A week ago, I posted Blindly driving a marriage to its death, and then blaming the victim . The post now has three comments from women who have said, “Yes, my husband does this” – including one who said it ended her marriage. I’ve also had a couple of very painful e-mails on this. Clearly, this is a real problem for some wives, and most of those women’s husbands would deny they were doing anything wrong. I can say this with certainty because I have dealt with it a number of times. He all but beats her for doing anything he judges as disrespectful, and then uses the Bible to try to justify his actions.
In dealing with couples like this, I find that most of what he views as disrespect is more about his perception than her intent. He reads disrespect into something that she does not mean as such. Then her denial that she is being disrespectful is seen as lying, which is also disrespectful. The poor woman is left with a no win situation – the only thing that might calm him down is to apologise for something she did not do. In other words, either she lies or he is angry, grumpy, or abusive.
I suspect a great deal of this comes from the man’s growing up years and differences in his family of origin and her family of origin.
- If he felt slighted as a child, by his parents, his siblings, or at school, then he is likely to be hypersensitive and see disrespect where it does not exist.
- Laughter can mean many things, and tends to differ by family. For her it may be a stress relief tool, while he sees it as disrespect.
- Gestures like sticking out the tongue or rolling one’s eyes can have different meanings to different people, and some women may do these as a loving thing, meaning no disrespect.
- Certain phrases may be a way of expressing concern, but be received as disrespectful – “Poor baby” for example.
- If interrupting someone was considered rude when he was a child, but it was an accepted part of a lively conversation in her family, then he will see her interruptions as disrespect when in fact she is trying to engage with him.
- If he is unsure of himself, any hint that she is questioning him will feel disrespectful.
- He may see her as not respecting him if she does not back him up in a group, but on the other hand, some men will see such support as disrespectful because he “does not need a woman’s help”.
- Silence after he says something will mean disrespect to some men, while others may see it as acceptance/agreement and thus respectful.
If you accuse your bride of disrespect, or feel she is guilty of it, more than a couple of times a year, I suggest you think, pray and discuss this issue. Odds are at least some of what you are calling disrespect is not intended as such. If you can identify areas where you and your bride feel differentially about something being disrespectful, it is reasonable to ask if she can change. It is also reasonable to realise that she will do what comes naturally at times, even if she is trying to change. That “slip” is not disrespect, it is habit.
By the way, accusing her of disrespect when it’s not true makes you look stupid, and that causes her to lose respect for you. So, a false accusation here can result in the very thing you don’t want!
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Couple Things Blog
Driving Your Conversations Deeper: Seasons: A very important thing to understand – especially when iun the middle of a tough season.
Driving Your Conversations Deeper: Levels: What level are you on? Is it where you want to be?
Win Hearts, Not Arguments: This is a must read article!
Happily Married After
Journey to Surrender
Surrendered Marriage – Embracing Mystery: No easy answers here!
Are Your Personality Traits (and Your Spouse’s) Viewed Negatively or Positively?: A great post with an important truth.
Do You Love Your Phone More Than Your Spouse?: Forget addiction, is your phone becoming “the other woman”?
One Flesh Marriage
The Romantic Vineyard
Sharing Musts For A Healthy Marriage – A bed: I agree 100%, and Debi gives some good information on why this is important.
Love Song Letter: Great, romantic idea.
Advice I Wish I Was Given (And Followed): If you know someone soon to be or recently wed, point them to this article.
A Fragrant Aroma – New Friends: As you read, see how a woman knew another woman was deeply in love – and learn from it!
The Importance of Being Playful Partners: Do you and your spouse play together? You should.
3 Tips on How to Initiate Sex with Your Husband or Wife: All better than a grunt and a wink! ;-)
Don’t Do This When You Communicate With Your Spouse: A chance to learn from Stu’s mistake.
To Be is to Do: It’s not what you know, it’s what you do!
Stupendous Marriage Show 016: Fit Marriages, Talking in Your Sleep and Whose Terms: Still a well done pod cast!
Why Do Public Displays of Affection Get a Bad Rap?: Do you and your bride have the same limits on PDA’s?
Winning at Romance
Are you cursing your sex life?: Not a cure all, but a valid and important point.