Respectful spouses care about each other, even during a disagreement. The couples don’t get gridlocked in their separate positions. Instead, they keep talking with each other about conflicts. They listen respectfully to their spouses’ perspectives and they find compromises that work for both sides.

“Love . . . does not look for its own interests.”—1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.

To respect each other means that you appreciate each other’s value and you don’t want to do anything that would damage our marriage.

 WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Without respect, conversation between spouses can become laced with criticism, sarcasm, and even contempt—qualities that researchers say are early predictors of divorce.

For instance, making snide remarks, innuendos, or jokes about your wife will only crush her confidence, destroy her trust, and damage your marriage.

WHAT THEN CAN YOU DO?

TEST YOURSELF

Track your conversation and actions for a week.

Then ask yourself:

  • How often did I criticize my spouse, and how often did I give her a compliment?’
  • In what specific ways did I show respect for my spouse?

DISCUSS WITH YOUR SPOUSE

  • What actions and words would help each of you feel respected?
  • What actions and words make each of you feel disrespected?

POSSIBLE TIPS

  • Write down three ways you would like to be shown respect. Have your spouse do the same. Exchange lists, and work on showing respect in the areas that were identified.
  • Make a list of traits that you admire about your spouse. Then tell your spouse how much you appreciate those traits.

For instance, to respect your spouse means you show it by your actions that you value him/her and that you want him/her to be happy. It isn’t always a grand gesture; sometimes a series of small acts can demonstrate genuine respect.

In the end, it is not a matter of whether you view yourself as respectful or not; it is a question of whether your spouse feels respected.

“Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, humility, mildness, and patience.”—Colossians 3:12.

Thanks for reading. Please reflect on this and remember to return for the rest on this series and many more.