How Do I Show Respect When My Husband is a Jerk?

Just because your husband is a jerk doesn’t mean you aren’t called to respect him. Here’s how to respect your jerk husband – without being a doormat.

 How Do I Show Respect When My Husband is a Jerk?I don’t know about you, but respect has never come easily to me.

I’m fairly traditional and feminine (I’m not a tomboy by any means), but I am also strong, stubborn, opinionated, and self-centered at times. I’m a perfectionist, and I like to have things done a certain way.

It’s not my husband’s fault I’m not very good at respecting him. He’s a great guy! He definitely deserves all the respect I am called to give him. It’s my fault alone.


Unfortunately, for some of you, your situation may be different. Maybe you’re married to a man who truly makes respecting him difficult. Maybe your husband is a jerk.

Maybe he talks down to you, criticizes you or makes you feel inferior. Maybe he gets angry more often than he should, goes out with his friends more often than you’d like, watches porn, or simply doesn’t pay attention to you like he should.

Maybe he checked out emotionally years ago. Maybe he’s rude, forgetful, or you don’t feel like you can trust him with even the simplest of tasks, much less your heart. Maybe you feel more like roommates than lovers.

Maybe you’re in an unequally yoked marriage where he isn’t a believer, and he’s making it very difficult for you to grow in faith with the rude things he says about Christianity and about you for believing in it.


Let me be clear: I am NOT talking about a husband who is physically or emotionally abusive–(I address abuse and divorce here)–but when your mostly loving, caring husband is a jerk sometimes.


Maybe he realizes it, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he has hurts and issues he’s dealing with under the surface, and they’re quickly becoming your issues too.

As a Christian wife, you know you are called to be respectful — even when your husband is a jerk — but how do you respect someone like that??


*This article contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the many costs of running this site and allows me to help provide for my growing family. Thank you!


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Have you ever wondered, What is God’s will for my marriage? or What would God want me to do in this situation with my husband? Or maybe, What does it mean to respect my husband? I think all wives have at some point!

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  • How do I apply the Bible’s instructions to my life today?
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  • How can I make a difference right where I am?
  • How should I navigate relationships with those who think, act, or believe differently than I do?
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1. Understand the True Meaning of Respect


Merriam Webster defines respect as “a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way.”


Respect doesn’t mean you become a doormat, that you praise your husband in an over-the-top ridiculous way or that you can never have an opinion on anything. Respect simply means honoring the dignity of the other person–and recognizing their inherent worth as a human being created by God. 

Respecting your husband does NOT mean making yourself unimportant or insignificant or completely excusing his behavior when your husband is a jerk and walks all over you.

It means that you don’t treat him like he’s inferior, like he’s a child, or like his opinions and preferences don’t matter. You value him and treat him honorably. You view your husband as God views him–as a dearly beloved child of God–and you act like it.


Love & Respect BookBy the way… One book that has REALLY helped me learn how to respect my husband more is “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs. In fact, I’ve actually read it quite a few times now, and taken lots of notes.

(And taped those notes on my wall so I would see them every day and remember to actually DO them…)

It really opened my eyes to what men (in general) mean what they say “Respect” and gave me LOTS of ideas for very practical action steps I could take to be more respectful in my own marriage. Turns out, what I thought respect looked like and what my husband actually needs from me were totally different, and I was doing tons of disrespectful things without even realizing it or meaning to. (Yikes!)

If you also struggle with understand what it means to respect your husband and how you can go about that in a practical way, I highly, highly recommend this book! There’s even a workbook that goes along with it too, for those of you who are committed to change.

This book really helped me, and I bet it would really help you too.


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Oh, and I HAVE to mention–I LOVE the definition of respect Kristi shares in her article, How Submission Saved My Marriage. I literally laughed out loud and shared it with my husband. Though he didn’t find it quite as funny as I did.


*See Also: What Strong Christian Women Need to Know About Submission


2. Understand that Respect is a Command (Even When Your Husband is a Jerk)


Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just pick and choose which parts of the Bible we want to follow and ignore the rest? Well, it doesn’t work like that. When God commands us to do something, He expects us to listen. And in Ephesians chapter 5, God commands women to respect their husbands.


“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” –Ephesians 5:33


It doesn’t say “if he deserves it.” It doesn’t say “after he earns it.” It doesn’t say “if you feel like it.” It doesn’t say “if he treats you right.”

It says “the wife must see to it.” In other words, do it. Whether your husband is a jerk or he’s the sweetest man on Earth – YOU still have the responsibility to be the wife God created you to be.


Now, yes, it does say that the husband is supposed to love his wife as well. And if both the husband and the wife held up their end of the deal–respect would be easy! BUT you aren’t responsible for what your husband does; you’re responsible for you. And God commands YOU to be respectful.


*Related: 3 Ways to Fight For Your Marriage When You’re Busy and Exhausted


3. Put that Respect into Action (i.e. No More Thinking ” My Husband is a Jerk”)


Waiting until you feel like respecting your husband before you start acting like it? You may be waiting a while. Whether your husband is a jerk or a great guy, the way we feel about people is influenced in large part by the way that we treat them, talk about them, and even think about them.

So if you want to feel respectful to your husband, start with your own thoughts and actions first.


Now, every husband will feel respected in a slightly different way, so what works for one husband may not work for yours, but here are a few ideas to get you started thinking on how to build your husband up:

  • Compliment him
  • Show appreciation
  • Do things his way without a fight
  • Ask for his opinion or advice
  • Focus on the positive
  • Build him up in front of others (even if he’s not around)
  • Be intimate with him
  • Give him the benefit of the doubt
  • Speak in a loving tone
  • Treat him as an equal, not a child
  • Back him up in front of the children
  • Avoid nagging and complaining
  • Pick up things he likes at the grocery store

Related: 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband


Love & Respect BookAnd again, if you’re searching for practical suggestions, Love and Respect has tons of great ones. It is such a great resource for those who are committed to changing their marriage for the better. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should. (In fact, I probably should read it again…)


Yes, it will probably be hard at first. It’s won’t feel natural. It won’t be easy. But time and time again, when I’ve set my own feelings and emotions aside to do things God’s way, I have never, ever regretted it.


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Ready to Dive Into God’s Will for Your Marriage?

Follow God's Will Book and Workbook

Looking for ways to strengthen your marriage? Are there other relationships in your life that need some care? I’ve learned that a solid relationship with God is the foundation for great relationships with others.

Whether you need help connecting with God or just want to strengthen that connection, check out my brand new book, Follow God’s Will: Biblical Guidelines for Everyday Life, along with the Follow God’s Will companion workbook.

Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Follow God’s Will is designed to help you answer questions including:

  • What does God want me to do?
  • How do I apply the Bible’s instructions to my life today?
  • Where is God calling me personally?
  • How can I make a difference right where I am?
  • How should I navigate relationships with those who think, act, or believe differently than I do?
  • And so many more!

Want to start reading for free?

Simply enter your first name and email below, and I’ll send you an exclusive “first-peek” right away, right to your inbox!

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Do you struggle with respect when your husband is a jerk? What is it that’s getting in your way? Is it that you don’t want to respect your husband when he’s being a jerk or you just don’t know how?


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  1. This is definitely something I struggle with. I’m desperately unhappy in my marriage. My husband barely talks to me and is always going out to clubs and is hardly home on weekends. We have 2 little boys (both under 3) together and I really struggle to even like him. Some days I feel like the only reason I’m with him is because the bible is so against divorce and getting remarried. It’s very lonely and I feel lost and sometimes even abandoned by God (though I know he doesn’t leave us). Anyhow I may pick up a copy of that book and see if it helps at all xx

    1. You should! You may not be able to change him directly, but you can change yourself and that can reallllly change your relationship for the better. I know because my marriage was just like yours a few years ago. I wasn’t miserable, but I honestly didn’t realize how bad things were for some time. Now that we’re making changes, I’m realizing just how “off” things were and how much better marriage can be than I ever would have thought! I think sometimes we don’t see things that are plainly in front of our faces until we have someone else to point them out. I know that’s how it was for me.

  2. Fantastic post, girl! I wish there were more bloggers and wives like you out there getting this message across. Respect for our husbands has become a truly unpopular topic due to society’s tendency towards feminism and male-bashing. But I believe respect for our husbands, as antiquated and counterintuitive as it may seem, actually can open doors to their personal and spiritual growth and their taking steps to being better fathers and husbands. This is such an important message. I have read Love and Respect and I think it’s a must-read for wives. Eggerichs tends to stereotype a little too much for my taste but his message is still relevant and highly needed. Cheers!

    1. Thanks, Elsie! (LOVE your name by the way). And I agree completely. I’ve found that every time I treat my husband well, it doesn’t make me less. It comes back to me ten-fold!

      1. My husband and I struggle. Our foundation has been built up and toppled down multiple times through our 7 yr marriage. There has been mistrust, lies, sneaking around, lack of intimacy, problem drinking, violence, criticism, blaming, lack of desire, depressive behaviors/ mood swings, financial burdeons, power struggles, irresponsibility, inconsideration. We have spoken to pastors, counselors, psychologists, a marriage therapist and God. It feels like a losing battle. Sometimes like our marriage is an obstacle in the way of my husband’s will. He works 40 hrs a week and pays the bills. We are no longer friends, our family of 3 young girls is likely suffering not seeing a loving, responsible, respectful, friendly, caring, meaningful relationship between the two of us. My biggest concern is that my girls will chose a future mate who treats/ mistreats/ avoids/ neglects them like my husband does me…..I ask God for divine intervention and healing. I know He listens but I feel like he isn’t seeing the pain in my life the way I feel it. How do I proceed? ?

      2. I wish i knew what to tell you but I don’t. All I can say is that you’re not alone and I’m praying for you. There are lots of others in the same situation as you, and God sees that and he knows. That’s what I take comfort in.

  3. Wow this irritated me. Why is is it when the article is religious in nature it always preaches the wife to be the one who swallows her pride and basic self respect to please a man who does not deserve that respect? It’s no wonder so many have floated away from religion. It puts the woman in a subservient position by brainwashing her into believing it’s her duty in order to be a good person to allow herself to be stepped on while no accountability is preached to the husband. I think this leads to a lot of unhappy, lonely wives giving of themselves selflessly but knowing they will get into heaven by being a “good girl.” No thanks, I can’t swallow that line of BS.

    1. I don’t think Brittany is saying that we simply swallow our pride and self respect to please a man. All human beings are deserving of respect, even those who are unkind or thoughtless. Respecting your husband is not about being subservient or being a “good girl.” It’s about following God’s commands, being faithful in what we can control. I cannot control my husband’s actions, but I can control my response to him. Brittany is also very clear in saying that we are not required to be doormats, or if we are in abusive relationships that we’re required to remain there. By nature, we are self-centered people; we have to be intentional to focus on those around us. I can get caught up in thinking my husband isn’t meeting my needs and get frustrated by that, or I can focus on what I need to do better. And perhaps God will use our actions and faithfulness to change the attitude and actions of our spouse. If nothing else, I think we can be happier wives because we are in control of our responses rather than reacting to circumstances.

    2. In fairness’s sake, it’s not just a one-sided thing. If I were writing an article for men, I’d be saying just about the same thing. And honestly, in my marriage, my husband is usually better at putting me first than I am him, but… since the purpose of this article is only to talk to wives–not husbands–I’m only sharing one perspective here. Not saying the other isn’t valid. It just isn’t the point of this particular article.

    3. Speaking as an atheist, I think it makes sense to respect our spouses. Brittany’s primary audience is women, so why would she write to men about respecting or loving their wives (even though it was directly addressed)?

    4. I agree with you whole heartedly. I rarely see where men are exhorted to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it. My husband is very very selfish and very rarely puts me first, and usually when he does there is an ulterior motive. We have a 5,4 & 3 yr old, and when he brings me coffee or anything like that is usually so I can get up to watch the kids, etc. I’m very bitter towards these articles, because the majority of the time if there are these problems with respect, it’s because the man is not doing his part in the equation. We are called to respect, but not enable or be doormats, and men have as much of responsibility in a marriage to make the equation work better. I do respect my husband as a human being. I do not mistreat him, or treat him any different than I would a coworker at this point. He has never put me first and I’m over it.

      1. Meaning I’m over trying to do the extra stuff….I treat him as respectful and as well as anyone else, but not more because I seem to only get wounded.

      2. I couldn’t even read your whole article at first because it is painful to because I have read many of them, but I did now and do you know what is funny? I truly do almost every single thing you have listed the vast majority of the time. Almost every single thing and it has not made my marriage happier, just me more unhappy. I have not made myself a victim. I just think there are some very selfish men, and I made a choice out of naïveté because of how I was raised. I would have seen red flags now that I didn’t then

      3. Honestly, sometimes that is the case. Some guys ARE just jerks and some women are unfortunate enough to be married to them. Have you read the story of Abigail in the Bible? (1 Samuel 25) She was married to a jerk of a guy. It didn’t end well for him! Have you talked to your pastor, counselor or trusted Christian woman adviser about it?

      4. In reply to you Kart, I absolutely know how you feel and understand the concept of being a doormat for a selfish husband. I’m wrestling with the concept of respect vs giving of myself till I am no longer a person and I don’t believe that is what God has called us to. I do think that having older women in my life has been helpful for me lately and I would encourage you to find someone who you can talk to because it helps so much to be refreshed and try again to live with the unloveable jerk.

      5. That is true. There is definitely an imbalance. But I don’t think that’s because one is more important than the other; you just have to consider who is writing and to whom. Since this site is geared towards women specifically, I write to women. It wouldn’t do me any good to write to men because they wouldn’t be here to read it! Most of the blogs I follow are also written by women for women. So, that’s what you get.

        Husband revolution is one site I know of that writes specifically to men – you may find something there:

    5. Well, you can only be accountable to yourself and people of your choosing. You can’t expect others to change. Respect and subservience are different. I can respect someone, yet disagree with them. Those things aren’t separate.

  4. I like the article, I think we all struggle with this issue, and it probably wouldn’t do any good to write an article for men because they wouldn’t read it anyway. So here we are doing our best to make things better and in many ways I’ve often wondered what it meant to show respect to my husband. He’s not a total jerk but can be very thoughtless at times, and I think I know his opinion and don’t want to hear it. I don’t think he’d notice if I brought home his favorite foods from the grocery store. Looking at the list I must be doing most of it most of the time and I think he’s pretty happy so how long should I wait for him to reciprocate?

  5. I am really struggling in this area! In fact my husband and I are currently separated. We have had some really rough times! Right now a big barrier for my respecting him is his incredible ego! He refuses to take personal responsibility for our relationship, refuses to apologize and sees all the problems in our marriage as my problem, therefore he doesn’t need to change. So I see the main thing I need to work on now is my respect for him, but how do I do that when he thinks so highly of himself already!

  6. I truly truly do everything on the list. I love no matter what and I don’t engage in raising voices or arguments. I’m not perfect, but dang I try! Frankly, I feel more like a Proverbs 31 door mat than a loved, treasured woman. He is irritable, complaining, judgemental and all around unhappy, thus making no effort back. I feel disrespected and hurt. How can I change the way I feel?

    1. Dear Sandy, the one thing I know works is prayer, my husband refuses to go to any type of
      Counseling. He is often mean, criticizes me a lot (he’ll never admit it) and his ego is so huge. I used to snap back at him or just cry every time he spoke down at me or criticized me in front of others or my kids. Now I just walk away and pray pay that God will open your husbands eyes to the hurt you’re feeling. Grab that anointing oil and when he’s not home and you’re alone or if it’s not possible for you to be alone do this while everyone is asleep: 1st pray for yourself that the Lord would change whatever God sees needing to be changed in you, ask for forgiveness for anything and everything you know or may not know you’ve done wrong- then pray like you’ve never prayed before-cry out to the Lord – start with your husbands side of the bed, anoint his pillow blanket sheet, go to the closet and anoint his clothes (don’t get oil on his clothes ),shoes socks, then go to his vehicle and pray God will give you the prayer trust Him. And even if you don’t want to change your attitude prayer works God has been transforming my life and marriage since I started doing this

      1. This is very helpful because all of the rights vs. wrongs a woman can do won’t make her feel better right away and the enemy makes it harder to keep doing the right thing! This has me crying now mostly from relief bc it has been so hard around here! But remembering that God is always on time makes me feel better. I feel I have to do SOMETHING since patience is not my strongest attribute, and not letting a man get “one over on me” is a strong one unfortunately and pride too…to the point where I get mean! I feels like since I asked for patience in other parts of my life, God is helping me to have more faith in Him while things are not going my way with my husband. So the only healthy DOING I can do is pray. Not fight. Not be a doormat, respectfully disagree and let God fill in the rest of the words I want to yell but would only bring damage. I feel I could write a million words of the steps to progress in a blog, but my friends and neighbors would judge, so thank you for the voice here and the strive to help other women!!:)

    2. I feel the same way. Being called filthy names and after print up with it for years, I got a hard heart and had an affair. We went to counseling ands he still won’t admit his part of the problem. He still makes rude comments like you know how to put out you’re good at that. Or when he sees a broom he says there’s your new ride. I stick up for myself and apparently that’s disrespect. He says I should just put up with it.

  7. This article really helped me! I’m married to a really amazing man, the best man I’ve ever been with, truly! And yet, there are times when he flat out gets on my nerves (We’ve talked about this; he knows it) whether it’s from being insensitive, unloving, or just plain mean and in those times, I shut down, roll my eyes, and possibly even scream back! Honestly, while this whole post was good, you had me at point 1 and that definition of respect: simply remembering to treat him like he’s important, which he is, whether he’s being loving or not. Wow! So good!

    I’ve been to a love and respect conference before I was married and absolutely loved! Now that I’m married, you’re absolutely right, I need to read that book!! Thank you so much for your insight on this matter! It truly helped me!

    Blessings! ?

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