"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Husbands Leave, Part 3: Respect - A Tale of Two Husbands

This is part 3 in my "Why Husbands Leave" series.  If you missed the previous 2 posts, follow the links at the end of this post.

When polls are conducted about the needs of husbands, respect always lands squarely in the top three.  Why is respect so important to husbands?  What can wives do to help their husbands feel respected?

Respect is a state of being admired or esteemed.
Esteem = value.

Husbands want to feel respected in the marriage.  A husband who does not feel respected will not be happy and may not be willing to continue in the marriage.

To illustrate the point, allow me to present ...

A Tale of Two Husbands
Tale #1

He seemed happy, that much was obvious.  Every day he followed the same routine he had grown so comfortable with over the years.  Wake up, work, come home, eat, television, sleep, repeat.  It was comfortable and easy. 

He wasn’t unlike many men he knew.  He had a good job, a nice house, and two wonderful children, twins to be precise.    He worked hard and came home every day to deal with the continued pressures of a modern home and family; children bickering, a to-do list that keeps getting longer, a car that needs repair.  All normal stuff for the typical married man, right?

One day he came home from work after a very important meeting that would determine his success or failure in his job for the foreseeable future.

“How was your meeting?” his wife asked.

“Great!” he replied.  “Jim was there and he thought my …”

“Jim?  He’s an idiot.  I hope you told him he ruined your weekend with all that extra work.”

“No.  I didn’t think it was the time.”

“If you don’t stand up for yourself you’ll never get ahead.  You just let him walk all over you.”

“I know, but I need the job.”


She rolled her eyes as she walked away from him, her attitude indicating her level of respect for her husband.

Later that evening at dinner, the whole family was gathered around the table eating and enjoying some small talk when the conversation took the usual unfortunate turn.

His son asked, “How was your meeting, Dad?”

“Not bad, in fact it went very well!” the father replied.

“So, you finally grew a backbone?

"What's that supposed to mean?"

His daughter chimed in, "It means that a 'real man' would do whatever he had to do to get ahead in the world."

"I do what I have to"

"That's not what Mom says."  Both kids looked at each other before looking simultaneously at their mother.

It was obvious that their mother had been doing a bit of complaining within earshot of the children.

The words cut like a knife.  He knew he had to do something.  That much was obvious.
The wonderful life that began with two people who were madly in love had slowly changed over the years until his wife and children thought nothing of openly disrespecting him.

Eventually he made a decision to leave the marriage.


Tale #2 *

A new pastor arrived in town.  It was a large town that resembled more of a small city than a hamlet or village.  It was the kind of place where life moved at full speed and no one had time to stop and breathe. 

After he and his family settled and the children were registered for school, he began visiting the families in his new congregation. Things went as expected as he made his way through the church directory, calling and visiting families, learning about them, praying with them.  It was a tedious and necessary part of the job, but one that he enjoyed very much.

One particular family bounced around in his thoughts that week.  They were a family who, though they had nothing, were head and shoulders above the rest.  They had a certain “something” the other families he visited that week could only dream of.  

When the pastor knocked on this family’s door, the woman answered and invited him in.  As they sat in the living room, talking and drinking coffee she made many references to her husband and what a wonderful home he provides for her and the children.  Before long the children came downstairs and introduced themselves to the new pastor.  The littlest one asked anxiously when his daddy was coming home.  Another older daughter went to the kitchen to make more coffee "for Daddy when he comes home." Still another child was getting the paper and putting it in "Daddy's chair."

The pastor was very curious about the tremendous person these children call “Daddy.”  When the father finally arrived home, his wife rushed to the door to greet him with a small kiss and his children each gave him a hug.  He sat down in his chair and his daughter brought him a cup of coffee.  He beamed as he talked to his wife, his children, and their new pastor.  There was a genuine peace and happiness about this man.

The pastor was struck by the sheer presence of him, not because his strength was so great as to command such respect from his wife and family, but because he was so ordinary – one might even say “geeky” – yet he commanded such respect from his wife and family.


Each of these tales involves s husband, a wife, and children.  The major difference between these scenarios is the role of the wife.   The attitude of a wife has a ripple effect throughout the family. 

The wife in Tale #1 was not respectful toward her husband.  The consequence of this disrespect is not only a broken marriage relationship (the husband make a decision to leave), but also some notably disrespectful children.  The fact that they dare to speak to their father in such a manner is likely a direct result of the model shown to them by their mother.

The wife in Tale #2 has shown her children a model of respect.  She held her husband in high regard at all times, thereby setting an example for her children.  The children in turn show respect for both parents.

"...it's not who or what the father is personally, but the mother's attitude toward him that makes all the difference. A husband can only take their proper place at the head of the house when wives respect and honor their wishes, thereby giving our children the desire to do likewise."
I couldn't agree more.  When husbands love their wives and wives submit to their husbands (show them respect) then the home is in proper order, as God intended.  Any other arrangement causes unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and disrespect.

Finally, here are a few verses to take with you and ponder as you think about respect in marriage.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22 (ESV)
For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (ESV)
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:22-33
New International Version (NIV)
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
Proverbs 21:19
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3
 * Tale #2 was adapted from a story that appeared on the Interactive Bible Home Page.

If you would like to read the rest of the series, here are the links.
Why Husbands Leave, Part 1: Significance
Why Husbands Leave, Part 2: Love 

From the inside out,

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  1. Really digging this stuff!!

  2. I admit to having tears in my eyes as I read about the father who's wife rushed to the door and kissed him when he arrived home, that is so far from my own experience. I am pretty far down the scale where significance, love and respect are concerned, certainly lower than TV programs, housework, my father in law and my kids.

    1. I feel your pain. I'm constantly feeling as though my position on the list of significance is dropping all the time. My wife and I have a 2 year old, and she is a stay at home mom. I admit, there is a lot to do, but she makes plenty of time to go to her classes at the gym. In fact, she rushes around doing other things in order not to be "late" to her classes at the gym. I've told her that I would like her to put as much effort into taking care of her husband as she does in making to her gym classes on time. Of course, she says ok, but actions stay the same. I don't know what it's going to take for her to realize that she is slowly losing me, and I've told her this. Honestly I feel that I was kind of suckered and fell for the game as part of a checklist: Play the role that's needed to lure me in, get married, and have a kid. All checked off, now it seems like she doesn't feel like she needs to do anything else. And yet, she doesn't want me talking to female coworkers because "if you have an emotional bond of "friendship" it will be easy for you to cheat". MY problem with that is, there would be no though of cheating or no thought of doing so if she would take care of her duties. I've always told her "it's your job to keep me at home, as it's mine to keep you at home." But apparently all my words fall on deaf ears. I hope things work out for you man.

  3. Seems really odd that in a blog for husbands you quoted verses intended to instruct the woman, not the verses that instruct the man (ok, the Philippians verse is directed to both, and the Proverb directs the man but degrades the woman). The Ephesians passage has plenty to say to men. Not relevant? Sure, the post is on why men leave, but it doesn't make sense to make sure the reader (a man) gets God's instruction for him nice and clear?

    I know somebody using these posts to justify why his wife is at fault for problems in the marriage. I really doubt that's what you had in mind...

    --Husband whose been through the good and the bad

  4. I am not a practicing person of religion, but during my search for some guidance on some problems within my marriage I came across this page. I've just spent 2 hours reading as much as possible and I'm absolutely glued to what you have to say. I find some areas pretty strong but everything you have to say about 'why husbands leave' is remarkably true and has highlighted many areas for improvement within my marriage. My areas for concern right now include mainly respect and sex & desire. We have love, but I'm certainly not desired, she is but not me - even after only a year of marriage (although this is not my first). I think the root of the problem may even stem from respect, or lack of.

    In reference to the post above by anon, I agree that this site should not be used to judge our wives and I certainly will not be blaming my Wife for anything BUT I do think the information can be used to make certain husbands understand that they're not alone and this is common place in many marriages.

    The whole point of this site is positive in my opinion, I've identified a lot about how I 'tick' and how men 'tick' in general. I'm considering asking my Wife to read certain parts so she can maybe understand how I 'tick' a little better.

    I really like the family values that seem to be encouraged within Christianity, I'm 36 years old and up until now I've never really felt drawn toward religion. I'm really starting to think differently.

    Thank you for publishing this.

    Extremely helpful.