Relationship coach who has been helping married couples build strong, healthy marriages for many years.
Adwoa has been married to Kwaku for five years. She loves him dearly, but feels he does not respect her enough.
“Kwaku is a caring husband, and a loving father, but he does not take a lot of the advice I give him. He disregards my opinions on many issues and sometimes treats me as if I do not matter. It hurts terribly. When he acts that way, I usually confront him, and it leads to quarrels. If he could respect my opinions more, and respect me as his wife, I think our marriage would be heaven on Earth.”
There are many spouses who can relate to this story. There are a lot of married people who feel their spouses are not treating them with the dignity they think they deserve, and this leads to friction in the marriage.
How can you treat your wife, or husband, with respect and love so that you can enjoy marital harmony? What are the ways to treat your spouse with dignity and honor?
9 Important Ways to Treat Your Spouse With Respect
- Get your spouse's idea of respect
- Greet your spouse
- See your spouse as a unique individual
- See your spouse as an asset
- Be faithful
- Consider your spouse's feelings
- Foster a romantic atmosphere
- Don't demean your spouse in front of others
- Cultivate spirituality as a couple
1. Get Your Spouse's Idea of Respect
We are brought up in different homes, and sometimes in different cultures, which have different views of what respect is. For example, in African culture, it is a great sign of disrespect to point to someone with your left hand, or to greet with your left hand, or to give something to somebody with your left hand. If you were to marry an African and you decided to pass the toothpaste to him or her with your left hand, he or she could misunderstand the action, and this could lead to a fight. Also, it is seen as a sign of disrespect, in Africa, for a younger person to say, “Don’t be silly!” to an older person. So, if you are a woman from a culture where it is no big deal to say, “Don’t be silly!” to an older person, and you were to marry an older African man, and you said “Don’t be silly!” he could get offended and have a fight with you.
Respect means different things to different people.
What one person may consider normal and okay, another person may feel is a sign of disrespect. Therefore, if you want to treat your spouse with respect, find out what he or she considers as being respectful behavior, and what he or she thinks is disrespectful. Note these down so that you can do your best to do the things that will make both of you feel you are respecting each other.
"Therefore, if you want to treat your spouse with respect, find out what he or she considers as being respectful behavior, and what he or she thinks is disrespectful."
2. Greet Your Spouse
One way to treat your spouse with respect is to greet him or her first thing in the morning and find out whether he or she slept well. Sometimes we have funny dreams, and nightmares, and these go a long way to affect our mood for the day. Finding out how restfully your spouse slept shows you care about even the rest of your spouse, which is also a way of dignifying and respecting your spouse. A simple, “Good morning, darling. I hope you slept well?” or “Welcome back to Earth this morning, sweetheart. How are you feeling?” will be a good way to start the day, and give honor to your spouse.
Again, when your spouse comes home from work in the evening, greet him or her and ask how the work day went. This will honor him or her and make them know their spouse cares deeply that they are alive.
3. See Your Spouse as a Unique Individual
Some spouses have the habit of comparing their mates to other people, and making their spouses feel that they do not compare to some spouses, or are inferior to other people. It is a tragic mistake to compare your spouse to the spouse of another person. It demeans your spouse, and can make him or her have a low self-esteem of themselves, which will make them have difficulties relating to you emotionally, and this can affect romance, and hence the love bond in the marriage.
If you want to treat your spouse with respect, you must see him or her as a unique individual created by God, with unique qualities, a unique personality, and a person with no carbon-copy anywhere in the Universe. When you view your spouse as being unique, you will treat him or her as a special person, with the honor and dignity they deserve. You will feel more willing give the respect they require, and you will see him or her for who he or she is, and not as the duplicate of someone else.
4. See Your Spouse as an Asset
We value something we view as an asset, and treat it with care and respect because we place a certain value on it.
In just the same way, you can treat your spouse with respect if you see him or her as an asset to your existence, and not a liability in your life. When your perspective of your spouse is that he or she is an asset, then the value you place on them will make you treat him or her with honor, reverence, and dignity.
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For example, if you see your wife not just as a woman and your wife, but also as a woman who saves you the burdensome trouble of cooking meals for yourself because she cooks meals for you to eat. Or because she gives you financial support when you are hard on cash. Or because she helps you to satisfy your sexual desire. It will make you venerate and admire her, and you will be more willing to treat your wife with gentleness and kindness because you will not want to lose those favors she gives you.
On the other hand, if you see her just as your wife, or a woman you have to share your life with, you may not place any great value on her, and you will not treat her with respect.
Also, if you see your husband as an asset because he takes care of you and the children, and protects you, and satisfies your emotional needs, admiration for him will fill your mind, and you are more likely to treat him with respect.
"If you are not happy with your marriage, the best thing to do is to have honest discussions with your spouse and try to see how you can overcome your differences."
5. Be Faithful
One way you can treat your spouse with respect is to remain faithful to him or her, even under severe provocation, and when you are not happy in the relationship. When you remember that you are one spiritually with your spouse because you make love, you must be willing to honor the dignity of your spouse’s body by not defiling your body (sleeping with another person other than your spouse), and then passing on the defilement to your spouse when you sleep with him or her.
When you stick to your spouse, even under extremely trying conditions, you show that you value your relationship with him or her, and you value his or her body so much that you will not give your body, which is one with the body of your spouse, to a third party. On the other hand, when you cheat, you more or less give your spouse’s body to another person without their permission, since as husband and wife you are one, and that is disrespect.
If you are not happy with your marriage, the best thing to do is to have honest discussions with your spouse and try to see how you can overcome your differences, instead of joining your body, which is one with your spouse’s body, with another man or woman.
6. Consider Your Spouse's Feelings
Another way you can treat your spouse with respect is to ask yourself how the words you are going to say, or the actions you are going to take, will make your spouse feel.
- If you have the attitude that feels, “I will do what will make me happy first. If you think you cannot stomach that, then find your way out of the marriage,” then your spouse will feel disrespected and unwanted. This kind of attitude cannot produce a happy marriage bond.
- If you have the attitude which says, “If I am not able to fulfill my promises, or meet your expectations, take things like that without asking,” there will be no harmony in the marriage. For example, if you are one hour late for supper and refuse to give reasons why you were late to your spouse, but brush him or her off, or say it is none of their business, or tell him or her not to bother you because you are stressed out or tired, without giving reasons why you could not arrive on time for supper, your spouse will feel slighted and disrespected.
- Consider the feelings of your spouse when you take actions. That is the way you can treat your spouse with respect. When your spouse has some concerns, give him or her the information they need, even if you do not see how such information can benefit them. Just refusing to talk, or keeping quiet, does not show you respect your spouse.
7. Foster a Romantic Atmosphere
In certain African tribes, when the man wants to make love to his wife, he says, “Excuse me!” or “Sorry!” before he initiates foreplay. This reminds the woman that she owns her body, and once the husband wants to make love to her, which is seen as a sort of invasion of her privacy, he has to seek her consent and ask respectfully.
Some men feel they have a right to their wives’ bodies and so must be allowed to satisfy their sexual urge, even when their wives are not in the mood to make love, and will not take it when their wives tell them they are not in the mood for lovemaking. This kind of attitude is a sign of disrespect to the woman because the wife owns her body and should at least have some say in how it is used. If you want to treat your wife with dignity and love, you must acknowledge that she has “first rights” to her body. Therefore, treat your wife with respect as the weaker partner by negotiating with her if you want to have marital relations with her. That will make you a good husband.
Some women, too, put too much pressure on their husbands to perform sexually beyond their ability, and this can lead to abuse of the man’s body, which is a way of disrespecting the man. One of the ways to treat your husband with respect is to make him do what he can, sexually, and to be satisfied with the performance he can come up with in the bedroom, once he can give you some level of satisfaction. This will make you a better wife.
Therefore, if you want to treat your husband with respect, or treat your wife with understanding, respect their right to their bodies. Politely ask him or her whether they are in the mood to make love, or feel they can get in the mood to make love, before you initiate lovemaking. Don’t assume just because you feel like making love, your spouse also wants to make love.
"If you want to treat your husband with respect, or treat your wife with understanding, respect their right to their bodies. Politely ask him or her whether they are in the mood to make love, or feel they can get in the mood to make love, before you initiate lovemaking."
8. Don't Demean Your Spouse in Front of Others
It is easy to take a criticism or an insult when you are alone with your spouse. When other people are around, it makes it more painful, and extremely embarrassing, when your spouse derides you, or belittles your intelligence, or talks down on you, or refers to your humble beginnings, or makes fun of your competence and abilities. In fact, some spouses take delight in degrading their partners before their work colleagues, or family members!
If you want to treat your spouse with respect, you must refrain from such behavior. Instead, criticize him or her when you are alone in the house, but make him or her look good in the eyes of others. Extol their virtues to other people, and talk about only their positive sides when you are with your colleagues or family members. Do not expose his or her weaknesses before others, but cover their weaknesses before others.
Treating your spouse with respect involves making sure you honor them before others.
9. Cultivate Spirituality as a Couple
The teachings of certain religions, for example the Christian faith, exhort believers to treat each other with compassion, respect, honor, and consideration. Bible verses such as 1 Peter 3:7 which tells husbands to “bestow honor on the woman as the weaker vessel,” and Ephesians 5:33 which says, “let the wife see that she respects her husband,” help to shape the mind s of believers.
When you have regular Bible studies at home, and read more Bible verses that command you to respect each other, and pray together to God through His Spirit to help you respect your spouse, and imbibe the teachings of the Bible, and practice them, and ask God to help you honor your spouse, it will make it easier to treat your spouse with respect. God will help to shape you so that you will find it easier to respect your spouse.
Treating Each Other With Respect Leads to a Happy Relationship
If you are able to treat your spouse with respect and he or she is happy in the marriage, it will prevent a cooling off of love in the marriage, which will increase the chances that the marriage will work, and that you will be happy in the relationship.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio