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A Few Questions for the Husbands about Respect

Gentlemen,

Your answers were so helpful earlier this week. I wonder if you may be interested in sharing a bit more? I may use your comments anonymously in a post or for the book I am finishing. We value your input greatly! Thank you for helping us learn what is disrespectful vs respectful to men.

1. How can wives best show respect if they disagree with their husbands?

2. What things would be disrespectful in conflict to a man?

3. How can a wife show respect and honor to her husband when he is working in home projects or something very labor intensive for the family?

4. If a wife feels lonely or neglected, how might she share her need in a respectful way?

5. What specifically can wives do to show respect if they believe they need to approach their husbands about a sin (ie: porn use, him flirting with other women, him being harsh with her, him calling her names, him being overly harsh with the children – not talking about severe things like infidelity, drug use, alcoholism or physical abuse here).

97 thoughts on “A Few Questions for the Husbands about Respect

  1. Hi, yes this would be most helpful gentleman! Particulary point 5. My husband has said a few mean things today which has made me angry, then we end up barely speaking and i am made to feel like its my fault. I dont understand how one moment he can be fine and the next be critising and being mean with words, when i try to defend myself or answer back, i get more from him! So i go quiet as really angry as its very unfair. Seems like they are allowed to disrespect, but i had better not as i will get shouted down anyway! I may sound like a big baby here, but UNFAIR! What is the best way to handle it? I said a little prayer, but dont know why hes so changeable. Xx love to the wives out there x

    1. Jur,

      Just a question here, did you confront him about something? I would love to help or at least offer a male view point if you like?

    2. JuR,

      Please remind me, is your husband a believer in Christ?

      Husbands are not “allowed” to disrespect their wives any more than we are “allowed” to disrespect husbands. We are all sinners. We all have free will. We can choose to sin or we can choose to yield to God and live in His power and have victory over sin.

      Sin hurts and grieves the heart of God. All sin. Your husband’s sin will not go unpunished. Either he will pay for it himself in hell, or he will receive the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ and yield his life to Him and allow God to transform him to be more and more like Christ.

      Would you like to talk about what happened? Maybe we can think of some ideas for handling this so that you respond in God’s power not in the power of the old sinful nature.

      Much love!

      1. hi boycottingstatemarriage,

        I am pleased to say we talked and seems there were a few misunderstandings this weekend. My husband explained that the first comment was because he was tired and I wasn’t explaining something properly, I said that it hurt my feelings. He said that when he sees my anger, he feels even worse and gets angry at himself for upsetting me. I just get so disappointed when I have been trying to be agreeable, less controlling, forgiving etc for a while now, that when he says or does something which upsets me, I get so angry! it takes all myself control to stop retaliating. I have learned that if I remain quiet and then walk away, I am able to mention it later on or sometimes he comes and says sorry to me. I just wish I didn’t get so angry, hurt and upset when he is not ‘perfect’ all the time. Time for a motive check I guess…the respect thing is so hard…we have come a long, long way though! I did something right as my husband is now a bible believing Christian and comes to church every week!
        Thanks to April once again for this site, i’m sorry I used it to vent! xx

      2. Hi April,

        Thanks for your response. Some great responses and suggestions from boycottingstatemarriage and thankfulhusband also (thank you gentlemen), sooo helpful!

        Yes, my husband is a believer in Christ (about 5 months now! yey!). our lives are different now God is in them! as you can tell I still struggle with respect and get very upset if my husband shows old sinful nature….as you also note, I too respond with old sinful nature…
        I have lots of work to do but I am getting there…I think I have managed forgiveness, it all takes time. I would like a closer relationship with God myself! i’ve been sitting back watching my husbands new relationship with God and I have been blown away, so amazing!

        Being quiet worked, and my husband wanted to talk about our fall out, it helped and we managed to work it out. This would not have happened if I was like I used to be, I would have hurled enough insults to make it 10 times worse! I would like any further ideas so I don’t respond in the old sinful nature. Thanks xxxx

        1. JuR,

          Your husband is still very young in Christ, but you can help him grow by setting a godly example and blessing him, not responding in the flesh when he messes up. And as you see that you and he are both on equal footing, both wretched sinners in desperate need of the blood and grace of Jesus, I think it will be easier to approach him as a teammate and friend and fellow traveler on this road.

          I am so thrilled he accepted Christ. I am very excited about all that God has in store to refine you both, to draw you to Himself and to impact His kingdom. 🙂

          Much love!

    3. JuR,
      Do you have any idea why our husband would say mean things? Is he tired? working long hours? Stressed? Is there anything he is hurt about or angry about with you?

      I can tell you that the times I am short with my wife it is one of those things. Oh, and sometimes I can just be a jerk!

      You married him, so he must be a pretty decent guy! So why would a decent guy start acting like an undecent guy? Are you sure he was saying something truly mean and you weren’t overreacting? If you are sure we was acting in a “mean” way. It may be that he is just being a jerk today, we all have our days and on those days we need our spouses to give us even more love and grace.

      Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loves the church and to not treat them harshly. When I fail at that, anger hardly ever gets my wife anywhere with me. Especially if I am reacting to some real or imagined slight from my wife. There is nothing that works better than “heaping burning coals on his head” as the proverb goes. In other words, be so stinking respectful, giving and loving to him that if he has a conscious he will soon realize the gem of a wife he has and seek forgiveness.

      Then after you’ve made up and things have been good for a day or better yet two, & you still think it would be wise to talk about it, then respect and love on him some more and find a good time to communicate that you hate fighting with him and don’t want to do it again. It really hurts you and you hate to see him hurting and angry. No drama. Just quick and concise. Don’t start a fight. Do the exact opposite by telling him how much he means to you and how you hate being at odds with him. Ask what you can do to always be on his team.

      But you were very wise to pray. You can’t go wrong with that 99% of the time!

      1. Thankful husband,
        Thank you for this perspective. It’s helpful. I have an immature command man that is moody and says hurtful things. I can use all the advice I can get.

        Please be careful with this type of comment: “You married him, so he must be a pretty decent guy!” This is hurtful to somebody who is not treated well because 1) there are plenty of wolves in sheep clothing out there who act one way before marriage and turn out to be somebody different after they have won their prize. Vastly different. And 2) it makes me question my judgment. I think, yes I married him and he turned out not to be a decent guy so there is something horribly wrong with my judgment and I, myself, must not be a decent person either to pick him.

        1. Jane Doe,
          I’ll stick with that type of comment because my whole point was to make you examine yourself. There are bad men in the world. Really bad men. But they are the rarity. There are a bunch of men though that are decent men and love their wives, they just happen to make selfish or stupid decisions on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes it’s because they’ve never grown up or had a mature man mentor them. They’ve never learned that A action in life + B action in life=making those around you and yourself miserable. Sometimes its because in being selfish is the only time someone actually takes care of them. Sometimes it’s because they are reacting, and sometimes they are reacting to someone reacting to them! It’s all very confusing and complex!

          So Jane Doe, the very reason I wrote what I did was for you to question yourself. I know that sounds bad…but why do we feel it is right to question our spouses decency and not have our own questioned? That seems immature to me!

          Not trying to be hard on you. Command men are hard men to live with when they are mature, when they are immature it can be a rough sled. But sometimes, just sometimes he’s not as immature as it would appear. Sometimes there is growth to be done on both parties and when that growth happens you’ll look back and see he wasn’t as far down the mountain as you thought he was.

          But hey, I don’t know your husband. And I certainly don’t know you. What I do is prayerfully wish you the best and caution you to make sure you are examining yourself as deeply as you are examining him.

          1. Thankfulhusband,

            That was true in my marriage. Greg wasn’t nearly as far from God as I thought he was. And I wasn’t nearly as close to God as I thought I was.

            I love that God is able to use marriage to expose our sin and to show us what is in our own hearts so that He can refine us.

            Thank you so much for sharing!

          2. Jane Doe,
            I should add this. My wife would have written your second paragraph word for word, say for years 1-10 of our marriage. Looking back now she would tell you I was the mature one, she just couldn’t see it from her vantage point.

            I’m not saying that is the case, but what I will tell you, “as the mature one” when a marriage is in crisis, even if you don’t think you are the one who needs to grow or examining, by not doing it, you are putting the another nail in the marriage’s coffin because the other spouse needs to know that even if there are issues on your end you are willing to work on them. They need the appearance and the reality that you are willing to grow & change because in that moment even if they are wrong, they don’t know they are wrong & they need to know that you are willing to grow for them. It takes a great amount of humbleness and grace to do it.

        2. Jane Doe,

          Many wives do feel like they “made a mistake” or “married the wrong man.” Let’s pray and trust that God is able to make something beautiful from this marriage. I am completely convinced that He can. You are married now, so, it is God’s will for you to have a strong, godly marriage with this man. As you fully submit to Christ, you open to door for God to pour the strength and power of heaven into your life and your marriage.

          I am so sorry things have been hard. But, I also do believe that God can and will use this process to help you become more like Christ and to draw you and your husband to Himself.

          We are all married to sinners. We are guaranteed to be sinned against and hurt in marriage. But we also have the chance to learn to love the way God does.

          I believe God may desire to greatly bless your husband through you as you seek Him and that as your husband sees what God does in your life, that he will find himself desiring God, too. Praying for you to have a marriage that brings great glory to God and for healing for you both.

          Much love!

      2. Thankfulhusband,

        Thank you for your response, what you have said is true…we have made up now!

        He doesn’t say anything abusive, but he snapped at me and for some reason, it makes me really mad! I was also trying to sort something out for him and he got mad about that too…I never considered there may be real or imagined ‘slights’ from a husbands perspective as you have described!! I do find being respectful, loving and giving, really hard after he has said something nasty (or shall I say, goading in some way) its like a power struggle round here! and sometimes i’m not even aware of it, we can be absolutely fine and happy and then…bam there’s a comment…

        I will try and stay calm next time, need to check my motives and step up the respect…sooo hard!
        Thanks again 🙂
        JuR

        1. At five months in to his faith, your husband is light years ahead of many! Remember your own sentence in that he told you that when he see’s he hurts you it hurts him & makes him angry at himself…you’ve got a good one so remember that next time something like this comes up!

          Glad it worked out!

  2. 1. How can wives best show respect if they disagree with their husbands?

    First of all, I would not want a mindless doormat for a wife. I want a wife who has a brain, and who will share her thoughts, advice, and counsel with me. If I’m about to do something stupid, I want to know about it. And if I’m about to do something stupid which will hurt my family, I especially want to know about it.

    But what I don’t want is for her to try to force me to do things her way.

    Think of a time when you worked for a good employer. You weren’t the boss, but you could go to the boss and express your concerns privately about things the boss is doing, or that his boss is doing. There would be no repurcussions for your privately sharing such thoughts. But then after you share your thoughts, you back off and let the boss have the final say. You then support his decisions because, after all, he is the boss, not you. Use that same approach with your husband.

    If your actions and attitude inspires trust in your husband, then you will have credibility when you disagree with him. But if you are always competing with him or doing other things which cause him not to trust you, then it will be hard for him to believe you when you disagree with him; he will think you have an ulterior motive.

    So the best way to show respect to your husband is to continually let him know by your attitudes and actions that he can trust you.
    2. What things would be disrespectful in conflict to a man?

    If you always want to win, whenever there is a disagreement with him, you are being disrespectful. If, however, you express your disagreements in a soft, not a hard, way, and then back away and let him make the final decision, you are showing respect.

    3. How can a wife show respect and honor to her husband when he is working in home projects or something very labor intensive for the family?

    Your man wants to successfully complete these projects, because by doing so, he will feel like he is fulfilling his obligations as a man to you and your children. Therefore, you need to do what you can to assist in that process. And also, you need to tell him how proud you are of the good job that he has done, once he has finished, IF he successfully completed them. If he gave it his best shot but was unsuccessful, then you need to tell him how proud you are that he gave it his best shot. It is important that you let him know that you noticed that he gave it his best shot, because this is the most effective way that you can meet his deepest of all needs, the need to know that he has fulfulled his manly responsibilities in your eyes.

    Here are some suggestions of things he will appreciate:

    Do whatever you can to eliminate or reduce things that will interfere with his ability to successfully complete the project. For instance, keep small kids occupied somewhere else, perhaps at a friend’s house, or perhaps with you in a different part of the house.

    If there are no small children present, ask him if there is any way that you can help, and then do exactly as he asks. He alone knows the best way that you can help him. If he says that he doesn’t want any help, trust him on this; he wants to handle it all himself, so that he shields you from the burden of it. (That is how you should interpret it.) In that case, find two chairs, and sit nearby in one of them, where he can see that you are nearby. Bring your favorite book, and sit there and read it. The point is, he knows that you are nearby, and that will mean a lot to him. The purpose of the 2nd chair is that you are inviting him to take a break and sit with you if he needs a break. Whether or not he takes a break, when he sees the 2nd chair, it will cheer his heart to know that you put it there for him.

    Offer him a cool beverage from time to time.

    Offer to go to the store for him, to purchase any supplies that he needs to complete the project. He may not want you to, if he feels that you won’t understand what he needs.

    Offer to sweep up the area for him once he has finished working on the project.
    4. If a wife feels lonely or neglected, how might she share her need in a respectful way?

    Here’s how NOT to do it: “I’m hurt and angry, and if you don’t know why, I’m not going to tell you!”

    Here’s how to do it:

    Give him one or two simple things that he can do to meet your needs, explaining why each one of them is important to you. Make it really simple for him to understand. Then, when he has made any progress in these areas, acknowledge it and thank him for it.

    Over time, you can add an item or two at a time, always making it really simple for him to understand, and giving him a clear explanation of why it is important to you.

    And while you’re explaining to him what your needs are, ask him if he has needs that you aren’t meeting. Do your best to understand the needs that he tells you about, and then do your best to meet those needs.

    By sincerely trying to meet the needs he tell you about, you will have credibility in his eyes, and he will be much more likely to sincerely try to meet the needs that you tell him about.

    5. What specifically can wives do to show respect if they believe they need to approach their husbands about a sin (ie: porn use, him flirting with other women, him being harsh with her, him calling her names, him being overly harsh with the children – not talking about severe things like infidelity, drug use, alcoholism or physical abuse here).

    Be specific about the things you are concerned about, but tell him in a gentle, soft, non-threatening way. You will be much more likely to get results using that approach, as opposed to approaching him in a harsh, accusing manner. Keep in mind that the point here is restoration, not punishment. You would appreciate that same approach if you were committing any sins.

    In the case of sin, you are speaking to him as his sister in Christ and as his friend. Keep this in mind when you talk with him; it will help you to do it in the right way.

    1. Jim,

      You have such a gift for explaining these things in a clear, understandable way that I believe will greatly bless wives and many marriages. Thank you very much!

  3. Hello April,

    Thank you so much for this blog. I have learned and am learning a great deal. I have a question for you? And since you can’t see me or hear my tone, if at all possible and if you desire to answer, would you grant me the benefit of the doubt. That this is an honest question?

    Why do men need SO much praise?

    I’ve noticed it is a recurring theme. Any time there is something positive, no matter how small, especially if he got it wrong meant his heart was in the right place, thank him. Brag on him to other people. Brag on him to other people when he can’t hear you. Brag on him to other people when he can. Point out how wonderful he is to the kids. Teach the kids to brag on daddy.

    I’m not disputing the effectiveness of these practices.

    They work.

    Just wondering why they are necessary.

    I have never experienced this kind of constant encouragement (nor do I have a need to be on the receiving end of it) and it seems a bit, well, excessive.

    I go SO long in between these types of events that when it does happen it’s a surprise, a refreshment, yes, like ice cubes on a hot day. It’s nice. But I know many women who labor unnoticed for days, weeks, decades, their whole lives without this. Very few of them stop doing what they know to do because no one praises their efforts.

    I am genuinely open to your comments. I need a change of perspective about this.

    Sincerely yours,

    1. Mrs. Steady,

      I don’t know that I would say “men need praise.”

      What I would say is “praise, admiration, respect and honor motivate and inspire men like nothing else in the world. It triggers something God-given in them to make them feel compelled to serve those who honor them.”

      Everyone thrives on genuine praise. We could all use affirmation and encouragement. If I were writing to husbands, I would encourage them to praise their wives in words, as well. But I only write for wives, so I don’t address what wives need.

      I hope that helps!

      1. Peacefulwife,

        I also think that part of this is that God designed the husband to represent Christ and the wife to represent the church. I love the verse “The Lord inhabits the praises of His people.” I believe there is a parallel to that with husbands. A husband is drawn to be close to a wife who genuinely praises him.

        🙂

    2. Mrs. Steady:

      I would like to respond to your question, if I may.

      Let me say first that much of this is theory to me, because I didn’t get much praise in my first marriage, mostly criticism. And I definitely was not treated as the leader of the family, but more as the figurehead. I was expected to carry on the charade that I was the leader, when in fact my wife was the one operating the puppet strings behind the scenes. If you want to humiliate a man (and I know that you don’t), force him to carry on a charade that he is the leader, when in fact you and he both know that you are.

      But I know what I need as a man, and I know what I needed in those days. And everything that April and the other ladies say on these blogs rings so true with me.

      I’m not sure that I would need a lot of verbal praise. But what I would need is the confidence that my wife respected and honored me. Sincere verbal praise done correctly will accomplish that.

      If you really do honor and respect him, he will know. But to make sure he knows, give him sincere praise. If you want to hit the bullseye with him, let him know that in your eyes, he is a real man, one who gives his best effort to fulfill his obligations as a man with regard to you, your children, and all those with whom he deals everyday. And give him specific examples in his life that lead you to that conclusion. By doing this, you will have a real man on your hands, one who will protect and defend you, and one who will provide for you, because by letting him know that that’s how you honestly see him, he will be greatly inspired to rise to that level FOR YOU!

    3. One more thought:

      We each need to do our part, that which God requires of us, regardless of what anyone else does or does not do.

      Your part is to honor and respect your husband. You should do that for God, because that is what God requires of you, regardless of what your husband may or may not do.

      He should do his part to love you. He should do this for God, because that is what God requires of him, regardless of what you may or may not do.

      Sometimes life is not easy or fair. Ask Brother Job if life was fair for him. It most certainly was not! But his part was to keep trusting God, even though it looked like God had totally abandoned and betrayed him. (God had not, but Job had no way of knowing that.)

      There are others, like Joseph, who stayed faithful to God in spite of being sold into slavery and put into prison. Or David, who, after being annointed king of Israel, had to run for his life for several years. David stayed faithful.

      You and I need to also stay faithful.

      Ok, now that the “lecture” is over (LOL!), I am certain that if you do your part, your husband will want to do his part.

      As far as pointing out to the kids how wonderful their daddy is, this is essential, because by doing so, you are teaching your kids to honor their father. And by the way, that is a good reason for YOU to honor their father, so that they will learn to honor him by your example. That’s the way my mother lived her entire married life, and as a result, EVERYONE in the family greatly honored and admired Daddy.

    4. Mrs. Steady,
      I’ll be honest, as a man I need the admiration and respect. No, I won’t flop over tomorrow and die if it doesn’t happen. I probably won’t throw up my arms and tell my wife, “I quit” as I storm off out of our marriage. But it makes the difference between having the energy to show up and only give it an honest try OR thriving.

      The admiration and my respect my wife shows has a recharging effect on my heart and mind that allows me to continue to take on the world and not become tired or discouraged & beatendown. It also keeps at the very forefront of my mind how wonderful my wife is and makes sure I respond in kind to her.

      A man who feels respected and admired is ten times as likely to pick up some flowers on the way home or pick some on his way thru the field. He’s way more apt to help on the night you are tired and need a hand. He’s way more likely to respond with I love you’s, Babe, and Beautiful as he responds to you. He’s also way more likely to keep his eyes as home and want to be there.

      Mrs. Steady, I have never been a woman so I don’t know what that is like, but I will tell you as a man most days are a war zone and all we want to do is get back home at night to our wives and families. That is at least if that too is not a war zone.

      So why admire your man? For him if you can do it for selfless reasons…and if you can’t quite get there yet, then do it for you because you’ll get as least as much out of it.

    5. I’ve actually started doing it to all men! I was already complementing women. I’ll comment to men at the gym, when they’re lifting things into trucks, if I like their pants. I’m not sure if it matters, but it cultivates an attitude of being nice.

    6. Praise to men is not just rewarding. It’s part and parcel or respect. To a man it says, ” you’re valuable” but more importantly, ” you’re loved, you matter”

      It’s intimately tied to a mans willingness to sacrifice himself and even his life! Doesn’t seem so serious right? How much do you like it when you’re told you’re beautiful?

  4. Just a note on praising your husband. My ex wife would read the latest self help book, her last was “created to be his help meet.” then come and find me , drown me with praise and admiration for two days then when I didn’t respond leave in a huff and right back to her usual self. I knew that it was all false and theatrical so it carried no weight. If you really don’t feel it, don’t do it. I love the comments above, you really want to show him respect while he works? Read Jim’s response to 3 above. Two chairs and a book would have brought tears to my eyes and flowers to her every day for a week along with love letters and at least two dinners. Good bargin huh? Words are cheap, don’t give over the top praise, we have a nose for that. Just get a couple chairs.

    1. Boycottingstatemarriage,

      Wives need to know this perspective. I believe you are speaking for many husbands here. This is why we as wives must continually refine our motives and do these things sincerely just to bless our husbands and to honor and obey Christ, not in order to change or manipulate our husbands. We must be committed to obeying God for the rest of our lives no matter how our husbands may appear to respond.

    2. AhsarI love to praise my husband and tell him how much I apreciate him and what he does for the family. I really mean what I say, but it turns out its been too over the top for him. I asked him one thing I could do to show him I respect him more, he said I would think it was stupid, but I told him I wouldn’t, and he asked me to quit thanking him for working, and praising him for it. First its hard not to, second I would really love to show him how much I apreciate him and how hard he works. I just don’t know how to do it without words. Any advice? I also love the chair idea, pulling up two chairs I may try it while my husband works on his trucks. Honestly I always would have felt lazy doing that, just sitting there watching/ reading while he works!

      1. Sarah,

        Ha!!!!

        Well, this is where the most important thing is to do what feels most respectful to your husband. If he doesn’t like being fussed over, that is fine. I hope he might give you some hints about things that do make him feel respected.

        Hopefully there may be an idea or two on the post at the top of my home page about respect. And, maybe some of the men or other wives might have some ideas, as well. 🙂

        Thank you so much for sharing!

      2. Sarah, sounds like you have a tough nut to crack there.

        Perhaps you are trying too hard. I tend to be that way. When I get an idea, I usually go way overboard with it. Then I’ll come crashing down when reality hits.

        Slow way down; just do a little bit at a time.

        Read the book The Five Love Languages. See if you can figure out what his love language is, and then express your love for him in that type of language.

        Also, perhaps you could get some ideas from Nina’s 101 list for wives:

        http://ninaroesner.com/for-wives/101-ways-to-respect-your-husband/

        You might start with the following items: 42, 47, 61. I would also suggest 39, 48, and 74.

        1. Thank you, that is a wonderful list, and he is quite a tough nut. I was not a good wife when we got married, horrible actually, but I was convicted, and changed, and I do think I might have tried to go over the deep end the other way a bit! He definitely has a wall up, between watching his extremely disfunctional parents, a manipulating and controlling mother, and how I treated him, its been hard to get him to trust me again. I’m going to try some of those, slowly, he has told me he feels like I don’t really care, and if I ask why he thinks that he says he can just tell. I was watching Aprils youtube video on tone of voice and facial expression. I think that might be a good place to start. I know I use a grumpy voice and scolding face often with the kids, I’ll have to watch and see if its happening with him too. I’ve been really seeking God to lead me to help with that anyways. I’m so thankful I came across this site!

          1. Sarah,

            Body language is so important! Facial expression and tone of voice can completely sabotage you if you look angry and unfriendly. That is a fantastic idea to start there!

          2. Sarah:

            I believe that small, consistent steps will go a long way here. Men look at what you do. They don’t pay much attention to your words, unless they have seen that your words are consistent with your deeds. In other words, when they have learned that they can trust you, then they will listen to your words. And the way they learn that is by observing your deeds.

            Keep doing a few things consistently, over a long period of time. Perhaps you can add an item or two from time to time. He will notice the consistency over time.

            The important thing is, you realize the error of your ways, and you are trying to correct things. There is definitely hope here. You’ll need to be patient, however, because it may take a while.

            And I agree with Boycotting about the cave. Try to identify your man’s cave, and then respect that space as his. If he escapes to the cave after a disagreement with you, let him have his space in the cave. Don’t follow him in after a disagreement, unless it is most urgent to do so. (It rarely is.)

            Hang in there. Have patience. In my opinion, impatience is your worst enemy here.

            We’re all pulling for you.

            Jim

          3. Thank you Jim, such great advice, and patience is definitely my enemy, and something I struggle with often!

          4. If you only knew how impatient I am! I am learning to slow down and be patient, but it has nothing to do with my marriage (I am divorced). It’s just waiting on God for the things I have been praying about.

            In my case, if I can learn to be patient, not only will my life be more pleasant, but I believe I’ll find better solutions to the things I am praying about.

            And I’m really glad that we men can assist you with these things.

          5. Jim and Sarah,
            I was possibly the most impatient person in the planet. Then God got ahold of me.

            I had to get to the point where I was willing to sit still emotionally, spiritually and geographically until I was 80 years old if I had to, but I was determined not to run ahead of Greg or God any more a few summers ago.

            I did a LOT of waiting as I stepped down and Greg very slowly began to step up as the leader. In fact, eventually, I began to enjoy the sweet fellowship with God and blessings of waiting.

            You can search my home page for the post – waiting becomes sweet.

          6. Jim,

            What a treasure for the wives to have some men share their perspectives on these issues. I love all the dialogue. I believe marriages will be stronger because of what the men are sharing here.

          7. It’s also nice as a man to get a woman’s take on things. I have several trusted women friends (my sister, my daughter, and others) who I go to for advice. Their compassionate wisdom is invaluable.

          8. Jim,
            There is sometimes such a chasm between a masculine and feminine perspective. Having some trusted sources of information and people who can explain how the other spouse might feel can be so helpful.

            One of my favorite books was For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. She had statistically accurate large scale surveys of husbands and individual interview with many husbands. She helped me understand men through that book better than any other resource I had seen. I would love to be able to do huger surveys of husbands like that, too! But even though I don’t have her resources, I so love hearing from men on the blog. Their comments can be quite eye opening for the wives.

      3. Sarah,
        Just a note about caves. Sounds like your husband likes to work on his truck. I don’t pretend to know him or you but thought you might like to hear about caves. Every man has one, mine was my shop. We go there to get away from everything. The LAST THING you want to do is try the chair idea in his cave. We retreat there to feel safe, if you want bit just follow him in there and refuse to leave. Careful with this one. The chairs work for sure, just NOT in the man cave.

        If we don’t trust you or worse yet, if we don’t feel safe around you and you won’t let us have a safe place, we WILL find one or we will react. It comes out in different ways. I just found jobs in other countries and took every one. The longer and farther the better. Hotels became my safe spot because my cave was desecrated. When things went even a little bit bad, I would push my panic alarm and have someone call me with a “problem” that demanded my attention. “Sorry honey, this job is just so demanding” and she saw nothing but tail lights. All because she did not understand the cave.

        If you play your cards right , not only will you be allowed in our cave, but you will become part of it’s protection for us. We won’t want to be in there without you. We will try to take you to our safe place and keep you safe with us. This is a tell tale sign that things are in harmony. I’m not saying that we never need alone time , just that an invitation to the cave is a REALLY big deal.

        Hope this helps,

        1. Boycottingstatemarriage,

          The name you call yourself here may make it a bit tough for wives to believe you could have their best interest at heart, but I have to say, your perspective is extremely helpful!

          Thank you so much for explaining caves. Many wives do not know this! Very helpful.

          1. Peacefulwife,

            I started out as boycottingmarriage. In less than 72 hours your blog turned me into boycottingstatemarriage. Go easy on me, change is a hard thing. I was so set against this for so long, lots of turbulent spiritual changes going on here. Not a week ago, I turned down an invitation to a Christian singles group because “The biblical model for marriage was dead.” Now I know it is alive , at least for 4 or 5 of you out there. So perhaps one day soon I will morph again. All of the women’s comments here are slowing building my faith that all is not lost on this front. Thanks for your long suffering,

            In Christ,

          2. Boycotting,

            I do understand that you have experienced severe pain.

            My prayer is that you will boycott the enemy’s plans. 🙂

            I can feel the turbulence from here and have been praying for you. What God is doing in you is glorious. I will be patient, my brother. 🙂

      4. Some people have a hard time taking praise or compliments. Nothing wrong there. Best way do it in passing. Don’t turn it into a carnival. Something like, ” Thanks babe you’re the best” or write a note instead. That way they can deal with the emotional part of it privately. Also they can enjoy it without anyone watching. Lol.

        1. Sarah,

          I think “brief” would also be really important.

          When I was first trying to learn to respect Greg. I had no clue what I was doing. I took the 6 categories Dr. Eggerichs talked areas where we can focus on respecting our husbands in Love and Respect and sent him 2000 word emails every day telling him all the things I admired and respected about him.

          That is what I would have liked to receive from him – long love letters. But all that gushing did not do squat for my husband. Well, it may have been slightly ok, but then I waited by the computer for him to send me a big long loving email back. And by the time he got home, I was upset with him that he didn’t respond at all to my email.

          He said, “I read it.” But I had all these expectations of how he should respond back to me at first.

          I stumbled SO MUCH the first 2 years or so trying to figure this stuff out!

          Now, I know that just a sentence every few days or so is probably enough. But – it is possible that your man doesn’t even need words. It will be interesting to study him and learn what does speak to him.

          I remember thinking (before I learned about respect and biblical submission) that Greg wanted me to:
          1. Be quiet all the time.
          2. Leave him alone.
          3. Smile.

          I had no idea what he needed. I wanted to DO stuff for him and SAY stuff to him. Giving him space, time and doing nothing felt like torture, not like giving him what he needed.

          Now that I understand him much better, I know positive things I can actually do that bless him. Like getting him a drink when he’s working outside, putting anything he asks me to do at the top of my to-do list, working an extra shift in the pharmacy if I have a chance… AND – this is key – I expect nothing at all in return.

          Let us know what you discover! 🙂

          Nick,

          I love your explanation! Thank you!

          1. Yeah I never reallu thiught about the trucks being his cave. But it makes sense. I think ill hold off on doing the chair thing, maybe save that for when hes working on a house project. He does seem to enjoy my company when he is not incredibly deep into working on one of his trucks. Ill take him a cold drink, and if he can he will stop and tell me what he’s doing, what he wants to do next, and so on, and tell me all about it. Is this inviting me in? I do try to give him his space there mostly though.
            I am so greatful for all this advice. I’ve really been on this journey for a few years, I read the surrendered wife when I was pregnant and started from there. The problem is that my motive was wrong. I didn’t view it as being selfish, just trying to make our marriage better. I wasn’t a true Christian then and i see now that my focus was so far off. Which leads me to where we are now. Our marriage is good, but i know he is holding back, the wall is still up. I just stumbled on this site yesterday, and peaceful wife you have opened my eyes to a lot of things I’ve been doing wrong. I think I got to a point where i thoight i was being such a good wife now that I just didn’t see all the ways I’m still falling. I have been having my eyes opened to realize that the thing lacking was my faith in God. So that’s been a work in progress. But you know when I think about it, I think we might be at a turning point. He has actually told me some of the problems he has, which a few years ago he never would have, he would have just completely stone walled me.

            What makes this harder that I can’t praise him, is that he works away from home for 2 weeks, so that’s 2 weeks that I can’t physically show him love, I really do keep it short, like texts,but he is still not a fan. So I think its like Nick says where he just doesn’t like compliments. Or maybe it was just too much all the time. I’m glad I know at least! All this advice is amaizing really. So thank you all! It’s so nice to hear how men think about these things!

          2. Sarah,
            How blessed you are to get to hear from several very articulate men on this issue. I think they are giving you valuable insights.
            We will pray together for God to provide opportunities for you to bless your husband in ways that meet his particular deepest masculine needs.

            Please keep us posted! Praying for you both!

  5. First, I’m going to caveat my answers to these questions with the point that just as our relationship with Christ is a personal one, so is our relationship with our spouse; although there are universal/general concepts, there is accounting for style.

    1. How can wives best show respect if they disagree with their husbands?

    Interesting question in that it couples disagreement with disrespect. “It’s not _what_ you said but _how_ you said it.” comes to mind. The most important thing is not to use “you” statements. For example, “You don’t listen to me.” is inapropriate and can be argued/debunked; “I don’t feel like my opinion matters.” can’t be. The former guarantees your issue won’t be discussed but the latter makes you/your issue the focus.

    Other than being an effective communicator, you have to get to know your man and, frankly, make yourself visible to him as well as we men tend to get focused on “business” and overlook personal details–like that thing they call, “feelings” that’s all the rage these days.

    I _expect_ my wife to disagree with me. I _want_ my wife to disagree with me. I’m pretty confident and–not boasting here–I’m usually right/accurate but only a fool thinks he’s never mistaken/wrong (and when I am wrong, what it lacks in frequency is made up for in magnitude). Besides, confidence overdone is hubris and that never benefit anyone. Who will keep me in check?

    Coincidentally, today, I had a conversation with my wife about this which answers this question. My wife can show me respect whilst disagreeing with me by saying something like, “I think that idea is stupid.” Yes, I got a quizzical look. She thought that would be “offensive” and insulting. Silliness…she didn’t call _me_ stupid! “I think that idea is stupid” would get my attention and put me in a “oh no, what’d I miss?” mentality. Why? Because I value and trust her opinion and I would hope she would respect me enough to save me from myself when necessary. “Respect” doesn’t mean “timid”. 2Tim1:7

    2. What things would be disrespectful in conflict to a man?

    To me, being illogical/insulting my intelligence. That’s dishonest/deception. I expect/married/presented to myself (Eph5:26) better than that.

    3. How can a wife show respect and honor to her husband when he is working in home projects or something very labor intensive for the family?

    Be responsive to my needs as frequently they are time-critical. Don’t interrupt me unless it is really necessary (really true for men who work at home). Ensure I’m properly nourished/hydrated–an ice-cold beverage is frequently a life-saver.

    4. If a wife feels lonely or neglected, how might she share her need in a respectful way?

    “I think I’m feeling lonely.” in a thought-out contemplative tone, not a whiney-needy-fix-me tone. State the issue in a “hrmm…I think we have a problem that needs solving here” (note the “we”) approach rather than a “You need to fix this!” approach. Also know that “feeling” does not automatically mean “this is what is actually happening”.

    5. What specifically can wives do to show respect if they believe they need to approach their husbands about a sin (ie: porn use, him flirting with other women, him being harsh with her, him calling her names, him being overly harsh with the children – not talking about severe things like infidelity, drug use, alcoholism or physical abuse here).

    Harping on it until he changes is a popular tactic…

    …that doesn’t work.

    God gave wives and husbands directives on how to act. None of these have exceptions. (Esther1, 1Pet3:1 et al) Husbands don’t answer to wives and we already have an accuser so that position has already been filled. Wives aren’t supposed to act like wives only if the husband acts a certain way or is without sin. Christ was tortured and executed for our sake and said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Whatchyou got? What do you mean you “can’t take it anymore?” (Having been there myself is how I came to this harsh but relevant Truth.) You either take God for His Word that He has provided everything you need to do what He wants or you reject God. Either-or.

    Having said that, the answer isn’t a blanket one but fortunately God didn’t let a silly little thing like “death” get in the way of an interactive relationship that involves dealing with issues like these. In my most recent instance, my wife asked me what I thought about . It was a good approach as I take my spiritual teaching seriously and shunning any conversation about the Word is denying God, so I’m pretty locked in on that one. I also can’t really rest until I have provided an answer that I can honestly say, “Yes, I think that is what God is saying here and look at all these ramifications of it and here’s a dozen logic tests of why it’s sound and here’s a bunch of current examples…” well, I’m thorough because the finite (us) trying to comprehend and even attempt to convey the infinite (God) is not something to skimp on. That’s how eating one piece of fruit ruined the universe y’know. Nope, I’d hate to be a guy answering for that one.

    Following this, my wife e-mailed me a PDF from a pastor whos sermons I find potent and effective. It was dead-on, speaking to the points and directly correlating God’s Word with how we sin today. “We” meaning our culture and..um..me personally.

    My wife appealed to my intellect, which is the best (if not only) way to go _with me_, which subsequently compelled me to get right with God/stop quenching the Spirit/stop sinning. A “suitable helper” would have to include spritual help and, due to the nature of marriage, on a far deeper level than any other human relationship.

    1. Frankly,

      Wow! Thank you very much for sharing this!
      You give us quite a lot to prayerfully consider. I love it!

      I do want to mention to the ladies that there are probably some men who would not appreciate a wife saying that their idea is stupid. But I am glad you shared that because you are exactly right that there are some things about a husband feeling respected or disrespected that are extremely individual. I like how you explained your thinking and how you appreciate the way your wife approaches you.

      You shared so many powerful ideas, but the one that hit me the hardest was when you talked about that husbands don’t need an accuser. That position is already taken.

      Wow!

      I had to share that with Greg.

      Thank you so very much for this. I definitely would like to use your comments in a post and/or my book. This was very helpful.

      It is a pleasure to meet you!

      1. Some guys don’t mind their wives telling them that an idea of theirs is stupid; in my case, it would cut deep. I guess the best way to know what will work for your husband is to figure out what his love language is. (What a great book that is!)

        1. What I believe is common to all men, however, is that they appreciate straight talk. For some men, you would be very blunt and tell them that their idea is stupid. For others (including me), you would give a much softer, gentler answer, but still a straight, accurate answer.

          1. Jim,

            I like that.

            I wouldn’t personally tell Greg his idea is stupid. In fact, I wouldn’t have used that word even before I began to study respect and biblical submission. But I think it is interesting that for some men that would be fine.

            I would probably go for a much softer approach. It would depend greatly on the particular topic and issue exactly how I would approach something. But if I felt strongly about something, I would seek to speak the truth in love and with respect, humility, honor and gentleness.

            I love Frankly’s example of how his wife approached him about sin. That can get really dicey. So it is especially valuable information for women to have some practical ideas about this.

            Ladies,
            I wouldn’t suggest sending a sermon link to your husband if he is far from God and resentful when ever anyone brings up God or the bible. But if there is a pastor your husband respects, this wife’s idea worked very well in her situation. That may be an approach that may be helpful for some wives.

          2. Mostly echoing here…

            – “Straight talk” indeed. I–and I think men in general–work with the shortest route to the _point_. To me, a message is typically obfuscated by “tact”, “diplomacy”, and some idea of respect _overdone_.

            – On _respect_: Respecting me (this is anyone, not just my wife..or even me for that matter) means relating to me (or any person) in a way they appreciate/understand. Prior to getting to know the person (and thereby able to more effectively respect them), there is the “polite stage” where we’re on our best public behaviour. This is where synonyms come in handy: “I think that idea may be unwise at this time”; “I’m not sure that option is the best choice given what I know.” These pretty much say the same thing as, “I think your idea is stupid.” “Foolish” is a biblical word, perhaps that would work. 😀

            Speaking to someone on their level is what God did with the “wise men” (pagans/astrologers/et al)–He spoke to them in a way they understood and appreciated so they can get to the Gospel message.

            – Sending links, books, etc. No, wife didn’t spam me stuff. It was a sermon right on topic of a conversation we were having (that she started) in a “Come, let us reason together” (Isa1:18) way, not a “you need to get right!” kind of way. Again, the theme being that my wife related to me in a way that was effective because she knew and respected me.

            – Quoting/using/etc. It isn’t mine to claim/control (Ps24:1); use what you like!

  6. 1. How can wives best show respect if they disagree with their husbands?
    Being respectful does not mean always agreeing with someone. To me, it’s a sign of respect when someone who doesn’t agree with me tells why they don’t agree instead of disagreeing in silence. As a leader of any kind, you should solicit input from others, especially from people who have a different perspective and men and women usually have different perspectives.

    2. What things would be disrespectful in conflict to a man?
    Lots of things would be disrespectful in conflict such as disagreeing in front of family and friends. Shouting and name calling are obvious signs of disrespect. Refusing to engage in a debate and not listening. Perhaps the biggest sign of disrespect is leaving.

    3. How can a wife show respect and honor to her husband when he is working in home projects or something very labor intensive for the family?
    That’s tough one, for me I have very little patience when I am working on a home project. I am not that handy so it’s tough for me to do things that I am unfamiliar with. I need lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement. There are a few things that should be avoided:
    • Never show me the YouTube video explaining what I am attempting to do.
    • No sentence should ever begin with, “You should have…”
    • Never estimate how long it should take for me to accomplish the task.
    Always remember, not knowing what you are doing is a big handicap.

    4. If a wife feels lonely or neglected, how might she share her need in a respectful way?
    If my wife feels lonely and neglected there a very good chance I am feeling the same way. Timing is everything. A hug at the right time can mean a lot. Make an effort to find time to re-connect. That might mean going to bed earlier at night or waking up earlier in the morning.

    5. What specifically can wives do to show respect if they believe they need to approach their husbands about a sin (ie: porn use, him flirting with other women, him being harsh with her, him calling her names, him being overly harsh with the children – not talking about severe things like infidelity, drug use, alcoholism or physical abuse here).
    I think it’s always a good idea to approach difficult topic from the perspective of how the sin is affecting others. Show concern about everyone involved. Try not to be accusatory.

    1. Rick,
      Thank you so much for sharing! This is extremely helpful. God has blessed us richly with so many husbands who are willing to be so candid, honest, forthright and clear about ways that we as wives can best show respect to our husbands in these areas.

      I appreciate your insights so much!

  7. 1. Dead-on. I failed to mention that “I think your idea is stupid.” must have subsequent qualifiers. Two heads are better than one and all that.

    2. Dead-on. Especially the leaving/cutting off communication part–I can’t think of any way to get me angered any faster. Seriously. None. Nope, not even adultery.

    3. Wife & I thought the ixnay on the OuTubeyay was odd but after discussing it, we think you mean no kibbitzing/backseat-driving/Monday-morning-quarterbacking; would that be accurate? If so, I agree and would add that even those of us who balk at the thought of “ego-stroking” and such do need an occasional, timely confidence boot/reassurance when we’re not sure of ourselves in the face of risk/potential failure. My wife has seen me reticent when I had no reason to be and the best thing for her to be encouraging is to point that out.

    4. That’s a good point that I’ll be meditating on. As a leader (of any kind), our charge is to anticipate/spot these things before anyone else does. (But it’s not like we’re going to nail it every time, being fatally flawed an all.)

    5. Restating this good point, “I feel hurt when I hear things like, ‘blah blah blah'” is a non-accusatory version of the popular, “You hurt me!”. The former can’t be argued and, in fact, must be acknowledged; the latter can be argued/denied/rejected and throws down the gauntlet.

    1. Frankly,
      I’m so glad you added these things to the discussion.

      I haven’t addressed leaving when the husband is talking. How did I miss that!?!?!

      I think the Youtube thing is where a wife tries to “show her husband the instructions” about what he should do and how he should do it when he is trying to handle a project himself. I can understand that if a husband didn’t ask his wife to look up something like that, it could feel quite disrespectful to a man.

      Thank you for your other comment with clarifications, too.

      Wow. What a wonderful group of men! Thank You, God, for sending them here! I am so blessed to read all of your comments, gentlemen.

      1. “I haven’t addressed leaving when the husband is talking. How did I miss that!?!?!”

        You left? haha 😀

      2. As far as leaving…do you think there are instances when it might be helpful, rather than having the argument escalate?

        Such as when my husband states that I was disrespectful to him earlier in the evening and when I asked what I did, he refused to tell me, stating, “You read all of these blogs about being a godly wife and you’re really going to ask me what was disrespectful?” I tried explaining that I might say something that seems inconsequential to me, but it might be really disrespectful to him, and I won’t know that unless he tells me specifically what I said or did that was disrespectful, but I want to learn and grow, and I can’t do that without his help.

        He still wouldn’t tell me; rather, he said he was tired of having this same conversation over and over. Which, granted, we do every now and then because he gets upset but won’t tell me exactly what I did, and then how can I learn what *not* to do?

        In moments of calm, he still won’t tell me what I did or said that was disrespectful. I did ask him to please point out to me right away when I’ve done something disrespectful, but he states he sometimes gets so angry that it’s not easy for him to take a step back to tell me what it is.

        In those moments, when our conversation isn’t going anywhere because all I can do is apologize but not know what I’m apologizing for, I have found that I simply have to walk away. I’m not contributing anything positive to the conversation by continuing to press for an answer.

        Would it be more disrespectful to leave, or would it be respectful to give him space at that point?

        1. M,
          There are times when walking away is much better than engaging in conflict and hostility. If he is speaking to you, leaving would be rude. But if he won’t talk anymore, leaving may he good. If he leaves, please please do not follow him. A lot of wives do this. But usually, if a husband leaves, it is my understanding that he needs time to process and to calm down and if she continues to follow him and try to engage him, he is likely to get much more upset and to say things he will probably greatly regret.

          Does that make sense?

          What were you doing or saying right before he got upset? How about we talk about it, we may be able to figure it out together. 🙂

          1. Thanks April!

            What happened earlier was that my daughter was disrespectful to me, my husband reprimanded her (sternly, but very fairly), and when she left to brush her teeth, I sighed in frustration at her behavior. My husband told me to move on, because it was handled. I felt like my frustration wasn’t acceptable, when I just needed a minute or two to collect myself. I left the room to clean the kitchen, he fell asleep on the couch. When my daughter finished, she gently woke him to ask if he was going to come pray with us before she went to bed. He said no. I peeked my head in the room to confirm, “You sure you don’t want to pray with us tonight?” He said no, I said okay, and put her to bed. When I came back out, he told me that I had been very rude and disrespectful to him when my daughter was misbehaving, stating that I had snapped at him. To this day, I still have no idea what exactly was disrespectful to him.

          2. M,

            Hmmm… I wonder if he thought the sighing and frustration was at him? One thing that may help a lot is to thank him for his involvement and for handling her disrespect and thank him for being such an involved dad and for not tolerating her being disrespectful to you. That may make things more clear.

            And, if your daughter asked him something and he said no, probably best to accept his answer is no than to apply what may feel like pressure to him.

            Much love!!!

          3. Thanks April! It never occurred to me to react first with appreciation towards my husband. I was grateful for his intervention, but I was also overcome with frustration towards my daughter. I suppose I should work on having the positive thoughts brought to light more so than the negative emotions.

            Thank you!

        2. Walking away is not how to prevent escalation but rather ensures it yet it is seen as a way to prevent it. It does not; it only incurs wrath.

          If you can’t diffuse the emotions run amok, a cooler head must _humbly suggest_ that the conversation resume when both persons are in a better frame of mind, say in a few hours (not ‘tomorrow’ Eph4:26). You don’t want to _fight_, you want to _talk to come to a mutually beneficial understanding_.

          As far as his not being forthright with the details, you do what wives are called to do: submit. No husband will put forth completely logical, sane circumstances 100% of the time and this is one reason why God created marriage the way He did, for the alternative is that two people cease working together every time things don’t make sense, which is often. If you’re not for H/him, you’re against H/him (Matt12:30). This is the only way your marriage will improve.

          1. P.S. I can be quoted as having said the same exact things your husband has.

            Repeatedly.

            Oy vey.

          2. Frankly, thank you, I see your point. No one can be logical 100% of the time. In times like this, where he is too angry to dialogue in a calm manner, and only insists that I was rude or disrespectful but won’t tell me why, how would you suggest I submit? What exactly would I be submitting to – as there have not been any requests or directives made at this point?

          3. M,
            I personally vote to just wait and give him some space until he is ready to talk. And then express that you want very much to understand him specifically. Sometimes it can be difficult for some husbands to verbalize what feels disrespectful to them. And it can be really difficult for them to understand how a wife could not see her disrespect – but – many, many times – we don’t see it until they explain it to us.

          4. Bingo. Time & space are necessary to get a handle on things. Generally, women are better at multitasking and more resilient to distractions; men are better at concentrated focus but less resilient against being distracted (in my case, I absolutely cannot stand being interrupted/distracted).

            Additionally, putting abstracts into words can be very difficult, especially in real-time. However, given enough time to “get it together” (and we could be talking many months here), the results will be worth it. It’s almost like planting/harvesting…

          5. As an unintentional example of difficulty with words, I’m not sure I answered your question directly.

            Part II:
            The directives you have, both perfect ones from God and imperfect ones from your husband. Do note that the former does not trump the latter but the latter is an effect of the former.

            Hmm…not sure that sealed the deal either.

            Let’s try wisdom from Star Trek:
            Spock: “Captain, he is either unable to respond or unwilling to respond.”

            Unable: let God fix him
            Unwilling: let God fix him

            Either way, that conversation between you and him isn’t happening yet. Life goes on and the issue really is: do you trust in the Lord in everything you do? (Prov16:3)

          6. Frankly, not only did that give me some lightheartedness that I needed, but it was also very helpful (Unable: let God fix him – Unwilling: let God fix him).

            Thank you for sharing your perspective, I appreciate it!

        3. My wife and I had a serious disagreement, and I was angry, so I left and drove around for a while, then I came home after I had calmed down. To me, that was sensible; to her, I was running from the argument.

          It’s far better to leave temporarily than to let the argument escalate, if you feel that’s where it is going. And if your husband tries to prevent you from leaving, then he is guilty of abuse or worse.

          But it would be better to simply give him space, if that will be sufficient to calm things down.

          It never ceases to amaze me that some couples are the exact opposite of the stereotype. We always hear about the woman who won’t explain to her husband why she is angry. In your case, your husband won’t explain to you why he is angry.

          In my case, I wanted to get counseling, but she didn’t want to tell other people about our troubles; she said we should be able to handle our problems ourselves. Also, she demanded sex regularly, no matter how I felt, and she got angry if I didn’t perform I got tired of the whole thing, and I came to understand how some women must feel when their husbands demand sex from them, no matter how they may feel.

          Many men apologize when they don’t know what they are apologizing for; they just want to calm their wives down! I have done that.

          1. There are some people who need to leave or they will lose self-control and things may escalate.
            There are some people who get extremely upset if the other person leaves.

            That is a sticky situation.

            My recommendation for wives is – if possible, honor your particular husband’s personality here. If he needs space to calm down – that is not wrong. It is not evil. He is not saying he doesn’t love you. He just needs time and space to process his emotions and to regain composure. It is much better in such a situation to give him space than to hammer and push him and provoke him to greater wrath.

            For wives whose husbands feel greatly offended if they leave during a discussion, I would suggest that they try to stay. But – if they are feeling frightened by the intensity of their husbands, hopefully they can calmly say something like, “I want to hear you. What you have to say is very important to me. I am feeling afraid right now. Could we take a break for a few minutes just to cool down a bit, and then I will be ready to listen and hear you, please?”

            But there was a wife who shared yesterday that her husband got upset with her if she responded in fear to him, that it made him feel like an ogre. Quite honestly, I am not sure what the best approach would be in that situation.

            Thankfully – God’s Spirit is able to give us His wisdom and discernment and we sure do all need that!

            For me, I would push Greg and push him in the past, and hammer him and hammer him. He would “ignore me” and be totally silent. I would up the volume and try to force him to have a discussion with me. I would try to make him angry because I was so upset that he was completely disengaged. I thought he had no feelings. I thought he didn’t love me and didn’t care about me at all. But now I know that I was being SO disrespectful and pressuring him so much that he just completely shut down. Now, what I do is just share my desires and thoughts and leave them with him with no pressure and no push for an answer immediately. Then, after he has thought about things (which for him, can take some time), he will come to me, usually, and tell me what his thoughts are. But he goes through a very complex and totally non-verbal formula or visual “scale” process when he makes decisions. He carefully evaluates every possible angle. And then he formulates how to describe things to me in words. It takes time. Sometimes hours or days or weeks. I used to think he knew what he thought but just wouldn’t tell me. Now I know that he needs time to process. Now that I know that, I am able to give him that time and not begrudge him time to think. Now, I know that he is just very thorough and he is an engineer – and we don’t think the same at all. I actually appreciate how thoughtful, careful, responsible and thorough he is and how he researches things to the nth degree. Now I can see that his way of making decisions is a strength and a blessing to me and that it is godly leadership. But before I understood how he thought, I thought he had to think like me or he was just purposely not telling me what he thought because he was hateful. I assumed very wrongly that he had evil motives when he did not.

            I love having this discussion and hearing about the different ways different husbands handle conflict and what is respectful/disrespectful to them. 🙂

          2. It seems to me that much of this involves both parties simply trying to be tolerant and understanding of each other. That would solve almost anything.

            Since this is a site for women, perhaps an effective approach for a woman to take would be to learn her husband’s love language, and just do her best to keep his love tank full.

            I agree that the woman should submit to and respect her husband. But she is a human being. If there is any sort of abuse directed at her, she needs to protect herself by getting out of there.

            I also believe that there is some wiggle room on the issue of submission. In other words, if you are within the submission “neighborhood”, even if you aren’t at the exact “location”, I think that you are doing ok. That’s a lot better than no submission, and if you were my wife, I would be really happy with that approach.

          3. Jim,
            So true! The book that helped me the most was Shaunti Feldhahn’s book For Women Only. It helped me understand men in general but also my husband so much more accurately. We were just worlds apart and I had no concept of how men thought. I was happy to have empathy for Greg, and other men, once I could understand their masculine perspective and put myself in their shoes.

            Greg also liked For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn that explains women to husbands.

            I’ glad some husbands may have grace for wives to be in the general ballpark. This stuff is very counterintuitive and requires incredible spiritual and emotional contortion for us to begin to wrap our minds around how differently men think from ourselves. It takes time, kind of like learning a foreign language, for us to learn to speak respect fluently. And it can take some time for us to really grasp biblically submission. To do it properly, we have to allow God to tear out almost everything we think about masculinity, femininity, marriage and living for God and allow Him to completely renovate our hearts and minds by his power and His word.

          4. “It seems to me that much of this involves both parties simply trying to be tolerant and understanding of each other. That would solve almost anything.”

            That would _solve_ absolutely _nothing_. Besides, who wants to “tolerate” anything? Find a win-win solution. (Matt19:26)

            “perhaps an effective approach for a woman to take would be to learn her husband’s love language, and just do her best to keep his love tank full.”

            Surely, sir, you are referring to some type of tracked, armoured vehicle? 😀

            It is the husbands job to present his wife to himself, not to let her flounder in figuring you out. (Eph5:27)

            “I agree that the woman should submit to and respect her husband. But she is a human being. ”

            Are you saying that a wife who trusts and obeys God in submitting to her husband is somehow less than a human being? That Godly submission is demeaning?

            “If there is any sort of abuse directed at her, she needs to protect herself by getting out of there.”
            Is that what God says? The same God Who gave Himself up for us? The same God Who said, “turn _to_ them [your enemy] the other cheek”? Do you trust the same Word of God that says if someone _forces_ you to walk with them one mile, walk with them two?

            Besides, thinking one can protect one’s self better than the Creator of the universe can is a bit foolish–and I’m a guy well-acquainted with Paul Beretta; Samuel Colt; and tracked, armoured vehicles. (22 verses: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/22-bible-verses-about-gods-protection/ )

            You cannot shoe-horn God’s infinite wisdom into finite human reasoning–you will only end up deceived.

            “I also believe that there is some wiggle room on the issue of submission.”
            For that logic to be sound, it would have to apply universally. Therefore, there is some wiggle-room on adultery, fornication, theft, murder, obeying earthly laws, submitting to your earthly bosses, taking care of your children, etc. etc.

            Was Christ completely sinless or just in the ballpark? Our whole doctrine falls apart if you try to “tweak” just one thing like this.

            There is no “close enough”, no neighbourhood. (James2:10, 1John3:4, Rom2:12) More importantly, read all of James (and pretty much the bulk of the New Testament) and understand that faith/trust in God (who is absolute, cf. http://www.openbible.info/topics/absolute_truth ) is what leads to life and the wages of sin is death (“sin” is the same whether it’s one instance or a lifetime of it).

            cf. http://www.openbible.info/topics/lukewarm_christians

          5. I stand by my original comment: we all need to be more tolerant and understanding of each other, especially the husband and wife. There are just too many opportunities for conflict, and the stakes are way too high. Bible terms for tolerance and understand would be “mercy”, “grace”, “forgiveness”. In other words, don’t hold the other party for every wrong that they do. Don’t feel that you must be right on every point.

            My guess is that you’ve never read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I highly recommend it. I believe you will better understand my suggestion after you have read that book.

            With physical abuse, whether the husband or wife is doing it, the victim needs to get out of there. God doesn’t call anyone to take physical abuse (black eyes, broken bones, etc) in a marriage. I hope you aren’t suggesting that a 125 pound wife continue living with a 200 pound man when he is beating her up regularly. (Or if the husband is getting beat up by the wife, as was sometimes the case in my situation.) This is especially if there are children present — for their safety.

            With emotional abuse, perhaps the victim should stay in the marriage. With any kind of abuse, I will leave that decision entirely in the hands of the victim, because he/she is the one suffering the abuse, not me.

            God hasn’t called the wife to be a brainless doormat. If you don’t give her ANY wiggle room on the issue of submission, then she in reality is nothing more than that.

            And that is in no way the same as our absolute submission to God. But even in the case of our submission to God, He is merciful and kind to us and works with us on our submission to him. He doesn’t whack us when we deviate a bit from perfect submission; rather, He works with us with great kindness and mercy. I know that’s the way He works with me, and I love Him deeply for it!

          6. “God hasn’t called the wife to be a brainless doormat. If you don’t give her ANY wiggle room on the issue of submission, then she in reality is nothing more than that.”

            __________________________________________________________________

            As a wife, I don’t believe God has given me any “wiggle room” on the issue of submission – and believe me, I’ve looked :). Submitting to my husband (in EVERYTHING as a service to the Lord) is a direct reflection of my submission to God. This is NOT being a doormat. I want my husband/sibling-in-Christ to hold me accountable to the standards God has set for me. Absolutely, show me grace, mercy and forgiveness. Please don’t tolerate my sin.

            The times I have struggled the most with submission are the times my husband has been inconsistent with his expectations of me. I need a firmer hand. The more “wiggle room” you give me, the more I will “wiggle” :p

          7. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, yes by all means I agree. “Tolerance” has a connotation with it that I would guard against: “Tolerate your wife’s sin” is not synonymous with “forgive your wife’s sin”. “Tolerance” means skipping the entire repent/forgive/reconcile/restore process–the very thing God incarnate came to teach.

            “In other words, don’t hold the other party for every wrong that they do. ”
            As husbands, we are required to hold our wives accountable (these are our God-given wives we are talking about here, not “other parties”). A husband failing to present his wife to himself, blameless, lives in sin and “both parties” suffer. (Eph5)

            Holding anyone accountable isn’t always a harsh thing and whether harsh or not, it is done out of Christ-derived love that puts others’ well-being above our own comfort.

            re: the Chapman book.
            I found this: http://www.deepintolove.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/tank1.jpg
            And then I found the real web site, filled out my profile and wife & I had a fruitful discussion about what it was suggesting, about our relationship, and about how this information can be grossly misused–especially if it is touted above God’s book. It isn’t that human wisdom isn’t without value (I often refer to much of it) but it must conform to God’s wisdom (2Cor10:5).

            Besides, I don’t want to read Chapman to understand what you’re saying when you’re right here. My concern is that “I believe you will better understand my suggestion after you have read that book.” implies “transmit only” rather than fellowship in understanding God’s commandments.

            “With physical abuse, whether the husband or wife is doing it, the victim needs to get out of there. God doesn’t call anyone to take physical abuse (black eyes, broken bones, etc) in a marriage. ”
            I believe I provided scriptures that speak to this very thing and there are dozens more on the very topic. (1 Peter 3 & 4) If I have misrepresented God’s Word, then it must be corrected (2Cor10:5); otherwise, you are putting your opinion above God’s Word.

            I see no God-given basis for your _suggestion_ as it stacks against God’s _commands_. I cannot encourage breaking one’s own relationship with God for the sake of avoiding fleshly discomfort. I cannot endorse (with silence or otherwise) trusting God only when we fools (Rom1:22) think it is a good idea and abandoning our faith when we’re scared/uncomfortable/unpopular. That isn’t faith in Christ at all!

            …Just like a wife only “submitting” when she thinks it is a good idea, making every _appearance_ of submission subject to her own approval. That is not submission at all, that’s just happening to agree on some ideas. Submission = complete surrender of will, be it a wife to a husband or a husband to God (or anyone to sin).

            Not to mention what testimony we’d be giving: when things are going _our_ way, God is good; when things are rough, we bolt in the other direction, back into the world. James called that religion, “dead”.

            “I hope you aren’t suggesting that a 125 pound wife continue living with a 200 pound man when he is beating her up regularly. ”
            Complete and utter carnal thinking. Romans 8:31-39. How much do you suppose God–and all His angels–weigh?

            “(Or if the husband is getting beat up by the wife, as was sometimes the case in my situation.)”
            This isn’t the same as husbands are commanded to run their households.

            “With emotional abuse, perhaps the victim should stay in the marriage. ”
            In my more wicked days, I can be quoted, “Hit you? Physical pain is only temporary; I can leave psychological scars that will last a lifetime.”
            What this advocates is arbitrary human rationalising based on incomplete information rather than submitting to God’s omniscient, omnipotent, absolute Truth. Either you _boldly_ trust God’s rule or you do not. Politicians may have “moderates” but God does not. (Rev3:16)

            “God hasn’t called the wife to be a brainless doormat. ”
            I fail to see where anyone has said that. However, aren’t you suggesting that anyone who unwaveringly follows God’s word even in the most difficult of circumstances is “brainless” since they don’t rebel and run away? Yes, “brainless” Christians and their “blindly doing what they’re told.” (Titus2:5)

            “And that is in no way the same as our absolute submission to God. ”

            It is, in fact, _identical_ to our submission to God. Ephesians 5:22-24:
            “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands AS YOU DO TO THE LORD. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now ********as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.*******” (emphasis added)
            I can’t see how God can get any plainer than that. Additionally, the word for “everything” means, “no exceptions”.

            “He doesn’t whack us when we deviate a bit from perfect submission”
            I don’t know why any form of correction equates to _only_ harshness in your arguments but that simply isn’t the case. Avoiding correcting an issue to avoid discomfort is evil.

            Think God is just a harmless little fuzzball? (That’s Rush Limbaugh anyway)
            Sodom & Gomorrah?
            Pillar of Salt?
            That whole Flood thing?
            That whole Lake of Fire thing?
            That whole forsaking His own Son thing?
            Paul’s blindness?
            Paul’s vision & his thorn?
            Pretty-much-anything-in-Revelation things?

            Is God’s grace sufficient or not?

          8. It seems to me that Frankly and Jim are actually not super far away from each other – even though it may seem that way on certain points – but are using different terms and words and ways of describing things and from the perspective of very different personalities.

            I believe Jim means showing grace by using the word “tolerance.” And I believe that by “wiggle room” with submission he probably is referring to giving wives some latitude and not keeping them on “a tight leash” about every possible little detail, but trusting her to make decisions about some things herself and not having a 100 page book of rules.

            It seems to me that Jim and Frankly have very different personalities and perspectives – but similar goals in the end to honor and obey God and to seek to carry out His design in marriage. I appreciate that in both of them.

            Ladies,
            I’m thankful for husbands with different opinions and ways of expressing them to be here because it underscores the importance of us understanding our particular husbands and studying what speaks respect to them and how they define biblical submission. Ultimately, we are accountable to Christ for obeying Him and pleasing Him. But there are also little nuances about our unique husbands that we will be learning and responding to.

            There are some things about biblical submission that are very black and white. But – submission – just like respect – may be carried out in a variety of ways in individual marriages. There will be different styles of leadership and different styles of submission. That is ok.

            Sometimes as wives, if we have more passive husbands, we may struggle because our husbands don’t seem to be explicit enough and we can misunderstand directives to be just suggestions. That can cause confusion. But sometimes if a wife has a more “command man” husband, sometimes even suggestions can sound like directives and a wife can feel smothered or feel like her husband is harsh with her often – which can be demoralizing. Each marriage, style and personality has its own challenges and blessings.

            As a wife of a Mr. Steady – I do appreciate husbands with a variety of personalities sharing their views so that wives with husbands that are not like mine might have more solid information to consider as they learn to respect and biblically submit to their particular husbands.

          9. “To me, that was sensible; to her, I was running from the argument.”
            Both are true; hence, explaining what you’re doing in advance. “I need to leave to catch my breath before I say something we’ll regret; I’ll return in the right frame of mind and we’ll resume…productively.” as an example.

            “And if your husband tries to prevent you from leaving, then he is guilty of abuse or worse.”
            While we’re judging, you would be guilty of casting a stumbling block before one of Christ’s own…which is worse. (Rom14:13, Luke17:1-4)

            re: Sex. 1Cor7:5. Treat the problem, not the symptom (how you felt being the symptom).

            re: Calming apologies. I don’t think hollow apologies–even with pure intentions–is the way to go. You can achieve the effect you’re after with sympathising. “First seek to understand, then to be understood” kind of thing. (Covey’s 7 Habits is very, very useful in all relationships, not just business.)

          10. Thank you, Frankly, for your reply.

            In my case, when I wanted to leave the room, she trapped me in the bedroom and wouldn’t let me out. When I picked up the phone and dialed 911, she stepped away from the door and let me out. That was abuse, because she was forcing me to stay in the room against my will.

            The sex part was abuse and humiliation on her part against me; that was the problem. When you’re being abused, it’s hard to blame your feelings in any way.

            I tried very hard for many long, weary years to understand.

            I’m not unappreciative of your thoughts, it’s just that when you get abused in so many ways for so many years, it’s tough.

          11. Romans 12:2 does a lot for me in separating my/the world’s thoughts from God’s thoughts.

          12. Jim,
            I’m very sorry for how difficult things were.

            A lot of husbands face similar situations today, but many don’t talk about it. It is my prayer that God might work mightily by the power of His Spirit in His men and women to empower us to see the dysfunction and sin and ungodliness we have embraced in our culture, even in the church – and to have eyes to see and a mind to understand God’s Word and His design – that marriages might be healed, saved, restored and richly blessed – and that God might be greatly honored. I pray for a mighty movement of God’s Spirit among His people – a new Great Awakening.

            There are many very aggressive, controlling, emasculating wives today who do not begin to realize the damage they cause to their husbands’ souls. How I pray that God might use me, or someone else, to reach them. When God opens our eyes, we are mortified and completely shocked at the scope of our sin that we have been so blind to for many years and we so deeply regret the pain we have caused our husbands.

            I pray for healing for you and for your wife, Jim. I pray for God’s greatest glory in both of your lives.

          13. Frankly,
            If a husband needs time and space, it would be infinitely helpful and reassuring to his wife if he could say something like this to his wife before he leaves – otherwise she may feel that the marriage is over, he hates her, he doesn’t love her, etc…

            I like the idea of a husband saying something specific like that. Great suggestion!

          14. I know that this is a blog for women, but one of the men, Frankly, said something which concerns me greatly.

            Frankly, it is not your job to “hold your wife accountable” or to command her to submit. It is your job to wash her feet, as Jesus did. God didn’t command you to rule over your wife, he commanded you to love your wife. I am troubled about your harsh attitude on this issue.

            The way Jesus compels me to submit to Him is by His great love and mercy which He shows me. I cannot but submit when I realize how much He loves me. Yes, He commands me to submit, but the way He wins my heart is with His great love and mercy. And by washing my feet. (The very thought of Jesus washing my feet totally floors me.)

            I apologize, April, for deviating from the purpose of your blog.

            Now on another topic: should the wife submit if she is being abused?

            I believe there are three kinds of abuse (there may be more): physical, sexual, and emotional. Physical abuse is when you are hit in anger, or when you are physically compelled to act against your will, or when you are physically restrained against your will. Sexual abuse is when you are compelled to perform sexual acts that you do not want to perform. Emotional abuse is when you are demeaned or devauled, either with words or deeds.

            Abuse is not “He doesn’t care” or “he won’t talk to me”. It is when it has crossed the line and damage is being done to you by the abuser.

            I believe that the victim of abuse has every right to leave, if he or she feels they have taken all that they can take. The victim alone has the right to decide when that line has been crossed.

            I was abused emotionally and sexually for about 20 years, with a few instances of physical abuse. I stayed because the children were under age. Once they were both grown and gone, I moved into the spare bedroom. Soon after that, my wife left and divorced me. I considered calling the police about the physical abuse. If it had continued, I would have, and I would have pressed charges.

            I firmly believe that the wife is under no obligation scripturally to submit to her husband if she is being abused. Only she has the right to decide whether or not she should stay and submit to his authority. By abusing her, he has abdicated his authority.

          15. First, I’m responding as to ensure that my representation of God’s word remains accurate. I am concerned about the sudden rush of “you” statements, Jim, and I think _our_ focus should remain on what the Lord says–nothing personal beyond that. This is _not_ about me or what I say for it is about _God_ and what _He_ says because God is truth (John14:6) and the truth sets us free (John8:32).

            ‘Frankly, it is not your job to “hold your wife accountable” or to command her to submit. It is your job to wash her feet, as Jesus did.’

            My job is both. It isn’t either-or. Love also includes discipline and those things. (Heb12:6)

            I did not say “command her to submit” for God already did that; my job is to _teach_. The same sentence that tells husbands to love their wives continues with, “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Eph5:26) Additionally, I can’t see how you see “rule” and “love” as mutually exclusive: does God not do both with us? Don’t we thank Him/are grateful for His rule?

            “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church”
            “head of” = authority = responsibility = accountability. I thought we’d all already agreed that it is impossible to fulfil one’s responsibilities without having the necessary authority.

            I assert wives have the better end of this deal as I would think being accountable to an imperfect man who understands he is imperfect is less ominous than said imperfect man being accountable to the perfect Christ who said, “be perfect” (Matt5:48) and “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke6:38)

            “He commands me to submit, but the way He wins my heart is with His great love and mercy. ”
            That is you. That isn’t me. Honestly, I accepted the Gospel not because I read it but because I read Romans after it. The logic of Christ drew me to Him. His speaking to the stars drew the astrologers (wise men) to the newborn Christ. Ours is a _personal_ relationship after all.

            As far as the rest of your post goes, we’ve already discussed it at length so I won’t repeat.

            One final thought: What mindset does one have when one continuously refers to one’s self (or others in a similar situation) as, “victim”? Paul said we are _victors_ (Rom8:31-38). The _choice_ is _ours_. (1Cor16:13)

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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