Respect Your Husband – Even If He Doesn’t Deserve It

ron & nancy 9-4.0My husband, Ron, admits that he used to be jerk, but I discovered a secret formula that turned him into a loving husband. I started treating him like a VIP! Ron always wanted me to respect him, but I thought he had to earn it and I had to feel it, before I could do it. Wrong.

We women are very good at pointing out our husbands’ faults and failures and punishing them for not meeting our needs, but that only leads to discontent and distance in our marriages. We all know that yelling, nagging, and belittling are disrespectful and ineffective. So I’m suggesting a radical concept: Treat him like a king, and eventually, he will begin to treat you like a queen.

Act Respectfully

Instead of waiting for him earn your respect, behave respectfully and you could watch him grow into the man God designed him to be.

Twenty five years ago, our marriage was on the brink of divorce. I was controlling, critical and disrespectful so Ron was defensive and angry. We were both Christians but neither of us was living a spirit-filled life. I was letting my emotions determine my actions and thought it was Ron’s job to make me happy. But through a series of miracles (read my book for the whole story) we made a decision to rebuild our marriage.

The Plan

We went to a Christian counselor who read Ephesians 5:33. Nevertheless let each one of you so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” He said, “Nancy, the only way you will win Ron back and stay married is if you begin to respect your husband.” I knew he was right so I swallowed hard and came up with a plan.

Here are three of the ways I began to respect Ron: They are easy to remember because they spell out the goal—to treat him like a V.I.P.

Respect him Verbally, Intellectually, and Physically.

Verbally: Cut out (ok… cut back) complaining and add in compliments.

If you want to have a peaceful, happy marriage, learn the art of the compliment. Compliments are like magnets and the more you compliment your husband the more he will be attracted to you. Begin to notice when he does it right and verbally encourage him by complimenting him at least once a day.

If you are having a hard time thinking of anything to admire, consider these categories: physical traits, mental skills, financial strengths, spiritual growth, or healthy relationships with others (children, parents, or friends).

Why Should I?

You may be asking “Hey, why should I compliment him when he NEVER compliments me?” It’s because, if you want your marriage to grow and bloom, you’ll have to water it with kindness and encouragement. Then, as he sees your sincere efforts, he will begin to change too. Don’t give up.

If you do need to bring up a difficult issue, place it between two compliments, also known as a “Compliment Sandwich.” Here’s an example, “Honey, I know how hard you work for our money and that Sally’s braces will be expensive, but I need your decision before her appointment tomorrow. I hope we can do this for her, but if you want to wait, I trust your judgment. What should I tell the orthodontist?”


Men like to solve problems and fix things. So appeal to his intelligence by asking him to help you solve a problem. Instead of saying “This garage is a mess, clean up your camping stuff!” Try, “I’d like your help with something. Could you figure out a storage system for all the camping supplies?”

Don’t imply that he isn’t smart. Instead of saying “I think you are wrong about…” Say, “I’m confused about… please explain it again” (Remember to keep your tone of voice sarcasm-free.)

Request his help on Spiritual matters too.

Ask him to explain a passage of Scripture or ask him to pray for you when you are going through a difficult time. If your husband is not the spiritual leader in your home, continue to pray for him and ask him if there is anything you are doing that is hindering his relationship with God.

Men don’t give a lot of weight to feelings—show them facts and they’ll be more likely to listen. For example: if he wants to buy a car that you think is too expensive, don’t launch into a hissy-fit, write out your monthly expenses and ask him what other things should be cut out in order to buy his car. Let the facts speak for you.

When you cannot reach an agreement, instead of trying to wear him down by nagging or crying say, “Is that your final decision or can I still try to convince you?” If it’s his final decision, then honor it. It’s freeing—let him carry the responsibility of your family.


Physically ask what he would like you to do and then, do it. Find out what his top three needs are. Ron likes the laundry done, sex a least twice a week (guaranteed!) and he likes me to keep my “girly-make-up stuff” off of the bathroom counter. If these top needs are met, he’s content and easy to get along with. I know it sounds simple, but each of us have different things that make us feel loved and appreciated. You won’t know what he wants unless you ask him.

Be aware of your body language. You can communicate disrespect by rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or slamming doors. Reflect your new decision to respect your husband in your heart, mind, and body.

Change your attitude and actions

Respect is both a verb and a noun. It’s an action and an attitude. So begin today to respect your husband in thought, word, and deed. He will be more willing and able to give you the love and affection you need if he is respected and admired. When I began to respect my husband, he was skeptical at first. However as he saw that I was committed to change, he began to treat me differently—lovingly. We now teach at couples’ events, helping others discover the blessings of true love in action.

Ask the Lord to strengthen you as you obey His word.


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

This article is adapted from the great book, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage, by Nancy C Anderson, published by Kregel Publications. This book was written by a woman who strayed to the other side of the marital fence. But then she returned to find forgiveness and restoration. Based on the principle that the grass is always greener where it’s watered, this book focuses on how to grow a beautiful marriage in your own backyard by establishing six protective “hedges” around it. Because Nancy Anderson nearly ruined her marriage due to infidelity, she truly knows the misery that an affair can cause. This really is a very good book for every Christian couple to read! We highly recommend it.

Author Nancy C Anderson and her husband Ron, speak nationally to couples’ groups of all denominations. They share their message of hope and restoration with tenderness and humor. If you live in the United States and would like for them to speak with your group please contact them at You may also want to visit their blog at

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236 responses to “Respect Your Husband – Even If He Doesn’t Deserve It

  1. I’m 65 and I’ve been through a series of infidelities with my husband. I forgave and even though it was hurtful I never gave up and continued to respect him and doing mostly all of what was discussed to make my husband feel great. My husband took me away for my birthday to find out he was texting a coworker while she was away with her husband, promising her that there was more to come when she returns. And that he loved her in another txt message .

    I was very upset when I asked my husband what he meant and why was he texting her. My husband walked out of the hotel room to return late that night. The next day on my birthday I went to my husband and said to him respectfully hon please let’s put our differences aside. It’s my birthday and I’d like very much to celebrate; let’s continue with our plans. My husband said I’m leaving this hotel room I’m going to do what I want and the only time we will be together is when we are on our way back home .

    My husband left with the car at 9am and I had no way if getting around; after a few hours I packed my things found a flight and returned home. I saw my husband the next evening the time we were suppose to have returned home. Since December the fourth to now my husband leaves for work comes home late and doesn’t say much. To this day not much has changed. What should I do?

    We sleep in the same bed but he makes sure we don’t touch. However I talk to him every day and send him off to work every day with Biessings.

    1. If he were standing on the train tracks with a train coming at him at a hundred miles an hour would you still be so polite? It says in the Bible a man that commits adultery and a drinker, damnation to his own soul. How are you helping him? Pray to the Lord for guidance then open your Bible and read, he will guide you. Don’t lean on your own understanding. I am praying for you. Forgivness is handing him to God.

    2. No man should abuse a woman. I can’t believe I’m reading this. I can see by your picture you are a elderly woman but your advice is disgusting. And we are way beyond those days. Have you never heard of narcissistic abuse where someone will wipe away your life? God came to give life not destroy it. Even the pope himself doesn’t agree, women should blithely not consent to abuse, and your husband was an abuser, a predator. You’re a Victim and this is nonsense.

      If I try any more with my husband he will kill me. You’re not gifted with wisdom So you should not be advising.

  2. I’m at a loss with my husband. His last affair 5 years ago was horrible!! When someone told me of the sexual videos that were taken of he and his affair lady it was heart wrenching. But nothing as bad as his reaction. He was very defensive and never really apologized. I went to many counselors; they all said is he was a narcissist sociopath and to leave him immediately. That was 5 years ago. Since then, it became known to me that my husband’s sisters son had been molesting our daughter for the last 4 years (the molester is now in seminary at Liberty University studying to be a youth pastor). Of course I’m sick about this and contacted authorities and did everything I possibly could to help my precious daughter. In the meantime, my husband has told our daughter to rise above it and get over it. He was against me speaking up in any way.. I did because that’s the right thing to do!! I don’t want to be another statistic in divorce… But what in the world am I to do?

  3. I am 28 and married for five months. My husband is the youth Pastor and worship leader at church. I am going through the same things you have been and I have already decided even today to do what you have said. It’s getting easier to do, putting all the hurtful things he says aside the more I draw nearer to God. I have been and will do exactly that because it is only going to take love and kindness to overcome and nothing else. It is hard, the pain. But I cannot and won’t allow that to be what I dwell on instead the word of God and the love I have for my husband because I do want his love and a healthy marriage and a loving caring one.

    I have been through a painful life thus far and won’t let Satan overcome me by winning this and keeping me in a place of being a victim because Christ Jesus is right here with me and I will keep the faith until I receive what He has for me till I see Him at the end. Love never fails! If so then I must show it even in the hardest of times. Thank you for this. God bless you.

  4. I googled “Do I deserve my husband’s respect?” and your article was the first to come up. It was followed by dozens more about how wives should show their husbands respect.

    I wanted to know if I’m the kind of wife who deserves respect so I can improve myself where I’m weak. Apparently women don’t deserve their husbands respect because no one’s talking about it. I think that says a lot.

  5. Not sure how long ago this article was written, but I suspect it was at least a decade ago. Even among Christians, this naive and unrealistic way of thinking is definately, thankfully on its way out. Women are waking up and realizing that they don’t have to be exhausted, weary and beaten down by a man who never changes. She can’t;God doesn’t expect her to!

    1. Fiona, you’re always such an encourager when you come onto the web site! Not sure why you keep visiting it. But very respectfully, we want to point out that we’re not interested in “tickling” ears to cater to how we think things should work but rather how they truly are, with the Bible as our guide. (See: 2 Timothy 4:3.) Just because I think things should work a certain way, it doesn’t mean that this is realistic. Sometimes we can win the battle but lose the war just because we’re single-minded (instead of marrying our differences).

      What this author wrote may not work in every marriage. We get that. Every relationship is different. But it is a suggestion that works in many marriages. We encourage the spouse to pray about it and line up their actions as God would have them–not how they want things to be when it’s not realistic or respectful.

      Again, if you think another approach would work instead, go seek out articles where you are like-minded and see how that works for you. I truly do hope you have a good day/week/month/year/life and marriage.