“The Love which God requires from the husband [on] behalf of his wife will make amends for the subjection which he demands from her to her husband: and the prescribed subjection of the wife will be an abundant return for that love of the husband which God has made her due.” – Matthew Henry
Earning the respect of your wife as a man is important to maintaining a healthy marriage; but you have to work at it because it won’t be handed to you on a silver platter. Depending on the current state of your relationship, and the dings it may have taken since you’ve been together – your marriage is on the rocks or it’s going through a bad patch; you may find that earning her respect and giving it to her in return is an arduous process. It takes not only time but also patience, commitment, communication and devotion. You would need to have a big heart to love her unconditionally and a broad enough mind to embrace the uniqueness and difficulty in her personality.
Many men struggling with their marriages today because they have lost their wives’ respect. Some mistakenly demand instead of earning the respect. They raise their voice, berate, bully, bark orders, whine, complain and scowl at their wives in attempts to coerce respect from them. Some male chauvinist dominate their spouses, relegate them to the position of mere bed-mates and treat them as second-class citizens, because they believe that women are only to be seen and not to be heard on crucial matters. They use impression as “I am the head of this family,” or “A woman’s place is in the kitchen,” while denying the wife her rights and privileges. This negative disposition towards the wife is definitely not the way to a woman’s heart.
To enjoy a blissful relationship with your wife, it is critically important that you approach the respect issue with caution. First, don’t demand respect from her; you will always be disappointed if you do. Just as a coach who yells at, bullies and intimidates his team cannot get the best out of them, threats and coercion don’t equally win a woman over. Next, understand that “Fear” and “Respect” don’t mean the same thing. Your wife may fear you because you assault and ill-treat her, but she will never respect you. Respect is not something you force or beat out of people. It is simply the expression of high, special regard or reference for somebody, and no wife will truly revere a man who assaults her or doesn’t meet her emotional, physical, spiritual and even intellectual needs.
Below are tips that make you earn your wife’s respect.
1. Love your wife
This is the grand rule which every husband must observe in marriage: Love your wife – by laying down your life for your wife if necessary. Do all within your power to meet her emotional, physical, spiritual needs because, when you love your wife eloquently, proactively, and selflessly, every other thing in your marriage falls into place.
2. Respect your wife
The world over, the woman is considered worthy of little honour or respect, and treated as a slave or mere instrument to gratify the passions of man. However, the Holy Book (the Bible) commands that she be treated with respect and special kindness. It gives two particular reasons why this should be done. One, she’s feebler than the man is; hence, has a claim to delicate attention, ideas, and concerns. Make sure she knows how much you value and appreciate her and don’t take a chance on that.
3. Show understanding to your wife
The more the husband has, the more circumspectly he must behave himself in bearing those inconveniences and troubles which the wife’s weakness often cause the couple; Women are emotional than men and more often than not, their emotion gets in the way of their will and reasoning. As the husband, you must study to know your wife weakness, strengths and moods, and equally forgive her for being her. When you raise your voice, threaten or even hit your wife to get her respect, you are moving exactly in the wrong direction. You must avoid all bickering and fighting in your home, because they hinder marital progress.
4. Be a servant-leader in your home
When men demonstrate humility, grace, and mercy at home, the strength of character that defines them as servant-leaders commands the kind of respect that is rooted in love and appreciation.
5. Follow through on your promises to your wife
One indicator of integrity is a consistent level of follow-through when it comes to keeping promises and a by-product of integrity is respect. If your wife knows where you stand, and she can expect you to follow through, then respect is part of the package. Be truthful and faithful to your wife and don’t break any promise you make to her, including your marital vow.