WHAT IT MEANS
Respectful spouses care about each other, even during a disagreement. “These couples don’t get gridlocked in their separate positions,” says the book Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage. “Instead, they keep talking with each other about conflicts. They listen respectfully to their spouses’ perspectives and they find compromises that work for both sides.”
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Love . . . does not look for its own interests.”—1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.
“To respect my wife means that I appreciate her value and I don’t want to do anything that would damage her or our marriage.”—Micah.
WHY IT MATTERS
Without respect, conversation between spouses can become laced with criticism, sarcasm, and even contempt—qualities that researchers say are early predictors of divorce.
“Making snide remarks, innuendos, or jokes about your wife will only crush her confidence, destroy her trust, and damage your marriage.”—Brian.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Track your conversation and actions for a week. Then ask yourself:
‘How often did I criticize my spouse, and how often did I give her a compliment?’
‘In what specific ways did I show respect for my spouse?’
DISCUSS WITH YOUR SPOUSE
What actions and words would help each of you feel respected?
What actions and words make each of you feel disrespected?
Write down three ways you would like to be shown respect. Have your spouse do the same. Exchange lists, and work on showing respect in the areas that were identified.
Make a list of traits that you admire about your spouse. Then tell your spouse how much you appreciate those traits.
“To respect my husband means I show by my actions that I value him and that I want him to be happy. It isn’t always a grand gesture; sometimes a series of small acts can demonstrate genuine respect.”—Megan.
In the end, it is not a matter of whether you view yourself as respectful or not; it is a question of whether your spouse feels respected.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, humility, mildness, and patience.”—Colossians 3:12.