In Does your wife feel you esteem her? I discussed why feeling esteemed is important, and the bad things that can happen when we don’t feel esteemed. So the big question: if she doesn’t feel esteemed, what can you do?
The obvious starting point is actually esteeming her. I will assume you have that covered.
The next step is avoiding things that communicate a lack of esteem:
- Never use words like stupid, silly, dumb, and clueless about her.
- Not listening to her is a bad plan.
- Listening, then ignoring or immediately dismissing what she says is just as bad (maybe worse).
- Talking about her as if she were not in the room, when she is.
- Making jokes about her.
- Putting your family ahead of her.
- Putting your friends ahead of her.
- Putting anyone other than God ahead of her.
- Undermining her with the children.
- Ignoring her needs or always putting them behind your needs.
- Not doing things she needs you to do, or making her wait needlessly for you to do them.
- Having money for what you want, but never for what she wants.
- Not helping her when she needs it, whether she asks or not.
- Treating her better in public than you treat her in private.
I started with the negatives because a few of those will wipe out anything positive you do. Feeling esteemed is a pass/fail thing, she won’t feel esteemed just because you do more things that show esteem than you do things that don’t show esteem. You don’t have to be perfect, but it doesn’t take much to blow it.
On the positive side, the opposite of most of the above will help her to feel esteemed. Among the more important are:
- Brag on her.
- Be quick to address her needs. If you can’t meet a need for a legitimate reason, explain why, and then tell her what you’ll do and when you’ll do it.
- If something is important to her, make it important to you, and make sure she knows.
- Enable her. Enable her to do what she needs to do, what she wants to do, and what she’s not sure she can do. Help her fulfil her dreams.
If your wife doesn’t feel you esteem her, changing her perception will take some time, especially if she’s felt this way a long time. Because of the pass/fail nature of this, she may not feel or see a change until the balance tips enough. Don’t get discouraged!
Also see: The Accepting Marriage – Choose to Trust is similar to this discussion, with some great ideas.