Up front, yes, I’ve seen women do this; however, it’s far more common for the husband to do it, and I have more male than female readers, so I am going to aim this at the guys.
I just answered an e-mail from a woman married a short time who said, “He does not appreciate anything that I do and always tells me that I disrespect him when I tell him what I think.“
I fully understand how important it is for a man to feel respected, but sadly, some men take this to an impossible extreme. For some men, any disagreement is disrespect. It need not even be disagreement, some men label asking why or asking for clarification as disrespect. If she does not do what he says, how he says, when he says, she is not respecting him. If she questions him in any way, or has a thought that differs with his in the least, that is disrespect. If you talk to such a man, he is convinced he is a great husband, and the only problem is that she refuses to show him the proper respect. Predictably, these marriages usually fall apart – with the husband defending to the end his attitude – which is likely the biggest problem.
Of course no man guilty of what I’ve described reading this is going to see himself in it, so why do I bother? I was thinking that maybe these men are just over the top with an attitude that is common to many of us. We do not take it to the extreme, but we still demand, or expect, respect to look a bit more like mindless agreement than it should. Even a touch of this is hurtful to a wife, and harmful to the couple’s marriage.
Do you get upset when your bride had a different opinion than you have about something? Do you feel wronged if she disagrees with you in front of others? Do you get angry when she does not remember something the same way you do? Do you think she is wrong because you know you are right? Do you feel she is lying, or accusing you of lying if she had a different memory? Are you putting a “disrespectful” label on something that is an honest difference of opinion or memory?
By the way, the men who do this to the extreme tend to feel disrespected in general – and in particular in their employment. Often it is clear that he is taking out his frustration on his wife. He can’t yell at his boss, so he yells at his wife. He can’t accuse his boss of disrespect, so he accuses his wife. Given this, I would think that we are all more prone to feeling disrespected at home when we are feeling disrespect in other areas of our life. Be aware of this: when you get disrespected outside the home, make a point of not putting that on your wife or kids.