What Your Husband Needs

Husband needs marriage put back together - Pixabay couple-254683_640

This article addresses some of the things a husband needs from his wife. In the “For Married Men” topic we address what a wife needs from her husband. Please prayerfully consider what is written here:

Years ago there was a television commercial for a certain brand of car wax. In it a woman was getting ready to sell her car, which looked weathered, old, and dull —so much so that most people wouldn’t give it a second look. The woman realized how dull her car looked, so she used this particular brand of car wax on it. Voila! Her car shone like it was brand-new. It looked so good, in fact, that the woman’s affections for it were revived and she decided to keep it.

We and our relationships are a lot like that.

When we treat someone as a valued gift and invest ourselves in his or her care, we build up that person’s feelings of self-worth and draw closer to them as well.

What a Husband Needs

When a wife respects, nurtures, and affirms her husband, it deepens her love for him. On the other hand, when we don’t regard something as valuable and neglect it, our feelings for it begin to wane. At the top of any man’s list of needs is respect from his mate. God created men that way. He needs respect as much from his wife as he needs air to breathe.

A man who doesn’t receive respect from his wife is a man who begins to wither on the inside. He’s all right as long as no one is standing on the air hose running to the tank labeled Respect.

That is exactly why God calls wives to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33).

Some believe that respect is something we all must earn. But just like love, respect from spouse to spouse must be unconditional. This is what Scripture teaches: “Show proper respect to everyone … not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:17-18)

I’ve seen numerous instances in which a wife began to believe in her husband and showed him respect. The husband, in turn, began to change-both in his own thinking and beliefs and in how he treated and responded to his wife.

Respect Husband?

How can a wife show respect for her husband? Here are just a few examples:

• Express faith in his decision and ability.

• Leave him notes (men respond better to the written word) that tell him how much you value who he is as a person (and sometimes for his work).

• If he botches a task at home, don’t sigh, roll your eyes, and mutter at him; instead, thank him for trying.

• Make positive suggestions without demanding an immediate answer. Ask him to reflect on it for a while.

• Listen to his upsets and don’t take his anger personally.

• Let him vent when he needs to.

• Encourage him in areas where he doesn’t feel secure and let him know you stand behind him.

• When he makes a decision you’re not in favor of, listen.

• Talk about his positive strengths in front of the children.

• Praise him at least once a day.

• Discover the uniqueness of his personality and learn to understand him and communicate better with him.

• Accept his maleness and celebrate the differences that come from this.

Ask yourself which of these you did this past month in an effort to show your husband respect. Then ask yourself how you’ll find ways to do these things in the coming month and beyond.

Example of Respect

Here’s a good example of a wife showing her husband respect, admiration, and love he needed from her:

One of the pastors I respected greatly was E.V. Hill, who served for many years as pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. When E.V. first began in the ministry, he was a hard worker who wanted to provide for his wife, but he was also a young preacher who struggled to make enough money just to pay for the necessities.

Pastor Hill’s wife appreciated his efforts to protect and provide for her, even though some months there wasn’t enough money to pay all the bills. One night, he came home and noticed immediately that the house was dark. When he opened the door, he saw that his wife, Jane, had prepared a candlelight dinner. He loved the idea, but when he went to the bathroom to wash up, he flipped the light switch and nothing happened. Then he went to the bedroom and tried the lights. Again… there was nothing. The entire house was dark.

He went back and asked his wife why the lights didn’t work. Jane began to cry and said, “You work so hard, but it’s rough. I didn’t have enough money to pay the electric bill. I didn’t want you to know about it, so I thought we would just eat by candlelight!”

Love and Respect in Action

Dr. Hill described this experience with deep emotion: “My wife could have said, “I never had this happen in the home I was raised in.” But she didn’t berate or blame him. Instead she said, “Somehow we’ll get these lights back on, but tonight let’s eat by candlelight.”

Our calling to love and respect is a calling regardless of what the other person does. It’s sacrificial. It’s in the scriptures. It works!

This article comes from the book, One Marriage Under God: Building an Everlasting Love, written by H. Norman Wright, published by Multnomah. This is a book that will help you see things from God’s perspective, clarifying the institution of marriage as God originally created it—a beautiful committed, eternal bond. Dr Wright gives insights on: Whether you married the “right” or “wrong” person is entirely up to you… God has a good plan for every marriage … Your marriage needs to be re-created daily… The culture’s alternatives to marriage are destructive; God’s plan is flawless… The benefits of marriage are a carefully guarded secret… and “Me” or “We?”

— AND —

To help you figure out how to show respect to your husband, please read:

67 Ways to Make Him Feel Super Respected

— ALSO —

Yes, we realize that women need respect, as well. That’s another matter, which is covered in the “For Married Men” topic. But for wives, below is another article, written by Clayton and Charlie King. It is posted on the Crosswalk.com web site and it gives added insight into this topic which you may learn from as you read:


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46 responses to “What Your Husband Needs

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA) Thank you for your insight. I am a professional, Christian woman who’s wedding is coming very soon. I had a problem as a young lady with submission and respecting a husband. This stemmed from the feminist movement and all the 50/50 discussions going around everywhere. The Lord has truly refined me as far as this is concerned. As I sought His will for my life and His plan for me as a married woman. My thoughts and stiff-necked attitude need to be changed forever. When I was discussing with my partner his expectations for me as his wife, his top of the list, was respect.

    In my yielding to Jesus and His ways in my life, I prayerfully thank Him for finding me where I was and bringing me to His truth and light. And I ask Him to cleanse me and continue teaching me and leading me in this area of respecting my husband until all the lies, from the father of lies that are fed into women’s minds today, are completely purged from my being, through the blood of Christ and His grace and mercy. Thank you

  2. (USA) The list of suggestions here is helpful. In mending/healing not only my marriage, but myself, after abuse, I find myself looking at things differently, with all the fruits of the Spirit that only come from Christ (lack of fear, strength when needed, attempting humility too), but my discovery during this process is that I truly don’t know what respect, in a man’s eyes, is.

    I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but my version (the female version) of respect is WAY different from what his is. And in the same way, his version of "love" is very different from what mine is.

    There need to be more articles on respect with examples, like the ones above, because my true feeling is that men’s versions of respect is very different from what women’s is but in light of that discrepancy, there isn’t a whole lot of information out there to try and straighten us all out so a lot of us married people end up flailing around trying a lot of things that don’t seem to work.

    And if you combine that, with a man who has anger issues (thereby preventing him from being able to talk/discuss much without getting angry and wanting to end the discussion before anything has really been solved or before a meeting of the mind is reached), a lot of times articles are the only things a woman may have because her husband can’t or doesn’t know how to express what he wants and needs so no one wins – not the man or the woman. That’s rather frustrating.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    1. (CANADA)  I realize this was 2 yrs ago, but I’m reading it now, & so I’m commenting. Yes, LT, there should be a female perspective on this. There needs to also be a “How can a husband show respect for her wife?” With examples. For my use, I’ve replaced the he/him with they/them in most of the examples. Yes, more stories to illustrate a point would be helpful.

    2. Read the book Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs… It transformed me and my way of interacting with men in general. It’s biblically based and had lots of examples. I had to call my ex husband and ask for forgiveness coz I was so disrespectful and I didn’t even know it at that time. It’s truly a must have and read it over and over again…

  3. (USA)  LT, I see frustration in you, and I am sure you have very good reasons for that. Since I got married I have been looking for information on how to be a godly wife and I came to the conclusion that PRAYER IS THE KEY. Pray, pray, pray, God listens to the prayers of those who honor Him. How do you honor him? By obeying Him and doing what He has asked you to do as a wife. Respect, submission, love. Only with His strength you can do it and He will change your husbands heart, at his precious time. Nothing is impossible for God!

  4. (USA)  Hi Joann, Thank you for your response. I agree that prayer is definitely part of the answer. I believe that a lot more is necessary, too, however. Listening to God’s voice is necessary as well. I’ve been guided to many different resources in the form of articles and books as well (Christian resources).

    My original post of several months ago has since been confirmed. Women and men’s needs/wants do vary widely. I’ve been reading a few different books that are helping me in this area.

    My prayer life is strong, although there are days when I’m too exhausted, emotionally and mentally, to pray as much or as long as I need. It is on those days I say to God that I will let the Spirit speak for me.

    Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

    I know what this verse refers to from personal experience. Trying to recover (with God’s help, of course) from an abusive marriage, along with looking after a toddler, takes its toll on a person and on the days when I’m literally too tired to sit and think of what to day (and on some days I’m too frustrated and so I pray until my anger borders on sin in which case I have to hand it over to God lest I give in to sinful thoughts), I let the spirit moan for me, just as the above verse suggests.

    There are many verses in the bible and another talks about studying to be approved. I read scripture as well.

    As you mention, my husband’s heart may change. I believe it is important to note that it may change, not that it will. My husband still has to make his own choices. He has his own free will, which God has allowed him to have. But, as you say, if it is God’s will, then it will be God’s time. In the meantime, I change (attempt to change) what I feel necessary as well. That is the best approach that I have found when waiting on God’s timing for something.

    God does hear our prayers, not only that – he hears them before we even utter them. So I do agree that prayer is necessary for our spiritual walk, but I believe a lot more is necessary, too, to be a whole individual in God. This is my current understanding.

    I like the quote from a Jewel song, "If praying were enough it would have come to be." I used to think that were sacrilegious or something but now I see it in a much different light and agree with it. I think it’s saying that there’s a lot more than just prayer involved. We serve an active God and we have to be active at changing ourselves and doing whatever else we feel led by God to do.

    Just praying about the homeless being fed isn’t going to feed them. If someone feels a pull to help the homeless and they feel God is giving them the nudge, that would come from prayer. But the act of serving the homeless comes from that person getting up and actually going to do the act. Hope that makes sense. Thanks, again, for your response. God bless.

  5. (ZIMBABWE)  WOW, I really needed to read this article. As a young woman also getting married soon, I noticed that my fiance and I are constantly at logger heads about the way things should go on our day. Reading through this article I realise that I was quickly losing respect and not affirming him in the way that I should. Instead I was pushing him away. Thank you MM. May God enlarge your readership, as I know that many women struggle with this problem.

  6. (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  I read your comments on respect. I understand how much a husband desires respect. I am still being told by my husband that I don’t respect him. It is really starting to hurt to hear this. I meditate in God’s word and pray. I know deep down inside that I have the victory, but I’m starting to get tired of the persecution.

    I know that the Word says to rejoice. After sixteen and half years, it is starting to weigh on me. I know that my husband doesn’t mean to hurt me, he is just hurt himself. My husband grew up in a home that wasn’t very loving. He saw his dad treat his mom really badly. He also experienced bad (unloving) treatment himself from his dad. He even received it from his mom too. She took out on him her frustration that she had.

    He tried so hard to get them to approve of him. But good grades, a clean room, excelling in sports, and etc just didn’t give him positive attention, affection, or affirmation. I understand how devastating this was and still is for him. I thought that if I just loved and respected him that he would let go of the past and let God heal him. I thought that he would let God restore him. But all he has done is let the generational curse continue in his life.

    But he holds on to his hurt like it is a trophy. Now he acts a lot like the way his dad did. He admits to having very low self esteem. He also admits to knowing that he doesn’t love himself and goes on to saying that he knows that-that’s why he struggles with loving me and the kids.

    I always thought that if I just trusted God and kept quiet that my husband would love me like Christ loves the church. I have seen him love people around us who struggle with drugs, homelessness, prostitution, and so much else. I have seen him push so hard to do his best at work to get his bosses approval. I have seen him serve pastors only to be used by them.

    I so desperately want to be loved. I hide myself in Christ when it comes to my hurt, pain, loneliness, and etc. Another man is never a thought because I know that- that is foolish. I know that divorce isn’t the answer too. I have asked him exactly how can I show you respect and he tells me things.

    I make it my business to do those things, but he doesn’t want to see that as respect. He just counts it as me just wanting to say that I did it. I just want to have the man that I meet in college. My husband was so loving and considerate then. Can you tell me more practical ways that I can show him that I love him?

    And can I get you all to agree with me that he begins to see me. I mean see how I respect and love him — that he sees I understand how I see him and not reflex his feelings and thought on me.

  7. (USA) Dear Alyssa, Bless your heart! I’m so sorry for the ways in which you are suffering in your marriage. That has got to be so very difficult and I want you to know that I (and others I’m sure) will be praying for you. You are not alone.

    Please know that being respectful of your husband does not mean that you have to bow down to abusive behavior, if that is what you are putting up with. It’s tragic that your husband suffered as he did while he was growing up and that he still suffers to this day. And I love your heart that you can see how it has changed him and still you try to treat him with love dignity, despite the ways in which he is hurting you.

    But there is a difference between being respectful towards your husband and giving him license to treat you in hurtful ways. You need to learn how to set proper boundaries to protect yourself (and also protect him from his own destructive behaviors) because if he is being abusive, abuse is wrong. It strips a person of their dignity as a human being. It’s not good for your husband to allow himself to give into his urges and behave this way and it’s not good for you to receive it. There ARE many things you can do to de-escalate situations and stop receiving such actions (and yet still be respectful in how you do them).

    I urge you go into the “Abuse in Marriage” section and read the articles we have posted. I think this will give you a clearer picture of what abusive behavior entails.

    Also, LT just posted a comment last night in the “Abuse in Marriage Links and Resource Descriptions” part of that section that I believe would be good for you to read (and also go into the link that she supplies to read what is written there by David in Psalm 101, and the corresponding comments on what we should not be a part of).

    Treating a husband with respect can still happen even though a wife refuses to give into abusive behavior. It is very difficult, but it can be done. That is why I also encourage you to contact Focus Ministries (if indeed you are suffering from abuse), which is an American-based ministry dealing with abusive situations. We have a link for it in the links part of that section. I believe they can help you with this.

    Somehow you need to learn how to put up certain boundaries so you protect yourself when you need to, but you do it in ways that don’t give in to being mean-spirited about it. Firmness and setting proper boundaries is still respectful — you just approach it differently. You don’t want to do what your husband has learned from his past to do to you (and needs to un-learn).

    I hope this is helpful and I pray the Lord ministers to the cries of your heart. I pray you can find the help you need and I pray your husband will eventually reach out for the help he needs. He obviously can’t do this on his own without first recognizing that he needs help and then getting it. Maybe this is the first step. I pray so. Please know that my heart and prayers are with you.

  8. (USA)  Dear all – my heart breaks for all these women who are so in love with their men that they are crying out to God for assistance. AH! The toll that sin has had on our hearts.

    My marriage of 3 years is on the brink and it is all because my husband says I don’t respect him. Trouble is, like many of you, I have no clue what I am doing wrong. I am a woman who, was only married 3 years the first time, and that marriage failed because I was not saved or he. There was an affair and he had another daughter. I was divorced for nearly 15 years, raised my 2 kids myself and am a successful professional.

    I met my husband, became Saved, and we married. He had endured a very difficult unhappy marriage for 20 years. Full of anger and deceit. Anyway, I am so used to doing things and making my own decisions – it has been very hard as I guess I have no clue how to respect a man properly. I am desperate to be a Godly wife but I have no idea how to do it… My prayers for all of you…

  9. (ZAMBIA)  I am a husband and one who feels like am not respected by my wife as well. I am an African and specifically a Zambian. The following are the ways I feel am not being respected:-

    1- If I feel my wife has offended me, then I need to talk and I expect my wife to remain quiet as I talk. That is considered respectful of a woman. If she has to answer back, then later and not there and then. And what is important is how she is going to approach the husband when she feels she’s been trampled upon.

    2- The wife should learn to ask for permission over small and even bigger things as this shows that the husband is on the “throne” and in itself a great deal of respect is shown to the husband.

    3-A woman shouldn’t show to the outside world what is happening inside their matrimonial home as this is regarded as being disrespectful. For instance, if a woman has been beaten by his husband in our tradition she shouldn’t let other people know that it’s the husband but that she had fallen or any other reason other than the husband.

    Remember I am an African with a different culture. Sydney

    1. (USA)  If you are a Christian then you should know it’s wrong to hit your wife. Step up to a man, not a woman.

  10. (USA) Sydney, I can well understand why you feel, given your reasons listed above, that your wife is treating you with disrespect. That would be my perspective as well if I held the same beliefs. But I see a different way of looking at it Biblically.

    I understand that what you have written is the way your culture approaches marital relationships. And I want you to understand that Cindy and I greatly respect your culture in many ways. However, when a culture goes against Biblical guidelines, then followers in Christ are to bow to God’s way rather than God bowing to the ways of the culture.

    A case in point is when Cindy and I visited the ruins of an ancient temple in the Middle East. The people of this temple used to sacrifice children to the one they believed to be their god to appease him for better crops. This was both the religious and cultural ways of the people who lived in that part of the world. What do you think the real Jehovah — the REAL God, felt about this practice? Do you think He bent to their cultural ways and gave it His approval because it was part of their cultural ways of doing things? Absolutely not. What about the cultural ways of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah… was Lot given permission to follow their ways above God’s? No.

    Normally, Cindy and I do not get into cultural and theological debates on this web site… We do not believe that is our role but rather to make this web site a platform for others to work through marital issues. But upon praying, we believe God has told us to give you “food for thought” as to how your statements relate to a Biblical marriage and to let Him work with that “food” for His good purpose.

    When Jesus came upon the earth, He came to “set the captives free” — those who were imprisoned by sin — also imprisoned by man’s standards rather than God’s, as well as wrong religious practices, and wrong cultural practices. It would take too long to go into all the specifics, but I trust God will show you what He wants to reveal in what I am saying.

    The problem is that man stands in the way of allowing these freedoms to be realized. For some reason, God is allowing much of this until the day of Christ’s return. But that does not mean that this is God’s intent for us to choose to live in this type of bondage. He gives man a free will and for that reason, we are bound by the choices that we and others often make… until the enemy of our faith is totally defeated.

    I say all this to say that when Christ came in the form of a man, we can see that He gave women a place of recognition that had not been practiced before. The barriers of a woman being treated as an object of little value or as an obedient child — with no voice in matters, were wiped away. As it says in Galatians 3:26-29, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    Yes, a man is positionally still head of his home (just as a head of state ultimately has the last say), but he is not put in that position to be a tyrant. The husband is related in the Bible as the head of the home as Christ is head of the church. But you do not see Christ as a dictating tyrant — rather as a servant leader. You can see that as He washed the feet of His disciples and told them to do likewise. You also saw this when He sacrificed His life for their (and our) sin. He could have told us to be quiet and mind His ways and respect Him for it. But instead He lead by example as a “bond-servant” (as it says in Philippians 2) and calls us to do the same.

    When you read Ephesians 5, and you see the husband’s role in the marriage, you can see that you are responsible for the wife’s well-being. When you stand before God, you are to “in the same way” as Christ, to “present her” …”without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish.” What do you think it does to your wife’s spirit and her heart when you demean her heart and spirit by acting like a dictator on a throne, telling her when she has “permission” to speak — not to mention telling her to lie about the physical bruises you inflict upon her so you don’t look bad to them? Is that “presenting her” to God “without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish?”

    Sydney, I pray that you will prayerfully consider the statements you wrote above as to how you believe you should treat your wife. How do you think they line up with the God’s scripture that says, “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body” — are you caring for your wife with the same love as you do your own body and as Christ cares for His church? Does He allow us to speak and give views only when we are given His permission? Does He have us lie so He looks better? Does He “trample upon” His bride?

    Yes, your wife must treat you respectfully because of the position God has put you in with Christ, but are you acting worthy of that respect? You alone will be accountable to God for how you treat your wife no matter what she does and no matter what your culture tells you to do.

    May God speak directly to your heart and spirit on this matter. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing” (1 Corinthians 2:4-6). Our prayers are with you.

    1. The only place I see in scripture where men are told that they are to be in charge of their household is here: (NIV, biblegateway.com) – From Esther 1:19-22 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”

      “The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.” This command is from a pagan king.

      As to the word translated “head” as in “of the wife” and “of the church”, I’m wary of understanding it in the American English way that means “boss” or “supervisor”. Looking back at the original language, it may mean “origin” or actually, literally, “head”. I do like a lot of what you have to say, otherwise.

  11. (KENYA)  Hi Sidney… I’m an African woman 25 years old and married. I respect our African culture very much, but just want to tell you that these are not the errors when we took those stuff from men. May God have mercy on you if you still believe in beating the wife. I would advise any woman to go to police or seek help if in domestic violence. In no case do I regard torerance to such behaviour as respect. The Bible is also not for such behaviors.

  12. (USA)  These are wonderful thougts, but I do not believe that there are any women like this left in my country. Women here are taught from birth to be independant of men including inside the church. I have NEVER seen this preached in any church in which I have been a member…and I’m 50 years old. Talking about this brings only eye rolling and nervous laughter.

  13. (PAKISTAN)  I’m a 22 year old girl and need to know, is it right to marry with a man who is double your age and twice married? Is it right to marry with a married man? He is a good friend, understanding, and I don’t find anything wrong in him but am confused. Will it be a right to make the decision to marry him as he is twice married and married with 3 kids and I’m single, never married before. Can anyone suggest or advise me on this?

  14. (UNITED STATES)  Ok question, I need help answering!! I know what the Bible says about respecting your husband & also what it says about the husband loving the wife. I try to respect my husbands decisions, and in return he shows me love. The question I have is do you have to respect your husbands decisions even if he is not in church? He goes to church every once in a while and loves God. But is not totally a Christian. He chews tobacco, and just doesn’t go to church faithfully. So my question is this: how do you know your husband’s decisions are going to be the right ones if he’s not straight with God? PLEASE HELP!

  15. (TRINIDAD)  I thank you so much Mr. Steve for that powerful and enlightening response to Sydney’s comment for I was unfortunately on the receiving end of a marriage such as he has described. Perhaps the “culture” he speaks of is the same as that of my husband. I was also brought up by my mother who taught me to demand respect from others just as I would give it… I have been married a bit over 9months now. My life before I got married was an independent one, i.e have your apartment, go and come as I wanted. So, it was extremely difficult for me to become a full time housewife and stepmother (4 of his kids live with us) not be able to leave the house without “permission”, not voice my concerns if I was not in agreement at that time. And worst of all was being hit while I was pregnant, face all swollen and to be told to never let any one know so as not to make my husband look bad in front of my family!!! Those were the toughest days of my life.

    I prayed so hard trying to come to terms with my situation. I considered running away but he never left the house for a few days… I even considered suicide, thank the Lord I grew up with strong Christian values that I turned that evil thought aside… I did not give up on prayer and I did not give up on God. This happened a few months ago prayer and faith however surely works.

    My husband has seen the error of his ways. He realizes also that our marriage cannot last under such strident conditions. It’s still a bit shocking to hear value my opinion and to not abuse both verbally and physically when he feels “disrespected”. The article 100 ways to love him his way has also helped me to appreciate his feelings more and to simply honor and respect my husband without him demanding it! I am happy that i logged on to this site already it has helped me to make so much wonderful changes in my life!!!