Respecting Your Husband {In Opposite World}

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Many sitcoms play on the idea that men are stupid and if they didn’t have their intelligent wife to help them think clearly –they’d be in BIG trouble.  The wife is smart, strong and has it all together.  She keeps the family together and really the husband is only needed for a goofy laugh.  She uses sarcasm and eye rolling to show her disrespect. And this goes both ways.  There are some sitcoms that make the men look fun-loving and hard working and the women stay home, whine, complain and have no sense of humor…at all.

The reality —Opposite World does not portray a Biblical marriage –so we can’t follow Opposite World.

And so, I was at a get together recently and a wife pulled me aside with her husband.  They had a question for me.

She asked, “would you ever say, ‘Just wait a minute buddy’ to your husband?”

Uh Oh – I could tell I was in the middle of a marital conversation and I certainly did not want to answer this wrong and be in hot water.  But I was honest, “If I were running late and being rushed, I would probably say – ‘just wait a minute.’  But the word ‘buddy’ on the end.  That could be fightin’ words in my house.”

Now I don’t think that she put the word ‘buddy’ at the end to disrespect her husband but it felt disrespectful to him.  And I can tell you, that would feel disrespectful to my husband also and here’s the tricky part…

We wives do not get to define what feels respectful or disrespectful to our husbands…our husbands get to define that for us.

And vice versa, we should be able to define for our husbands what things they say and do that make us feel loved or unloved.

Every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands.
~Ephesians 5:33

I’ve said plenty of things in my marriage that were not from a heart of disrespect but made my husband bristle.  I’ve had to learn where his sensitivities lie and how my words come across to him. Because choosing to obey God’s command in Ephesians 5 and respect my husband, is really not about my husband at all.

It’s about who God is and his commands.

It’s about who I am and my character.

It’s about controlling my tongue and mannerisms.

It’s about the grace I’ve received from God that I freely give to my husband.

It’s about keeping my word and the vows I made at the marriage altar.

It’s about heart issues and sin I need to confess.

It’s about not focusing on the flaws or short comings of my husband but focusing on all of the day in and day out ways he blesses us.

I think it’s important I emphasize that God does not command women to give respect and high esteem freely to the whole male population.

This is a special respect that wives are called to give specifically to their husbands.

And yet, I find that in Opposite World, women balk at respecting their husbands while they go to work and respect their bosses or go to church and respect their pastors or go to the gym and respect their trainer or well, –you get the idea.

And I wonder, why is it they are so willing to respect other men but the man they make love to and is the father of their children –no way.  They try to control him, criticize him,  mother him and treat him as their extra child…but then they are frustrated and exhausted with the man their husband has become.

We all know the saying —behind every great man is a great woman.  I believe that our men stand taller with a wife who is their biggest fan.  And I know when our husbands got on one knee and proposed –we thought so highly of them – we said “yes“!  We loved who they were and who we dreamed they’d become…but some husbands have failed to deliver. Maybe our expectations of marriage and our husband were too high.  Or maybe, he’s just not what we thought we married.

But this is where the road gets bumpy and in Opposite World – you’ll be told to check out!  But that’s not in God’s plan for marriage…this is when you check in.  This is when I Corinthians 13 and true love is lived out.  This is when we walk in the Spirit and practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  This is when we lean hard on God and Opposite World takes a second look at you as a wife and says “there’s something different there.”  This is when we protect our marriage by respecting our husband and not airing out all his issues to all of our friends. This is when you are the light of the world.  When you stay in the trenches and you fight for your marriage and you obey God’s word and you pray and you wait on God to show up and work a miracle in your marriage.

 Dr. Emerson Eggerich says “No husband feels fond feelings of affection and love in his heart when he believes his wife has contempt for who he is as a human being. Ironically, the deepest need of the wife – to feel loved – is undermined by her disrespect.”

 In the end, showing respect is a choice we make in obedience to God. When we push our husband away through disrespectful behavior – we are pushing the Lord away. Don’t assume because your husband quietly accepts your sarcasm or competitive spirit that he feels respected. He just may not have the heart to tell you the truth because he loves you so much.
Now, let’s do something completely counter cultural, wrap your arms around your man and tell him –you respect and admire him!  Now watch him walk away just a little bit taller.

Walk with the King,


**Dear wounded one, are in you a relationship where your husband is abusive or unfaithful? This post is not for you.  Please seek counseling or outside help.  God is not calling you to stay in a dangerous marriage and respect a man who is putting you or your little ones in danger.  Matthew 19:9 clearly states that divorce is permissable in the case of marital unfaithfulness. If you have no one to turn to – I encourage you to use Focus on the Family’s free counseling hotline: 1-800-232-6459.

Need more encouragement in your marriage.  Pick up a copy of my book:  “Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home.”


  1. Opposite World has told me that I’m stupid for choosing to stay with my husband after I’d discovered he’d been unfaithful. Even the bible gives adultery as an out. But I chose to stay. For myself, for our son. A divorce just wouldn’t affect me, but him as well. We did go to counseling. I don’t see myself as a Saint but as a wife who chose to stay with my husband, who by the way, proposed to me in my parents pool! lol

    1. Wow Kelly – Your story will give others hope. Our God is a God of reconcilliation and miracles! Thank you for sharing –I am sure that you walked a dark road before coming out into the light. I am so glad you both had counseling and you are in a good place now! Keep walking with the King and shining for Jesus!

      1. I am going through the same thing, we separated for 9 months and now we are counseling. Pray that god helps save my marriage

    2. I too have chosen to stay with someone who has been unfaithful in the past. It’s a daily struggle as I work through living with the choice of trying to love this sinner as Christ does. I cannot find the desire to love a man who has hurt me so bad on my own after all. I am lucky enough to have a husband who has been genuinely broken by his sin, and literally brought crying to his knees amongst a group of Christian friends as we prayed together for his freedom from his bondage to sin and my healing as I cope with those feelings of anger, disgust, and extreme self confidence loss. It’s been 2 years since he fessed up to me, 2 years of waking up to a man I could not even hope to respect were it not for the love of Christ, and praise God through Him I can find respect and love of this man. We have received counseling, and we are both honest and open with each other on every level, not forgetting to be respectful & loving.

      1. I too am choosing to stay with a Christian husband who has been unfaithful to me. He has repented and is remorseful and we have 2 children so these things make me more willing to fight for our marriage. That, and I know the enemy would love to see this generation of our family torn apart and the next generation affected by it as well. Only through the power of God can I find it in my heart to love him and find things to admire and respect him for. We too are seeing a Christian counselor. It has helped me to see and accept how I contributed to his being vulnerable to having an affair. I’m not excusing his behavior or saying it was in any way all my fault but I do see how my failure to express admiration and respect left him vulnerable to falling for another woman who was so ready to offer it. I/we have been robbed of many things due to his sin but as we rebuild I’ve found it helpful to start a gratitude journal. I write down what I’m thankful for at the end of the day and also what I’m thankful for regarding my husband. Thankfulness positions the heart to be joyful. As for obsessive or angry thoughts, sometimes I cry out to God outloud on a moment by moment basis. I ask him to take control of my thought life and beg him to not let my mind stay focused on the negative and hurtful things that do not help us to rebuild. I pray God will honor my decision and efforts. Just because my husband broke his vows doesn’t mean I have to break mine. Anyway, the hardest lesson I’ve learned is how important respect and admiration are to a man. I’m sorry I leaarned it so late.

    3. Thank you for this Courtney. I was on and off again about the whole Ephesians verse and 1 Peter verses about respecting ones husband. Finally I decided to go all in and trust in God. My husband was (and most likely still is) a non believer. I didn’t do it on my own. I had to ask God to change my heart (and stop asking for Him to just let my husband become a believer so my life would be easier). And being the faithful God that He is, He changed my heart. I see how blessed I am to have a husband who really loves and takes care of his family. We are his priority. (I wish he’d put God first because then things would fall into place a little better). I do see that God is working in his heart.
      And God is also still working on mine. I have a long way to go. I still slip and roll my eyes, become nagging and second guess his decisions sometimes. But the Holy Spirit is so very quick to convict me! It is funny that now, I grimace at shows or movies that show husbands as stupid and clueless. It disgusts me, to be honest with you.

      1. MB~

        I have been married to an unbeliever from 13 yrs. I am one of the women who saw the world from the rosy glasses of cinderella. I wanted to see my marrige and life as she would. Then the reality of true marriage and my husband not caring for me as I did set it. I began to regreat life with him and didn’t know where to go. I then saw the light as friends and family stuck close by me. They allowed me to see what needed to happen and prayed for me and my spouse. I know that God has asked me to remain in this marriage and to give my husband God’s love. He is unaware of my miracle to stay and half the time loves me and all I do for him. I went from a nagging spirit to a calm and loving one. I also know that being married to an unbeliever is tough and most of the time very difficult. I pray daily for his salvation and also for his harded heart to be broken. I want God to come down and shine His light on John. I want my husband back and I want life to be simplier/happier. But these are things that only God knows will work or not. I have to place my trust in Him and know that no matter what he has me in His arms! ♥

    4. This does give me encouragement, thank you for sharing. I’m waiting to come out on the other side if a restored marriage. One thing I have to note though, is that not everyone may believe divorce is actually something Jesus was saying was permittable. I thought that too, until it was me in that position, and thankfully God spoke to my heart and revealed His desire and plan for marriage. I just want to take a second & encourage others that may be in the balance. Death do we part means just that…not “if you don’t forsake all others, I will divorce you”. That scripture doesn’t necessarily mean Jesus is ok with divorce, that’s not God original plan for marriage. Divorce was only accepted when a spouse let their heart be hardened. Again, not trying to step on toes, I love & appreciate you, Courtney!

      1. I agree with you on the matter of Jesus’ opinion of divorce. Like you, I was always taught that the Bible gave permission in the case of adultery. But, I read that same passage you referenced and Jesus himself said that permission was given because of the hardness of your hearts, but that it was not so from the beginning. Which says to me that it’s not His desire for ANY marriage to end. I believe that marriage is a picture of His relationship with us. He will NEVER leave or forsake us and when we as Christians leave our spouses, we are not portraying Christ for who He really is. Just my two cents. 🙂

    5. I thought this was a great article except for the last part. That says you agree God can work it out on all point except for unfaithfulness or abuse. Hogwash! You either believe it all or none of it. God is a God of reconciliation .

  2. I had the same issue. My husband was unfaithful multiple times and finallly very publicly to where he lost his job. Everyone said I was crazy for staying, but now we are way happier than I would have ever thought we could be. We also have three more children and my husband is on track to becoming a pastor. The Lord has already used our testimony to help others and I know that it will continue to be that way. Also, my choosing to respect my husband has been an interesting dynamic with many other wives, even pastor’s wives. I had one tell me that she would just do whatever she wanted and not consult her husband first. And she said this right in front of my husband. My husband still tells people that story about how I said well I need to talk to my husband about it first and her response and how disrespectful she was.

  3. Though I’m certainly not suggesting that a woman in an abusive relationship remain where she can be hurt, the verse you referenced (Matthew 19:9) doesn’t apply to abusive relationships. The acceptable reason given in that verse is *only* that of sexual immorality, or in other versions; whoredom, fornication, adultery.

    John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible buts it this way “…except it be for fornication;
    or whoredom, for defiling his bed: for this is not to be understood of fornication committed before, but of uncleanness after marriage, which destroys their being one flesh:”

    In reality, the referenced verse may well have the opposite effect on a wife struggling with what to do than what you intended. Perhaps verses on how a husband’s responsibility is to care for and protect his wife would be more apropos?

  4. My Husband and I recently got cable tv for the first time in almost 7 years. Even our younger kids have grown up with out commercials and sitcoms. We both were surprised for the lack of respect that is portrayed on tv regarding husbands and fathers these days. It bugs me because, In my home growing up, the women in my family would always talk bad about their husbands to each other, then gang up on him or verbally beat him down. As I grew older I noticed this pattern and swore I would never do that do my husband because of how disrespectful it is. And saw first hand how it destroyed marriages in my family. My mother does not like us because we stand up for each other no matter what. Even through some of the roughest time in our marriage. Most women in my family would have a feeding frenzy if I shared what trials we went through in our marriage. I stayed away from them and have, and just lifted up my husband. I am so glad I have done so. God calls me to. THANK YOU for posting this.

  5. Sometimes, it is so difficult to divorce our flesh and choose to respect our husbands. I love my husband dearly, but he is a sinner just like me, and sometimes I *feel* like he doesn’t deserve my respect. That is when I have to repress my sinful nature… it is so difficult! There are times I am sure I am not loveable, but he still loves me.

  6. I also stayed 6 years ago when I could have left. We went through the Love and Respect conference, which ended up being the exact counseling that we needed. I needed to respect, my husband needed to love and we needed the vocabulary that they used to get our issues out. It seems so easy in this culture to just get out, but I don’t necessarily believe that that ends up being the easy out that it offers. Thank you for posting abut respect, I think even in the church, we miss this super important point.

  7. Very convicting. Even as mum’s at a Christian playgroup, someone has a whinge about something their husband has done and before you know, everyone has a story to share about their husbands flaws.

    Luke 6:42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Just as applicable to husband, not just brother.
    Thanks again Courtney

  8. Not long ago I was teaching 1 Peter and when we came to 1 Peter chapter 3:1-2 which says ” In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” I was amazed how many mature Christian women bristled at the idea of respecting their husbands whether or not they deserve it.

    The key is “In the same manner”. Chapter 2 just finished talking about submitting to every “human institution” and ” be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable”. Then at the end of chapter 2 it says about Christ ” while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

    So even if our husbands are being unreasonable we are called to respect them. Our words and actions should be that of respect. And those times it seems really , really hard we follow the example of Christ and entrust ourselves to God knowing He is righteous.

    Sorry didn’t mean to “teach/preach” but Just felt led to share this. For me personally I was so convicted when I was studying it in order to teach it. I just hadn’t really “seen” the phrase “so likewise”. 😉

  9. Many years ago, before I became a Christian, my husband and I did lots of drugs, drinking, and we both cheated on each other. What I did was worse. He had a one-time thing; I had a long, drawn out affair. He went to jail for domestic violence. We were a MESS. We separated for a few months and during that time I gave my life to the Lord. We decided to start fresh and forgive each other. 10 years later, I’m so glad we did. He is still not saved, the Lord is working on him in a visible, tangible way. Neither one of us is the same. I home educate our children and raise them in the church. He is supportive of that. The times I have shared my testimony with people who know us, they are always shocked. Going from meth to homeschooling and sharing the gospel just blows people’s minds. Lol I just wanted to share my story and hopefully encourage others. BTW, we still struggle. I work everyday with respecting him. =)

    1. Awesome testimony! Congrats to you and your husband for getting away from the addictions! Meth is a hard habit to kick! Kudos to you for doing so!

  10. Thank you for writing and sharing this. I enjoy and learn from every one of your posts. Unfortunately, I came across Emerson Eggerichs book just recently, after years of not living the way that God intends for us to live as wives, respecting our husbands and as you put it, being their biggest fan. My husband and I have been separated for two months now and haven’t spoken at all for a couple weeks. But in this time, I have learned more and more of the type of woman The Lord wants me to be and what it truly means to be a loving wife. This post summarizes it all so well. I am praying that the separation will come to an end soon and we can begin to rebuild our marriage with these principles of love and respect-even more strongly than before. Thank you for your words that always give me hope.

    1. P.s. I only say unfortunately because I should have learned these things years ago. I am fortunate I have now come across them, I only wish it would have been sooner.

    2. Praying for you Julie. A book I have been enjoying is called The Power of a Praying Wife. By Stormie Omartian. It’s opened my eyes to the fact that if I want that “happily ever after”, it starts with me and my attitude towards him. I hope you enjoy it as well. Prayer is a powerful tool.

      1. Thank you very much for your prayers Lynne. I have been and will continue to pray night and day for my husband’s heart to soften so that we can return to each other. I will certainly look into that book. Thank you for recommending it. 🙂

  11. I believe that in certain cases of infidelity a marriage can be salvaged. When my world was falling apart I prayed that all I wanted to come out of the situation was for my husband to know God and have salvation through Him. God did more than answer my prayers. Not only did my husband come to know God, he made amazing changes in his life and now we have an amazing marriage (of course with typical ups and downs). It has taken a few years to get here but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! God is so good!

  12. What is the competitive spirit? I’ve had my husband and someone else say I’m competitive. I feel like if I’m required to compete, I pull back. Lack of confidence issue. The conversation it happened with someone else had to do with working when sick because that’s what he does. To me, it’s not competition. It’s doing what I feel like I must so I don’t disappoint him and get that look of disdain at the end of the day. My husband couldn’t tell me any examples, just that I compete with everyone me. This must be a blind spot. I don’t know what it looks like and would appreciate any suggestions or books to take a look at.

    1. Kat,
      Your comment really spoke to me, because I struggle with some of the same things – lack of confidence, fear of disappointing others. Could your husband be referring to a tendency to “compare” rather than “compete”? For me, it’s all about where I’m getting motivation… what compels me to do or not do. There is a constant temptation to consider what others (husband, other family, friends, authors, bloggers, etc.) are doing, judging it to see if it has any merit, and then seeing if what I am doing measures up. This is a recipe for DISASTER. Resulting thinking can run the gamut from JUSTIFYING MY OWN SIN (“Well, at least it’s not as bad as so-n-so and the awful thing they confessed the other day!”) to PREJUDICE (“We’re just from different worlds with different values, and we’ll never be able to connect as friends.”) to SELF-LOATHING (“I’m just a horrible wife/mother/housekeeper/Christian/friend because I can’t seem to get it together enough to accomplish what so-n-so is doing, or to live up to so-n-so’s expectations.) So in a way it does become a competition, because I am looking to others to define where (or who) I am and where (or who) I should be, and I think that this will motivate me to get in the lead (it doesn’t by the way). There is only one person I should look to for my identity and worth, and that is Jesus Christ. Living in Him and living for Him is all that really matters.

      Hebrews Chapter 11 is often referred to as the “Hall of Faith” of the Bible, listing men and women who demonstrated great faith in their lives. What was the purpose of this chapter? Should we compare ourselves with these faithful ones to see if we measure up? Did they not sin and fall to temptation just as we do? The chapter ends with this thought (NIV): 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

      So their faithfulness was not enough – God had a better plan, and it includes us, too. Because life is not a competition, but it is a race. Hebrews 12:1 instructs us, “1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

      So I must learn to stop looking to others for my motivation, and to fix my eyes on Jesus, so that I will not grow weary and lose heart. Yes, we can learn from others and be encouraged by them, but we are not in competition with them. Christ has already perfectly run this race, and if we are in Him we also have the victory. We persevere and find our motivation in the joy of glorifying Him in what we do. One of the greatest competitions in the world, the Olympic games, were created in order to honor the gods. We run our race to honor God, knowing that there is a finish line. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

  13. I grew up in a household where disrespect was the norm all around. It was hard being a child in that house, and I spent a great deal of time and energy preparing to parent differently than my parents. I was several years into my marriage before I realized that I had not spent nearly enough time and energy preparing to be a better spouse! Through the grace of God, I have made some progress here, and it is amazing what it has done in my marriage. I let “Opposite World” go. I started working on submitting to my husband and letting him lead the family. My husband is happier, which pleased me but didn’t exactly shock me. I am working to serve him. What did amaze me is that I am happier! Much happier! It feels good to serve my husband. If I could go back in time, I would work first on being a good spouse, because I find that my best parenting grows out of my working on being a good spouse. It makes me smile to think about all of this. Ironically, it was my pushing pushing pushing to make my spouse “better” that got in the way of his growing into the kind of husband and leader that I (unknowingly) craved.

  14. I am another one whose marriage has been touched by adultery. I have chosen to stay and fight and, let me tell you, it wasn’t my idea, but God’s. I wanted to run. I could not begin to imagine forgiving my husband let alone ever respecting him. But God spoke to me loud and clear that I was to stick it out. And, over time, I have been able to forgive and I love and respect my husband more than I ever have before. My husband and I are still separated. God is still working on both of us. I have no doubt that one day we will be completely reconciled and restored. And, every bit of it will be done by God, not by my strength and power nor my husbands. In the 19 months that we have been separated God has been faithful to (tenderly) show me where I messed up in my marriage. I was nowhere near the wife God designed me to be. Through His love, faithfulness, and patience I have learned how to respect my husband and to be submissive to him. Jesus said that Moses (not God) allowed divorce due to the hardening of hearts but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:8) Marriage is meant to reflect Christ’s relationship with the church. And, I know we, as the church, have been ‘unfaithful’ to God over and over again yet He’s never once given up on us. That is the example I chose to follow.

  15. Wow! These are excellent words to read time and time again. Thank you Courtney, I love and respect my man almost all the time but I have my moments when respect is lacking, this is a great reminder. The relationship between my and my hubby correlating to my relationship between me and Christ is critical for continued growth in my marriage. I am printing these words and tucking them away for my girls to share with them when they are preparing for marriage. Thank you and God bless you.

  16. Wow! Okay God, I’m listening! My husband and have been married about a year and a half and my biggest flaw is being respectful. Growing up, my father left our family for drugs and women and that has made me despise all men. This post was the email I woke up to and I believe God is speaking to me through this. Reading all of the other posts broke my heart as I realized how good I really have it. My husband is amazing and I thank you for reminding me of how blessed I am.

  17. I just recently found your site through your videos on youtube. I love this post and I love your site. Keep on being true to your faith and walking with the King. Well done!

  18. Thank you for this!! I often feel like a bit of a freak, even around my Christian friends, because I won’t complain about or bad mouth my husband in public (nor in private

  19. The most eye opening course I took in college was about marital counseling. The point they kept hammering home was YOU don’t define what hurts your spouses feelings or shows them love your spouse defines it and you respect it.

  20. I wonder why so many people, fully knowing that TV and Hollywood have brought opposite world into our lives, continue to watch TV and Hollywood movies (exceptions would be movies made with Christian values). I have in the past, when my kids were young, monitored their TV watching. And in the last many years as it has gotten worse and worse, don’t have TV any more. I have a monitor on which I can watch uplifting things, but mainstream opposite world has no part in our lives. Cut it off would be my advice. You really can live well with talking and reading and doing things together or by yourself.

    1. Amen! I never watch tv with my daughter, and I know she’s the better for it. I hate being at a friend’s house where the tv is on and seeing her transfixed. She’s not practicing any skills, interacting with anyone, or learning anything new. It’s quite disturbing. She’s not even 2 yet, so I can imagine most people would say she’s not old enough to understand the negative messages, and I agree, she may not understand, but she’s certainly shrewd enough to notice and imitate behaviors.

  21. Boy, did this speak to me this morning! God knew I need to hear it. After over 2 years of reconciliation/counseling after my husband had an emotional affair, I am still struggling to respect him. He is working so hard to be a good, Godly man and I now feel like I am my own worst enemy, just beating him down, only focused on the negative. I constantly bring up the past and treat him like only I know whats best for us. After reading this and all the comments, I realized that I needed to have a real “heart to heart” with God and truly forgive my husband and move on. I do feel like I have been holding him back from becoming all he can and being a true leader of this family. I need to let him have the freedom to do that. Thank you everyone, for sharing.

    1. This is happening to a friend of mine and all I can say is to put your focus on your relationship with God. The closer you are in prayer and in His word, the easier it will be for you to hear His voice.
      I am sorry for the hurt and confusion you must be feeling. I can relate in a way as my husband was adulterous on several occasions. I understand how it feels to not feel like enough, or to feel the sorrow that your husband is looking to others for happiness and fulfillment.
      But it has to come back to you and God. That’s where your husband will need to go as well, but even if he doesn’t, you must trust God as He will never leave or forsake you and will bring all things for good.

  22. I really loved this one and I completely whole heartedly agree! One thing I have noticed over the years which is totally prevalent in opposite world and sadly I have seen it in Christian marriages (the worst cases actually failed and are no longer together) is this disrespect in public. One thing we as a couple have committed to, and really have to work at sometimes, is not voicing out our frustration in given situations when we are out with other people, but rather saving those thoughts and possibly corrections for our private time when nobody else is around. This includes our children. I have seen wives totally put their husbands down in front of me, with both present. Not only is this horribly uncomfortable for friends in their presence but it also publicly humiliates the husband and whether she knows it or not makes the wife lose credibility with her friends. Even worse than doing this in the presence of friends, is doing this in the presence of your children. Nothing makes a child feel more vulnerable and unstable that witnessing the two people in their world who are supposed to be a team loving and caring for them, attacking one another’s character and self worth.
    Thank you for this wonderful blog, it is good to connect with people who share my view point and walk with our Lord and King with such passion and honesty!

  23. Thanks for that article! I follow you on Pinterest and love reading all your articles! It is true that you don’t see women respecting their husbands portrayed anywhere! I pray I can be a good wife! I am getting married to my best friend and true love in less than two weeks!! Thanks for your encouragement!!

  24. These posts are so encouraging and helpful as we try to lay a strong and godly foundation before we walk down the isle – love it. Thanks _ Steven and Rachel

  25. Thank you so much for your post. I learned quite a few years ago that men are not like the sit coms on TV. If the tables were turned and women were the brunt of most sit coms, there would be an upheaval. Why do we endure the “Opposite World”? Even simple cartoons use the same method of so called comedy.

    My marriage is not perfect but I know that talking about my husband with my friends and the eye rolling is disrepectful and wrong. It would hurt him to think that I treat him better than I would my own friends or acquaintances. With that, he knows that I would not do that and he would not do that to me. We talk about things and we do it privately.

    Thank you for pointing out that “Opposite World” should not be our role model!

  26. Oh Courtney! You bless my heart! You put so beautifully into words what I think often! 🙂 Sharing it- and loving and praying for your ministry as you do it in an “opposite world.”

  27. It is so encouraging to find a blog that is encouraging women to be good to their husbands, our society tries to teach us the opposite (in many TV shows and commercials). Choosing our words with care makes a huge difference in how we show respect for our husbands. I agree with your comment that men do stand taller when their wife is their biggest fan. Also that showing respect is a choice we make in obedience to God and to our husbands. Respect and love are the 2 sides of the same coin. When we treat our husbands with respect and encouragement and admire the good things they feel loved by us. He in turn takes good care of me and loves me well. It is such a joy to be in a relationship such as this! Trust what God teaches us about biblical marriage =)

  28. Your perspective is so needed today! I know that there are ungodly men that will respond unbiblically no matter what, but most men faced with a truly respectful woman will try to rise up and be worthy. This world really is turned upside down and it takes courage to walk uprightly. Your words are an encouragement to do so. Thanks!

  29. Not only are women disrespectful to their husbands in how they talk to and treat them, whether in private or publicly, I think it’s also important to note that it is disrespectful to oogle over how good looking another guy is…yes i get it, we all have eyes…but come on! I think it’s rude and it plays on our husband’s insecurities…
    I will give an example…I have always, always felt kind of bad, if you will, for thinking that other guys are good looking. Now hear me out, I know that in and of itself is not bad…but i’ve been in coversations where other married women were going on and on about a certain other guy..on tv, movies, etc…and it just makes me feel bad…i mean when i look at my husband…i see the best looking guy….he was made just ‘perfect’ in my eyes….and I believe that we are an awesome match. To me, there’s noone else that compares….make fun of me if you will or tell me i’m in fantasy land, etc, etc., but I’m perfectly happy wearing my rose colored glasses! 🙂

    Anyway, one day my husband asked me who i felt like was the best looking guy on tv…..i hesitated and told him that noone measure up to him…and he said he really wanted to know…then i made the mistake of telling him…and now, I didn’t go on and on..i just said his name….and then my husband looked at me and said, “I look nothing like that, I have none of the features he has, so how then can you find me attractive?”…..It broke my heart ladies!
    And so, while I did not go on and on or say anything wrong, imagine how they would feel if they heard some of these wives talking about other good looking guys. I only know how it would make me feel…

    1. Thank you Steph for your honesty. My problem is that exactly and my husband condemns me non stop and always accuses me of watching other guys . It’s unbearable and leads to arguments which are verbally abusive n
      sometimes physical. We were separated and back together now but it is horrible as he calls me names and mentions my past before I knew Jesus.I am trying to change and do not talk to guys or flirt or anything and he just accuses me against people even if I haven’t looked at them makinge feel awkward and not confident around men I don’t know. I guess my husband is insecure and is paranoid also I just pray God helps me as I am so close to despising men. I made bad choices n wish to God I kept myself pure before marriage as I wouldn’t have these issues I am having now. Please pray for me as I find it hard to respect my husband when he hurts me sooo much verbally n sometimes physically.I have the support of my church regarding the violence and they help and support me when I need it.

      1. i really hope you have gotten help in the time wince you posted this. that is an abusive relationship. period. it is not your job to continue bending lower and lower to build up his esteem until he suddenly starts treating you respectfully, lovingly. being unnecessarily jealous, accusing you of actions you are trying to correct (and sounds like you aren’t doing anymore), isolating you, bringing up your past to degrade you and control you, not to mention the actual verbal and physical abuse. its going to continue to escalate. please get out and stay in a safe place. you can continue to work on your relationship if you really feel he can learn how to not be abusive. but no amount of you respecting him and bowing to his psychotic demands will save him. continue your work to be a better wife. but you can’t be a good wife when he puts you in the hospital or the morgue. something inside him is broken beyond your repair and while you can support him in his journey, you cannot fix him. if you truly want to stay with him, ask him to get counseling, get counseling together, do something. i wish you the best of luck.

  30. Loved what has been written, and especially love the disclaimer/hotline # at the end of the article, however it seems many of the commentators here would wish a wife to STAY in an abusive marriage, still offering respect to her husband at the steep cost of her own safety and life. I hope the is a misunderstanding… If we follow the example in Ephesians where the church is the Bride of Christ, Christ NEVER abuses His bride, so, using that as a reference, a wife should NEVER be abused, and certainly not required to stay if so…

  31. Couldn’t have said it better myself. So true, everything you have said in my 16 years of marriage. And I grew up with parents who did not exemplify a godly marriage so I’ve seen both sides of the coin. Really appreciate the posting. My husband shared it on Facebook, and now I have too! He holds our house together because I want and encourage him to lead us as a family.

    I’m a counseling psychology graduate student. It is unfortunate that Western cultures often place the wife submitting to the husband in a psychopathological view. And domestic violence is often false attributed to this patriarchical structure when it is actually due to an indecision or disagreement on the power balance between a couple in ANY kind of relationship (go to the American Psychological Association website for a recommended new book release on DV).

  32. Very well put! It’s so easy to run through the list in our minds of what our husbands aren’t doing for us. But God places the responsibility square on our shoulders. We are the wives who are to respect and honor our man. We are to look at what God desires of us. I make the mistake, far too often, of expecting love from my husband without realizing that my disrespect has the opposite outcome! Thank you so much for writing this post.

  33. Being intimate with our spouses let us know every flaw that person has. An since we don’t apply biblical principles we tend to focus on flesh; not realizing truly this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Treat it with love and respect, as you would yourself. The bible says what you say, say it in love. So what we say and show our husbands, love covers a multitude of faults. Think more of that person and less of self. Trust it works!

  34. Courtney, you hit the nail on the head.

    As a man, I feel very validated by what you said about respect.

    I also…got a little emotional…or, rather, cried, as I read the comments on this post. In the naiive, non-TV watching world I live in, I was unaware that SO many husbands cheat on their wives!

    As a Mormon, I, too, believe in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ, that all can be forgiven through Him. But, how wonderful it would be for these couples not to have to go through all the heartache in the first place.

    I LOVE what you write, and deeply respect you for not being afraid to share your religious beliefs.

    All the Best,


  35. This is a great post, Courtney! I am so glad that you put the disclaimer at the end. Far too many Christian men counsel women who are in abusive relationships that they just need to respect their husbands better and all will work out. For some this is dangerous and even deadly. I’m glad you also mentioned that adultery is grounds for divorce, because once again, women are often wrongly counseled on this issue also.

  36. This is exactly what I need to read, I have only been married for a short period of time (5mons) but we’ve been in an on and off relationship for 8 years and we’ve faced many trials. I recognize my unwillingness to grant grace and love and often times I do not watch what I say or how I say it. To be reminded of how my behavior and pride is not going to get me the love and attention I am desiring has been a blessing and a reminder to be humble and overcome with love. Thank you for encouraging me to be the wife God has called me to be!

  37. I just wanted to say I have definitely seen how much it means to a husband to tell him you respect him. My husband never looks prouder then when I tell him how great of a husband/father/provider he is for our family. I am also very blessed to have a husband that respects me for being a stay at home mom to our children. He is honestly deeply thankful that I am here caring for our family and he tells me often. Mutual respect is so important in a marriage, and sadly that is not the way opposite world sees it. As soon as they face a problem, they just end it. So sad. 🙁

  38. I have learned to love respecting my husband! It was hard at first, but has gotten easier every year since then. It has also made me fall more in love with him than ever!

    I laughed at the “buddy” conversation. I call our boys Buddy as a term of endearment, and will occasionally slip and say Buddy instead of Baby when addressing my husband. I always catch myself and we have a laugh about it, but if I really meant to call him Buddy, it would definitely seem disrespectful to him!

  39. I believe respect is a two way road. Respect is hard earned but easily damaged. I honestly think some of you ladies are putting up with too much. Don’t let yourselves be stepped all over. This is 2013 and a husband should respect his wife just as much as she respects him. Women have the right to realize their own dreams just as much as their husbands do, and if he can’t deal with that he obviously isn’t the right choice for you.

  40. Thanks again for another challenging and encouraging post Courtney 🙂 I just wanted to encourage anyone who is going through the pain of their husband being unfaithful, that is possible to continue to continue to show your husband respect, even though he doesn’t deserve it, and see your marriage healed.

    My husband left me and our children for 2 long years while he was involved with someone else, but with the prayers and encouragement of a small number of friends (others suggested divorce), and ministries such as Rejoice Marriage Ministries and Focus on the Family, I stood for our marriage and he eventually returned home, physically and in his heart. That was over 2 years ago, praise God! It’s not easy, but it is possible, with God.

    Thanks again Courtney and keep up the good work!

  41. My husband and I have been married for 5 years. Both of us had previous marriages. We’ve had no children together but he has stepped in and become a Dad to my 8 year old son from a previous marriage. We’ve had difficulties in our marriage and our marriage wasn’t set upon a good foundation to start with.
    He doesn’t take criticism from me very well. Even though I didn’t mean to criticize him, I was just trying to share what I was feeling and I’ve always heard that men aren’t mind readers and they don’t take hints very well, so whenever I had a problem with his treatment I would tell him.
    It bothered me that he never complimented me. He often would call me irreverent names that hurt. He would hardly kiss me, or hold my hand. When asked why he married me in my insecure moments he would ask me, “Why do you put me on the spot?!” We would have hours and hours, sometimes days of almost complete silence with hardly any kind of communication whatsoever. I would bring these troubles to his attention which usually followed him telling me to leave him since I wasn’t happy with him and he wanted me to pack my things and get out.
    He’s told me to leave him more times then I can count and more times then I really want to remember. Each time he’s done it, I took it to heart. I cried, was horribly hurt, crushed and I would take steps to make sure that my son and I had a safe place to stay.
    Our life together as a family fell apart. His job was seasonal and his job played out. I wasn’t making enough money to keep us afloat, so he would ask his family for monetary help. He expected me to ask my family for monetary help as well, but I knew that I couldn’t go to my family for that. So I never did. I think that was a area where he resented me.
    Anyway, he had always said to me that if we weren’t able to stay together as a family that he could always go to his brother’s house and I could go to my parent’s. Which bothered me greatly, I always thought that a family would stick together through thick and then.
    Anyway, we got behind in the rent, things were getting desperate for us. I brought my worries to him and once again he told me to get out. I called my Dad up in tears and asked him if I could move in with him and he said yes. My son and I packed up some of our things and moved in with my Dad. It was a hard time for us.
    The electricity at the house was turned off around Christmas of last year. He continued to live in the house with no electricity and still owing rent. I would go over to the house and try to pack things up but it was difficult being in that situation.
    Since then our relationship has ebbed and flowed. I came to the conclusion that I needed to stop bringing things up from the past, even though the things that I brought up were revelant to the moment, that it was past practices being replayed.. That I was trying to make him see my heart and my point of view. But I was told that my feelings didn’t matter compared to the things that were going on in the world.
    He stayed with me some at my Dad’s but that came to a stop when one day he wanted me to borrow money from the savings account I had set up for my Mom. She had warned me, and made me promise that if he asked to use any of the money from the account that I was to tell him no. Anyway, he asked, and in his defense.. he was away from home with no money and we had no money in my bank account. He was needing cigarettes and something to eat. I had to tell him no. Which prompted another fight, in which he declared he “was never coming home again, ever!”
    Which seemed illogical to me, because we weren’t sharing a home. He spent some of his time at his brother’s house and sometimes spent the night with me at my Dad’s. After that, Dad didn’t want him around any more, Dad doesn’t like the way he has treated me.
    I’ve asked God to help me forget the previous hurts and just forgive him and love him like God loves me. I’ve tried. But, we keep experiencing problems.
    He’s living at his brother’s house and I’m still at my Dad’s. He has goals that he wants to achieve and follow through on. Goals like, being able to take care of himself without his families help (which is a good goal) taking steps to have a better job (thumbs up) separating our finances .. (which caused a great deal of alarm for me but I came to realize that I could get a better handle on my bank account without him using the debit card and not giving me the receipt which kept me continually worried about being over drawn.) And getting his truck fixed.
    But, through all of this I feel that our life as a family has been put on the back burner. The only time we get to spend together is if I go to his brother’s house. I feel like I am continually being pushed away. Of course we are working with my own insecurities. My feelings of being unloved and unwanted are everyday thoughts. I feel for my son too, he has to share a room with his Mom. He doesn’t have all his things to comfort himself with.
    I feel that I’ve been emotionally abused to a certain extent. I’m not saying that I’ve been blameless in this but I am so confused by this relationship. I know that a husband should love his wife like God loves the church, I know how a man should be from a biblical standpoint, but my husband doesn’t have the same views. Even though he has professed to being saved.
    Everything is so confusing. I don’t know what to do any more. I don’t know if I should just leave him alone and start a new life with my son without my husband being a part of it. Or should I hang on to whatever is offered and have faith that it will all work out. I feel that I’ve forgiven him and my heart wants to be better wife to him. I love him. But, I know the longer we’re apart the harder it will be to become a family again. Already, it’s difficult for us to be together for very long without a fuss developing of some sort. I am even afraid to get back together again, even if I would like to think that everything will be fine, the truth is, it hasn’t been that way from the beginning.

  42. I’ve enjoyed reading all the Opposite World posts! My marriage fell pray to that World. In some aspects I believed the lies and began falling prey to that world. I have chosen to raise my daughters very “opposite” the way I was raised. We talk of husbands, wifely duties, the reality of dating, being a mom, reality of expectations and what God expects of us. Conversations no woman in my life ever had with me.
    Thanks for all these posts!!! They are inspiring and reassuring.

  43. I shared this blog on my FB page and to other women who would benefit from this! Thank you for reminding us how important it is to be Godly wives and not conform to the world’s standards.

  44. I am in no way saying anyone should stay in an dangerous situation. I want to though remind us all that the only woman commended in scripture for her respect/submission for her husband, the only woman cited as an example to wives, was Sarah. This was in the context of her respecting, submitting, ‘calling him lord’ ‘when he wasn’t obeying the word”. She was able to do this because of her entrusting herself to the Lord. This is the only way we wives can really do this. I wanted to highlight that Abraham consciously chose to put Sarah in harms way. Twice! She did what he said to do, allowing herself to be in a dangerous situation. He pawned her off as his sister, ( in his own self-preservation because he’d disobeyed God in the first place by being in the wrong place) and she could’ve been harmed and taken advantage of. Her trust in the Lord, brought His protection as her advocate. God met her could-be exploiter in a dream and basically said, “Keep your hands off her, she is Abraham’s wife.” This got Abraham in trouble, all without any of her doing. Isn’t that the best?! I think we have to lead people to depend on God to lead them in these complicated situations. “Abuse’ in this culture has come to means many different things. Obviously it is against the law to have physical abuse, a given. Call 911. Be safe. Do not prevent people from the consequences of their own choices. I guess I just wanted to highlight that when our husbands are not obeying the word (I Peter 2-3) that is especially when we need to be very careful about letting God lead us in respecting and submitting. It appears that is where the real power lies, that we all wish our words had. Humility and trust in the Lord. It says, ‘when they see the way we walk with them without our words, (but our actions)’ when they know they don’t ‘deserve’ it, that’s when the they are ‘won’. My favorite scripture, end of I Peter2-3, writing to wives. This is the ‘beauty that is very precious in the sight of God’ could also be translated ‘most’ precious. I love that God knows the cost of what we lay down when we die to our own rights in order to trust Him fully to be our advocate. He knows it costs our very lives, as we define them. That we count them crucified with Him, not just in our words, but in truth. I have seen God move so mightily in my and many marriages by this willingness of wives to simply trust Him and do what He says.

  45. So much good stuff in this post. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing wives put their husbands down or boss them in public. How humiliating. If their husbands did that to them, you KNOW there’d be a fight. I also do not appreciate when women are out together and start husband bashing. I’d be horrified if my husband did this with his friends, so why would I do that to him? And the sad thing is, that when they get over what ever fight they are having, everyone else still has this awful picture in their mind of the woman’s husband. That is not okay! Thank you for sharing this. It’s so important to show respect in private and in public.

  46. Dear Courtney,

    What about the one’s like me that live in sin and still are so much in love with our other half that just can’t commit d.ue to past relationships, but he does tell me he has come to trust me and is in love with me, and that hasn’t happened to him since his 1st wife and that I will be the second and the last wife. I love him so much but sometimes he tells me he just doesn’t feel the love from me like he used to. I went through a very rough time in my life 3 years ago, I found out I had Cancer near my eye they removed two miligment tumers, then I was in the hospital for severe infections in my kidneys for a week, came out and was operated on again for a fatty tumer under my arm and then on top of all that, I was hurt on the job and my body is riddled with pain from it, I am still not back to work, I turned 50 this year and my sex drive has dimminished, so due to that he feels like I don’t show him enough love. Any suggestions I need all the help I can get, this is my last time I will be in a relationship, I want to make it all the way with this one right down the isle in front of GOD.

  47. I just came upon this post on Pinterest and just wanted to say thank you for your words of wisdom. This spoke to me so loudly… I have been married for almost 4 years and the past year has been difficult for me. Long story short I feel like maybe I disobeyed God by marrying my husband. I believe he tried to show me it was the wrong path when we were dating and I refused to listen. And now I am paying the consequences. Nonetheless, I still love my husband very much and want to make our marraige as strong as possible and do mot want to head toward the path of divorce! My trouble is my husband doesnt see our issues as issues and so he refuses to discuss them or work on them. However this post hit home bc I realized I have been being disrespectful and attempting to control him and dominate the relationship. Its going to be hard to change my habits when Im acting out of hurt from something he has done or said but I know I have to change my ways in order to strengthen our marraige! Praying for Gods help bc I know I cant do it alone!

    1. 1 Peter 3 is excellent! I pray God speaks to you through His word in directing you in what steps to take 🙂 through this passage of scripture

  48. Hello! In love I would just like to clarify some statements made above. Courtney you are correct in the fact that it’s NOT SAFE and very UNFORTUNATE for a woman to be in a physically abusive relationship. I must let it be known that the Bible DOES NOT approve of divorce in Matt 19:9, instead if a man entered into a marriage covenant with a woman believing she was pure (virgin) and found out that she was not THEN and ONLY THEN was he allowed to divorce her b/c of the seriousness of the nature of the connection with PURITY & HOLY MATRIMONY..(fornication NOT adultery) 1 Peter 3 gives the answer to women who have unsaved husbands. Please receive this in Love
    God Bless

  49. My husband and I both strayed at a point in our marriage where we hit rock bottom. We have one child and got hit with everything imaginable. Very hard trial. Instead of seeking one another for comfort, we chose two people online whom we knew well. We have been to marriage counseling, seeked refuge in our church and faith and have risen above the odds. Neither one of us were saints but we did seek forgiveness from one another and are at our happiest now. We are all only human but if we keep praying to God not to be tempted by the flesh and communicate, life and marriage can be great.
    Thank you for posting this wonderful and enlightening article, Courtney. I just finished reading your, Women Living Well book and devoured one chapter a day. I recently sent it to a friend who is struggling with finding balance. So far, she is enjoying and getting a lot out of your book. 🙂

  50. I just came across your post on Pinterest while looking for some encouragement on marriage relationships. I feel disconnected from the women in my new Church just now. It is hard to find a woman to confide in that I can trust. I have been married fifteen years to a man who confessed to be saved when we were married but over the years has fallen away and now is hostile and angry with God and with Christians in general. He has been unfaithful these years and has made it clear that if he could he would divorce me but he never found the right replacement and can’t afford the child support. Sounds awful doesn’t it, but not really. I wanted to write to encourage other women. Some women would counsel me that I had a “Biblical reason” to divorce. My own limited understanding of Scripture allowed for it. However, I asked God. We don’t have because we don’t ask HIM! When I asked Him, He gently taught me many things….too numerous to describe here. He has given me new hope, new strength and a new understanding of His vision for marriage. I don’t know how my marriage will turn out, but I know that my marriage is the image of the covenant He made with us. I pray that I will treat my husband with the same respect and gentleness God has treated me with all these years. For He loved us even when we were His enemies.

  51. Quoting from this article. We wives do not get to define what feels respectful or disrespectful to our husbands…our husbands get to define that for us .I don’t think its just husbands that get to say what offends them. With that said I would never intentionally disrespect my husband

    What offend one might not offend another, weather your a man or woman. I think men & women should respect each other. We’ve been married over 30 years & we both have a love & admiration & respect for each other.

    I think when you treat your spouse like you would want to be treated, your relationship will grow. I know ours has grown & changed. I love my husband more today than I did the day we got married.

  52. I love this post. I heard one time that if we aren’t our husbands biggest fans, they will seek that attention elsewhere. Let us be their cheerleaders for a happy marriage!

  53. After almost 47 years of marriage, I am still trying to learn how to be a forgiving and submissive wife. My hubby, though not sure about his own Christianity at all, is a pretty fabulous man by most standards… the point that I feel guilty saying anything negative about him.

    He does have a tendency to be very critical, argumentative, if not down right nasty, much of the time. It is worse when we are alone, but he will put me down and embarrass me around family and others. Over the years I have resorted to the self defense technique of ‘give it right back ‘ and I don’t like how that has worked for me. But my pride gets in the way. I am working on that……very hard.

    I don’t want to ‘give up’ the struggle. I feel after all these years that yes, he loves me as much as he could love anyone else and I want to continue to be here for him and our children and grandchildren. The big but, of course, is I am hurting and hungry for new ideas on how to respond to him while working on myself in the ways that I need.

    Two questions: After a recent, blatant, flirting event on his part……quite out of the ordinary and shocking for me…….I am having trouble ‘warming’ back up to him. I am doing my wifely duties with very little extra talk or behavior. Really don’t want him near me right now. I let him know I was upset and hurt right up front so he knows what is behind the behavior. Do any of you think I am handling this poorly?

    What are your ideas for ways to counteract/respond to the abusive put downs, comments, faces, etc. I encounter from this man almost on a daily basis? Should I say something right then and there…….let it go……leave the room if possible? I really feel that any of it now, after all these years, has to stop once and for all as I think I have been an ‘enabler’ by not taking a stronger stand over the years.

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