101 Ways to Respect Your Husband

101 Ways to Respect to Your Husband

This is the viral list of 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband – everyone loves lists, right?  “Just give me a list of things I can do…” they tell me. So here it is. But understand, the hard work that comes with heart change and marital transformation really takes place when we work our way through The Respect Dare (Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2012).

I hope you’ll join us at least here by subscribing to the TIPS! articles – you’ll get this list in a nice little free download plus we walk the rough road of doing hard things in marriage and family…together.  And it breaks the BIG CHUNK of 101 THINGS TO DO into bite sized pieces over time. 🙂

But what I really believe you should do is get a handful of your girlfriends together, hunker down, and work your way through the book together, or maybe sign up for the eCourse.  And please pray – God may want you to join our ministry and mentor other women using a discipleship method that creates deep relationship with God, self, and others – crazy quick. I’ve never seen this before, either, but He grows Greater Impact by calling others.

If you have trouble respecting yourself, you may also want to join our Strength & Dignity eCourse. Why? because your respect “currency” for him is only as valuable as your respect for yourself.


I know God wrote The Respect Dare – it was finished in less than a month, perhaps just 15-20 hours of actual writing time, and I’ve had many people talk about the discipleship aspect of it, and the incredible spiritual experience of doing it in community. I’m not taking credit here, btw, and know I also don’t want the responsibility, either. And no, I’m not adding to the Bible. 🙂 But God is awesome. And I’m not even a writer. 🙂

I just can’t stress enough that doing the book in a community of women, crying and praying and working hard together is what I believe God intended for you.

I know a list may be of help, but if you want REAL CHANGE, join us in doing the dares. We’d love to have you with us on this hard journey.

And more importantly, I believe God might be grooming YOU for leadership – being a Titus 2 woman, helping other women learn these things and impact other families. So yes, I know you are just trying to impact your marriage, but there may be a bigger picture out there for you to consider.

Your marriage might be hard right now because you might be in Titus 2 Leader Boot Camp.

Just think about it…

And feel free to add more ideas in the comment section. 🙂  While we’ve watched God work miracles in many marriages as wives walk through The Respect Dare together, we don’t claim to know everything. And some of these things to do might not “work” with your husband. But if you do end up doing the book, know that God will work a Jesus-sized miracle in your heart. And respect won’t simply be an action you do for a guy you really don’t feel that way about, but rather, an act of obedience for a God who is changing your heart, one trusting moment after another.

And one day, like thousands of other women, you will wake up and discover that your marriage is better, you feel loved, and you actually DO respect this guy you married – because God will have matured you, and made you more like His Son. And most importantly, you’ll feel closer to Him. I don’t know if you’ll get there the first time you do the book, or the fiftieth… but it will happen if you persevere. And if you want some great examples about how to speak the Truth in love, check how disagreement is handled in this post.  #HumblySubmitted…

Don’t miss this before you go:

If you want a download of this list, be sure to sign up in the sidebar for the TIPS! articles – we’ll send a copy of it to you for free. 🙂  You can get it on Amazon, and if you like paper booklets, we understand, but know you can always get it here.

1.     Refrain from interrupting him in conversation.

2.     Make eye contact while listening to him.

3.     Avoid rolling your eyes while speaking with him. This communicates that you think his ideas are stupid – he’ll stop sharing what he thinks with you if you keep responding this way.

4.     Smile pleasantly while conversing with him.

5.     When he is speaking, listen intently, trying to understand.

6.     Appear approachable instead of judgmental while listening, asking questions to further your understanding, even if you think you might disagree.

7.     Avoid pursing your lips and scowling while speaking to him.

8.     Understand his point of view when you disagree, knowing that even though he may not be communicating emotionally, he might feel strongly about his thoughts.

9.     Affirm his point of view, especially when you disagree.

10.    Do something he likes to do with him.

11.      Help him carve out time to spend with his friends.

12.      Choose carefully whether or not the issue at hand is worthy of disagreement – the more you disagree with him, the less he values your input.

13.      When a course of action is decided upon, support the decision enthusiastically instead of begrudgingly.

14.        If you disagree with a position he holds, after understanding and affirming it (“If I understand you correctly, you are saying…I can see why you would say that because…”) let him know you have another thought (“A concern I have about this is,” or, “What I am wondering is,” “What I’m struggling with is…”)

15.        Continue doing these things even when he disappoints you (otherwise you’ll lose credibility with him)

16.        Don’t take it personally when he commits an oversight – his mind is probably on something else and he isn’t focused or forgot

17.         Say, “Thank you!” when he does something for you, regardless of what it is – wise women are appreciative of all things. Anyone can be grateful for big things, a wise woman is grateful for the small also.

18.         Say, “Thank you for going to work,” or “Thank you for looking for work today,” if he is doing either. Wise people thank others for doing the things they do daily, instead of taking them for granted.

19.         When you ask for something say, “Would you please…” Wise people do not assume attitudes of entitlement, but rather understand the preciousness of others to God and treat others accordingly, instead of taking them for granted.

20.        Don’t argue with any act of generosity he displays, even if you think it is not necessary, or if it’s for you and you don’t think you need it. Accept his generosity.

21.          Compliment him on acts of generosity, “You are so generous! Thank you for doing that.”

22.         Don’t correct his efforts in diapering, feeding, or playing with the baby, unless there is a significant safety risk involved. If he wants help, he will ask you for it.

23.         Have emotional control when you bring up issues.

24.         Understand that talking about issues when you are upset does not yield the best result for either of you.

25.         Don’t get frustrated with him when he doesn’t express his feelings well.

26.        Accept his feelings, and affirm him for sharing them, even if you don’t agree with his position (“That sounds like it is a difficult thing for you…I appreciate your sharing this with me.  How can I help?”)

27.        Don’t talk about issues when he is tired, distracted, or hungry.

28.       Don’t assume he has a negative feeling, instead, tell him, “I’m sure you have a good reason for what you are saying, can you share with me what it is?  I’m confused.”

29.       Don’t ask questions beginning with the word, “Why?”

30.       Say, “Excuse me,” when you are trying to get his attention, or say his name.

31.         Don’t just launch into conversation, say his name and then ask if he has a few minutes to talk about something.

32.       If he does not have time now, ask him if later would be better, or if he would suggest a time that works for him.

33.       Introduce him to people at social gatherings, even if he’s already met them, unless they are very good friends of yours whom he sees frequently. “David, I think you’ve met my friend, Sarah.” This helps him feel more comfortable in social situations with you.

34.       Apologize by saying, “I’m sorry I did XYZ. I feel terrible that I ABC and will try not to do it again.”

35.       Don’t be disagreeable.

36.       Actively agree with him frequently, saying, “You are right! That’s a great insight.”

37.       Learn how your stuff from your childhood effects your perceptions and continue to work through those things to grow.

38.       Contact him via email or text to let him know you are praying for him – check to see if he has any specific requests today.

39.       Initiate intimacy.

40.       Cultivate your own relationship with God.

41.         Take care of yourself physically – get rest, exercise, and eat right.

42.       Find out what “domestic support” looks like to him and do the stuff that matters to him.

43.       Smile and greet him when you first see him and when he comes home from work (or you do).

44.       Let him finish his sentences without interrupting and without finishing them for him.

45.       Ask him what he thinks about stuff that’s important to you or the kids.

46.       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.

47.       Give him at least one compliment a day that builds him up – point out a character strength and say why it matters.

48.      Be enthusiastic about intimacy, pursuing him…

49.      Encourage him to spend time with his friends, and make it easy for him to do so.

50.       Touch him when you are speaking to him.

51.        Make him favorite meals regularly.

52.      Ask him for advice about things you are dealing with.

53.      Do what he suggests.

54.       Ask him daily if there is something you can do for him that day. Then do it.

55.       Help him de-tox from his day by providing a quiet, calm environment for him to come home to.

56.       If you are working, try to work your schedule such that you can arrive a few minutes before he does to relax and freshen up a bit.

57.       Get dressed daily and avoid “letting yourself go” physically.

58.      Let him know daily something you admire about him.

59.       Don’t poison your marriage with criticism. Ask him for what you want, but refrain from telling him he is failing at something – it will demotivate him.

60.       Ask him how his day went – then really listen to him about it.

61.         If you break something of his, fix it.

62.       Don’t openly disagree with him in front of others.

63.       When he apologizes, smile broadly, kiss him, and thank him for apologizing and understanding. Then tell him you forgive him. It’s like it never happened.

64.       Don’t dredge up issues – if you choose not to confront him about something, you have chosen to let it go. He won’t trust you if you bring up things from the past.

65.       If he treats you badly consistently, it is okay to say to him, “I’m not feeling super-amorous tonight… you XYZ’d me today, and I know you apologized, but I feel like you aren’t going to change your behavior because you keep doing it.”

66.       Avoid getting lazy in your relationship – ask God to keep your heart prioritizing your husband in your life.

67.       When you see him, smile broadly, whether you have seen him 28 other times that day, or whether it is the first time.

68.       When he comes back from work or an errand, stop what you are doing, and greet him enthusiastically. “Honey! I’m glad you are back! I missed you!”

69.       Let him know how whatever he does positively impacts you. “Baby, thank you for consistently paying the bills for our family – I appreciate that and am thankful to not have to deal with that stressful task.

70.       If he lets you know something is bothering him, be a good listener – don’t give him advice unless he asks for it.

71.        If you have an idea that might help him with something, come to him and say, “I’ve been thinking about how ABC has been bothering you, and this might be a silly idea, and you probably already thought of it, but would it work to XYZ?”

72.       If he wants to talk to you and you are in the middle of something (texting, email, completing a sale, reading the last paragraph of a chapter, a complicated work project, whatever) don’t try to multi-task. STOP. Say, “I really want to hear about this – I want to give you my undivided attention, and I’m in the middle of a conversation with so-and-so about such-and-such. If you give me just five minutes, I’ll be all yours.”

73.       Better yet, if it is something that can wait, let it wait – that way he’ll feel important to you.

74.      If he approaches you for sex at an inopportune time, give him a passionate kiss and say, “I am SO into this right now! And you know what? I’m dyin’ because I’m late to XYZ – so you keep this fire burning until (time later that same day) and you will be so very glad you started this…I don’t know how I’m going to think straight today now that my mind is on YOU!” Wink.

75.       If he gives you a gift, receive it graciously, no matter what it is. He will grow more confident as a gift giver over time and will most likely figure out what you really want, unless you criticize the desire to improve out of him.

76.      If he doesn’t hug you back when you hug him, ask, “Can you wrap those muscular arms of yours all the way around me? I love how safe I feel when I’m enveloped in your arms.” Then purr.

77.       When he fails at something and tells you about it, no matter how awful and dire the situation is, respond with, “Honey, I am behind you. I believe in you. You are a smart guy and a hard-working man and I know we’ll get through this.” Then let him figure it out. Pray for him while he does. Know he’s already kicking himself for failing at something, so getting mad at him doesn’t help and just makes him demotivated.

78.       Don’t offer to rescue your husband or do something to solve his problem. If he wants your help, he will ask for it. He needs time to think through what to do, and needs to know you trust him to figure it out. If you mother him, you will turn him into a dependent boy instead of allowing him to figure out how to be a real man.

79.      Don’t make jokes at his expense. Ever. Not in private, not in public. Not ever.

80.     Don’t demean him in public. Ever. If he didn’t do something he said he would, speak to him as if he were a colleague of yours if you were in a fine educational institution. Do not berate him in private or in public.

81.      Have grace if he makes a mistake or forgets something, even if it is important. Men do not think the same way we do – expecting him to act the way you (or another female) would is ridiculous.

82.     Don’t compete with your husband. If you must play against him, don’t be out for blood. Try to set up game situations such that you and he are on the same team.

83.     If you win at something and your husband loses, play yourself down, not up. No one appreciates arrogant attitudes.

84.     If you lose at something and your husband wins, congratulate him on his skills – even if he behaves like an egomaniac.

85.     If you are supposed to leave at a certain time, be ready to go at that time.

86.     Use your husband’s name when you are speaking to him, or some other appreciated term of endearment.

87.     Follow up with him about a struggle he’s shared – ask him how it’s going, especially if you sense it is going well, then look for an opportunity to compliment him.

88.    Compliment him in front of his coworkers as often as possible.

89.    Smile at him often around his coworkers. You communicate volumes to the people he works with by whether you admire him or not.

90.    NEVER criticize him in front of people he works with or in front of your kids.

91.      Talk about things he is interested in.

92.     Engage in hobbies he enjoys with him.

93.     If he is completing a task, just go hang out with him. Offer to bring him a glass of water or cup of coffee. If he asks why you are there, say, “I just like being with you.” If he is like most men, he will appreciate your presence, even if you aren’t working together.

94.     If he is working outside, in the garage or something similar, ask if you can be with him while he does it.

95.      Avoid arguing with him. Instead, try to find areas of common ground and talk about those.

96.     Keep him up to speed and in the know with what’s going on with the kids – don’t let him get surprised.

97.     Reserve emotional outbursts for your girlfriends. He doesn’t know how to handle them.

98.     If he asks where something is and it is right in front of him, just tell him where it is without pointing out that he should be able to see it.

99.    Give him space to process conflict the way he needs to, even if that means putting space between the disagreement and the resolution.

100. Touch him in the middle of a disagreement. Better yet, plant a big kiss on him. It will help both of you. 

101.  Don’t speak critically about his family, especially his mother. Handle conversations about his family with care, remembering that he loves these people. 

102. Don’t tell him directly that he is wrong, but rather after telling him, “I’m sure you have a good reason for thinking/doing ABC – do you mind if I ask you a few questions to help me understand? A concern I have is XYZ… how does that fit?”

103. (and yes, I know I said, “101,” but the list kept growing…and I said “initiate” a few times…) The most important thing you can do for your husband is spend time with God, developing THAT relationship, as it is the most important one in your life. If you want to do both at the same time, do The Respect Dare book. Subscribe to the blog.  Subscribe to the TIPS in the sidebar. It’s the mission of our ministry to help you connect in healthy ways with God, yourself, and others.051513_1109_WhatareYouB1.jpg

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We would love to walk along side you while you learn about respect and continue on in your marriage journey. We encourage you to subscribe to the marriage tips – you’ll get an email once or twice a week. And don’t worry – we respect your privacy and never give out your email to anyone. Ever.

One more thing – if you want in-person, hands-on learning, you’ll want to attend our Conference where you learn to turn conflict into connection. This will develop your relationship skills as a wife, mother, single, and/or leader.

Love to you,


52 Commments

  1. Nina – thank you for your list! It’s really helpful as a supplement to The Respect Dare. I saw above how others disagreed with your list and they have valid opinions. However, with that in mind, I used to share similar beliefs on being submissive towards my husband. Thanks to sermons from my Church as well as your book, I have completely changed those beliefs and now see submissive as being strong, not weak. It takes much more self control and discipline for me to reach that level and I appreciate how your book has transformed me. I think if people just go off of this list, it will help to a certain degree, but things may be misinterpreted. I enjoy using it as supplementation to the book and it gives a wider perspective of the accidental (or on purpose) disrespect we might do towards our husbands. I mean this as sincere and not as disrespect to others with different opinions. I just wanted to share my appreciation for you and your work! Thank you so much and God bless you!

    1. Thank you for the kind words! And yes, you get it. People tend to think endorsing bananas means we are saying grapes are bad. Or if the view doesn’t speak to both sides (ATM most of my readers are women) then the writer is wrong. I’m open to being wrong, and I’m not what people say I am, but I don’t need to defend myself. 🙂

  2. Dear Nina, I am recently divorced. We had been separated for almost two years. For the past year (prior to the divorce) I have been asking for reconciliation, which I was led to believe he wanted. We are in therapy now to “learn” how to co parent. He has been more loving and respectful than most of our marriage,he finally agreed to counseling the week before the divorce was to be final, and I begged him to change the date so I could attend but he would not. But he asked me to go the following week on the day of the divorce. The night before I called and asked if I should stall the divorce and come to counseling, he told me no we needed a fresh start and a clean slate. I went to court. The third we he asked me to counseling again and I went, but in this session he told me in no uncertain terms he wanted only to be peaceful co-parents and the would never be a chance for reconciliation. That he lied to me about a fresh start for us, that he only wanted a fresh start for him. Yet again if I say I won’t go to counseling he balks, if I say I will just walk away and drop the subject of reconciling he balks, but when I ask what are we doing he says we are working on how to get along in front of the kids. I guess I am just venting with all that, my true question is have you ever seen a reconciliation after divorce? I know God can do anything, but I have changed so much, learned so much, I see so many of my issues that contributed to this and I still just shut out 100%. I know I can’t make him love me again, but is there hope?

  3. I would love your thoughts on how to handle an issue with my husband at the moment. While he is an amazing man, he also has a bad habit of abusing drugs. I have tried looking to his good side and ignoring his bad side for about six months and my husband could not do enough for me. However, he was still abusing the entire time. Wanting to try a different tactic, told him I was worried about him because of what he was doing and how it affected him. I also let him know I felt it was time to break his habit the hard way instead of the easy way he had been trying to do, tapering his usage. Now it feels like my husband and I are two ships passing each other. A part of me wants to continue pulling away from the relationship hoping he’ll be inspired to quit the habit at the risk of losing me -there has been some small changes- but another part of me wants the old relationship back although it makes me sad to see him abusing drugs.

  4. Hi Nina!

    I LOVE your list! I’ll be more aware of implementing them with more consistency with my Beloved. One that I’ll add, although, it most likely falls under the umbrella of #1 is:

    When the kids are trying to talk to mommy, or daddy, whilst daddy has already initiated a conversation with mommy and the child Does Not seem to be coming to me to address an emergency:
    – to hubby, “excuse me”
    – to child, “sweet pea, I’m in the middle of a conversation with daddy right now, can it wait?” (child usually nods) and I turn back to hubby, “go on, you were saying…”
    – then after conversation has concluded or paused for the time being (usually less than 30secs, since daddy wants his child’s needs met as well) turn back to said child, “yes, sweetie, what was it you wanted to say?”….it’s usually “may I have a treat?” 😉

  5. That is the most ridiculous story (fake)…why is this even allowed in the Comments? How does this glorify the Lord Jesus Christ?

  6. Hi! What if your husband is just not a respectful person in general to anyone – Even doing things on this list, you still get disrespected everyday, and there is never any love shown. Do you still do the things on the list?

  7. Initiating was mentioned more than once… but I’d say to be careful about “pursuing” your husband, or even initiating sex. It may come across to some men as disrespectful or desperate if his wife is too eager (and “too much” is subjective). There are even some men (like my husband) who do NOT like being actively pursued at all. He may not mind a little encouragement or a positive response, but my husband is just turned off if I am too sexually assertive.
    If your husband does not respond well when you initiate or pursue him, then backing off, maybe encouraging him with flirting and smiles, but giving him some space and letting him take the lead, will probably work better in these cases.
    It can be difficult finding that balance where you’re letting him chase you until you catch him. 😉

  8. Throughout this article it mentions several times to sign up in the sidebar for tips. I am not seeing anything in the sidebar for signing up for this.

  9. Do the husbands have the EXACT same list of ways to respect their wives ? Please respond . The list should be the same .

    1. Shel –
      Thanks for the question. I don’t have a list for husbands to respect their wives. I haven’t been asked by husbands (or wives) to do that. Most men seem to know how to communicate respectfully and don’t need my help with that.

      I have, however, been asked to share how they can communicate to their wives that they love them, so I have a book “365 Ways to Love Your Wife,” and a list of 101 Ways to Love Your Wife on a page here on the blog. If a husband doesn’t respect his wife, chances are one or more things are going on: 1) he’s not a respectful person in general, or 2) she is disrespecting herself, or 3) their relationship is in serious trouble. Men and women both value respect, however, men will choose respect over love in marriage relationships and women will choose love as more important – and I’m guessing that would apply in cases where the woman felt respected. Research demonstrates that these are relatively common experiences in marriage. I think we can also safely assume that just because a woman wants love doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be respected, and the same would go for men wanting respect, but would prefer to also feel loved, if that makes sense.

      Men and women actually have many different ways of communicating – for example, on average, men and women interrupt differently and view interruptions in different ways. Men view any kind of interrupting as disrespectful and an attempt at control, while women view often see interrupting as participative and demonstrative of empathy and connection. Women will also view an interruption that is obviously a power play as such, but the smaller interruptions aren’t looked at the same way between the genders.

      Love to you,

      Hope that answers your question.

      1. It really does answer my question . It’s telling me that we disagree completely on this . Not all women are made the way you portray them. I don’t feel the need to be told I am beautiful or reassured that I am loved . I already know it . But I do think I am on the same level as a man and do not need to be submissive to have a happy life. Your list of ways to respect a husband are very demeaning . Today’s woman is very different from the model that you portray .

        1. Shel –
          I respect your opinion and am glad you elaborated. The list of respect actions is based primarily on what is considered good human relations and the Five Love Languages. “Validation” is a key negotiation skill – but I can see why someone would feel it is demeaning if they disagree with the other person’s opinion.

          For the record, we feel men and women are equal. I’m grieved you feel the list is demeaning to women, however I’m really glad you you know you are beautiful – I agree! And I think it is awesome your esteem is so strong that you don’t need verbal affection from others. I wonder, do you see that as demeaning for women who do like that? Chapman’s Five Love Languages applies these things equally to men and women – and the lists attempt to do that as well.

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

          Love to you,

        2. I agree. I definitely need respect more than love. Actually, respect IS love to me. If my husband doesn’t respect me than as far as I am concerned, he doesn’t love me.

        3. Shel, yes, I get so tired of the ‘generalizations’ on most of these Christian websites and blogs. As for being interrupted, it’s the being ‘dismissed’ which does the damage, which is what happens when we are interrupted.

          1. Proverbs 18:13 he who gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
            Seems like God takes a dim view of interrupting too. It is a put down and a power move.
            I agree with others who said they cannot feel love without r being respected.

        4. But that’s why you will never have a real man, because you think your on the same level when your not but that doesn’t mean you are less than or less important but the man is the head for a reason and if you think your equal in every way and on his same level, no wonder why you don’t feel the need to submit. That is feminism which will cause you to be alone. God’s way is better.

          1. I’m assuming your reply was for someone else . We’ve been happily married for almost forty years . Five children , nine grandchildren , both have our own businesses . EQUAL. And also dedicated to our faith . It’s not necessary to insert your judgement where it doesn’t belong . Good luck on your quest to become a real man . Have a great day !

  10. hello,
    am Apphia (Ghanaian) i want to help and impact the young ladies in my church before they enter into marriage. my biggest aim is to prevent young women from walking out of their marriage because of lack of wisdom. I want God to use me to help these young ladies.thanks for list (101 ways to respect your husband), please am writing a book for single ladies please can include the your list? thank you . i will love to be part of your group.

  11. What is the difference between this list and the 40 day Respect Dare challenge? I am contemplating whether I should buy the book or just do this list with a friend.

    Thank you and God bless

    1. The list is just a list. It doesn’t have the experience of connecting with God, nor the “why” behind what we do. 🙂

      Either way, glory to God as you honor Him by respecting your husband! 🙂

      Love to you,

  12. Nina,
    Thank you so much for this list, I was just saying to myself, I need to make a list of all the dares in the Respect Dare book. God heard me and answered the need. Right now I am reading and writing through the Respect Dare for the second time, the writing is I write out each of the verses at night when I read the dare for the day. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for giving us this book.

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