I ran across a few articles on how women can unintentionally disrespect their husbands. It’s important to everyone, butmen interpret respect as love, which has broader implications. The first article was very clearly based on scripture, the second made no reference to scripture or its underlying principles. Both had lists of actions that demonstrate or communicate disrespect. This was one list:
– Implying he is not intelligent/capable/competent
– Implying he is not enough for you sexually
– Implying he is not providing enough for you financially
– Implying that you are superior to him morally/spiritually
– Displaying contempt for who he is as a man –not accepting him as he is (I am not saying you must respect sin, but that you respect him as a person and as your husband)
– Telling him what to do/bossing him
– Questioning him a lot
– Criticizing his family
– Taking control of the marriage/family and not allowing him to fulfill his God-given leadership position
– Making fun of him, putting him down, insulting him, criticizing him, belittling him, especially to others
– Body language that communicates contempt/hatred/judgment
– Implying that you respect another man more than you respect him
– Implying he is not a good father
– Undermining his authority as a father.
This list is quite exhaustive, I can’t imagine one person doing many of these regularly, but in such a situation it would be evidence of severe contempt.
One author addressed women who are dismissive. “Sometimes though, a dismissive woman is more subtle. She won’t tell her partner she’s dismissing his need or preference; she’ll simply ignore it. Or she’ll become unavailable physically, sexually, or emotionally. Why is this ‘bad’? When a woman unilaterally dismisses her partner’s need or preference, her husband feels rejected, unloved and unimportant. He may not say it, but he feels it. Plain and simple, it hurts.” This could fall into the unintended category, if one spouse regularly expected to have their preferences always followed. It reminds me of a once popular saying, “Happy wife, happy life”, which could become a one-way street leading to dismissive attitudes.
This was a conclusion from a non-Christian perspective.
“Keeping a relationship together in today’s world requires a man to actually know how to deepen the love, respect and attraction that a woman feels for him over time. If he can’t do that, the relationship will almost always fall apart eventually (or very quickly).” I considered this a strange approach – the man is responsible for engendering the woman’s respect for him, therefore, it is his fault if she is disrespectful. This is contrary to scripture, “wives are to respect their husbands.” It doesn’t include the condition – if they deserve it. The Bible gives similar instruction to men, to love their wife, without condition.
Another article had a shorter list of actions that are disrespectful:
1. Interrupt him
2. Not including him in decisions
3. Throwing him under the bus in public and/or demeaning him in front of others
4. Halfhearted engagement in conversations
5. Marginalize anything that stresses him out or bothers him
6. Holding a grudge
7. Using sex as a weapon/Ignoring intimacy
8. Expecting him to fulfill you
It is recognized that these acts of disrespect can also be done by men to their wife. Over a period of time these behaviors do far more than communicate disrespect, they destroy one’s confidence and ability to feel loved. No one is perfect or always right in every opinion or decision, and a fault-finder will exude disrespect in every situation. In a worst case scenario effective communication will cease altogether, leaving only contempt toward each other, but at that point it will certainly not be unintentional. In healthy relationships unintended behaviors can be corrected with love and respect restored. We can not fix ourselves or others. We need God to restore, deliver and heal us; fortunately that is exactly what he promises for all who come to him.