Blindly driving a marriage to its death, and then blaming the victim

Should have stopped sooner © Aydindurdu |
Look what you made me do!

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.

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13 Comments on “Blindly driving a marriage to its death, and then blaming the victim

  1. I hesitated to forward this to my husband because … he would find it disrespectful. And then I realized the irony and sent it anyway. ; )

  2. This is my ex husband. Hense the reason he is my ex. Thank you for this article cause it is very true on so many levels

  3. @Kisa & kori knox – So sorry you are having to deal with this. I hope your comments will add to the reality of this problem and push a few men to see themselves.

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  5. This is/has been a great problem in our marriage. Not only does my husband get angry at even the hint of questioning or disagreement, he ‘holds’ onto his anger for hours, or even days in some instances , and ‘punishes’ me for my ‘disrepect’.

  6. So basically, whatever the guy does, he’s wrong?

    Now that I might have your attention with the previous outrageous statement it does seem that way sometimes.

    On one hand, we have read that things such as betrayal are defined by the one being betrayed. I don’t think anyone would argue that a woman who thought her husband was devoting too much attention to a woman at church or at his office felt she was betrayed would argue.

    But if a guy feels he’s disrespected he’s wrong.


    If perception works in one circumstance and is the measure, then why not the other. So my question is, is the problem that the man feels disrespected or that the woman chooses to invalidate his concerns and disregard them?

    Again, reverse the scenario. If we are reading of the woman who expresses concerns about how he speaks to the kids (not abusive, but not syrupy sweet either) then should we dismiss her perspective as we are suggesting we dismiss his, should he feel disrespected?

    Of course not.

    So the question is not just should he feel disrespected, but what should BOTH the husband and the wife do about it?

    We keep telling men that if something bothers your bride, knock it off.

    Yet if something bothers the husband, it seems the message is to the husband and it’s stop being bothered by it.

    Why not a “knock it off” to the wife. After all, if you really love someone, you’ll stop engaging in behaviors that you know bother your husband (or wife.)

    So I hope this will let both husbands AND wives see themselves.

    It just seems everything is set up for the husband to lose, and we wonder why husbands seem to disengage. Time after time, it seems there are no win-win scenarios. Just wife wins, husband loses.

    Wife leaves, husband gets blamed. Sometimes, it’s too much to bear.

  7. @Toby – The only thing I can suggest is to try and communicate this to him. Yes, he will be upset about it, which is sort of the point.

    Pointing him to a few posts AND comments here might help. Don’t expect him to smack his forehead and change – but it might get him thinking.

  8. As much as this may be true in certain Marriages.  There are those women who use their disagreement as attack and control.  Then tell  you as they are screaming and yelling that the other person can’t handle the difference of opinion.  It doesn’t matter who they are talking to. They fail to realize if you do this in your family as you grew up, you will do this to friends, then to people, then to your spouse. There are ways to handle giving a difference of opinion, a loving caring and grace filled way to encourage ones husband to change and understanding. Yet when one attacks, you will get the opposite of change. 
    It is better to live on the corner of a roof top than with a Quarrelsome Wife. 
    The question becomes, is she being loving, encouraging and respectful, or is she being the opposite.
    Granted, there are men out there that attack also, yet I am seeing for my self where the Bible speaks of a Woman Desiring her Husbands Position in the Home. Is more true than we realize. Yet as these women destroy their own marriages, they failed to truly see the damage they do.
    So my second question is, Is it truly Men that Failed to Step Up as Dennis Rainey puts it.
    Or is it Women who have destroyed their Marriages and finally their Husbands to place them as a Single Mom doing it all alone. To the point where a Man who truly loves his kids. Is ultimately afraid to meet his wife to see his own kids. All because she can’t control her anger and her tongue.

  9. BrianDavidKidd I’ve certainly seen what you describe. Sometimes it is just a difference in how people relate. In some families screaming is just how you talk when you care a lot, and no disrespect is intended. In other families any raising of voices is always seen as disrespect.
    I’ve seen the husband who won’t step up, and his wife my escalate just to try to get a reaction out of him. Then there are women who are very disrespectful and do want to rule everything in sight.
    Knowing the why and what of the situation is a huge help to dealing with it.

  10. TheGenerousHusband BrianDavidKidd 
    With mine it is to destroy the other person in her Family to win an argument. The winning means more than the relationship, or the people who are around. Then the disrespect builds and her thoughts of me are of someone not worth being married to. When it comes down to her teaching herself to hate me.

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