What Makes Him Feel Respected?

Recently I asked you what your husband does (or could do) to make you feel loved. At the same time, I asked the men on The Generous Husband what makes them feel respected. The raw results of both surveys, including all the comments, are posted on the Marriage Bed site. Here I want to look at trends in what husbands said.

I am doing this as the start of a series on love and respect on both blogs. A small group we meet with weekly has been going through the Love and Respect Live Marriage Conference DVDs done by Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs. I have long been a fan of the Love and Respect book, and the DVD series is even better. Emerson is an excellent speaker, and the information is exceptional. One of the complaints I hear about his material is he makes it seem all men are the same and all women are the same. He addresses that well in the DVDs. While there are no one size fits all answers, much of this does fall along gender lines for most couples. Learn the general truths, and then figure out how to modify them for you and your spouse.

Love and Respect DVDs Image Credit: © Love & Respect Ministries

What makes men feel respected? The 166 men who answered the survey give us a good look at this. I have grouped these by similar idea. The number after each if the number of men who said something along these lines.

  • Honouring my parenting decisions and not contradicting me in front of the kids (33)
  • Sex (Do it, do it more, initiate)  (27)
  • Compliments me, says proud of me, affirms me (25)
  • Respects/values my opinions and point of view (18)
  • Seeks my input and considers it (16)
  • Lack of eye rolling, sarcasm, yelling or mocking when we talk (15)
  • Speaks well of me to others (15)
  • Listen with interest (14)
  • Treats me like an adult, not a child (13)
  • Supports my decisions/ Not second guessing me (13)
  • Gives me the benefit of the doubt (13)
  • Sees my job as important (11)
  • Only questions or criticises in private (10)
  • Not interrupting when I am speaking (10)
  • Lets me lead the family (10)
  • Trusts me (9)
  • Supports me in public (9)
  • Non-sexual touch (8)
  • Keep the house nice (7)
  • Speaks clearly her feelings and needs (6)
  • Does not nag me (5)
  • Nice reception when I get home (5)
  • Values what I do around the house (5)
  • Puts our marriage ahead of others (including our kids) (5)
  • Respects/ trusts my driving (3)
  • Takes care of how she looks (3)
  • Willing to admit when she is wrong and apologise (2)

A major issue for men is not being insulted or negatively questioned in front of others. This includes the couple’s kids, family, and friends. Contradicting or invalidating his parenting in front of the kids was a huge issue. Second-guessing, and interrupting were also big issues. On the positive side compliments, especially “I’m proud of you for ____” are powerful. Men feel respected when their wife sought and considered their ideas, and when their wife shows value for his opinions. As for sex, one man put it well by saying, “Respect my need for sex.”

Do you know which items above your husband finds critical? If so, work on doing them. If not, find out ASAP!

In This Series:

What Makes Him Feel Respected? ◄ This page
Unconditional Respect 
Confronting to Connect 
The Respect Note 

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12 Comments on “What Makes Him Feel Respected?

  1. Great information here, thanks Paul! We’ve been to the Love and Respect Conference, it was a great experience; well worth it! And we’ve read the book. I didn’t pick up on the gender issue in either case. But then I’m a big believer in the complete opposites of the genders and that almost all of the generalities fit for each one.

    I guess I will remain so until my husband, son or brother or husband’s of any friends come tearing through the door with movie in hand, “HEY look, they just released Legally Blond IV. I can’t wait to watch it!”

  2. Pingback: What Makes Him Feel Respected? | Marriage and F...

  3. Great list Paul.

    Words of affirmation is a huge one for me. I think every man has a need to feel capable of coming through for his woman, and when she recognizes and affirms the good things I do it feel really good.

    On the other hand, we tend to remember the bad more than the good, so one harsh criticism can undo a lot of good words of affirmation.
    Daniel Robertson recently posted…“Life is Short. Have an Affair” (With Your Spouse)My Profile

  4. It’s so easy to confuse concern for your well-being as mothering by your wife and thinking she feels you have no common sense or can be responsible for effectively running your own life. It can seem as if she doesn’t respect your ability to organize and prioritize the elements of you day-to-day existence. And sometime she’s right, wouldn’t you know.
    Dan recently posted…If Duty Sex Isn’t Her Duty, What Is? Part 2My Profile

    • Equally, it’s easy for us women to think that we’re ‘helping’ when actually we’re interfering or giving unsolicited advice. I think it’s important to give your spouse – of either gender – room to make mistakes and learn at their own pace, even if you *do* genuinely know a better way of doing something (as long as that mistake isn’t something that will put anyone in any kind of danger of course). I think where the giving and receiving of advice is concerned, humility is required on both sides.

      • Absolutely!
        Of course a wise man or women will say “please let me know when you think I am making a mistake” – but we must wait for that request.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…The Crazy CycleMy Profile

      • I know my wife means well and I should appreciate and be flattered my her concern but it is things like being involved in something late in the night and her telling me I should go ahead and go to be since I have to get up early the next day; or to allow enough time to get to a job because I am going in during rush hour; or to make sure I have something to wear to church of work the next day and can she iron anything for me. No thanks. I’ll just pull a shirt and pants out of the dryer or dirty clothes hamper where they have been sitting overnight and wear them. Well, DUH. I know why she is asking and suggesting, but if I want to stay up too late and be tired the next day, that’s my poor decision. I value what I am involved in more than an extra hours sleep. I am an adult after all. That’s the crux of this issue in a nut shell.
        Dan recently posted…If Duty Sex Isn’t Her Duty, What Is? Part 2My Profile

  5. Hi Paul, you had left some comments about the concept of respect on my blog(which I have since deleted) a while back.

    About making all women and men seem the same…I’d be curious how he addresses that in the DVDs? For instance, much(but not all) of the book seems to operate from a premise that the men are working and are the sole providers. If that dynamic isn’t present for a couple then it puts a different spin on some of what the book has to say.

    As far as things like not questioning parenting decisions in front of others, isn’t that something both genders want?

    • He does expand on this a good deal.

      On working he mentions a survey which found most high school girls wanted to work, but also wanted to marry a man who could support them if they choose not to work. He says, and I agree, working is more deeply ingrained in men than women. We feel useless if we do not have a “real job” even if we are doing a lot of good at home and elsewhere.

      He addresses the reality some men and women do not fit what he ways, but says they are the exceptions. He also says much of this plays out even when a couple does not fit the classic example.

      He has a solid background in psychology, and seems to feel he can back what he says from there.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Love the One You’re WithMy Profile

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