In your marriage, do you respect your spouse? And if you do – how do you show it?

The Value of Respect

As a value, Respect has three powerful components: 

an attitude of admiration or esteem;

courteous regard for others;

and deference.

These components aren’t mutually exclusive, but they can be embraced individually or together.

In a marriage, respect can show up in different ways:

    • When a husband or wife openly admires or esteems their spouse. Perhaps it’s as simple as speaking words of affirmation and admiration, or it could be as elaborate as a celebration dedicated to the other spouse.
    • When a wife or husband is courteous to their spouse. This can be as simple as opening a door for your spouse, or recording their favorite TV show so they don’t miss it. It’s also found in expressions of “please” and “thank you”.
    • When a spouse yields or submits to the wishes or judgment of the other. It’s not pushing for your idea or desire but rather agreeing to go with the idea or desire of  your spouse. (Another way of looking at this is acknowledging your spouse is leading on a particular topic and you actively support it.)

And yet, there’s more…

As we’ve been traveling, Lori and I have noticed a trend.

Husbands and wives are often involved in hobbies. But there’s more –  they’re adopting a shared hobby. 

Respect in marriage

(Lori wrote about the idea of shared hobbies HERE.)

Yes, this hobby may be embraced less fervently by one spouse than the other, but by becoming involved, by any degree, the by-product of this involvement is translated into respect for the other spouse.

Want examples?

One couple is heavily into restoring vintage cars. We’re sure the interest first began with the husband, but his wife has involved herself by more than lip-service to his passion – she also takes pride in contributing to the restoration by doing a bit of sanding, etc. Her active involvement in his passion has conveyed to him the feeling of being respected. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

Another couple trains for running marathons.  Only the wife actually runs the marathon, but her husband is fully immersed in the training, up to and including eating differently. By being personally invested in his wife’s training, she feels he respects her hobby, and it translates to the wider feeling of being respected by her husband.

The Value of Respect in Marriage

In the book “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs”, author Dr. Emerson Eggerichs highlights a key difference between men and women: women desire to be loved and men need to be respected. It’s a great book with a simple message, and I highly recommend reading it. (Lori and I learned a lot!)

Love and respect are two sides of the same coin.

They are both primary needs. Neither are easy. Both require work. But the rewards are worth it. While love can be viewed as the “soft stuff”, respect tends to be seen as the “hard stuff.” However, to get to the soft stuff (love), a spouse must often work through the hard stuff (respect) first.

After much discussion, we’re not convinced “respect” is only for men.

We’re beginning to suspect both husbands and wives need and desire to receive a feeling of respect from their spouse… 

Respect in Marriage PinWhat do you think?

Do you feel your spouse respects you? How does he or she demonstrate this value of respect?

How do you show your spouse respect?


Get Two Weeks of Free Yoga and Fitness Classes


Robert Ferguson is a speaker, writer, and consultant, with a focus on values in business. You can find him at

Robert and Lori are married 30+ years, and are on an adventure – traveling North America. They both write about marriage here at Encourage Your Spouse.


Ever wondered which values you and your spouse share?

Differentiating Values Couples guide and workbook ad Lori and I developed a workbook for couples
Learn more about the eBook for Couples