turning in circles with your wife and would like help applying what we’ve covered in this post in your own marriage, book a one-on-one coaching call with me.
In a call, I’ll listen to your story and take your side. You’ll feel understood, and I’ll give you a clear strategy on how to not only make your wife feel respected, but also help you feel validated in your efforts.
You might also be interested in my wife’s post: These 10 Little Things Will Make Your Partner Love You More.
What are the things your wife said she felt disrespected about and what were your efforts to fix things with her? Let me know in the comments below.