This Crazy Little Thing Called Respect

No one should admire your husband more than you do.

Let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph.5:33)

Oh, okay, got it. Seems fairly straightforward.


Except that this respect-thing strikes me as rather vague. Undefined. I’m not trying to be difficult either, it’s just not as clear as I’d like it to be.

Not like love.

I know what it looks like to love. That’s an easy one. Love is when you spend time with me. Listen to me. Look after me. Take a keen interest in my thoughts and ideas. Okay, so chocolate can go a long way too. 😉

No, love is an easy one to figure out.

But respect? That’s an entirely different matter.

Apparently, it’s an important matter though. So important that you’ll find respect toward the top of his list. Yes, respect is highly-rated among the men. I’ve even heard it said that they would rather be unloved than disrespected—is that wild, or what?


Now the fact is that I do respect my husband. I really do. I guess it’s the showing of it that gets to be something of a challenge.

Because you’ve heard how we each have our own unique “love language”? Well, I suspect that there must be some kind of a “respect language” too.  You know, “what says respect to him” or something along those lines.

So one day I just up and asked him. Straight out. “What makes you feel respected? By me?” And I waited for his answer.

And waited.

After a while, he mentioned a thing or two. Things like how he appreciates it when I speak positively about him in public. Or how I’ll ask him – rather than tell him – what needs to be done around the house. Then added how I’ll stop what I’m doing to greet him when he comes in the door.

These were meaningful things to him.

But for the most part? I was on my own to figure out what made him feel respected. I made it a point to study what made him smile, as well as what made him flinch. I tried to notice what seemed to work – and what didn’t work. After a while, I found that much of respect fell into these basic categories:

What Says Respect to Him?

Trust him.  Somehow a man instinctively knows if you believe in him–or not. For instance, how you respond to his decision-making speaks powerfully to him. Is your first response to question him? Challenge him? Or do you save that “coupon” carefully? He needs you to trust him and his decisions.

Admire him. He’d like to know that you are his biggest fan – hands down! No one should admire him more than you do. My personal goal? I never want anyone who works with my man to think more highly of him than I do. I want him both to see it in my eyes and to hear it from my mouth. (For ideas: a free printable of 103 Word of Affirmation Every Husband Wants to Hear.)

Be loyal to him. Fiercely loyal. You’ve got his back and he knows it. Your children should know it too. In fact, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind where your loyalty lies. No one would dare say anything disparaging about your man in front of you because that is simply not done.

Honor him. Both in private and in public. So that he doesn’t have to concerned about what you might say to him or how you’ll represent him in front of others.  You never want to demean him or bring him down a notch. Quite the opposite. He can even be confident that you’ll respect his wishes when he’s not around—your regard for him goes that deep.

So why not ask your own husband what makes him feel respected? (Just don’t be too surprised if you have to wait a while for him to answer.)

Take to heart whatever he shares with you and then add to that list from what you’re able to learn by watching him.

Pray about it and ask God to show you the.

You might be surprised to see what a powerful difference it makes in your marriage.

Lisa Jacobson


*Check out Matthew and Lisa’s  NEW eBooks, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love to Your Wife.


  • marysheartisathome

    Let’s look at the context in Ephesians 5. In verse 21 we are told to be subject to one another before wives are told to be subject to their OWN husband. The Father has had respect or regard for us as He has allowed us the autonomy to make our own decisions, even decisions that take us away from Him. His regard for us quietly demands a response from us where we have regard/respect for each person, young to old, female and male, those who love us and those who oppose us. We have become casual in our treatment of others. Think of what a difference it would make if we would treat all people from our babies to people in opposition to us with regard/respect.
    What does would it look like? We would listen and not be dismissive. We would be courteous in the face of lack of courtesy. We would consider our words and deal with issues instead of attacking the other person.
    Now consider our treatment of our own husbands. We are to have an awesome regard for them–as onto the Lord. The undeserving of God’s regard us are to have awesome regard for the undeserving them. The thought prepares my heart, my mouth, and all the rest of me for this day of relationship. It is not that I necessarily trust my husband, but I trust God. In those moments when I don’t admire Him, I trust God and look for those things worthy of praise. In those moments when I have difficulty honoring my husband, I honor God by honoring him. And loyalty for my husband is truly loyalty to the Lord and what He rightly has asked of me. My husband is going through an illness just now. He has been occasionally short with me, regularly demanding of me, and not always appreciative. This changes nothing for me because my commitment to him will always be intertwined with my relationship with my Lord.

  • Shannon

    Lisa- excellent message on respect! I hadn’t really thought of respect as having its own language, but since you typed the words it does makes sense to me. I also find it interesting that respect for our men ranks, in some cases, higher than sex on their list of importance (who knew?).

  • Angela

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think so many marriages would be so much more healthy and long-lasting if they took what you said to heart. Unfortunately, our society is growing in a general disrespect, not just for husband’s or men, but people. The marriage union is the most sacred relationship, therefore, suffers the most due to this lack of disrespect.

  • Katrina

    Respect is LOVE. When you marry you become one, therfore when you hurt them in any way you hurt yourself. You would want him to admire you, trust you, not humiliate you in public and so on and so forth and this is accomplished when you feel pure love. Love and Respect are intertwined and inseparable.

  • Johanneke

    Loved this article. And I think you are so spot on! Thank you for putting it in words so beautifully…….