By Deborah Haddix, Crosswalk.com
As mothers, we work diligently to instill the characteristic of respect into our children. We teach them to look others in the eye when speaking, to hold doors, silence phones, and say, “Thank you.”
Understanding that respect manifests itself in how we treat others (both publicly and privately) and knowing that honor is demonstrated by the respect we show, we tirelessly invest in modeling, correcting, and affirming this valued characteristic in the lives of our children.
We do it because our heart’s desire is that our children grow in Christlikeness. Additionally, we want others to receive blessing and honor, and we long for God to be glorified.
This is honorable work. Work, that is worthy of our time and effort. However, we must never lose sight of the fact that respectfulness is not only for our children.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
We, too, are called to honor one another, and that includes our husband.
I know. I know. We’re depleted of energy, desperate for time, and the thought of adding even one more thing to the plate drains us. But, ladies, if we truly desire that our children grow in respectfulness, shouldn’t we be setting the example in our everyday, comfortable-at-home, relationship with our husband?
Consider these 99 small ways to communicate respect to your husband.
A husband can sense when he is not being accepted. Our loud sighs, eye rolls, and vocalized complaints only serve to make him feel unaccepted. Rather than trying to change him, communicate your acceptance of him in these small ways.
- Avoid nagging and complaining.
- Refrain from the use of sarcasm when speaking to him.
- Bypass criticism, especially in front of others.
- Respect his likes and dislikes.
- Refrain from comparing him to other men.
- Kindly try to understand his reasons, even when you don’t agree.
- Focus on what he is doing right.
- Show an interest in his friend.
- Let him do it his way.
- Ask before moving or throwing away something that belongs to him.
- Meet his co-workers and speak kindly of both him and them.
- Keep your expectations of him reasonable and realistic.
- Talk about your family’s goals and how you can achieve them together.
- Make a list of your husband’s good qualities. Review it often. Thank God every day for the things on that list.
Admittedly, there are those of us who like to have things our own way. But our constant negative responses to our husband in the form of refusals and the digging-in of our heels does nothing but bring resentment. Our responses are critical and will make a huge difference in our marriage. Try communicating respect in some of these small ways.
- Respond to his thoughts and advice with enthusiasm.
- Honor his requests.
- Humbly admit your mistakes.
- Refrain from placing the blame on him when something goes wrong.
- Laugh at his jokes (or at least smile).
- Give him the benefit of the doubt.
- Respond to potentially argumentative conversations with self-control.
- Be patient with him when he makes mistakes.
- Refrain from talking down to him.
- Respond to one of his ideas or suggestions with a hearty, “Yes, let’s!”
- Celebrate your husband’s successes.
- Keep his secrets.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Give forgiveness.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Alejandro Avila
To esteem our husband is to regard him highly, to admire him. He should feel like a hero in his home, your hero. Communicate your esteem for him by filling his cup to overflowing with these acts that speak respect.
- Stop what you are doing and look at him when he speaks.
- Refrain from interrupting him when he’s talking.
- Ask him about his day.
- Look for and affirm his most admirable qualities.
- Talk positively about him to others. Never belittle him in public or private.
- Tell him you admire his body.
- Compliment him often. Start with 4 compliments a day and make them sincere.
- Speak honorably about him and to him in front of your children.
- Abstain from undermining his authority in front of the kids.
- Refrain from belittling him intelligence.
- Ask for his advice.
- Ask him for help.
- Be kind and thoughtful to his parents, siblings, and relatives.
- Tell him what makes you proud to be his wife.
- Spend his hard-earned money wisely.
- Dress in a way that makes him feel he is worth it.
- Ask, “What can I do for you today?”
- Get his input on big decisions.
- Defend him if others speak disrespectfully about him.
- When going to the store, ask, “Is there anything I can get for you while I’m at the store?”
- Remember that your personal actions reflect on him even when you are apart. Don’t do anything that would embarrass him.
There is no greater way to demonstrate our respect for our husband than through prayer. When we make the time to pray, we not only give him a great gift, we wield a strong and powerful weapon on his behalf.
- Pray for him.
- Pray with him.
- Pray over him when he is going through some tough decisions or stressful situations.
- Share your prayers for him with him.
- Keep a journal of your prayers and/or requests for your husband.
- Ask, “How can I pray for you today?”
Just as we do, our husband needs daily doses of appreciation. Ingratitude is the antithesis of love and respect. Communicate respect through these small acts of gratitude.
- Thank him for something he has done.
- Let him know that you enjoy your life with him.
- Thank God for him every time you think of him.
- Encourage him in his line of work.
- Thank him for providing for you and your family.
- Write him a love note.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Kyle Bearden
There are so many ways to demonstrate respect, and one of the most powerful is through our availability. Work to make yourself available to your husband, even when it’s not particularly convenient. He cannot talk to you or spend time with you if you won’t let him.
- Stop what you are doing and welcome him home with a kiss.
- Give him a kiss as he walks out the door in the morning.
- Carve out time to spend with him apart from the children.
- Meet him at work for lunch.
- Reserve some energy and time for him at the end of the day.
- Get up when he gets up.
- Go to bed when he goes to bed.
- Sit with him while he watches one of his favorite TV shows.
- Do something together that your husband enjoys doing with you.
- Be available to him on the weekend.
- Adjust your schedule. Make time for something he wants to do.
Words, acts, atmosphere; each contributes to our communication of respect. Give your husband space, set the mood, create an ambience of respect.
- Smile at him.
- Tell him you love him. Speak the words.
- Ask him to identify 3-5 things that “speak” love to him. Then make the effort to speak love through those identifiers.
- Give him a space of his own IN the house.
- Make his favorite meal.
- Provide space and time for him to spend on his hobbies.
- Be happy and positive when he is home.
- Work to keep yourself in shape and attractive.
- Give him time to unwind after work before bombarding him with home and life issues.
- Touch him with affection.
- Initiate love making.
- Give him advance warning of family activities, schedules, and events.
- Discover your husband’s primary love language and then find a way to display love to him through that language.
- Clean the house, or at least the parts he notices most, before he comes home.
- Say, “Yes,” in bed.
- Let him complete his “to-do list” in his own time, even if his timing is not your timing.
- Buy his favorite brand of personal care products.
- Wear his favorite outfit from your closet.
- Fix your hair the way he likes it best.
- Ask him what he’d like to do… after dinner… tonight… this weekend… whatever the situation… and then do your best to make sure he has the time to get it done.
- Wear clothing that flatters your body but does not flaunt it in front of other men.
- Send an encouraging text or email.
- Surprise him with a gift of something he’s wanted for some time.
- Show an interest in topics, hobbies, or occupations he enjoys.
- Help him lead your family spiritually by providing him with the resources he needs to encourage the family in the Lord.
- Tell things to your husband in a factual way (without the fluff or emotion).
- Ask, “What can I do for you today?”
Respect can be communicated in so many various ways, both large and small. We must not forget the small, for it’s the small, daily demonstrations that set an example for our children, honor our husbands, help us grow in Christlikeness, and affirm our obedience to God’s Word.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
Deborah Haddix is the author of Engaging the Scripture: Encountering God in the Pages of His Word. She also serves as co-director of Education and Resources at Christian Grandparenting Network’s Prayer Ministry. Deborah writes, blogs, speaks, and coaches on topics related to biblical grandparenting, other life relationships, and soul care. Read the blog and find resources at her website.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Brooke Cagle
Deborah Haddix is the author of Soul Nourishment: Satisfying Our Deep Longing for God. She also serves as Prayer Resources, Education, and Training Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network. Deborah writes, blogs, speaks, and coaches on topics related to biblical grandparenting, other life relationships, and soul care. Read the blog and find resources at her website.