A happy marriage is based on a mutual respect for one another's company, suggests John Gottman, Ph.D., co-director of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute. If your wife feels disrespected by you, it is most likely causing tension that is leading to a lack of intimacy and satisfaction in your marriage. While you may have been unaware that you were not showing her the respect she deserves, she most likely feels disconnected from you if you prioritize your friends over her or do not value her insights.
Show her love. One of the most basic, yet essential, ways you can better respect your wife is to show her love through your actions. Respect leads to love and love leads to respect, and when you put your wife's needs before your own, you are showing her respect by your behavior, says psychologist, columnist and author Neill Neill. Volunteer to run errands for her or clean the house one afternoon when you get home from work so that she can get some much-needed rest.
Avoid judging her. Judging your wife may prove to be toxic for your relationship, as you are making negative conclusions about her that show you do not trust her. Successful couples do not make condemning judgments about one another, but instead, choose to trust a mate's intentions. By recognizing that your wife has good intentions, you demonstrate basic belief in her and show her that you respect her perspective.
Embrace a new kind of thinking. It may take an entire new frame of mind to give your wife the respect she deserves. Forget what you think you know about managing relationships, and choose to be happy instead of always having to be right in conflicts, advises celebrity psychologist Phil McGraw. Instead of looking at your wife as the enemy or as someone you must prove yourself to, change the way you think and remember she is on your side. By backing her up and recognizing that you are on the same team, you show her you respect her opinion and the value of your relationship.
Be fair if you disagree about an issue. When you disagree with your wife, resist criticizing her, as this may cause her to doubt your love for her or make her wonder if you value her. An effective communicator knows how to separate the person from the issue he is fighting about. Instead of telling your wife that she is stupid, say something along the lines of, "You are a smart person, but I feel the decision you made was not the wisest." This shows her that you love and cherish her but disagree with her actions.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert; John M. Gottman
Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.