How to Respect Your Husband

How to Respect Your Husband

4 Cheat Phrases that Will Make Him the Man You Know He Can Be

As a new bride, I never really understood what it meant to be respectful to my husband.

I wasn’t sure why I would want to go so far out of my way to respect him when I was absolutely certain that I was smarter, more efficient and had more common sense than he did anyway.

I mean, what if he was inconsiderate or lazy or rude? Should I respect him then?

But WOW! Do I ever see things differently now—like night and day.

First of all, it doesn’t feel good to be disrespectful. It feels hairy and dirty.

Secondly, I’m not as super smarty pants as I once thought. And funny thing—my husband seems a lot smarter than he did back then.

Finally, I want a respectful relationship, so I figure it’s up to me to bring the respect. I love the playfulness and passion that shows up when I do.

Respect is a key ingredient for that to continue. I know because I tried leaving it out, and things did not go well around here. At all.

But even if I’d wanted to be respectful in the bad old days, I probably wouldn’t have known how. It didn’t come all that naturally for me, but leaning on certain phrases helped me get there.

Saying these phrases didn’t just get a better response from my husband. They also softened my heart. They made me into my best self. I use them all the time, to this day, because they’re how I made my marriage so much fun.

And they changed the way my husband treats me too. He knows I think highly of him (I really do now!), and he acts like that man I think so highly of.

Here are the 4 cheat phrases that helped me become the respectful wife I am today:

1. “Whatever you think”

When my husband is thinking out loud about something he’s taking care of for both of us (e.g., “I wonder if I should call the IRS and tell them I already paid this bill?”), I love leaning on this handy phrase: “Whatever you think.”

Those words are magical for me because they keep me from taking on problems that I really don’t need to solve but sometimes get tempted to. They also let my husband know I have complete faith that he’s going to handle the situation really well.

Instead of arguing with his thinking or getting into a debate or even a fight about something silly, I’m showing that I trust him.

I’m expecting the best outcome from him—not the worst.

One time I wouldn’t use this phrase is when he’s asking what I want, like which restaurant to go to. It’s up to me to figure out my desire and tell him. But anything that he’s handling—even if I’m afraid he won’t do it right—I can use this phrase to demonstrate my faith in him.

2. “I apologize for being disrespectful”

There are dozens of ways to be disrespectful, and sadly, I’ve tried them all. Click To Tweet

I’ve rolled my eyes at his idea, interrupted what he was saying, tried to explain to the waitress what he meant, walked away while he was talking, asked him why he bought iceberg lettuce when it’s devoid of nutritional value, told him he couldn’t wear that combo out of the house, and instructed him not to order a Coke at dinner to save money.

And if you’d told me years ago that those things were disrespectful, I would have scratched my head and said, “How do you mean?” It all seemed justified and valid to me.

But, all of that was ridiculously disrespectful.

I don’t go there much anymore, but when I do I know how I can clean it up in a hurry, thus restoring the connection and my own dignity.

These are the magic words: “I apologize for being disrespectful when I…” (Fill in the disrespectful words or act.)

So it might be, “I apologize for being disrespectful when I asked why you were keeping the holey Yankees T-shirt.”

Notice that I’m talking about myself: I was being disrespectful. That’s not who I want to be. And my husband loves that about me.

3. “I hear you”

Sometimes, out loud, my husband will explore possibilities like throwing his work phone into the ocean so no one can ever reach him again.

Or he’ll talk about how we should build a second story so we can have a slide from the upstairs to the downstairs.

Or he’ll be talking about how he’s going to solve a technical equipment problem I don’t even understand.

In those situations, I don’t have to weigh in with my opinion, tempting though it is. I can just let him know I heard him—that I’m listening.

One great way to do that is to say nothing but “I hear you.” I’m not agreeing. I’m not disagreeing. I’m just listening.

We all have a deep need to be heard and understood, so just listening is a nice gift to give the man you love. It’s also a great way to be respectful and to resist commenting on things you know only a little about anyway.

4. Duct tape

I’m controlling by nature.

I just happen to think I know what’s best for everyone all the time. But that hasn’t turned out to be as helpful as I first thought.

So when my husband is doing something his way, and it’s totally different than my way, I’m sometimes still tempted to tell him what he should do instead that would be sooooo much more efficient, cheaper, or faster.

But mostly I don’t.

These days, I usually say “Whatever you think” or “I hear you,” or I put metaphorical duct tape over my mouth and just say…nothing.

It’s still not always easy. Sometimes it takes everything I’ve got to just put some imaginary duct tape on my mouth and let him do things his way—even when he’s exercising his right to be wrong.

Why would I do such a thing? Because today, I value the emotional connection above being a smarty pants. And I’ve found that the two don’t go together.

Just because I think I know best doesn’t mean I actually do. Sometimes when I’m wearing duct tape, I learn something.

Being respectful has made my marriage so easy, fun and sweet that I can’t imagine life without it.

That’s what motivated me to want to be respectful in the first place, and it worked to revitalize my marriage.

But something else wonderful happened along the way: I became a respectful woman, and I like hearing myself speaking respectfully more than I liked hearing myself sighing in disgust, barking orders, or shrieking at my husband.

The unintended consequence of being respectful is that I’m happier, humbler, and more pleasant to be around—even for me.

Will you be trying these phrases out in your relationship? I’d love to hear how you feel when you do.

I’d also love to hear the ways you bring respect to your relationship. Please comment below and let me know.


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99 thoughts on “How to Respect Your Husband”

  1. Laura, I love receiving your emails. Thank you for what you do. You seem like such a pleasant woman 🙂 I just started listening to the audio version of your latest book: The Empowered Wife. Hoping to solve my weakness of learning to communicate vulnerably. Wishing you many more happy years of marriage and goodness 🙂

    Reply
    • I am inspired to make “respect” my theme goal this year, and try out some of your pointers. Just started listening to your book. I am hoping you also address how to respond when on the receiving end of disrespectful or controlling comments and behavior. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Teresa, What a great theme for the year! Love that. And yes you’ll find some effective methods for teaching him how to treat you in my books. I hope you’re listening to The Empowered Wife, which is the entire book, whereas Surrendered Wife audio book is abridged.

        Reply
    • I’ve read and read again The Surrended Wife . I’ve been trying to implement changes and I am recognizing times I need to handle discussions differently. I have given up control of my husband’s side business finances but when it comes to our personal accounts I have not because due to my husbands depression, he has overspent and put us in some tough spots in the past , so I’m not sure if he can handle that. I have been using “I hear you” “whatever you think” and a lot of duct tape so I feel like there is progress and I can see progress !
      I’m picking up First Kill The Marriage Counselors today and I look forward to reading it!
      I would love to attend one of your seminars if you’re ever in Nashville!

      Reply
  2. I enjoyed the webinar today. Unfortunately I can’t afford the series as our 33 year marriage needs so much help. I have ordered 3 books and I’m hoping they will help us. I’m so depressed at how our marriage is I barely want to do anything. Thanks for what you do!

    Reply
    • Kimberly, sorry to hear you’re so down, but hang in there and see if you relate to the books. There’s every reason to be hopeful that things will improve when you know what to do.

      Reply
  3. Love this! Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned. 🙂

    I am so thankful to have had a chance to learn to respect my husband more. It is a win/win. I am a much better person and so is my husband. I don’t EVER want to go back to my “bad old days.”

    I love what you do for women and marriages! You are such a blessing to me. 🙂

    Reply
  4. I can see myself being so disrespectful in so many of the ways. Since he won’t communicate in any way with me and is 1600 miles away(for work-he didn’t actually move out, but it is convenient for him) how does he even know I am trying?

    Reply
  5. I’m just getting started today. I purchased the VIP program and the three books. I also took the intimacy quiz. What would be the best plan of action for me to start? Read the books first, watch the videos, etc. A lot of information and I want to do this right.

    Reply
    • Kimberly, Wow! I love your enthusiasm and commitment. And you’re right that’s a lot of information, and I can see why you’re a little overwhelmed. The good news is that there’s no wrong way to do this. You’re at the start of a fantastic journey and I’m excited for you. If you feel drawn to watch the videos first, that’s a great place to start. You could just watch one module for the first week and the next module the following week. If you’re a reader and want to dig into one of the books, I recommend that you start with The Empowered Wife and maybe watch a video here or there as you feel like it. If you have time to introduce yourself in the FB group, that would be great. But just know you’re going to get it all at just the right time.

      Also, keep your quiz score and we’ll have you take that again in a few months for the fun of seeing all your progress.

      I look forward to “meeting” you and getting to know you on the calls!

      Reply
  6. Hi Laura- I did set up an appt-thank you so very much for accepting me. I wrote a letter of apology which he should receive today, as a matter of fact. My question is….should I make arrangements to fly up there to try and speak with him if he doesnot respond? How long should I wait for a response. It would have to be an overnite type of visit as I cannot be away from the farm for longer.

    Reply
    • Roxanne, I am so in your corner as far as getting your marriage back from this cold war you’re in, and I know it must seem like I’m avoiding the question. What I’m really saying is I think it’s a longer conversation than just yes you should go or no you shouldn’t. There’s a whole precious marriage hanging in the balance and this one decision touches on so many aspects. There’s history and context. If you can wait until your discovery call to decide, I feel that’s the best way I can help you put an end to the long silence you’re living in and get back to holding hands and laughing together. I get such a sense of YOUR commitment and that’s going to serve you well with creating the connection you want and deserve. Don’t worry–I’m here to help. I just want to be the kind of help that I know is going to serve you best. Do you have any of the books to read in the meantime? I know it must seem like a long wait given the situation.

      Reply
  7. Laura,
    Honestly, I don’t know how I stumbled across your website… Staring my 4th anniversary in the face on the 4th of this month I can say, I’ve tried it ALL!! Thousands of dollars in therapy. Multiple separations (like the one now) and endless nights of agony trying to think of anything else I can do to get my husband to just simply, be a man…

    I’m going to give this a shot with bated breath because I think I’ve tried all of these tricks already but am hoping for a new angle.

    On marriage #2 I know I’m not perfect by any stretch. But trying to figure out what to do with a lofty dreamer who keeps demanding to work for himself instead of get a consistently, shoot any pay at all would be news worthy, is exhausting. I never signed up to be the bread winner or financier of his whims and dreams. But here I am.

    It be different if he were honest, trustworthy and loyal, but those are all missing too. Shoot, just writing this out I see , again, I might should apply the money towards wrapping up this divorce I filed for in March…

    So incredibly hopeless.

    Ash

    Reply
    • Ash, I was in your same boat! Very painful to be the only breadwinner. I hear your hopelessness. But I bet you had your reasons for marrying this man and those are still good reasons. I was completely hopeless too, but my husband works for himself now, and he does very well–for over a decade now. He’s happier than he ever was at a job. And we have such fun together now too. I don’t think you would have written to me if you wanted to complete that divorce. I admire that you haven’t given up and I hope you won’t give up five minutes before the miracle.

      Consider a complimentary discovery call to discuss the best move for your relationship:
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching

      Reply
  8. Dear Laura,

    I’m a man 🙂 I have been so desperate for my wife to understand the principals you teach. I found your Surrendered Wife website last night by accident. Tears rolled down my face because this is what I’ve been trying to say to my wife, of nearly four years, in every imaginable way you can think of.

    I’ve gone to counselling for help, and I have asked her to come with me…to no avail. I’ve asked her to talk to someone, sadly she blames it all on me with the most juvenile disregard for me as her husband.

    We’re both 40+ and it is hard to deal with someone who trashes you in front of my step kids,her mother and other family. I have begged her to stop her disrespect.

    I gave finally realized it’s probably all based on her last. Her abusive,here today gone tomorrow father who died when she was 15. Seeing her mother beat up in two relationships. Seeing her brothers in and out of jail. Her first husband cheating on her,leaving her high and dry. She has seen and gone through a lot!

    The only reason I’m still with her is I am determined to show her…men can be different! But, in order for her to see me different she has to stop seeing all those other men as me!

    I am personally buying your book for me. Because all the therapy I’ve gone to has not hit the nail on the head, remotely close, to the way you have.

    I emailed her the first chapter of Surrendered Wife from your site and asked her to kindly consider it.

    I feel like you crawled inside my head, could hear, feel and see my pain and frustration, then wrote a book about it!

    In conclusion, what I love is how you still (rightfully so) teach I dependent, capable women (like my wife) that they don’t have to give up their strength when respecting their husbands role.

    I wish I could give you the greatest gift of all…a hug, because what I’ve learned so far is that it is possible.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Respectfully,
    Steve

    Reply
    • Steve, I’m so happy to hear you have some hope! Sounds like you’re a great guy who just wants his wife to be happy–just like my husband.

      You might consider sharing my new book, The Empowered Wife with your wife if she is not receptive to The Surrendered Wife. Sometimes that’s easier for women to open. Let me know if I can support her in some way. I’m pulling for you, Steve!

      Reply
    • Dear Steve
      Thank you for sharing this. You have given me hope that maybe my husband will read these books like you have.
      The only thing I could say to my husband when reading these books was that I finally found the description of how’s he’s been feeling for years and never been able to tell me in words. I wish he would have been able to tell before we hit rock bottom, how my Behavior was making him feel. Maybe he just didn’t know how to describe it either.
      Thank you Laura

      Reply
  9. Really?
    Sorry, but the phrase “whatever you think” played a huge part in destroying my marriage.
    I would desperately try and get support, encouragement, and or guidance from my husband, in ALL matters, because l respected him. I wanted decisions to be made in the spirit of partnership that marriage is supposed to be. Repeatedly l would ask for his opinion, so that good and right decisions could be made. I would continuously be told “l don’t know, whatever you think…”. These decisions were important, like which school for the kids, what was the best way to approach a problem, what should l do about health problems of an unborn child… big issues, life changing issues. Not just what colour to paint a wall or something trivial. The most important times when support above all was needed was met with “whatever you think”.
    To be honest, it made me feel resentful, like a single parent with no support, isolated, and extremely pressured as l had to make all decisions.
    Later on it was used against me, with “l let you do whatever you wanted…”
    I had no choice. I had to make the decision.
    Letting him make his own mistakes? Sure, no problem. IF he learns from them. When the same is repeated over and over, that’s when the duct tape comes out, because to say anything at all is a waste of breath.
    Each of the points in this article l did. From the very beginning. Because l loved and respected my husband.
    Each of these points ended up causing me to lose my own self worth, my belief in my husband, and the respect that l had for him.

    Perhaps these points work if the husband has as much respect for his wife as she has for him.
    Sadly, my respect just made it easier for him to DISrespect me.

    Reply
    • Dara, I’m sorry to hear about your marriage being destroyed. That’s the worst–I still remember feeling that way too, and feeling like I had no choices and that he wasn’t learning from his mistakes. Sounds like you’re still hurting and resentful about the whole experience. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.

      Reply
      • Dear Laura, I am confused with your reply for Dara, 1-3-2016. This is my situation.
        My saying ” who is driving the bus?” Important decisions are not being made. My husband’s
        response is ” I dont know, whatever.” I feel my view point is the only option and I go
        ahead with a plan and find out it wasnt what he wanted later.
        I’m a full time homemaker for 31 years. I am fearful of my finances and future.
        I am thinking of separating. Thinking of starting the next phase of my life single and 50 years old is frightening and paralyzing. Husband is and has been totally detached from beginning.

        Reply
        • Helen, Sounds very painful to live with a detached husband for 31 years! I wouldn’t like that either. It’s incredibly lonely and exhausting. My husband was also very detached, passive and irresponsible before I learned the Six Intimacy Skills. Now he is always looking for ways to delight me and make me happy. It may not seem like it right now, but you can make your marriage amazing (and thereby secure your future) by learning and practicing the Intimacy Skills. I lay them out step-by-step in my book The Empowered Wife. You would find them so valuable. You can read a free chapter here:
          http://getcherished.com/

          Reply
  10. What am I supposed to say when I’m getting scolded & berated for something I had no control over; like tossing & turning in bed, the dogs barked in the middle of night or the kids laughter carried upstairs & disturbed his sleep.
    How is it that he gets to be a jerk, and I’m supposed to what, just take it? Be nice to him? I’ve read your books, but I’m at a loss here.

    Reply
    • I have the same situation. It is nearly impossible to show respect and/or be happy when husb is soooo grumpy, harsh, critical, yelling. Everything makes him angry.
      Am I supposed to let him be disrespectful to me, especially in front of our kids, and just take it? That just doesn’t seem right.
      I’ve tried “Whatever you think” and he interprets that as a rude, dismissive, and uncaring response.
      Help.

      Reply
      • DallasJane, That sounds really stressful and painful! There’s no “just taking it” with The Six Intimacy Skills. Sounds like you’ve been practicing the Intimacy Skills, which I admire. I’d love to see you get some additional support. Have you seen this:
        https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

        Reply
      • So far I a still learning, but it seem like he words”Whateer you think” Not working here at ll :(( I express my appreciation for the smalles good, when and if it coming from my husband. but he still always angry, disrespectful , controlling, always he have to be right, even when I just say, I respect your opinion, but mine is this, then he say , you do not think correctly ,how I say and think is the correct, then I say that sentence: whatever you think: and walk away, he still yelling cussing, calling me terrible names and say I made him to do it and he have the right to do it, and I am already n the first floor ,but him on the second floor still yelling etc, and telling I am the one who talking too much, and fighting when I already let’s say for example and it happened, was reading abut 10 pages from a book, what I just happened to read on the fir floor” I read several of your advices, it still did not work here, I am so sad and hurt:(( I have no money for personal cancelling from you or anybody alse, but I would prefer above everybody the advises. I should not be called, and sorry but have to write it out!!:(( mf ass hole, :(( That is terrible, and he say he talking like that , tuff, he did not in the beginning:(

        Reply
        • Ildiko, That’s awful that your husband says those things to you–no one deserves that! One thing to try is to not share your contradictory opinion, which he may be hearing as you saying, “you’re wrong!” Also, there’s a lot more information in the book, The Empowered Wife. You would find it so valuable. You can read a free chapter here:
          http://getcherished.com

          Reply
          • Idilko, I so sympathise. Listen carefully: The problem is not that he is mean, it’s that on some level YOU ARE BELIEVING THAT HE IS RIGHT, AND YOU ARE BAD. you have to stop believing this. When you realize he is speaking NONSENSE, because in the past it got you to do the things he wants you to do (even though it also makes you crazy, he doesn’t realize that so much), you will stop believing him, arguing with him, confronting him about it, you will literally just walk away. Walk away from his rubbish with your body, walk away in your mind, just walk away. Walk outside or talk on the phone inside. Stop letting his rubbish impact you.
            In time, he’ll stop using proper, sane normal communication again.
            At a calm time, you might want to tell him that you don’t respect that kind of talk and you prefer when he speaks to you with respect (Laura might not agree you should bother doing this)

          • Rachel, It feels awful and heartbreaking to hear mean, horrible comments, but You’re right–I wouldn’t suggest telling someone you don’t respect the way they talk because it’s self-evident. It’s like telling someone that there’s a late fee if you don’t pay a bill on time, or that smoking isn’t good for you. They know, and it hasn’t helped, so why cause another fight? Actions really do speak louder than words, and we are all teaching people how to treat us all the time. Even better than walking away when he says something hurtful is using your power to call your man to be his best self by being vulnerable and using the single word, “Ouch!” I’ve seen it work wonders.

  11. Thank you, Laura!! Your comments are so helpful, especially the description of words and actions which are disrespectful. Since I never make BIG comments and don’t put my husband down in front of people I have had trouble understanding how he could accuse me of treating him like he doesn’t know anything. I think it’s the little things which I know happen … eyerolling, dismissing or differing with comments he makes, I am becoming more aware of my behavior and I afraid I can see how he must feel. I also agree that I like myself better when I avoid this behavior. I also think that men who are middle aged and older are very sensitive about losing their health, looks and status in life. For example, when they retire and lose the position of being a boss, teacher, etc and spend their days in the home where the wife makes most of the decisions about daily living … cooking, cleaning, etc. I think they may feel threatened and their feelings of selfworth can be diminished.

    Reply
  12. Dear Laura,
    I have read 3 of your books and most of your blog articles. I did this all in one stretch because I wanted my brain to absorb the ideas deeply and change the years of subtle bad habits I have had of controlling and disrespecting my husband. I have already felt a shift to a better marriage; even my teenage daughter noticed it. Improving my relationship with my husband has helped improve his relationship with our kids, too.
    I have noticed benefits beyond the marital and parental relationships. I really like the idea which you described in your books about focusing on your own page rather than looking over at your husband’s page and trying to color on it. (I.e., relinquishing inappropriate control of others.) This applies to other relationships too. When my parents were recently visiting I noticed how they made comments about how my husband or I could improve how we were carrying on our personal or professional lives. I have always adored my parents, but I finally realized that this was an invasion of our boundaries and also shook my self-confidence. I found a way to gently tell them that competent adults don’t generally appreciate unsolicited advice. Your writing has improved many aspects of my life. Many thanks, and keep it up!

    Reply
    • JJ, Yay! So happy to read your post. That makes my day. Isn’t it amazing how the perspective that you gain in your romantic relationship from surrendering colors every aspect of your life? It did for me too and I couldn’t be more grateful for the whole journey. Congratulations on having the humility and courage to examine your contribution to your relationships and improve them. I admire that.

      Reply
  13. I have Been doing this for quite awhile and it DOES work. I just wonder when I get the respect back. WHEN DOES HE start kissing my butt like I’ve been kissing his. I am SO DONE. The more I “respect” him the bigger his head/ego gets.

    Reply
    • Anne, Sounds like you’re feeling neglected and dismissed. Sorry to hear. Until I learned the rest of the Intimacy Skills I also felt exhausted and frustrated. Sounds like you’ve been working really hard on your relationship too. You would really benefit from a complimentary discovery call to discover what your best move is to get the response you want and deserve.
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching

      Reply
  14. I’ve been a surrendered wife for over 5 years. It completely changed my life. Before reading the book I didn’t even realize I was disrespecting my husband. I blamed him for what was wrong with our relationship. Over the holidays I think I was coming down with a case of resentment flu because my in-laws were staying with us and my husband was always unavailable. Everything seemed to fall on me. I found myself chiding him for flying a toy helicopter in the kitchen scattering flour while we made sugar cookies or complaining about his embarrassing behavior in front of his parents. I needed this reminder in my email. Thanks.?

    Reply
  15. My husband of 26 years told me yesterday that he’s been unhappy for several years and does not feel in love with me anymore. I’m so sad and I don’t know what to do. I love him very much and can’t imagine not having him in my life.

    Reply
    • Katy, So sorry to hear about this! I’ve also been married for 26 years, so I get how much you have invested in your marriage. It may sound strange, but for me the crisis in my marriage was the breakdown before the breakthrough that made everything much, much better. And I can see that happening for you too. I suggest you apply for a complimentary discovery call to discover the best move you can make for revitalizing your marriage and making it great again. You can do that here:
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching

      Reply
  16. I know this is meant for marriage – and I’m certainly applying it to my marriage – but this is also great advice for close family/friend relationships too. I think my most blunt controlling language comes out when I’m talking to my sisters. Offering my opinion (ok, forcing it down their throats) when I wasn’t asked, not apologizing for disrespecting their right to live their lives as they want. I can see how this is damaging to our relationship, and you’ve challenged me to be a more supportive sister and friend. And I think learning this now will help down the road, as my children (now toddlers) become teens and adults.

    Reply
    • Dayna, I so admire your humility and accountability with looking at how you interact with your sisters. I too have bulldozed my sisters and I’m so happy that I no longer do that. We’re so much closer and more connected. I also found myself challenged to use the skills I teach with my nephew when he was struggling in school. But letting him know that I respected his decisions for himself really helped keep that connection strong too. I’m happy you’re on the journey with me, Dayna!

      Reply
  17. I’ve been thinking a lot about respect recently. It’s so much more important to men and I often wonder why. I think it’s because they have to work so much harder to earn respect. They equate respect with love. I think this is because you have to earn your Fathers respect to earn his love whereas a Mothers love is unconditional.

    Reply
  18. Hi Laura ,

    I stumbled on your website a few days back and have started reading The Surrendered Wife . I must say its a great book and it touches a lot of aspects in my troubled marriage of 3 years. I have been having severe issues with my husband and now its reached a stage of cold silence . We don’t interact at all even though we live in the same house . I have started putting some efforts after reading your book , specially on letting him do his thing without criticism and anger . However , how do u correct a man who doesn’t seem to like you any more ? and who doesn’t enjoy your company , doesn’t make any plans with you. It just makes this whole exercise futile .Kindly suggest if I can still make this work by following the principles which you prescribe .

    Reply
    • Monique, Sorry to hear about the cold war at your house. I remember how painful that is. You can absolutely make your marriage vibrant and amazing again. There’s a case study in The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband?s Time, Attention, and Affection that reminds me of yours, only they were in a cold war for 10 years. They ended up being so physically affectionate their kids were grossed out.

      You can always get support with putting what you’re reading into practice. Consider applying for a complimentary discovery call to figure out what the best next move for your relationship is. You can do that here:
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching/

      Reply
  19. Hi Laura,
    I am a very controlling woman (my husband’s own words) and my husband is a controlling man. I try very hard to let him wear the trousers or pants but I struggle with it and still regularly find myself telling him what to do, correcting him and telling him what he can do better. Sometimes I find his reactions hard to undertand. For instance respect for him even extends to not criticising a movie he chose to watch (not even with me, I went and took a logn shower and washed my hair while he was watching). After, when he told me that it was a crap film, I told him I could have told him that. When he added it was not my type of film, I joked that I don’t like crap films. He got annoyed and told me I was rude and didn’t like him watching films anyway, I got annoyed that he was reacting that way and mistakenly told him to stop making a drama and shut up. You can imagine what happened next. He snapped back, “No, you shut up you ***** *** !” I ended up really feeling really hurt and upset and we are still not speaking.

    Reply
    • Jackie, Sorry to hear about the blow up at your house. I can imagine how painful that must be. As a controlling woman myself, I can relate to your situation, but I’m happy to say we haven’t had a blow up like that in over a decade. The 6 Intimacy Skills have made all the difference for us. Consider getting a coach to help you create peace and restores intimacy and possibly get to watch more movies that you like! You can apply for a complimentary discovery call here:
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching/

      Reply
  20. I read the books, and listened to them too, over and over. Found my own fault was in being disrespectful and controlling and asked for forgiveness. The problem here is that he has moved out, two months ago, stating he needs his space. The living arrangement sure seems like it will be for a long time, he is a caretaker at a house, so he doesn’t pay much for rent. He is living like a bachelor. Hardly comes around. I did hand him the finances two days ago, figured he needed to be connected to what I was doing (controlling) for so many years. He will be doing the taxes for the first time in several years. I asked him if we are still married and he said yes. I asked for forever? And he said he didn’t know. How do I put these Skills into action when he isn’t in the house — and that isn’t exactly something I “respect”! We’ve been married for 28 years!!!

    Reply
    • Suzanne, Sorry to hear about the separation. I so admire your courage and willingness to look at your part and how you can change it. You’re definitely on the right track for making your marriage playful and passionate again. Consider keeping the focus on you and what you’re doing and what you’re brining to the party. Also, I’d love to see you get some support to help you stay inspired, motivated and accountable. I know it made all the difference for me to have support. You can apply for a complimentary discovery call here:
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching

      Reply
  21. Laura,
    Ouch, I can SEE where I have been disrespectful for years! (married 35)

    I have read some of your other blogs in the last few days and I’m taking the “Get Cherished Challenged” Also I will be attending the webinar tonight.

    I love to research and for years have been asked to “find the best deals” for many family members, even sometimes my husband will ask. In order to prove to him that I am capable and not stupid (like he makes me feel), I will tell him/correct him even when he doesn’t ask my help. That is disrespectful, I can see that clearly now.

    I’ve recently heard myself on a recording and I do interrupt A LOT. I can see that this is also disrespectful.

    For a couple of years I have prayed asking God to make my marriage better—it got worse and my faith was getting weak. Recently I prayed, Lord, help me cope and see things differently and I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. Several weeks later, I found a blog you wrote and now the scales are beginning to fall off my eyes.

    I’m working on changing ME now. Not easy, but I’ll keep working.

    Oh, Laura, I sure wish that someone would have told me these truths years ago. No one cared enough to be honest with me and talk to me about how I came across, but I can guarantee that I was/am talked about.

    Is there a magic way to say, “I hear you”? I have said “ I hear you” several times before when I disagreed with my husband, but didn’t want to confront him and make him angry. He says that I am being smart aleck and then he mocks me. I would love to hear a recording of how you say, “I hear you.”

    Thanks for shinning a light on marriage,
    Beth

    Reply
    • Beth, I can so relate to you! Sounds like we’re cut from the same cloth. I too was disappointed that I wasted so many years not knowing what I know now, that no one told me. Now I’m just grateful to know what I know and have what I have today. On the “I hear you,” you might consider sticking with it and if he mocks you, you could say “Ouch!” Any change is going to feel uncomfortable and he may be reacting to that. That’s normal. But you’re just working being the best Beth you can, and you can’t control how he reacts. You can leave that for his own conscience to deal with, which is actually powerful. I’m glad you’re on the journey to a better marriage with me. Welcome!

      Reply
  22. Hi Laura, I miss you!
    I want to thank you for the tremendous gift that you give-the intimacy skills!
    IF my using the skills can turn my marriage around from me being served divorce papers by my husband and having to get a lawyer——- to being told ‘I love you’ and being hugged and kissed, and asked out on dates by my husband
    THEN
    using the skills can so easily turn so many other women’s marriages around for the WAY better.
    Respecting my husband really gives his loving heart oxygen. I love enjoying his true heart full of love for me. It makes me happy every day and night. And that love is my oxygen- I am so happy to feel so safe and secure.

    Reply
    • Molly, Great to hear from you! And especially with this fantastic news! Congratulations on saving your marriage and making it happy and safe again. I admire your courage and commitment. Thanks for sharing your success. That makes my day.

      Reply
  23. A question about tip #1: my husband and I were going out to dinner and he asked me where I’d like to go. It was hard for me to say what I wanted, but I did and suggested a Mexican restaurant. He makes a face and says he’d rather go to Chinese. I felt so embarrassed and upset. We hardly ever go out together. I use “whatever you think” with everything else he asks, but this felt like I should say what I wanted. Should I have said “ouch” in response to his comment and disgusted expression? I’ve said that once before and he made fun of me for saying it.

    Reply
    • Stephanie, I’m sorry to hear expressing your desires didn’t go so well! How disappointing. I know for me it took me a while to get the hang of it. I thought I was expressing desires when I was asking a question, or throwing out an idea. My husband didn’t see the opportunity to please me that way so he didn’t respond well and then I would be hurt! In my free webinar, How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life, I teach about this skill. You can register here:
      https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

      Reply
      • Thank you for responding. Yes, I watched the webinar yesterday. I’m waiting to see if I can join the SWEW program. A quick question though, what should I do if he makes fun of me when I say “ouch”?

        Reply
        • Stephanie, So painful to have your husband make fun of you when you’ve been vulnerable to say “ouch!” On the plus side, you kept your dignity and didn’t create any additional conflict, and you also left him with just the sound of his own mocking voice in his head, which is a powerful way to teach people how to treat you. So although I know it wasn’t pleasant in the moment, I applaud you finding the courage and having the vulnerability to let the peace in your relationship begin with you.

          Reply
  24. Laura I came across your website this past summer and listened to your webinar but just haven’t had time to act on any of it and thought I could make the marriage better. But things are just never going to get better. He is a very reserved, serious person who works constantly at his job 12 hours a day then is always busy at home with the house, the kids, his running. It seems I am never on his list to spend time with. I feel like a single mom all day and still in the evening when he is home. If I bring up how I get neglected he gets upset at me and tells me to stop complaining. I try to smile when I come in the door and ask him about his day, but I usually get the same response or a couple words and he is off doing something else. To him he has talked to me and that is enough for him. We have gone to counseling twice, 2 marriage retreats and we are still dealing with the same issues. We have been married 14 years and it hasn’t been happy at all. I don’t know why I stay married. The main reason is the kids. We were separated for 10 months, but I came back thinking things would get better. He changed things financially with the help of me going to counseling and our attorneys, but the emotional connection just isn’t there. It just isn’t me he is like this with other people except our kids he is more open with, his family when he sees them off and on. I feel like crap like why can’t he be more open with me. He has never laughed or made me feel good about myself. In the beginning he was very controlling with the money. Now we share the checking account, but money seems to be an issue how it gets spent when he makes good money, he is a Dr.

    Reply
    • Dawn, It sounds very lonely. I still remember how painful that was when my marriage was like that and I did not like it at all. I’m sorry you’re going through that. You say you thought you could make the marriage better, and I completely agree that you can–you can make it vibrant and amazing. I know it seems impossible right now because you feel so hurt and neglected, but you have the key. I found that my way of fixing my marriage wasn’t working and my husband wasn’t open with me either. He’s incredibly open with me now. He’s sitting right next to me even though I’m working just because he likes to be near me. That’s possible for you too. Grab the Six Intimacy Skills with both hands and let’s get you there! I invite you to apply for a complimentary discovery call to get some support here:
      https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching/

      Reply
  25. The phrase “duck tape” reminded me of how my old neighbor would give the advice on how to treat your husband. She would tell us to put water in our mouth but not to swallow it. 🙂

    Reply
  26. What if I have been using the 6 intimacy skills and when I say what ever you think he gets cross and says I want your opinion? You don’t listen to me and you can never make a decision.

    Reply
    • Sarah, I bet that’s pretty annoying when he responds that way! It’s not that unusual when you’re first changing things up. He’s baiting you to go back to the old way. In time he’ll get used to the new way. Congratulations on experimenting with referring him back to his own thinking. How did YOU feel when you said it? That’s a good measure of whether it’s right for you.

      Reply
    • Lib, Hang in there! I used communication to beat my husband to a pulp with my tongue, so he ended up being pretty clammed up too. But not anymore. As I became safer, my husband opened up. Let’s see what happens with yours as you become a happy, safe wife. There’s plenty of hope for you!

      Reply
  27. Big fan of Laura & the 6 Intimacy skills. Just jumping on to add that one area where my husband & I still struggle is that he seems to confuse my disagreeing with him as being disrespectful, even when I’m careful to do it in the most non-confrontational way. Wondering if that happens with anyone else. Thx!

    Reply
    • Brenda, Thanks for the shout-out. It’s my experience that all husbands everywhere see disagreeing with their thinking as disrespect. That’s the definition of disrespect for them–arguing with what they think. When I first started practicing the Intimacy Skills I was very attached to expressing my opinion about things. These days I’m much more likely to express a desire which might seem contradictory but he doesn’t hear it that way. I rarely have cause to disagree with my husband’s thinking–not because I always agree, but because he’s the expert on his life, and also is responsible for parts of our life together which I leave to him. Everything in the middle I stick to my desires–not contrary thinking.

      Reply
  28. Hi Laura, you wrote about the situation of being the sole breadwinner. How do you see the cases when the wife is more educated and makes more money and when, even if the husband starts to work more, he will not the chance to have the same income. How to preserve the respect ion this case? Do you think such couple could be a good match?

    Reply
    • Ana, I hear your concern about whether a woman with more education and earning power than the man would make a good match. I acknowledge you for wanting to maintain respect in the face of such differences. Yes, in my experience, such couples are a great match! Well-educated, high-earning surrendered wives bring lots of respect to their marriages, and the story I hear again and again is that they’re surprised at how much more successful their husbands become. They practice different Skills at home than at work. I’d love to see you get the 6 Intimacy Skills and experiment with them too. You can get them from my book/audiobook First, Kill All the Marriage Counselors. You can read a free chapter here: http://getcherished.com

      Reply
  29. I have a horrible relationship. We can’t communicate, we are barely even speaking to each other anymore. We don’t know what to say, without making the other one upset. I’m starting counseling next Wednesday. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for over 8 years for depression. I’m in menopause, so that just adds to the fire. He works all the time. Hasn’t taken any vacation time in over 2 years. I know nothing about what goes on with him or what’s going on in his life, unless I find out accidentally from one of the kids. He has separate money from me in other accounts, that I’m not a part of. I don’t feel like I have the right to ask him about anything in his life that’s going on. I am truly miserable. He is as well. At this point, I want out. However, I have no family, no where to go, and he knows this. So I’m just stuck. I do love him, and would love to make things better, but I don’t have a clue how to do so. He insist I go to counseling, but to him, everything is all me, if I fix me, we will be fine. Well, that’s not how I see it. He needs some counseling himself. He says I’m a angry person, but he never listens to his own anger. He turns everything around on me. I can’t win. I can even have a say in anything. I’m always saying I’m sorry for everything, even if I’m not. I don’t know if you can help me or not.

    Reply
    • Kim, it is heartbreaking hearing how stuck you feel. I really admire your vulnerability in reaching out for support and your commitment to healing your marriage, even when you’ve had enough.

      I remember when I couldn’t do it any longer, but leaving wasn’t a good option for me either. Thankfully I found the 6 Intimacy Skills, which transformed me, my marriage, and even my husband.

      I would love to help you make your marriage playful and passionate too. I’ll give you the tools to get happy again in my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

      Reply
  30. I am a Pastor’s wife and don’t read self help books that aren’t Bible-based. I became desperate after only a few years of marriage when every book I read and therapeutic remedy I tried had failed. We had agreed to disagree and stay in the same house because of our commitment to the Lord, but we did not like each other at all. He did his thing, and I did mine. We were both miserable. When I stumbled across your website it was intriguing, and after applying just a bit of the info you offered, the results were amazing. I haven’t read all your books, but I do recommend your work to any woman who asks. Do you realize that even though you don’t mention scripture, it really is Bible-based?
    Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
    Wives, we aren’t even required to love our husbands! Only to reverence them. To me, that says how much we were created to crave their love and they need our respect. I admit, it is much easier for me because my husband is such an honorable and respectable man. But I come from a very long line of man-bashers and controllers, so it’s still not natural for me. Keeping my mouth shut when he made a wrong turn and just waiting for him to figure it out when we are late somewhere is sooooooo difficult! It is also soooooo profitable. As soon as I became aware of how much damage my words and attitudes were causing, it shamed me to think of all the times that what I perceived as strengths were actually bricks added to our walls and pushing him away. In reality, those same strengths were just hard-headed control issues that has reeked havoc in my life with many loved ones. Letting go of that control is not easy, but extremely rewarding! I could fill a book with the wonderful, loving things my husband has done since learning to practice respect and control my own self (which is a full time job!) instead of him or anyone else. It also releases the responsibility of the world off my shoulders and puts it back were it belonged all along…In God’s hands. I have no right to play God in anyone’s life. I am sure my husband and all my family are relieved that this lesson is being practiced and learned. I do still struggle with it and will never be perfect, but it gets easier and more natural every day. As a huge side benefit, I enjoy my own company more! Instead of constantly trying to figure out how to guide my loved ones to do “God’s” will, I can relax and trust Him to do His own job. I can also allow my husband, kids, family, and friends to make mistakes and learn from them on their own. I am always there to share my experience if asked, but try to be very careful not to offer unsolicited advice. That is huge for me! I love my life, and I like the person I am becoming. Thanks you so much Laura for sharing your wisdom. I know there are many out there just like me, and without really knowing you, we love you for being willing to bare your heart and allow us to learn from your experiences. May God bless you and continue to guide you in His perfect will, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!

    Reply
  31. I get where you’re coming from, but at the same time I’m having a lot of trouble with the notion that my having opinions, thoughts, or brains of any kind could be taken as “disrespect.” I thought the 1950s were over.

    Reply
    • I hear you, Christine! Suppressing my thoughts, opinions and intellect doesn’t work for me either, nor does being a 1950s housewife. Surrendering is not about submission for me. Rather, the 6 Intimacy Skills have empowered me to express my thoughts in a way that creates connection so I can be desired, cherished and adored. Brains and all!

      I acknowledge you for being open, even when it looked like you’d entered a time warp. If you’re curious about what the Intimacy Skills look like in a modern relationship, I invite you to my upcoming free Introductory Course on the 6 Intimacy Skills at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/.

      Reply
  32. My question is, what if you’ve had this revelation already, but your spouse won’t tag along? I’ve done all of this, and we were doing well for 8 months while we attempted to rebuild our marriage, but he can’t stop resorting to the past & uses it against me & shuts down. It’s not fair, and I tell him i understand, but he also made a lot of mistakes in the past. I let go of it all. So here i am again, with our daughter, single and he just cut me out just like that. He suffers from combat ptsd. Any insight?

    Reply
  33. It’s amazing, but what if the husband is already in another relationships with other women which I am aware of, and yet he denies that he meets other women after work? I have chanced on him giving a date to a woman in his car then he denies vehemently. I am so frustrated and hurt.
    I hate that I trusted him with my heart affairs and he has played with it..

    Reply
  34. Thanks, so much, Laura! This helps me better understand the male version of respect as opposed to mine. I always thought I was being respectful, but in his eyes I wasn’t! Will keep working on grasping his version! (So foreign to me! 🙂 )

    Reply
  35. I’ve been reading and rereading your books for years now. You have helped me tremendously. Thank you so much for helping me become a better wife and person in general. I would love to have some type of workbook/daily journal from you, to keep me accountable.

    Reply
  36. wow I sound like the old you. good news is I don’t feel so alien like lol. There are others like me, but how I thirst for a loving, happy, sexy me and a husband who desires me just as much. We read Love and Respect and boy was I schooled. I love your emails, I will join the facebook group too

    Reply
  37. So you’re defining respect as the woman just shutting up and never expressing herself or having an opinion. How is this a life that any intelligent woman could put up with long term?

    Reply
  38. Laura, I am desperately trying to understand when I’m being disrespectful to my husband. I feel like a do a pretty consistent job of regulating my tone and think I’m being respectful, only to find I’ve stepped in it and offended him again. From the examples you listed above I’m thinking it’s probably due to the content itself, as I have found myself doing some of the things you called “ridiculously disrespectful” without understanding what makes them so. Could you explain how the question about the holey t-shirt is disrepectful?

    Reply
  39. Hello Laura. I would love some advice.
    I get the feeling that my husband feels disrespected because he constantly says “You’re being annoying” or “We’ve been talking about this way too long” in an extremely angry way almost every time we’re trying to make a decision, however big or small. The thing is, I always speak in a really even, calm voice with him and I even use some of the phrases from your list. I usually ask clarifying questions just to make sure I understand what he’s saying, but he gets so flustered he starts misunderstanding everything I say. By then I usually say, “Hey, let’s stop talking about this now, I’m not trying to make you angry, I was just _____ trying to figure out what the plan was, sharing my opinion, asking questions, etc…” and somehow that makes him more mad.
    I see this really affecting our emotional intimacy. He’s really impatient when I share any stories from work, while I sit and listen to him complain about his work situation for hours on end. When he’s home he usually just plays video games or watches videos on his laptop, so we have little interaction. When I tell him why I appreciate him, it seems to fall on deaf ears.
    He’s said since the beginning of our marriage that he doesn’t enjoy having sex with me, and before we got married he used to say how important sex was to him in a relationship. I had never had sex, and he said he was okay with waiting until after marriage like I wanted. But now it seems to be contributing to an attitude of his that I am always “holier than thou” and he is disappointed that I don’t have sex like a porn star…and don’t really want to.
    I just want to do what’s right, what God wants me to do. But I feel like the only way he would be happy with me is if I let him dictate everything in my life. But GOD is supposed to do that, not him. I’m not going to do things he asks if I know they are not right. And I think because of that, he is constantly feeling disrespected.
    I try my best to love him and serve him well. Sometimes I just get the feeling that I’m staying in the marriage because I know marriage is so important to God, and I trust his will and his ability to transform our marriage. But then I don’t think it’s right for me to be waiting for God to change my husband. I should try to love him as he is.
    And I get the feeling my husband is staying in the marriage because, although he’s realized he doesn’t like almost anything about me anymore, he doesn’t think leaving is an option. And he is glad that I clean the house and make him dinner.

    Reply
  40. I literally laughed out loud about the slide and building a second story?
    I love you. Thank you so much for your wise insight.

    Reply
  41. I normally don’t reapond to blogs but I am going through a hard time in my marriage. My husband doesnt think I respect him and I try my best. But I guess I’m controlling by nature too. I try to do things similar to.what u say and when Insay, “I hear you” he thinks I’m just pacifying him and not really listening. Me speaking my mind about anything means disrespectng him. Do you ever get tired of being so “respectful?” Was there a period of time when you started doing this and your husband thought you were faking it? How long did it take for him to see you were serious? How do you deal with not sharing your thoughts and feelings when you have on “duct tape?” I guess I don’t have an outlet for stuff like this, so Intry to talk to him and it doesn’t work. I feel hopeless at this point.

    Reply
    • Witsend Wife, I can see why you’re feeling so frustrated and exhausted with trying to respect your husband but also longing to express yourself freely. I know you just want to be a happy wife but it feels like your relationship is falling apart. You shouldn’t have to feel like you can’t say what’s on your heart. That’s not right. Getting to express yourself is important too! I still remember how frustrating it was when I felt like a mute. But that’s not the way it has to be–and that’s why my coaches and I have helped over 15,000 women fix their relationships. We can help you too. So get a coach so you can stop feeling tired, hopeless and lonely and start feeling taken care of, special and heard! Join the waitlist for the Ridiculously Happy Wife coaching program here:
      https:/lauradoyle.org/rhw-waitlist/

      Reply
  42. Hi Laura. I love this post. These are terrific phrases to use with a husband. I would love to hear them, so I know my husband would love to hear them too! I figured, the best way to solve my issues with my husband is to work on myself and the way I communicate with him since I can’t change my husband. I will try this out and see what happens.

    Reply
  43. Yes, respect is a must, BUT… respect is a two way thing in marriage, and from my perspective, when im treated well, i want to freely give love and respect in return, it has to be earned. Why is it always about what we need to do for our husbands! men are NOT superior to us, when i married my man the two were joined as one. equals. Basically your saying that not matter what, whether its about money, work, other women or something that is just wrong, i have to give permission by saying. What ever u think? He can have a opinion, he can express his feelings, his needs , his hurt , his dreams, as soon as i try…. to communicate the same, I’m talked over… ignored with no reciprocation. nothing changes. Im a bit fed up with help for marriage sites that focus on what the wife has to do for the husband, i think its high time the husbands could learn a thing or two to get a better response from the wife! maybe a good idea for your husband to give some insight to the men. I’m not saying this to be nasty, I’m speaking for myself and other women too. I’m exhausted with trying, confused, hurt,angry and sick of feeling inferior and irrelevant

    Reply
  44. I love recieving your emails. My husband is a truck driver. He us usually over the road 7 to 8 weeks at a time. When he comes home other people are more important to him as far as who he spends his time with. I brought a daughter into this relationship. He started out treating her like she was apart of his family. Now he does not and he says its my fault because i want let him discipline her and i want let him be a father figure. He said he wants a Divorce because of me and not because of her. But he treats her like she does not exist when he comes home. If she speaks to him he walks past her as if she is not there and goes to his room. I say something to hin about it and i am then called defensive and not allowing him to coparent. That is not co-parenting. Maybe i am being disrespectful towards him. Im going to try out your technique if it works and saves my marriage i will definitely let you know. But keep being awesome we need you andbyour help.

    Reply
  45. Hi Laura. I have read your books as well as many other marriage books and I am trying to learn to be more respectful as well as more submissive. One way that I am struggling to figure out what to do is when my husband corrects me instead of vice versa. For instance, say I am in the kitchen cooking and he comes in and says you are using the wrong pot and transfers the food I am cooking. Then he will say no not that way you need to do this and that. He has done this so it is a real life example. He wants it done a very specific way but I was already almost done. If I do not follow his advice he becomes very angry which I am assuming because he feels ignored or like I am not taking his advice or he is not being heard. What should I do in situations like this where he is taking over something I was doing? Do I just do as he instructs and thank him for his advice?

    Reply
  46. Hi Laura.. thank you for your emails. I keep trying to read your book The Empowered Wife but I have yet to finish it. I will finish it though. For me I have been trying to put the duct tape on my mouth… I may need to use real duct tape over the imaginary kind though. I do good when we are having conversations and I have nothing of value to add, but my issue is as I walk away when something is bothering me. Then under my breath I am rude, disrespectful and a witch.

    Reply

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