“My wife doesn’t respect me,” is a complaint I hear a lot when working with couples. I’m going to talk about that. I’ll diagram the interactions and exchanges between you and your wife that show what’s really going on. I’ll also paint you a visual picture of what it might feel like to be in that position.
Sharing this video with your wife may make your wife more aware of what she’s doing and help her see how you feel.
Respect is a hot-button issue for couples.
Our Example Secnario: Husband & Wife
I’ll use a husband and wife in this example. These genders are just for the sake of argument; neither behavior is gender specific. For the time being, pretend you’re the husband.
You, the husband, are made to feel unimportant. It feels like you don’t matter to your wife.
How “My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me” Feels
What’s happening in this relationship is that your wife is dismissive of you, that she sometimes overlooks you, ignores you, or doesn’t let you feel heard. All of those behaviors make you feel unimportant, irrelevant, and that she doesn’t respect you.
That’s the emotional tapestry underlying that overwhelming sense that “my wife doesn’t respect me.”
So, you’re probably feeling sad–or its twin emotion: angry–that your wife is disrespectful. What’s going on is that she’s oblivious to your needs and making herself unavailable.
Where the Sense That My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me Comes From
She might have a wall up. She’ll be doing her thing on her own, and you will ask, “What about me? Why are you doing that?”
Your wife replies, “I’m doing it because I want to and because it’s important to me,” but she’s not including you. That’s where the sense of disrespect comes from.
You feel dismissed.
My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me, So… Where Do We Go From Here?
You need to change your language. You’re thinking, “my wife doesn’t respect me,” and probably went so far as to have told her, “I feel that you don’t respect me.” That’s not reaching her; she’s not connecting with it.
Your old approach failed.
A Better Approach: Non-Accusatory Discussion of Personal Needs
Don’t use accusatory language. Here’s how to get your wife to understand you better. So, when you say “you this” or “you that,” it comes across as blaming. It will put your wife on the defensive, and you will never get what you want, because she’s busy defending herself.
Stop thinking in terms of your wife and in terms of that she’s disrespecting you, and frame things in terms of what you want and need. What your sense of disrespect really means is that you want attention and to know that you matter.
How to Express Your Needs to Your Wife
Talk softly and sweetly to her. For the moment, set aside your resentment at the current situation. Come from the part of you that still loves her and wants her in your life.
In your approach, be cautious not to sound demanding, regretful, or whiny. Aim for impartial. You want to talk to her in a non-emotionally–charged way, somewhat how you would tell a stranger, “I want to have bread.”
Tell her that you have something important to tell her, and tell her what you want. Something like, “Honey, I really need you to slow down and sit with me for a few minutes.”
That could be tough.
But it just might get you to feeling, “She’s in it with me, still,” and help shake the sense that my wife doesn’t respect me.
I hope that helps you.
Need Some Help Bringing Respect to Your Relationship?
Want even more ways to develop mutual respect in your relationship?
Read a Book About What to Do When Your Husband or Wife Gets Angry
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn more about how to defuse situations between yourself and an angry husband or wife by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It has tips that will help you communicate less confrontationally.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.