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How can wives grow in respecting their husband?



How can wives grow in respecting their husband? 

*This post is pertaining to non abusive marriage relationships between one wife and one husband. If you’re in an abusive relationship, please seek a christian counselor immediately.*

You may be thinking you already respect your husband pretty well, and that’s great! But we should always be challenging ourselves to grow in our obedience to God. 

We can grow in our respect to our husbands in our minds first.

woman in a cozy tan cardigan holding a small mug looking out a window.

I want to discuss mindset and obedience, then we will get to the more practical ways we can respect our husband.

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” 

Ephesians 5:33

Today, we’re just talking about the second half of that verse. It can be tempting for us (wives) to point out to our husbands their half of this verse and keep mental notes of their disobedience in this area. 

Let’s try not to do that. Let’s try to just focus on what God has called us wives to do. 

Dictionary.com defines respect as “to hold in esteem or honor.” and “to show regard or consideration for.”

I can appreciate this definition. Particularly the second one. In the busy hustle of everyday life, it can be really easy to let consideration for our husbands slide. Especially when he is willing to quietly let his needs be the last ones met. 

This may take a bit of effort on our part! 

As with most things, it starts in our hearts and minds.

husband and wife at a sunset

I want to talk about mindset. The whole aspect of respecting our husbands is a battle that takes place in our minds. Yes, I said battle. And it is!

This (unless you’re a special kind of saint) does not come naturally to most women. I don’t mean that in a facetious manner, honestly. I’ve just never met a woman who didn’t have a difficult time at least a bit in this area. 

Why do we struggle so much with respecting our husbands?

Because we have a front-row seat to all of their sins. We see the things they do, that we know they shouldn’t do. We see most clearly our husbands’ faults. And dangit, we want to tell them what they’re doing wrong! 

So we can feel like they don’t deserve our respect. BUT God says…”let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

There is no stipulation included here, although that would make it easier to obey, wouldn’t it!

No, we are called to respect our husband. Period. It is not our job to be the Holy Spirit in their life. 

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”

1 Peter 3:1-2

Without a word.

This is an area I find myself struggling with. I naturally want to use all the words. Especially when I see someone doing something I think they should not be doing.

Yep, I want to nag. But that is not very respectful.

How’s your thought life?

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Philippians 4:8

This verse is wonderful in every aspect of life, but I’d like to apply it to our marriage relationship. 

In your mind, do you ever imagine a scenario that isn’t true? Do you ever imagine a scenario that isn’t lovely? Do we dwell on things that are not worthy of praise?

Our thought life is so important here. If all we think about are our husband’s faults, then we will have a very hard time respecting him. If we think on the things in his life that are not worthy of praise, then we will feel like he doesn’t deserve our respect. 

It can be hard to even catch these thoughts until you’ve been lost in thought imagining terrible untrue scenarios for minutes.

But once we catch ourselves, we can confess those thoughts to God and turn our minds to the true, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy qualities we admire about our husbands.

We can actually train our brains to notice those good qualities!

Let’s be thankful for the gift that he is!

And we should be thankful for our husbands too! Even when he isn’t getting to our honey-do list.

In my previous post about “How can Christian women feel sexy?” I talked about how thankfulness can be such a big help for us to be more joyful in our marriage.

waist down photo of husband and wife on a dock on water, wife patting husband's butt.

This is the man God has blessed you with. And God is good! Let us be thankful for the gift that he is. 

Imagine a happy marriage where the wife shows her husband respect, and the husband loves his wife as himself. How beautiful for us to thrive  in mutual respect as God designed!

So, as we talk about how we must respect our husbands (regardless of how much they deserve our respect), we should make a note on our husband being called to love his own wife.

Now, I know I said we weren’t going to talk about the husband’s half of Ephesians 5:33. But I just want to point it out from a wife’s perspective. If we are more loveable, then we are essentially helping our husbands obey God. 

I wanted to talk first about our hearts and minds toward our husbands before getting into any practical ways we can show our respect.

We don’t want to just give ourselves ordinances without any heart behind it, or we just might end up with legalism. That’s not the point here.

We want to obey God’s command in how we respect our loving husband. 

Now, let’s talk about respecting our husband in practical ways.

What we say to our husbands is incredibly important.

Before we talk about WHAT we are saying, we need to address HOW  we are speaking to our husbands.

Our tone of voice says so much in how we communicate (obviously). But it can be so easy to let our tone of voice slip into impatience and annoyance in moments of frustration. It can be difficult to keep our tone of voice sarcasm-free. 

Let’s challenge ourselves to have a kind voice toward our husband. The tone of voice that communicates hospitality and rest.

We want them to be able to come to us for refreshment, not feel like they need to avoid us at all costs. 

​Our body language is super important as well. We can say all the “right things” but if we have a posture of disrespect or anger, it won’t be received well. 

Do you speak kindly to him?

Do you always speak kindly to him? 

woman in purple standing behind a man while she is clearly upset at him.

Have you ever witnessed a woman yelling at her man? Probably, we all have. It’s awkward for certain, but think about it for a minute. If the roles were reversed and it was a man degrading his wife in front of a crowd…. people would riot. And rightfully so! 

Again, I’m not advocating for abusive relationships of any sort. 

But why do we tolerate and even cheer on the woman giving her husband the “what-for” when we’d want to rescue her if the roles were reversed. Our men deserve better too. 

There I said it. Our men deserved to be treated well. At least if we are hoping for a successful marriage. 

What if we started calling our husband “Sir”? Without the sarcasm, of course! I’m actually not kidding. If we make a habit of referring to our husband in a outwardly respectful manner, it would be a great reminder for everyone within earshot that he is worthy of proper respect.  The kids will see Daddy receiving honor, and others will naturally follow your lead. 

I know the first couple times I called my husband “Mr. Miller”, he immediately looked at me to see if I was being sarcastic or genuine. I’m not proud of how big of a shock it was to him. 

We want to genuinely want to communicate lovingly to our husband (which is why we talked first about our hearts and attitudes!) 

As far as the words we speak to our husbands, they should be respectful. We should “show regard and consideration for” our husbands by the words we speak. 

The best way to avoid being disrespectful to your husband is to resolve to never call him names or throw harsh insults at him. Maybe you don’t do that, and that’s great. But it bears mentioning here because we live with sinners and arguments are bound to happen! 

Respecting our husbands by giving him our attention

wife smiling up at her husband and he is sitting behind her.

What about when he is talking to you and you’re busy doing something. Do you stop what you are doing and turn and give your full attention to him? 

Honestly, I struggle in this area a lot. I think a lot of women do, because we are surrounded by so many, seemingly urgent, tasks that are all vying for our attention. We can continue to grow in this area!

​Respecting our husbands by how we honor him in front of others

​Do we correct him constantly? Do we interrupt him? 

The way we communicate to him in front of others is so so important. This, too, I realized much later than I should have. If he is telling a story and a tiny detail is off by a smidge, I don’t always need to pipe in and correct him…”NO! It was 5:15, not 5:30!” 

This can really break down a man. 

If you find yourself thinking, “But my husband is lost if I don’t tell him what to do!” What if he doesn’t know the right thing to do? Well, maybe give this a try anyway. Hear me out. If you start really giving him this preference and respect (especially in front of others) he may just grow into a better man.

In fact I think it’s almost certain he will grow into a more responsible man. 

Maybe if we stop calling our husbands our extra child, he just may think more highly of himself and really take on the role of leading that we so desperately need from our husbands.

Who can truly thrive in an environment that is characterized by a lack of respect? Especially when our husbands were so designed to desire our respect. 

The saying goes that a husband would much rather have their wife respect them and not love them, than to love them and not respect them. It’s that important to them. 

This, too, is crucial in front of the kids. If there is a parenting moment that arises and he declares some sort of consequence or new rule, it must be honored. Even if we, as the moms, have seen more of the backstory of this issue and feel like we have a better viewpoint.

What he says must go. He gets the final decision. 

Of course we can have discussions with our husbands, and we truly should.

But we should definitely not challenge his authority in front of the kids. Yes, ladies, our husband is our authority. Don’t worry, that is a good thing. It is a very good thing. 

What about spiritual leadership?

open bible with husband and wife's hands on it.

Now let’s get to the most difficult issue.

What if your husband is not acting as the spiritual leader in your home? This, unfortunately, is so common these days. Wives are designed to live under our husband’s leadership. 

But what about respecting the husband who is not filling the role of leading spiritually? 

This is not easy. But our command from God stays the same.

Respect our husbands.

And remember, we’re not supposed to nag.

And you may be thinking, “But I’m not designed to bear this responsibility!” God will meet you in your need. I know He will. He gives us grace for each day.

Plus you may just find there are members of the church body who will come along side you and help you in certain ways. 

But as for respecting the husband who doesn’t lead spiritually. Try (as best you can) to see what he IS doing.

Maybe he has a small conversation with one of the kids about spiritual matters. He might encourage the kids to obey you during church (even if he refuses to go along). Maybe he prays before dinner sometimes. 

Praise him for the things he is doing. Praise him for any small spiritual growth! Maybe it feels silly, or miniscule, but we must rejoice in it!

This is the starting point, but God can do mighty works. 

Don’t stop praying for him. Never give up.

If your husband is doing a stellar job in leading spiritually, then please join me in praying for the women whose husbands are not leading in this role. 

Respecting our husbands by not slandering them.

Consider how you speak about your husband.

I was once given the advice to never complain about my husband to anyone else. She went on to explain that you will go on and make up with your husband but your confidante will still have that unresolved bitterness toward him for upsetting you.

It’s just not the right place to address the difficult situations we’re bound to encounter in our years of marriage. Those are topics of private discussions between you and your husband, (and maybe a Christian counselor if necessary).

I’m not saying we can never talk about our husband when he’s not around, but we should be bragging on the good things instead of airing his dirty laundry. Remember, we want to be training ourselves to see the good qualities!

Don’t forget to talk him up in front of your kids also. Even if he’s not home, they can still hear about how proud you are of their Daddy.

You can praise his hard work and his professional life. 

​Respecting our husbands by acts of service

wife in buffalo plaid serving a plate of food to her husband who is on a laptop.

We can show respect to our husbands in how we serve them. 

We can serve them in keeping the home a certain way, or cooking specific meals. 

Maybe it’s not in your personality to literally wait on your husband, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. (If you want to, that’s great!)

Perhaps your husband would rather have you sit in the garage and visit him while he tinkers on a car motor. This doesn’t have to only pertain to household chores. Maybe he would love for you to go hunting with him!

This is so unique to each individual marriage and how your husband feels. One super tangible way we can enact plan is to simply ask him!

You could ask him, in the event of the day going off the rails, what would be the one household task that would bless him if it was done.

Maybe he doesn’t care at all about the state of the house as long as supper is done. Maybe he’d rather not eat any supper and have the house calm and quiet.

If you do have this conversation, you may just be surprised by what he says. You may even feel relieved to know what is actually important to him! 

Some of us have a long way to go in our journey of respecting our husbands. We can be more focused on our own needs, and not always focused on his “respectable” attributes. It’s so easy to zero in on our husband’s imperfections, but we can work on retraining ourselves on this!

We can grow in the kind of marriage we want to strive for. 

Hi, I’m Stephanie! I’m a Christian wife, mom of 4, homeschooler, and a technically trained chef. I love creating a simple, beautiful life with our sweet family.

I’m so glad you’re here!

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3 responses to “How can wives grow in respecting their husband?”

  1. Good reminders. Thank you.

  2. I rarely comment but I love this post. Young and older wives could use many of these nuggets of truth and encouragement. I especially liked the part where you said to notice the things that he ‘does do’ and show him you appreciate it. God bless you and all you seek to do for Jesus.

    1. Thank you so much! This is a really important topic and I wanted to encourage women in this area. I know I’ll always be working on learning to respect my husband better.

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