Top 5 Ways to Respect Your Husband

What are my top 5 ways to respect your husband?

I have had a number of questions lately that let me know getting back to the basics, Respect-101, if you will, is helpful.

I can tell you what it IS, and what it’s NOT – and my guess is you will have some thoughts about it too, so I can’t wait to hear! If you like this post, you may want to sign up in the sidebar for the TIPS! articles to help with the nitty gritty of respect, dealing with conflict in marriage, and most importantly, following Jesus Christ.

Both men and women are called to respect each other in marriage. The verse for the wives is Ephesians 5:33, which I’m sharing below. The verses for men are here and 1 Peter 3:7. I’m not going to deal with that today, as my audience is women. I know for some of you, it will be hurtful to read what God says your husband is to do – because it’s not happening in your marriage. It hurts, and there are things you can do to help with that, but you first need to establish your own pattern of behavior. If the majority of people in my life didn’t view me as a respectful person, I shouldn’t be espousing respect, right? And for the record, I don’t claim to be perfect at this.  But I just love the Amplified Bible version, as it adds words which serve to clarify without having to go to a Strong’s or Young’s Concordance. Here it is:

 and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear]. 

If you notice the “delights, notices, prefers, treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear” part is pretty specific. How that plays out in the day-to-day is going to look a little different, depending on the relationship.


We had a question this week in one of my classes – I often give the advice to “Ask your husband if he has time to talk for a few minutes, touch him on the shoulder, make eye contact,” with the intention that we’d get his full attention before speaking to him – so he hears all. The wife did this, but she was meaning later... which as you can imagine, wasn’t uber-helpful to him.

We did a survey a few years back where I asked men what they thought of the phrase, “We need to talk,” and the response was crazy negative.


“What did I do now?”




Those were the most common responses.

So communicating in a way that doesn’t cause dread might be respectful, right? Especially if it’s not going to happen right away.

But what was also interesting, was the MANY responses that said something to the effect of either, “She never says that,” or, “I wouldn’t think anything other than she wanted to talk with me.”

I think those men and women have an atmosphere of mutual respect in their homes – there’s no way for me to test that hypothesis, but you do see an absence of negative ascription, which is indicative of critical and defensive relationships, two of Dr. John Gottman’s “horsemen of the Apocalypse,” leading to the demise of the marriage.

So I also checked Google, and here’s what it said:

respect definition

When the Bible tells us to respect our husband, it means to treat him as though you had deep admiration for him, that you hold him in high esteem, that you have a high opinion of him.

The opposite would be ascribing negative motives to him… to say, “you never,” or “he always…”

Simply put, respect is thinking the best about someone, instead of the worst, and the behaviors that follow suit.

The core of RESPECT is thinking the best about someone, & not the worst. (1)

So, keeping that in mind, here are my “Top 5 Ways to Respect Your Husband” for today:

  1. Pay attention when he is speaking – listen well. Ask questions, make eye contact.  While we’re at it, don’t interrupt. Men view interruption as a power play – an attempt to take control and dominate in conversation.
  2. Ask his advice about things – we do this with people we admire, right? Ask his advice, then do #1.
  3. Point out what he is doing right – when he is doing it. Thank him for the work he does professionally and around the house. This lets him know he’s appreciated and you notice him.
  4. To quote Dale Carnegie, “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.” Criticism is judgment. Sin. Condemnation is blaming and fault-finding and ascribing motives. Also sin. Complaining? Also sin. Need verses for all these? Google them or let me know – I assure you, there’s a ton in the Bible about these three.
  5. Don’t gossip about him to others. Getting advice from a wise friend is one thing, but “venting” is gossip unless your intention is to get advice – and it better be from someone who is WISE, otherwise you are sinning. So speak well of him to others.

I love Philippians 4:8, which reads,

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. AMP

If we focused on the strengths of those around us, we’d spend less time miserable and more time joyful.

What I’ve found interesting in my walk with God is this… The more I come to know and love Jesus Christ, the more compassionately I see my husband. Here’s why: I know how my Father sees him.

If you had a house guest, maybe even a complete stranger to you, but was a dear, close, really important person to your best friend, or your parents (assuming you had a good relationship with them), you’d treat this person with respect. Regardless of his or her behavior, you’d be kind, considerate, compassionate, etc., right? So get this – the more you know Jesus Christ, the more you know how He cares for your husband. And the more you know Him, the more of Him that is in YOU. 🙂 So you can deal with things that you wouldn’t otherwise.

You’d give the benefit of the doubt more often.

Over the years, I’ve had the great privilege of working with a ton of people I respect and admire. CEO’s of large companies, pastors, etc. What’s cool is that in public speaking training, you do things that are uncomfortable for the class members. They don’t grow if you don’t. When I get the privilege of taking a riding lesson, my trainer challenges me – to the point that I’ve actually cried. Not kidding. Thought about wanting to quit.

Sometimes marriage is like that.

Sometimes God pushes us outside our comfort zones, don’t you think?

The verse for Daughters of Sarah (our course for wives) and The Respect Dare: 40 days to a deeper relationship with God & your husband (Nelson 2012), is 1 Peter 3:6…

just as Sarah obeyed Abraham [following him and having regard for him as head of their house], calling him lord. And you have become her daughters if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear [that is, being respectful toward your husband but not giving in to intimidation, nor allowing yourself to be led into sin, nor to be harmed].

In our ministry work, I deal with wives who are at various points in their journey. But they are brave, doing their best to do what is right. Sometimes that looks like…

  • Choosing rest instead of making others happy – especially when run down
  • Giving the benefit of the doubt, even though she “thinks she knows” what his motives are
  • Treating him like Christ would, with truth and grace, kindly, gently
  • Apologizing when wrong – and we need to pay attention – we’re often wrong – as is he, but we aren’t responsible for his behavior
  • Having boundaries that prevent her from giving in to intimidation or being harmed
  • Having boundaries that keep her from following him into sin
  • Giving him adoration and honor when she’s starving for it
  • Being concerned about him, even if he isn’t concerned about her

Some of these acts of courage are difficult. Painful. Nearly impossible.

But the more we know Jesus, the more we SEE the way He does.

Dare you to think deeply about respect today. Do a little check-in with yourself and where you are at with GOD. Not with your husband, but the Lord. Because at the core of all of our marriage issues in Christian marriages is usually this: selfishness instead of worshiping the King.

Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments! 🙂 (and if you liked the article today, consider yourself invited to join us by signing up in the sidebar for the marriage tips articles – don’t worry, I won’t flood your email, and I promise not to share it with anyone else)

Here’s a few more articles you might find interesting:

When You are the Only One Trying in Your Marriage

Struggling with Life Balance? (aka, “How’d we get in THIS mess?”) *If you are chauffeuring kids everywhere all the times, you’ll want to check this out!

How to lose the weight and keep it off (and yes, it really works!)

3 Ways You Might be Messing Up Your Marriage

Ways to Keep Your Teen in Church

How to Help People (and yourself) STOP Freaking Out During Conflict

And if you are struggling with a man who is angry, defensive, and you’ve lost yourself and are super discouraged… you can get on our waiting list for the Strength & Dignity class that starts in two weeks. 🙂 And it is free. 🙂

If you aren’t signed up in the sidebar for the Marriage Tips be sure to do so and you won’t miss a thing!

Can’t wait to dialogue with you in the comments! Share your thoughts below!

Love to you,



titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

8 thoughts on “Top 5 Ways to Respect Your Husband

  1. Nina, your ministry is so valuable. God has done a marvelous thing in you and you have done a marvelous thing by sharing and proclaiming the “marriage gospel”! This part of our journey has been amazing, but it has taken me so long to incorporate it into my marriage. There are a lot of strongholds and learned behaviors from the past to wrestle to the ground. I recently spent a 15 hour session to identify and deliver from my life strongholds of sins and patterns of behavior that plagued me. Although I am walking it out, I am already finding freedom to love more, respect more, and watch this mouth!! 🙂 Thank you for opening the way to freedom and I covet your prayers for walking it out. I did go through the Respect Dare 40 day ministry, but I was so bound up with fear, defeat, past guilt and shame, that I struggled and struggled to believe the concept enough to live it. But now, with God’s grace and reminders such as this one from today, I will….I will become a more loveable wife and faithful child of God. Thanks.

  2. Hi Nina,
    I have learned so much from you on how to cope in a difficult marriage and I finally accepted the fact that the only person I can change is myself with God’s help. You are right when you express how important respect is in marriage and it must flow both ways. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this for way too many years and my marriage suffered. I also didn’t know anything about setting healthy boundaries in marriage but you have helped me with this as well. This article and others you have written are challenging me to grow & stretch even more, way beyond anything I would have chosen…but I know it’s not you, it is the LORD. Keep up the good work.

  3. This is so important for us wives to remember, especially when we don’t want to do it! My marriage has turned around in the past 6 months, my husband has drawn so much closer to God and I believe one of the main reasons is because I prayed for God to change ME! I still struggle with things, but I know that God is on my side and I have learned that my contentment is found in HIM, not my husband. Marriage is Gods idea and by drawing closer to Him, He has worked a miracle in both of us!
    Thank you Nina for your encouragement and wisdom through your posts, they have helped me to stay on track and not give up when the battle was tough! All glory to God!!

  4. Thank you for this post. I am having such a difficult time in my marriage. My husband has cheated on me since day one of meeting him with various women and even spoke badly and untrue things about me to these women and I just found out. Due to me finding out, my husband has turned the barrel on me blaming me for everything. Instead of trying to get support from him in dealing with this he says it happened and I need to get over it now so we can move on. He is very negative towards me and assumptive in all things. He will ask me questions and demand and yell for me to answer in certain ways. I feel all kinds of emotions all the time like a yo-yo. Some days are better than others. Right now he’s not speaking to me and actually ignores me completely even when I try to speak to him. I read your posts all the time and wonder, how can I show and be expected to show so much respect to my husband that clearly shows me none at all? This has been plaguing me. He wants respect when giving none to me. Everything is about him and I am left to pick up pieces alone. I pray all of the time and feel forgotten and no one to tell my feelings to without being judged or told what to do which is why I cannot tell my family or friends what I’m going through. I need to know how do I do what you’re asking when he gives nothing and is very disrespectful?

    • I’m so so sorry you are going through this!! Lissa, it sounds just so hard for you.

      Can I humbly make a recommendation? And ask a question? Does he claim to be Christian?

      And I highly recommend our Strength & Dignity eCourse. You can sign up above by clicking on the tab and following the instructions.

      Praying for you.

      Love to you,

  5. Great reminders, great biblical advice! I have let the world intervene, and pray for God’s help to return to these principles, His guidelines for how relationship works best!

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