Wives Needs Respect Too!
As sure as the sun rises tomorrow, when I say “Husbands need respect” a woman will exclaim, “Wives need respect too!”
I agree with them. In fact, I teach this over and over. Yet some women seem to miss it. So please allow me to clarify for those who do.
In my book Love & Respect I address this in chapter 14: “Esteem—She Wants You to Honor and Cherish Her.” This is the chapter I require every husband to read…but if you are a woman and have missed this chapter, please check it out!
I also teach what the Bible reveals about wives needing respect. In 1 Peter 3:1-7, the Apostle Peter instructs wives to respect and husbands to honor. He says nothing about love. Frankly, if we fixated on mutual respect more than “love” as the culture defines it, marriages would succeed. But in our culture of love, that would be an even harder sell! Few would listen to that message.
So I teach what my research found out about 28% of wives. We asked 7000 people this question, “When in a conflict with your spouse do you feel unloved at that moment or disrespected?” 83% of the men said they feel disrespected and 72% of the women say they feel unloved. That means 28% of the women feel disrespected, compared to 72% who feel unloved.
Every human being needs respect. I am continually addressing the destructive force of being disrespectful to a wife. Sarah has told me many times over the years, “I feel disrespected right now.”
Some critics argue, “Well, why not just say both men and women need to feel respected instead of highlighting a man’s need for respect?” Because husbands feel disrespected when wives think they should not feel disrespected. And because the research reveals that women more often feel unloved during conflict than disrespected. I am acknowledging each of their deepest needs.
Put it this way: conflicts emerge when 83% of the husbands feel disrespected and 72% of the wives feel unloved. Research reveals that when a wife is feeling unloved, she fails to see her husband’s need for respect. And when a husband is feeling disrespected, he fails to see his wife’s need for love. In other words, we focus on our felt need in the moment, rather than on what the other person needs.
Is this why Ephesians 5:33 commands husbands to love and wives to respect? God’s revelation opens our eyes!
However, the culture of intimacy is focused on love. As a result, the husband’s need for respect during conflict is dismissed as egotistical and the wife’s need for love is affirmed. Painfully, when a husband feels disrespected a wife can declare he should not feel that way. She dismisses his feelings because she cannot imagine feeling the way he feels over minor criticisms. He must suffer from narcissism. After all, she is only trying to do the loving thing and resolve matters so they can feel connected. The culture agrees with her.
But what about the good-willed husband who feels disrespected? When he says, “I feel disrespected” she claims he is egotistical and wrong for feeling this way. And, when she confesses she appeared disrespectful, he should know that she did not mean it or that he deserved it. He can’t win so he often withdraws.
Does this make sense? When I highlight a man’s need for respect, I am not saying a wife does not need respect. A woman needs respect! In pointing out something positive about your son, I am not saying something negative about your daughter. She too needs R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
However, during conflict 72% of the wives feel unloved and 83% of the husbands feel disrespected, and I want people to understand this difference.
Maybe that’s why Otis Redding wrote R.E.S.P.E.C.T. as his need from his wife. Sadly, Aretha Franklin took the one and only song we had as men! Yes Rodney Dangerfield, we echo your famous line, “We get no respect.”