Is Disrespect in the Eyes of the Beholder?

I run two year old posts on Twitter and Facebook overnight each day. I’ve had some comments and emails about a recent set of such posts, and thought it would be good to re-examine the issue. The original posts are at the bottom.

Cat escaping Schrödinger's box © anomalous4 |

Here’s the question: If your wife does or says something with no disrespect intended, but you feel disrespected, who is right? Has she disrespected you, or hasn’t she? Both.

Yes, you feel disrespected, and that matters. However, she means no disrespect, and that too matters. If you assign disrespect to her when she meant none, you’re not respecting her, which could well lead to her losing respect for you. If she says she didn’t mean disrespect, accept that as truth. If you can’t or won’t accept her word, you have no hope of changing the situation.

Once you have taken her at her word, explain to her while it was not her intent, you felt disrespected. Clarify what made you feel she didn’t respect you; make it very clear to her so she can make changes. It will probably help if you can tell her why you felt as you did – maybe how it plays into something from your past. This is relational sharing, and women connect with such communication. Suggest ways she could change so you don’t feel disrespected in teh future.

What if you do that and she makes no effort to change? There are two things here. It would be accurate to say her unwillingness to try to change is showing a lack of love/respect for you, which is a problem. However, if you know her heart is not to hurt you, if you know she doesn’t mean disrespect, you should remind yourself of that and temper your reaction. Doing this will reduce your emotion, which will make it easier to gently remind her of how you would like her to treat the situation.

Original Posts:

Hitting a nerve with the ladies 
Blindly driving a marriage to its death, and then blaming the victim 

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3 Comments on “Is Disrespect in the Eyes of the Beholder?

  1. We have encountered many women who do not understand this dynamic about men, the deep seated need for unconditional respect. Women do not seem to realize what we see as respect and disrespect and how vulnerable we actually are as men. 
    We once had a woman in one of our seminars ask if telling her mom some of their intimate details and problems was disrespecting to her husband. II did two things. First I asked if she would feel comfortable having her husband in the room as she shared that information? Secondly I told her to ask her husband how he felt. As she looked at him in the seminar, she saw how deeply cut he was. She clung to him sobbing that she did not intend to hurt him. This is a very loving couple, even before this breakthrough. Now
    they understand each other a bit better. Sometimes women feel that they can tell someone else outside their marriage all their intimate details to help heal their relationship. Ask your husband if he wants you to share these details.  Most likely he wants to solve his own issues with you.

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