101 Things A Wife Can DO to Show Respect to Her Husband…

In honor of several recent requests for a list that corresponds to our 101 Things A Husband Can DO to Show Love to His Wife… this one is for the wives and on how to show R-E-S-P-E-C-T.


And I know that some of you have some things you already do that are important to you – and to your husband. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. :) Because all men and women are different, and all marriages are a little different, at Greater Impact, we say there is no “formula” but rather an encouragement to try things and communicate with your husband to figure out what speaks R-E-S-P-E-C-T to him. If you haven’t read Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, that might give some insight as well.


Please know this list is not meant to overwhelm or discourage you – and if your marriage is in a tough spot, I’m so sorry – we’re going to continue our walk through the issues of marriage on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays are kind of a free day, sometimes we blog, sometimes we don’t, but we often do something different when we do. Please forgive me if the discussion causes you pain – it’s not intended to do so, but rather to respond to those who have asked for it. I hope you understand. Know you are prayed for if you are in a difficult place.

Also know that God’s Word is True – and it works. We hear from gobs of women whose marriages and relationship with God has been deepened as a result of obeying Ephesians 5:33, “And the wife must respect her husband.”


So for now, I’m starting the list – and later, we’ll turn it into a PDF with everything included that you can print and share with friends. Here’s my own top 10 from my marriage, and I’d just absolutely love it if you’d add a few of yours! If you are one of the bloggers who has led a group of women through The Respect Dare over the summer, or part of one of those groups, we’d especially love to hear from you!

Top 10 Ways to Show R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Your Husband:

  1. Smile and greet him when you first see him and when he comes home from work (or you do).
  2. Let him finish his sentences without interrupting and without finishing them for him.
  3. Ask him what he thinks about stuff that’s important to you or the kids.
  4. Stop what you are doing when he is talking and make eye contact with him, being a good listener by being interested in what he is saying.
  5. Say “thank you” daily for the things he does, even if they are part of his “job” in the family.
  6. Give him at least one compliment a day that builds him up – point out a character strength and say why it matters.
  7. Be enthusiastic about intimacy, pursuing him…
  8. Encourage him to spend time with his friends, and make it easy for him to do so.
  9. Touch him when you are speaking to him.
  10. Make him favorite meals regularly.

I know, there are so many more!

Now it’s your turn…

Ready, set, go!

What about you? What would YOU add to the list? Grab the next number and keep this going! Dare you to invite friends to join us!

Love to you,

Comments

  1. Sandra Jones says

    Dear Nina, I’ve heard so many radio shows, including your interview on Family Life Today this week, about husbands loving their wives and wives respecting their husbands. I know this goes along with Ephesians 5 – but isn’t their ever a time husbands need to RESPECT their WIVES? Our ideas, our suggestions, our thoughts on church life and or where we are moving spiritually (or not moving) as a unit? Or on the direction of our everyday lives? Or even a simple thing like, let’s spend money re-decorating the living room instead of taking the same yearly vacation to the same city (for like 20 years in a row???) My husband is an ordained, godly man who is usually right (and I’ve admitted this to him many times)!!! But nobody is 100% right all the time except Jesus! Every time I suggest something he implies I am criticizing his thoughts on the same subject. I’ve employed many of the ideas you have on your blog posts. I show him love and respect. His main “love language” is sexual intimacy and there’s plenty of that!! I’m always there for him and I talk him up to other people even in front of him. But any idea I have (about the same topic he has) gets squashed with the implication I am “not on his side” and is met with great defensiveness on his part. To me, this is a lack of respect for anything I say or think, and seems to get worse the longer we are Christians. We’ve been in the Lord since 1987, and there’s been a change in his attitude toward me as his partner. I seem to have gotten more respect from him BEFORE we were saved! I don’t even need him to agree every time – just to hear me out and stop implying that I’m rejecting him as our family’s spiritual leader. Oh, he loves me, I know he does, I can feel it, and he lets me buy things like clothes and shoes freely (in fact he often spends more money on an item for me than I would myself), and I’m certainly not “chained to the kitchen sink” socially. But the respect thing, I feel is sorely lacking. I don’t think Christian men should feel they don’t need to respect their wives’ opinions, or the fact that we may feel strongly God is speaking to us on an issue. Maybe you could do a post on this. Thanks.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Sandra -

      Thank you for the topic suggestion, and know I REALLY do understand your frustration. I will write something on this. I’m glad you know he loves you. In the meantime (hopefully next week!) just focus on God. He’s everything. :)

      Glad you are here!

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  2. Helena Buckle says

    I actually need advice … My husband and I have been seperated for about three months now I have been doing a lot of reading books like The Five Love Languages, Love and Respect, and Becoming The Woman of His Dreams. I understand things that I have done or said to make him feel disrespected and that I didn’t like him but now that we are not together I don’t know how to turn things around. HELP

    • Nina Roesner says

      I hope you’ll join us in the journey! We are preparing our hearts now on the blog, and start the journey together next week.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  3. Melissa says

    When I made the comment earlier to show respect by telling him you are praying for him, I was being genuine not holier than thou. My husband & I have been through quite a lot together this past year from having to take a stand for our convictions & making a ministry change because of it…to my husband losing the tips if his fingers in a work related injury…to him having knee surgery…my being attacked by a dog…and a lot more in between. It has only been praying together & for each other that has kept us going.
    So please understand that when we tell each other that we are praying for each other, we are not being disrespectful, but genuinely letting each other know that we love each other enough to petition our Heavenly Father to keep each other safe while we are apart. I hope this helps you understand. Please forgive me if I offended you. It wasn’t my intention.

  4. Bridget says

    Nina, I participated in The Respect Dare with The Peaceful Wife over the past 40 days. I learned a lot over this time. Two things in particular are Joy and Trust.

    Joy – I can see that my husband is happier when I am happy, talk to him nicely, don’t complain too much, and smile a lot.

    Trust – I can also tell that he is more at peace when I trust him, don’t tell him he “should” have done things differently, and allow him to lead.

  5. says

    You came up with 105 things that a man should do to show love to/appease his wife, but could only come up with 10 for things a wife needs to do? Weak sauce.

    Here are some suggestions from me (a guy) – warning, it might contain language that makes Church Ladies faint:

    1. Remember that your husband is the GOD-ORDAINED authority and leader of your household and you are not. Let this concept be the driving force of all your interactions with your husband. You may not like it, but I am pretty sure that God didn’t ask the opinions of humankind when He told us how things work.

    2. Don’t EVER let your husband do anything. Get the word ‘let’ out of your vocabulary when it comes to him. You don’t have any authority over him. You don’t ‘let’ him do anything. His is the authority to do. I see these statements above: “Let him vent sometimes. Let him rant.” and “Let him have guy time.” He doesn’t need your permission for anything. He doesn’t need your permission to rant, nor does he need your permission for “guy time.” Better than that, listen or commiserate when he rants. Do not whine or nag at him when he chooses to take guy time. In fact, tell him (and if you don’t mean it, learn to mean it, as it is an important thing) how much you appreciate that he takes the time to build up and maintain friendships with other men. This will benefit you in the long run.

    3. Have sex with him. A lot. If he initiates, give it up, willingly and enthusiastically. Never deny him if he wants it. If he hasn’t initiated in a while, do it for him. Jump his bones. Make sure he knows you appreciate his manhood physically – be dirty if you have to. When there is some free time, climb up on his lap and ask him for a ride. Welcome him home wearing nothing but an apron. (I know this is basically covered in #7, but I think it is important to be more direct about it rather than the polite/obscure “intimacy”. Married people have sex. Hopefully, lots of sex. “Partaking of intimacy” sounds like something you could do in a church. Hopefully, people at church would be embarrassed if they heard about the kind of sex you and your husband are having.)

    4. When he asks or tells you to do something, do it, without whining, dark looks, muttering, etc. Would you tolerate that kind of behavior from a child (who should respect their elders)? No, because it is disrespectful. It is just as disrespectful for an adult to behave that way to someone in authority over them.

    If this list bothers some of you, then you should probably read it a few more times and place it in your Bible. The rest of you ladies – screw your hubby’s brains out tonight – if he asks why the change, tell him he can thank me with Diet Mtn Dew and introductions to chaste single Christian women).

    • Nina Roesner says

      Dear thehaproject -
      Thank you for stopping by. I want to apologize – I might be wrong here, it seems to me that I’ve deeply offended you by the language and #’s of items on my list. I’m really sorry my post and/or our ladies comments here offended you if that is the case. Please know this topic is discussed in great detail in my book, and here on the blog for years (search “submission”), and I don’t disagree with the heart of what you have said. I’m sure on the surface, it does seem like lame sauce, especially if this is the only post you look at. Might I ask for just a touch of grace for a moment? Over the years, we have given hundreds tips to wives, very specific ones, including many of the things you suggest – so I can totally understand why you might be upset with me if you see a small list compared to the one we created (at men’s requests) for the husbands. Please know there is no iniquity intended, nor does any actually exist. Today, I wanted my tribe to participate in the dialogue instead of doing all of the speaking for them – please know I meant no offense to you, or any other man, but rather wanted to include the wisdom of the many women who have contributed ideas here.

      You might already know this, but just in case you don’t, I spend nearly 100% of my time encouraging women to respect, submit, and honor and esteem their husbands in many of the ways you suggested, as is taught in the Bible, although I don’t say it quite the same. I tend to try very hard to speak in ways that people can hear, which Biblically, is most often with a truthful, but loving and gentle tongue. I also remind them that their husbands aren’t to lord their authority over them or be harsh (as I’m sure you already know that God won’t even listen to a man’s prayers who behaves harshly with his wife, without respect(1 Peter 3:7), as that is sin on his part, and if a wife doesn’t have any planks in her own eyes here, and God leads, then Matthew 18 is certainly open to her, although you might (or might not) disagree with that. I know there are men who do not believe women are considered equal heirs, even though the Bible says that we are (1 Peter 3:7).

      I’m glad you commented, because (and I might be wrong here) it seems the word, “let” may be extremely offensive to some men, while most women don’t view it in the way you suggested, at least my audience does not. So I thank you for that learning – and I’m not being sarcastic at all when I say that. :) I think if we women are in dialogue with men, it is good advice to not say, “I’m going to let you do such and so,” or have an attitude of “giving permission” as that is haughty and non-submissive sounding, as it might deeply offend. In knowing my audience well, might I also gently suggest that the phrase is probably not great for men to use with women, either, as it doesn’t sound servant-leader-ish? We know from research both in business and in marriage, that all people, not just women, respond best to those leaders who are gentle, encouraging, helpful and not harsh in their approach.

      Again, I’m really sorry for the offense, and I wish you the most peace and joy that is possible to find within a marriage blessed by Christ. Truly His relationship with the church is revealed when a man lays down his life for his wife, and she esteems and reveres her husband.

      In His Great Love for us All,
      ~Nina

      • says

        Offended? Not at all. I admit, I have not spent a lot of time at your blog, so I don’t know the normal tone of things, but the 4 I listed would be the top 10 advice I would give to any woman (even my sister) regarding showing respect to her husband. It’s true, I have been accused of being quite direct once or twice, but I was not offended at all.

        As for “let”, too often I see it used as permission, putting a husband in the the diminutive, much like one would a child. Let him play with is friends, let him have his way, etc. Even unconsciously, I think the term encourages that mindset.

        • Nina Roesner says

          Oh good! I’m so relieved. It pains me to cause offense, so glad to hear I did not. That wasn’t clear to me by your response :). Thank you for coming by and sharing with us – quite insightful!
          Love to you,
          -Nina

    • says

      Hello thehaproject…

      I think you’ll be happy to hear that those of us (women) who follow The Respect Dare here are doing all of what you’ve recommended, based on the advice and guidance and teaching that Nina has given us. We are all encouraged in the truth that our husbands ARE the God-ordained authority and leader in each of our homes (#1).

      That is also an EXCELLENT point on #2…a phrase I also despise hearing from wives when they speak about their husbands. You are right–we aren’t in a position to “let” him. And it is also a mindset that our HUSBANDS need to fully understand. Many times, women feel like they have the power to give permission to their husbands because those husbands are waiting for permission. So yes–we ALL need to remove that word from our vocabulary between a husband and a wife! I want my husband to get permission from God Himself, not from me! And boy, oh boy, is it hard to be a lover when you’re a MOTHER to him.

      Which leads me to #3… Right again. Except in the phrasing. See–we aren’t givers in the relationship, based on anatomy. We are actually receivers. I’m not saying we cannot initiate–I mean, what husband wouldn’t like to be told he’s loved and wanted in that way?–but in the example of Song of Solomon, she “received” him into herself…maybe even invited him to come “inside”. So instead of phrasing that idea so powerfully–since we are the meek and gentle, weaker ones–I think perhaps the phrase to “welcome his advances” would be better than “give it up”….since we aren’t giving anything, but receiving what he’s got. It shows admiration and respect to receive love in that way…and to initiate just says to him, “I want to receive love YOUR way”. BA-DOW! That will keep a marriage strong right there!!! And hopefully, for the record, you aren’t suggesting we come together while in church…nor suggesting we tell others about it…but just that we FULLY “partake” in the intimacy that God created for us. :)

      And finally, #4…agreed again. Sometimes, we are selfish. Sometimes we just want what we want. And sometimes we want to stand up for the “right” that we think we have. Only–that right has come from man–not from God. My husband and I had a conversation just the other day, where I asked him, “are there any stories in the Bible of a husband and wife arguing or of a wife coming back at her husband?” Of course there aren’t! The MOST “coming back” at a husband that was done was Esther approaching the King. And she did that with full respect and honor and with the awareness that she could be KILLED for humbly submitting her request to him. I’m not suggesting that we have to be killed for speaking disrespectfully…but it sure happened a lot less when that was the case! Many women read that story and give the excuse that “maybe I was created ‘for such a time as this’” in order to justify standing up for what they want. But that’s not the only message in the story of Esther. There’s also the heartitude (attitude of the heart) with which she approached him. So yeah, if he asks me to do something–I need to just do it….and do it in the way I tell my children to obey me, “Right away, all the way, everyday, with a good attitude.” After all…he is my lord like Abraham was Sarah’s.

      I hope you find the woman who is to be your wife soon, and get to experience all that you’ve suggested! In the meantime, point any “potential wives” to this blog so she can hear it from Nina! :)

  6. Christy says

    If for some reason he is a little short tempered, instead of taking it personal and lashing back, try to patiently find out if everything is OK with him. There may be a worry he has that he doesnt know how to share.

  7. says

    Set him up for success! When I do an act of kindness that I would like my husband to notice, I simply say (with no emotion attached) “I did…. today for you.” It allows him to thank me, and prevents me from feeling like he doesn’t notice what I do for him.

    This one thing has blessed my marriage tremendously!

    I’ve also been practicing sharing with him why what he does is important. Last night, he locked up the house before bed. I told him it helps me feel safe and protected. He loved that I noticed what he did, and that I shared why it made an impact in my day. PS- this also helps when making requests

    • says

      One word o’caution, please about telling your husband you’re praying for him – don’t make him feel like you’re “siccing God on him”. I had someone(notmywife) in my life for a time who would say: “I’m praying extra hard for you.” I heard – (because you really need it) It made our relationship harder than it should have been. Yes, pray for him daily. I’m thankful my wife does that for me. But be careful how you let him know.

      • trixie1466 says

        JIMDCAT,
        I’m glad you commented. When I first read that, if it could maybe push him away if he feels or thinks she feels, that she is more spiritual than him. Kind of a “holier than thou” sorta thing. I suppose it really depends on the husband.

        • says

          Tricia: she actually said to me once – ” “Jim, when you get as spiritual as I am, God is really going to use you.”

          I never said it to her, but I remember thinking – “I feel so much judgement from you about the small things in my life that I don’t bother to hide, how can I ever be real with you?

          I hesitate to share that. I only do it because it taught me that we cannot push people into a relationship with God.

          I said I would tiptoe into this room, because I know what it feels like to have my heart stomped on in the name of God.

          • trixie1466 says

            Well, jimdcat I hope your experience today will make it so next time you can walk into this room without trepidation. :) I think sometimes people have no clue how their words sound to others. Not malicious, just lacking a bit of humility. Most of us could probably use a bit more.

          • Nina Roesner says

            Ouch, indeed. I am so sorry that you experienced this…and am thankful you shared your thoughts here!

  8. says

    trust his good intentions. Nobody gets up in the morning thinking “Man, I’m just gonna make my spouse miserable today!”

    Let the ‘guy humor’ roll off your back – it’s not you, he thinks he’s funny.

    trust him with the kids. He hasn’t dropped on yet, it’s unlikely that today will be the day he starts.

    Accept his leadership gracefully, even when it means taking actions that are outside of your comfort zone or involves higher levels of risk than you are comfortable with.

    If it’s true, and it might be a you thing, own it.

    When he says ‘could you do me a favor’ say yes or of course even before you ask what the favor is.

    There are tons, but those are the off the top of my head ones that I repeat to myself.

  9. trixie1466 says

    Learn a little about his work so when he talks about it you can respond intelligently. My husband seems impressed when I remember peoples names that he’s talked about. I really do listen and it matters to him.

    Do the things around the house that you know are important to him even if they seem unimportant to you.

    Be genuine when you talk to him. Don’t tell him things to make him feel good unless you really mean them. It can seem condescending.

  10. says

    Learn to draw him out in conversation. Ask questions that have more than a yes or no answer and be ready to listen and build onto them.
    I sometimes set a timer in my head of how long I will try at this before I talk about my stuff (I’m a steamroller – once I start I have a hard time stopping). It has made an incredible difference in our communication.

    Let him teach you things. And then excitedly share them with others.
    In our house, that’s nutrition stuff and he LOVES it when I tell other people about raw milk or grain soaking or whatever. He knows I really listened to him.

    Trust his direction. For simple things like hikes and big things like career moves. But practicing on some hikes will probably help.

    Listen and believe the compliments he gives you. If he believes you to be capable in a specific area because it affects you more, believe him, and make him proud. And thank him for believing in you.
    My husband doesn’t want to micromanage ever bit of our household daily goings on. He trusts me. I talk with him about it and I listen if he has a concern. But mostly, if I think we need new cloth diapers or need to increase the kids’ clothes budget, he’s fine with it because I’m in it every day.

    Know that his love language is the best way to speak respect to him. If that means sitting him a room with him, not talking, do it anyways. It will seem weird at first, but you might even grow to like it.

    I’m sure I have more. I’ll think. Haha

  11. says

    OK, as a husband, I realize I have to tiptoe around in this room, but here goes… Be sure you speak to him as your husband, not your little boy. This was a big one for us in our “early years”. It took a while for me to realize she did this. It took even longer for me to do something about it, because it was never important enough to bring up for discussion. When I finally said “Sometimes you talk to me like I’m your little boy instead of your husband”, she listened and took it to heart. It’s changed the way we interact. I feel safer with her. I feel more loved. I feel respected. I feel free-er to love her with more of me.

    • Nina Roesner says

      SO glad you are here, Jim! :) Thank you so much for the input. :) And don’t worry about tiptoe-ing. :) We can handle the truth and are frankly just thrilled that you are willing to share from your life with us.

      Blessings,
      ~Nina

    • trixie1466 says

      I hope you don’t really feel like you have to “tiptoe around in this room”. I’ve never seen any negative responses to a man’s point of view here. I like to hear what other men have to say about how to show respect. It gives me ideas that I wouldn’t maybe have thought of. I’d guess the other ladies here feel the same.

    • Tina says

      I love that you are posting!!! The “guy perspective” on this stuff is vital for us as wives to understand what y’all need because our brains do not think like yours!! Thank you

  12. says

    A few things that I now do because of doing TRD twice, and being committed to God’s design for my marriage.

    1) Praying together. As a couple, and over our family. And asking him to lead that prayer.

    2) Laugh at his jokes, appreciate his efforts to make you laugh or smile.

    3) Practice random acts of kindness in your marriage. Postie notes in surprising places, appreciate you text messages.

    4) Let him hear you praise him. That shows him that you respect him openly to others.

    5) If you are a photographer take photos of him with you and your children. Dad’s and husband’s are often left out of those photos. It shows they are part of the story too.

    6) Make something special just for him. I make my husband mini scrapbook albums about his job, his being a great dad and husband. They encourage him when we are apart.

    7) Share marriage building verses, poems and funny memes.

    8) Don’t be shy about using your social media to tell the world you love and respect him. Leave something special on his wall.

    9) Ask about and believe in his dreams. They may be big or they may be lost in the mess of day-to-day life but chances are he spends time with them, be a part of that time. Encourage him, and pray with him.

    10) Let him have guy time. This takes trust and respect. Give him the freedom to spend time with men he is close to – even if you are not friends with them. His Dad maybe, or a school mate, and encourage time alone as guys with your son, or to teach your daughter some automotive or other life skills.

    Understanding the culture he comes from can help lead to respect. Understanding that my Ukrainian Cree husband had cultural traits that were not the same as mine made things clearer. For example, in his culture making eye contact can be seen as disrespectful. So when he doesn’t look at me I touch him, accept the glance, and carry on. Also knowing that there are some things that are ‘guy things’ means I gotta let it go, and trust God and him to be wise and safe.

    Don’t be afraid to pray outloud for each other, and pray together. Ask him to pray for you, especially if you are like me and are often the one taking the lead in prayer. Pray with and over your children, and your family.

    Last thing – promise! Let him vent sometimes. Let him rant. You know he won’t really do THAT (fill in the blank) but getting it out of his system to someone who is safe and understanding is a huge sign of respect.