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A Secret Your Husband Needs You to Know

By June 12, 2015Family, Marriage

Ladies, there’s a secret your husband probably won’t share.

He may not even like that I’m sharing it.

It’s not that he doesn’t want you to know. He does. But, it’s hard to admit sometimes. Or, difficult to find the right words.

But, I feel you need to know. It could make a huge difference in your marriage.

Here goes:

He needs your unconditional respect — in fact — he needs you to be his biggest fan.

There. The secret is out in the open.

It’s true. He needs to know you respect him — what he does and whom he is.

Your support feeds his God-given ego.

Of course, that ego can be abused. And, it is many times. It doesn’t, however, diminish his need. I would even say — his greatest need.

Just as you need his unconditional love, he needs your unconditional respect. (And vice-versa)

I also realize you nor he is capable of perfectly fulfilling those individual needs. 

But at least you know the secret now.

Doing well for the woman he loves is perhaps one of the greatest goals in a man’s life.

That inner desire starts at a very early age. The little league ball player who turns around to see if mom watches him bat. The same little boy who brings a flower (weed) home to mom. It’s the respect he’s seeking.

The truth is sometimes a guy feels as if he doesn’t measure up to everyone’s standards. Actually it happens a lot of times.

(Please don’t tell him I told you all this.)

He feels the weight of being wonderful in so many areas. His home. His family. His work. Even in his hobby.

It’s a pressure men carry internally — possibly never sharing it with anyone.

Chances are fear of failure is his greatest fear. And the fear of disappointing you is a close second.

He may see you seeming to do so well with all your responsibilities. Whether in the home, with the kids, or in relationships — he feels you always know what you’re doing. He knows he doesn’t.

Even your walk with God may shine brighter than his sometimes. Okay — most times.

You handle things so well, in fact, at times, he’s tempted to not even try.

(Please don’t tell him I told you this.)

Let me give you a personal example. One time after preaching Cheryl said nothing. Usually she says “Great job today” — or — ”That was a good one”.

That day — nothing!

Three days later I asked, “Was I that bad?”

See how shallow I can be?

Truth is I need her positive feedback and encouragement. It’s what fuels me. It’s what keeps me motivated to do my best.

Your husband is likely similar.

I know that sounds shallow of us. Perhaps it is.

But, here’s the best part of the secret.

If your husband feels respected in his home — he will do anything to keep it.

Maybe even start doing the dishes. If he does, brag on him.

Who knows? Maybe next will be the dusting. Nah — don’t push it!

And, if you’re raising a son — next time your little boy — I mean big boy — is up to bat, make sure he can turn around and see you smiling. It will make all the difference.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 45 Comments

  • amy says:

    this is wonderful acknowledgement of how different we are , unknowingly crushing the other’s spirit. for each time as a woman you were put down, ignore, left , invisible and pipe up , the man’s response is guilt which becomes shame over and again, until ……… yes, the husband needs to make amends , and confront it, as well as the wife .

    • Brandy Haas says:

      So …I got it a long time ago…I understood these things about my husband…except…he’s been doing it to me…I forgave, and forgave, and then tried to be his byside…again…but…he has never given me the same space or consideration….now what? ….any suggestions. What if you are just a poor emotional being tied to a real narcissist. These personalities that’s you describe can go either way.

  • LKO says:

    If that is true – and I believe it is – then what inside of a man causes him – a professing believer – to be unfaithful and ultimately to divorce to a devoted wife?After 27 years of marriage, his leaving – especially after genuinely forgiving him for his infidelity – is hard to grasp.

    The only rationale that makes any sense to me is that before a man ever is unfaithful to, or leaves his wife, no matter what his words say, in his heart he has already walked away from his relationship with the Lord.

  • leann says:

    I do everything I can as a wife have a home cooked meal , wash clothes,take care of children, clean home I am still being disrespected in the worst way. If we have an argument he brings up the time he cheated and he was glad he did it because I’m such a bitch he says. Reason why we fight us because he can’t do his duties as in throwing the trash what is so hard I do everything else he works part time 20-30 hrs a week he doesn’t help at all and has been so close to physically abusing me which he has done in the past.

    • gilou says:

      leave that asshole if you have tried any other methods such as counseling to make things better

  • Simon Opiyo says:

    This is a very insightful piece. Thank you!!

  • Kevin says:

    Really true, Man all need from their lady is loyalty,honesty and respect. If both side having this things as pure as holy water than that relation ship will run for long time with a great understanding and relation ship bond.

  • Puja says:

    Great post Ron! I'm not maried yet, but am thanking God for all this valuable wisdom so that when I do get married I'll be off to a great start! @healingbalmcafe

  • jcow says:

    I respect and love my husband so much. He is an amazing provider, has excelled in his career, loves his children, helps me around the house, and is overall a great guy. The Junior Officers in his command once made a flyer titled "Captain Huffman's Guide on How to do Everything Well". I loved telling him how proud I was of him, thanking him for all the things he did around the house, and appropriately bragging on him to friends and family – then one day he asked me to stop. I was baffled. Turns out my words were making him feel pressure to excel, to do better than last time, to do even more. I felt so terrible – that was the last thing I was thinking, he already did WAY more than I could have ever imagined. I've learned to modify my language and sometimes just use a touch or a kiss to thank him for what he does – same idea just a different delivery!

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks for sharing. That's good insight. I suspect if he got none that would be a problem too. Balance is good. 

  • Wayne Stiles says:

    You nailed it, Ron. Exactly correct!

  • Mark says:

    For years my wife's sister would degrade me for "working with my hands and not with my mind". My wife said little in defense if anything at all. The fight was all mine. Then she joined in on the comments. Not just with her family but in front of friends, people at church, anywhere. I have told her that I would never go into a social situation or trust her again. Right now I'm in the "cheaper to keep her" mentality of this marriage which is 30 years old. The only reason I bring this up is to say to all the wives or fiances out there that YOU do have a lot to do with his well being. It's more than hurting his little ego, it's crushing his desire for life and for you.

  • Kristin Avril says:

    Hi! I see this post is quite old, but I felt the need to comment and ask for some insight.

    I try to show my fiancé that I respect him and appreciate him. Sometimes I slip up on respect–people have told me before that when I think I'm right I get a rather annoying look on my face that states very clearly that I think I'm right (yes, I know this is unattractive and I'm trying very hard to work on it). Anyway, what I am getting rather good at is telling him the things he does SO well. Being in a relationship with him is BY FAR the best I've ever experienced, and I make it a point to tell him so, and to tell him it's because he treats me so well, accepts constructive criticism well, does many nice things for me, is super hot (well, he is!), is great in his field of work, isn't lazy–I mean, the list goes on for miles, and I'm always trying to think of exactly which things he's really good at so I can tell him so.

    Yet when I tell him these things he shrugs them off, and not just with a little, "Aw, it's nice you think so," but in a way that contradicts what I've told him. I frequently hear: "I'm not like that," "I don't do that," "That's not true." Of course, that doesn't mean I stop telling him these things, but I'm not sure how to go about making him believe, at minimum, that this is the way *I* see him.

    In this once instance, can't he just see things my way? 🙂

    Kidding aside, in what ways can I get him to see that the way I view him is full of admiration, respect, and appreciation? I try to help him out by doing things for him (acts of service), make sure to pick up a snack I know he'll enjoy while I'm grocery shopping (gifts–I've actually always been a gifter even though I'm a physical touch person), we spend lots of wonderful time together and vary our activities (quality time), we hold hands, snuggle, hug, et cetera (physical touch), and I do say very nice things about him daily (or near daily) (affirmation). All in all, we have a wonderful relationship. It's just frustrating to see him speak negatively of himself and I feel rather like I'm failing him somewhere if he can't believe me when I say nice things about him. Maybe he's just hiding his pleasure at hearing these things, I don't know. He doesn't normally have trouble showing emotion, though, so I'm not sure that's it.

    Anyway, insight would be lovely if anyone has it.

    • ronedmondson says:

      My strong guess is that he's listening, and it's making a difference. There is an issue here most likely, but you're still doing the right thing to address it. Here's another suggestion — write it down in a letter. I suspect he'll read it over and over again. 

  • ecdingler says:

    Great post. We are holding a Home Manager's day event next April at the camp and conference center I run. I'll be speaking to all the hard working stay at home moms about this topic, "From the husbands point of view". I've printed this off and plan to add it to the packet of take home resources. Thank you for the resource.

  • Anna says:

    To conclude – Just a side note – I cannot imagine a husband being satisfied and pleased with hearing a wife say to him, "I don't love you but I sure do respect you, honey." ????? To finish – love is the foundation of all relationships – trust and respect are the walls that keep that love safe and thriving. Even God puts conditions on our relationship with Him. He unconditionally loves us but we are also called to trust, respect and obey him. Without trusting, respecting, revereing and obeying him, we can lose our way and our connection to Him. He will unconditionally love us even when we stray and disobey him but He will also chastise us – ie. allow us to suffer the consequences when we sin. It is the same with husbands and wives and in all other relationships as well with regards to one person breaking another's trust or committing a disrespectful act such as infidelity, lying, cheating, verbal abuse, spiritual and emotional abuse, etc…..Unconditional respect and trust would mean a boundary-less marriage where anything goes.

  • Anna says:

    Furthermore, the concept of unconditional respect suggests that there are no boundaries in a relationship. For instance, if a husband has an affair, is the wife called to "unconditionally respect" that man? How would that work? She may still love him, but she will lose respect for him in this instance, and rightly so. The man should suffer the natural consequences of losing his wife's respect by committing an immoral act. Without such consequences, anything goes! In this same circumstance, the wife would lose trust for her husband and the husband would (and should) suffer the consequences of that loss of trust, which would need to be re-earned over time. This is an extreme example, given, but an example of how the concept of unconditional respect is simply unfounded and ridiculous. This would be the same in the business world. If a man cheats or embezzles money at his work, he will lose the respect of his partners. Plain and simple.

    • ronedmondson says:

      You're missing part of the point. Both unconditionals (love and respect) are impossible apart from Christ. But a man loses love the way a woman loses respect. It's as natural for a man to fall out of love when a wife does something such as has an affair (and yet he may still be able to respect things about her) as it is for the wife to lose respect for the husband.Consider it this way. If a pro quarterback cheats on his wife, could you still respect him as a quarterback? You may not as a husband, but as a football player… That's kind of the point here. There's almost always some respectable quality in everyone and it's being respected that fuels a man. There is never an excuse for abuse, but in tense marriage situations finding a way to respect the man again will fuel his part in making the marriage work.Thanks for your comment

      • anna says:

        Well, but we ARE talking about husbands here! Also, I think women are as capable of "falling out of love" if their husbands have an affair (yet still respecting him as a provider, let's say) as men are also capable of loving, yet losing respect for their wives in the same situation. I think there are a lot of assumptions in believing that "women want love, men want respect" and trying to make that "fit" for everyone. I think we all would like BOTH!. As for the quarterback example, I think a lot of people would indeed lose respect for him as a quarterback. I believe you are saying, "Respect the office the man holds, if not the man". However, think about certain presidents who were impeached for immoral acts. The "office" doesn't guarantee respect if the man in that office is not respectable.

        • anna says:

          But again, love is the foundation of all relationships – without it there IS NO relationship/marriage, even if things like respect and trust ARE present. How many men (or women) would want to stay in a marriage where they are respected but not loved? It simply doesn't work. How would this work for husband and wife in moments physical intimacy – if there is respect but not love? It just wouldn't work in the long run. Additionally, what good is it if a man loves his wife but disrespects here with put-downs or anger? Respect IS an important ingredient love as are many other things. They all need to be present. But to separate those things out for different people, men and women, is just a concept someone came up with.
          This whole debate here is just a matter of semantics and trying to make a new catch-phrase work and trying to have every situation fit into that concept.

  • Anna says:

    While I think both husband and wife need to work and strive to respect each other, whether in good times or conflict (i.e. fighting "fair", no name calling or character "asassinations", etc….), I remain unconvinced that there is such a thing as "unconditional respect". This catch-phrase has become the new Christian "hype" – started indeed by Emerson Eggerichs. I don't believe there is any such thing as "unconditional respect" – whether in the business world or in relationships. Respect, like trust, is earned. Unconditional love is a bit easier to entertain as a concept, as we all know that we can love people who have abused us, cheated on us, lied to us, etc…However, there are times when we still love abusers but cannot stay in relationship WITH them. So, it is possible to unconditionally love someone but there still need to be boundaries and limits to how much abuse one "endures" in the name of love – for example, the case of a battered wife.

    • Nancy says:

      Anna, I hear what you’re saying. And I think unless someone has experienced an abusive relationship, they don’t understand where you’re coming from. And I do think that marriage advice cannot be applied to an abusive relationship. Leslie Vernick is a good resource! Hope you have discovered her!

  • @WOLCharlie says:

    Thanks for the great post, Ron. I appreciate it very much… SO true!

  • Lisa Schick says:

    Please read the comments as this applies to both of us,


  • Jon says:

    I wonder how many problems in marriage would be solved if husbands loved their wives unconditionally, wives respected their husbands unconditionally and we both forgave each other unconditionally?

    I know for years I yearned so much for that unconditional respect from my wife; although I probably was not loving her unconditionally. Now I am loving her that way, but I still don't get that respect that I so long for. And you know… those concepts are in the Bible… Read Eph 5:22-33.

    I heard a Christian radio program the other day about forgiving and two people had emailed in about how the husbands in the marriage had failed in some big way, but how the wives had stood by the husbands and were practicing unconditional forgiveness and how the marriages were being healed and were better than ever and how that was positively affecting the husbands. I almost cried, thinking about how things might have been different if my wife had done that with me… or would do that with me now. Not that I should get a pass for the mistakes that I made, but I give her unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness and if she would do the same to me…WOW what a marriage we could have.

  • Dave says:

    Would you mind forwarding this to my wife so it didn't look like it came from me? ;^)

    Great post.

  • Jon says:

    AMEN! I read this post when you first did it two years ago and it's still as true now as it was then. I used to complain that my wife never told me thank you for things that I did. Not that I needed to be patted on the back for each and every little thing that I do, but it's like I never ever heard those words. Now that we are in difficulty, she does make it a point of saying thank you quite a bit and now I realize that's not really what I needed; I needed to feel and experience her respect for who I am in her life and the marriage; as the man and the husband and the father. And I do not get that for the most part and I so hunger and thirst for it.

    I found a card that she gave me some years ago. It says simply, "Thanks for all that you do, I don't know what I'd do without you". Most days those words ring hollow as she seems to get along just fine without me in her heart. But there are two things in that simple note. The first is a "thank you" for what you do. The second, and more important is, "you are so very important to me". The first is about the tasks I perform, the second is about who I am as a man and husband.

  • Maria says:

    One caution – women need the sane kind of respect from their husband. Love and respect are not gender specific. As a woman, I’m in as much need of his affirmations of my achievements as he is.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks Maria. You can speak for women better than I can. 🙂 There are no absolutes when it comes to people and personalities. Everyone is different.

      I do know, however, after many years doing marriage counseling with hundreds of couples, that the majority of women I've worked with would choose love as their greatest need, where it's opposite for the men. Of course, both men and women need love AND respect. And, yes, my wife needs affirmations of achievements also.

    • Jon says:

      I agree with you and with what Ron is saying. I need both love and respect as does my wife. But typically woman crave love more than respect and men crave respect more than love.

  • Jennifer says:

    Ladies – do this! You will not believe the changes in your man. He will become the man God intended him to be! One word of caution – make it sincere. Be honest. Lovingly.

    Also, let him hear you brag about him when with those he respects!

  • @Daddy_Life says:

    Yes. Amen! @MrsOzz and I talk openly on this subject.