2 Tricks to Keep You From Being
a Disrespectful Wife
“Sit down, take out your pencils and open your book to page 147 for today’s lesson.” Simple words I would say six times a day to a classroom full of middle schoolers. My profession as a teacher lent me to be quite authoritative in my tone.
Because when you’re teaching 150 middle schoolers a day you don’t have space for slacking.
While my tone worked wonders with unruly adolescents, my husband certainly didn’t appreciate my tone in our marriage. Who knew?!
The firm, quick and no nonsense tone I used in my classroom came across as disrespectful and dismissive to my husband.
For years I couldn’t understand why there was a break in our communication when we had conflict. We did this tug of war with our words and emotions until one day in the midst of some heated fellowship over an issue, it came out. He exclaimed, “I’m not one of your students, you asked me to do it and I will when I am ready.”
Ouch. I had done it. I was that wife I never wanted to be – a disrespectful one.
My husband wanted a helper and partner, and I became an overseer and manager instead.
After I painfully processed the damage I had done to our communication, I began the tedious work of rebuilding what I had broken. I was able to recognize how disrespect had become a part of my communication, and how I could keep it from continuing.
Here are two tricks to keep you from being disrespectful:
1. Praise Over Pestering. I once spent a lot of time and energy pestering my husband to change things, be better, and adjust who he was to meet my expectations. Every time I pestered him to change, I was shifting my focus away from his positive qualities.
Over time this hindered my respect for him. As I spent time intentionally praising my husband, my husband become more willing to help, assist in tedious projects, and eventually begin to help with things without being asked. As I called out the positive I also began to see more and more positive in his heart and life.
2. Desires are Fair, Expectations are Foul. All my disrespectful nagging over projects and issues stemmed from a failure to meet my expectations. Unmet expectations were killing my marriage. As I learned to adjust my thinking from expectations to desires, I began to feel less frustrated.
We can desire our husbands to help clean up the kitchen after dinner, or we can expect them to clean up the kitchen after dinner. Desires are an expression we can kindly communicate, but expectations are set standards. Expectations breed bitterness, whereas desires guide conversation.
Expectations require the other person to perform exactly as you wish or you become upset and resentful. Desires say, “I would love it if so-and-so happens, but I won’t be upset if it doesn’t.”
The respect you show toward your husband creates a foundation for healthier communication to grow. Begin respectful communication with your husband today and be patient in seeing how it changes your husband’s heart toward you.
Wife Step: Take a moment today to check your words- are you praising your husband or pestering him? How about your heart? Examine yourself and consider if you are desiring your husband to do things or expecting him to do them? If you’ve been nagging, confess it to your husband and ask him to forgive you.
Natalia Drumm is a writer, speaker and teacher with a passion for building community and engaging women in the Word of God. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they are raising three little boys in their home town of North Port, FL. Natalia and her husband serve in their local church as marriage small group leaders and life group coaches. They have a passion for healthy marriages as they have seen the restorative power of God in their own marriage and family.
Natalia is an assignment writer for Lifeway Women and serves as the Bible Study Content Editor at Living by Design Ministries. She also volunteers at Proverbs 31 Ministries on their proofreading team and leads a COMPEL Discovery Group. Natalia writes over at www.nataliadrumm.com where she creates devotional study books on issues relevant to womanhood and living in the fullness of God’s design for womanhood.
When not writing, or serving at church, Natalia spends her time running, reading and enjoying a good Netflix binge. She’s also not be one to turn down a cold Coke and hot chocolate chip cookie.