Published on April 16, 2021

What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me

What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me

As author Emerson Eggerichs wrote in his book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, women want love in their relationships, and men want respect.

Although I disagree with the author and believe that the desire to be respected by your spouse is universal and transcends gender, there is something to say about how respect affects men specifically. When it occurs, men are left wondering what to do when they feel that their wife does not respect them and struggle with this on their own.

Feeling Disrespected in Marriage Affects Men Differently

For the sake of this article, we will be exploring how respect—or rather, disrespect—affects men in relationships. As mentioned above, respect affects both men and women in a marriage. However, the assertion is that it affects them in different ways. To do this, we first need to start with the definition of respect.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, respect is defined as the “admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities.”[1] This would be extremely important to feel from your spouse and as mentioned earlier, both men and women would equally desire this from each other in their relationship. When men, however, feel that they are disrespected in their marriage, they react differently than women and feel rejected.

Men React to Disrespect by Feeling Rejected

Rejection is one of the biggest fears men have in relationships. Men will seek out easy sexual conquests, stay in dysfunctional relationships, keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves, and run away from relationships altogether to avoid being rejected.

Even though remaining single seems that it would minimize the risk of being rejected, a study by the University of Manchester found that remaining single only resulted in men feeling more lonely and more sensitive to rejection.[2]


Is Your Wife Disrespecting You or Do You Have Low Self-Esteem?

Just because men react to disrespect by feeling rejected, unlike Emerson Eggerichs, it doesn’t mean that it is the responsibility of a wife to show respect to her husband. After all, respect must be earned. It is more likely that if a man feels disrespected by his wife, he lacks that respect for himself in the first place.

It is often when I am coaching men who feel they are being disrespected in their relationship that they lack their own self-respect and struggle with low self-esteem. A lack of self-respect and having low self-esteem is the quickest way to attract disrespect and rejection into your life, for we cannot expect others to respect or accept us if we cannot respect or accept ourselves.

Men with low self-esteem and lack self-respect create never-ending and unrealistic expectations in their relationships, often resulting in a dependency on their wife to validate them. This places a lot of pressure on their wife to “lift them up” or make them feel good about themselves with praise and encouragement.

Subsequently, it creates an imbalance in the marriage and ultimately leads to the wife building resentment against her husband and ultimately losing respect for him.

Low Self-Esteem Leads to an Imbalance in the Marriage, Resentment, and Disrespect

When coaching couples, we see this imbalance in the marriage when one person “chases” after the other looking for attention, validation, approval, recognition, acceptance, and respect. Although these may be valid needs in a relationship with each partner giving them freely to each other, when one person “expects” these needs to be met by their partner, it transforms the intention from a gift into a demand.

John Gottman, a leading researcher in couples relationships, describes a pattern of relating that exemplifies this chase called the Pursuer-Distancer pattern.[3] This “dance” of one moving towards and the other moving away has been identified as a leading reason for divorce. When this concept is applied to men seeking respect from their wives, one can see a similar effect.


When men energetically “chase” after their wives for respect, this sets in motion a response of distancing on the part of the wife. It can feel “smothering” or “engulfing” when a person places this expectation upon you and the natural response is to create distance. However, instead of creating more breathing space, this can have the opposite effect and prompt the “pursuer” to “chase” even more closing the distance.

This distancing behavior by the wife is almost always experienced by men as rejection, which, as explained earlier, is one of the biggest fears that men have. The cycle is then reinforced as the man is motivated to avoid his fear and seeks to find reassurance from his wife, which in turn prompts her to distance even more.

Wives Respect Husbands Who Respect Themselves

In the book, The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire, author David Deida asserts that women despise and distrust men that are dependent upon them for their own happiness. He goes on to say that when men make their relationship the top priority, they lose the respect of the woman in their life.

If we are to learn anything from this, it is that if a man wants to gain the respect of his wife, he has to respect himself first. Men who seek out respect from their wives are only going to be met with distrust and disrespect, defeating the purpose of what they want in the first place.

This approach to gaining respect in a marriage is echoed on a grander scale in a quote by Mahatma Gandhi. He once said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”

7 Ways Men Can Increase Self-Respect

Now that we’ve discussed how important self-respect is for a wife to respect his husband, here are 7 ways you can increase your self-respect so your wife will respect you, too.


1. Find Your True Purpose and Meaning

Why not begin with the loftiest goal? After all, if we are not aware of what our true purpose and meaning are in this world, how can we expect to respect ourselves and in turn have others respect us?

Finding your true purpose and meaning obviously starts with a whole lot of soul searching and ultimately may not lead us to the final answer, but asking the questions starts us on the right path.

2. Give Freely Without Strings Attached

When we give to others, it makes us feel better about ourselves, as long as we don’t have any ulterior motives. Giving with strings attached—that is, with expectations—never feels genuine for the giver or the receiver, and it diminishes the original intention.

3. Carve Out Time in Your Life for Hobbies and Activities That Help You Grow as a Person

Spending time with your partner is important to learn and grow within a relationship. However, growing as an individual is just as important as a priority. Challenging yourself to learn and experience new things adds to your own confidence and self-esteem.

4. Remove Negative People From Your Life

Trying to change for the better is hard enough as it is. Trying to change among people who are critical or negative about you making changes in your life is detrimental to evolving as a person.

Limit the amount of time you spend around people who hold you back from success.


5. Say ‘No’ When You Mean It

One of the quickest ways to erode our self-esteem is to go along with what others tell us to do. Saying no when you don’t want to do something will result in some pushback from others, but it will not count against your own self-esteem.

6. Celebrate Your Accomplishments

People with low self-esteem and lack self-respect are often reluctant to celebrate their accomplishments. They are afraid to come across as arrogant or braggadocio. However, celebrating our accomplishments motivates us to accomplish more and to continue growing.

7. Surround Yourself With Motivating and Inspiring People

In addition to removing negative people from your life, it is equally important to surround yourself with successful, motivating, and inspiring people. Raise the bar so high and then become the person to achieve it. Do this by becoming inspired by others’ achievements.

Final Thoughts

Each couple must take responsibility for their own part in their marriage, and although every relationship expert would recommend that a couple work together to create a happy and healthy marriage, it is still the responsibility of each member in the relationship to work on themselves.

Men seeking respect from their wives have their energy focused in the wrong direction and must pivot to focus on improving their own self-respect. It is only then—when they feel confident about who they are and are clear on their direction in life—that other peoples’ opinions will cease to matter, and they will then gain the respect that they deserve from the people in their lives.

More Tips on How to Gain Respect in a Relationship

Featured photo credit: Foto Pettine via



More by this author

Dr. Ray Kadkhodaian

CoFounder of Couples Synergy and the Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:


  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.


Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.


Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.


However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.


Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:


  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:


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