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Confessions: How do I show him respect?

 To be honest, I used to zone him out whenever he said I don't respect him enough (Shutterstock)

Hi Chris,

From time to time, my husband and I fight, and pretty much every time we do, he’ll eventually start saying that I don’t show him enough respect.

To be honest, I used to zone him out whenever he said that, but then one of my girlfriends told me that her husband says the same thing to her. And so I began to wonder if I should take him more seriously. The thing is, I’m not even sure I know what he means!

Is ‘respect’ some sort of man thing? What should I be doing to make him feel better, while at the same time not turning myself into some sort of doormat?



Hi Respect!

You’re right, respect’s hugely important to men. Years ago it was a matter of life and death, but even nowadays men are sensitive to the slightest hint of discourtesy. That’s hard for women to understand, so it causes a lot of problems.

Like it’s all too easy to take your husband for granted, and stop appreciating what he does for you. So show him, every day. You’re endlessly dissatisfied, nagging or negative? You won’t be together long. Instead, show him that you’re happy and he’ll be far more loving.

Men are taught all their lives not to admit weakness. So he won’t tell you everything he’s worried about. When something’s bothering you, you want to talk about it. Your husband needs to think it through first. So let him know if you need to talk, but don’t insist on starting before he’s ready.

Expect him to be as considerate towards you as you are to him, of course, but when differences arise, argue respectfully. Starting with ‘That’s ridiculous!’ won’t lead anywhere good. Instead, listen to each other, and try to find solutions you’re both happy with. And pick your battles! Know when to fight for what you need, and when it’s better to let him have what he wants.

Think about where you’re both coming from whenever there’s a disagreement, or you need to make a decision. Like if your ex’s in town and you want to meet up, think how you’d feel if the situation was reversed. If you’re heading home late let him know. And everyone needs privacy, so neither of you has the right to snoop through the other’s phone.

Respecting your husband also means only wanting the best for him. Never putting him down, demeaning him in public, or sniping at him behind his back. Raise any issues in the privacy of your own home.

Above all else, respecting your husband means being honest. So never lie about where you are, or how you spend your money, or do anything that would make him distrust you.

Obviously he should do the same for you, but remember that a man’s need for respect is even greater than yours!

All the best,


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