Q: How does one treat a woman that disrespects her husband?

A:  Disrespect from anyone can be a problem. Especially in the family situation, mutual respect is a very important element. In other words, not only should the wife respect her husband, but the husband must also respect the wife. As this respect is modeled to the children, they will then show respect to their parents, and each other. This makes for a successful family.

If there is a family member who is demonstrating disrespect to another family member, this situation should be addressed. The way to do it is found in the way Jesus treated people. Certainly he was a person who suffered great disrespect from the rulers and leaders of his time. Jesus was always patient and kindly, even when he was being reviled. He never responded in kind, but always tried to show the disrespectful person a better way.

Please see “As Jesus Passed By” for a detailed account of the way Jesus gained respect and love from others. In it, we read this:

“Goodness always compels respect, but when it is devoid of grace, it often repels affection. Goodness is universally attractive only when it is gracious. Goodness is effective only when it is attractive.”

Now, sometimes, people respond in a disrespectful way when they are upset. Sometimes, a family member may have some resentment when it comes to fulfilling their role in the family…they may resent being told that they are not doing the right thing, or they may resent being told what to do. This can cause the person to say critical things, or to refuse to accept their responsibility. Often, this kind of resentment springs from some offense they feel they have suffered. It may be real or imagined—but nonetheless, it is very real to the person feeling it.

Again—Jesus was a positive and gracious person. In all his dealings with people, he stressed the positive—he helped people find a way to DO the right thing, instead of telling them what they should NOT do. In the case of your questions, I would advise this husband to approach the wife in a friendly, loving manner, and try to find out why she is upset and acting out in this way. Once the husband finds out the WHY, then together, the husband and the wife can discuss a solution that will be helpful to both of them. It is important that the solution to the problem feels like a win for everyone, and so, the wife’s input should be listened to carefully. When she feels that her feelings and her opinion are respected, she will respond in kind.

It also may be helpful to this husband to examine his own actions and words with his wife. Has he said or done something that might cause his wife to feel resentment? Is he willing to admit this and amend his own behavior? Does he treat her with the same respect that he demands from her? Again, talking it over is the best way to approach this situation…not with demands or threats, but in an atmosphere of love.

The integrity of the family is very important. This integrity balances very harmoniously when each member feels a necessary part of it, and when each member feels that they have an important role to play. If there is disrespectful discord from any one of the family members, this can undermine integrity and upset the balance, putting the family under stress. Just like a championship soccer team, all members of the family “team” need to pull together for success. Like a winning team, the “prime directive” of any family should be success: Successful relationships, successful harmony, successful problem-solving. And achieving these successes are lessons that can be used by the children as they go out into the world. When each member see themselves as a vital part of the team, they may be better able to subdue their own self-interests for the success of the team.

Husbands and wives are together for a reason—often, this partnership involves children and home-making. And like any partnership, mutuality of purpose is vital. So, in the case of a disrespectful wife, the husband can make a difference by reinforcing the partnership with love and tolerance, inspiring a renewed sense of purpose. This can effectively defuse any disruptive situation.

Thanks again for writing. I hope that my reply has been helpful…

:: Date published: 2013-12-09 09:52:46.43
:: Author: Truthbook Staff