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Signs that Your Husband Feels Disrespected (and Unloved)

Some of this post is inspired by a Fellow Wife’s email with her permission. Some of it I have written myself from my experience or other wives’ experiences. 
If your husband is saying things like this – it means he is probably feeling deeply wounded in your marriage.  Please keep in mind that husbands need respect like wives need love.
(Ephesians 5:22-33).
Every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband. Eph. 5:33
This doesn’t mean a husband has to love his wife’s sin or that a wife has to love her husband’s sin. But a wife needs, more than anything, to know her husband loves her. And a husband needs, more than anything, to know his wife respects him and believes in him.

If a husband does not feel respected, he cannot feel loved.

This is a foreign concept in our culture. But let’s look at some of the signs together.

(Note: If your husband is involved in unrepentant adultery, has uncontrolled mental health issues, has a drug/alcohol addiction, or is abusing you or your children, please reach outside of the marriage to someone you trust who can help you navigate what to do to get him help or to keep you and your kids safe.)

11 Signs your husband feels disrespected

These are a few things that my husband has said to me over the years that should have given me a big clue but I somehow dismissed the significance.

1. He feels I don’t trust or believe in him..

  • “Have a little faith in me.”
  • “Do you not even believe in me that much?”
  • “You never believe me when I tell you things”.
  • “What hurts me the most is that you don’t trust me with the kids.”  (I know he would NEVER let anything happen to our children.  I just wish he was more cautious with them.  STILL and issue I am going to have to confront it at some point but I need to deal with simply letting go first).
  • “Trust me.”
  • “You always believe the worst about me.”
  • “I told you I would take care of it.”
  • “You don’t believe me when I DO compliment you.”
  • “Just let me figure it out.”

2. He feels I treat him like he’s not competent.

  • “I do not need you to tell me what to do.”
  • “I am a grown man.”
  • “You treat me like a child.”
  • “I’m not stupid.”
  • ”I’m not an idiot.”
  • “I’m not a child!”

3. He feels I am impossible to please.

  • “I can’t please you.  If I don’t do what you want, you are unhappy.  If I do what you want, you say I am only doing it because you told me to.”
  • “I can’t win here.”
  • “I am in a no win situation.”
  • “It is the same  thing, over and over with you.”
  • “It’s impossible to please you.”
  • “No man could love you like you want to be loved.  Not even Jesus!”
  • “Why can’t you just be happy?”
  • “Why are you so negative?”
  • “Why do you complain all the time?”
  • “Oh, here we go again!”
  • “Why do you have to be like this?”
  • “You worry over EVERYTHING, Honey.”
  • “Why do you worry all the time?”

4. He talks about respect and how important it is to him and other men.

  • “I hear this every month when you get ready to start your period.”
  • “No man wants to be without respect.”
  • “No man wants to be talked to like that.” (in reference to a couple we know)
  • “She talks to him like a dog.”  (in reference to a couple we know)

5. He feels unimportant to me, like he doesn’t have a voice.

  • “You think you are always right.”
  • “My opinion doesn’t even matter around here.”
  • “Your family (or best friend or church) is more important than I am to you.”
  • “You care more about ______ than you do about me!”
  • “Why do you even ask me what I think?  You never listen to me.”
  • “I’m not a priority to you anymore.”
  • “The kids are your biggest concern.  I don’t even matter.”
  • “Who cares what I think, you’re just going to do what you want to do anyway.”

6. He feels controlled/smothered by me.

  • “You’re smothering me.”
  • “You want to control me.”
  • “It has to be your way or no way.”
  • “You think you are so high and mighty.”
  • “Go ahead, have it your way!”
  • “Don’t come to me when everything falls apart.”

7. His body language changes.

  • Clenching his jaw.
  • A hurt look in his face.
  • His countenance falls.

8. He goes silent and emotionally shuts down.

  • He shuts down verbally.
  • He unplugs from you and the children.
  • He pulls away and doesn’t share his heart anymore with you.

9. He withdraws.

  • He leaves the room suddenly for “no reason.”
  • He becomes very emotionally distant.
  • He seems depressed.
  • He begins spending a lot more time watching tv, working on projects, working overtime.
  • He pulls away sexually and doesn’t respond to your advances anymore. (there are a LOT of potential causes for this.  Disrespect is certainly not the only one.  Here’s a post about the wife initiating intimacy. )
  • “Why should I be more involved with you and the kids?  You’re just going to undermine everything I say.”
  • He withdraws sexually (this could be from other issues, too, but it is sometimes related to feeling disrespected).

10. He acts angry.

(Note if he is violent or threatening or you are not safe, please get out of harm’s way and make sure your children are safe, reach out for help.)

  • He gets angry “out of nowhere” and you can’t understand why.
  • “I wish we had never gotten married.”
  • “I’m just not cut out for marriage.” (Some of these statements can mean other things, too)
  • “I’m just a meal ticket to  you.”
  • “You can’t just demand  time/affection/attention/sex from me.”
  • “I’d rather be at work than here.”
  • “I can’t take all of your drama anymore.”

11. He directly communicates he feels disrespected.

  • He says, “I feel disrespected.”  (Unless he is abusive, please believe him!  This is as significant to him as it would be for you if you said, “I feel unloved.”)
  • He starts talking about “some tangent” when you are trying to make him do something he doesn’t want to do. (Like how he feels disrespected or controlled by you – which really isn’t a tangent.)
  • “How can I be a leader if you won’t follow?”
  • “You say you want me to lead, but you won’t let me lead.”

What can a wife do if her husband feels disrespected or controlled?

Arguing with a man when he feels disrespected is only going to escalate and inflame the situation.
You would not appreciate it if you tried to explain to your husband that you feel unloved – and he argued with you that you shouldn’t feel that way or he explained the reasons he thinks you shouldn’t feel unloved – or WORSE – if he said, “You don’t deserve to be loved.”
Husbands are very much the same.
When you see your husband shut down or become angry suddenly and you don’t know why, try asking, “Did I do/say something disrespectful just now?”  And if you did say, “I am SO sorry.  Please forgive me.  I don’t ever want you to feel disrespected by me.”  Do not justify or explain yourself. Just apologize if you were in the wrong.
Seek to educate yourself about his masculine world and perspective and the things that feel disrespectful vs. respectful to him.
I have MANY posts on this topic!

From A Fellow Wife

Just thinking about those tells me that he was not content in the way things were and I sure wasn’t either because it was not working.… and for the record, I do not think he acted completely without sin- I do not believe it is ALL my fault and I know you would agree that with that- that we both have committed wrongs
(From Peacefulwife – Husbands and wives both usually have room for spiritual growth.  There is almost never one person who is 100% innocent. But we are responsible for what we do and our end of things. That is what we have control over.)
And I STILL don’t know how this is going to work out.  I don’t know what the coming months will bring.
(Please see A Fellow Wife’s posts to see how her journey progressed over the years.)

An Assignment

I’d like you to watch your man’s facial expressions this week when you talk to him.  If you see his face suddenly fall – if you see he suddenly seems to be in emotional pain – STOP what you are saying and recognize, is it possible he feels disrespected by you?

I’d like you to watch the interactions of couples around you.  Watch the guy.  Notice his body language and his facial expressions – especially when his lady is criticizing him, making fun of him, tearing him down, telling him what to do, complaining, arguing or being negative toward him.  See the pain on his face.

Once you begin to recognize disrespect and how men react – you will quickly realize that it is EVERYWHERE.  There is a FAMINE of respect for men in our culture.

It’s time for us to change that, my precious sisters in Christ!

Related

The Peaceful Wife learn all the baby steps God took me through to discover how to honor and respect my husband. It also teaches you not to idolize or try to control your husband. This will save you YEARS of struggling. <3

Posts

What Is Respect in Marriage?

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

What Is Going on in a Controlling Person’s Head?

How Can You Tell If Someone Is Controlling?

The Cure for My Compulsion to Control

Videos

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect  Youtube Video

My Level of Respect for My Husband Has Nothing to Do with Him (Youtube Video)

Why Is Nonverbal Disrespect Such a Big Problem for Our Men?  Youtube Video

How to See God Do BIG Things in Your Marriage  Youtube Video