How can I respect my husband?


Our marriage has been troubled almost from the start but now, after over 20 years I realize I have reached my end. It is true I have not shown my husband the respect my vows require but I find myself unable to do so. I am angry, hurt and find myself unable to forgive him. Are there any resources that can help?

A little background…

We have been married for over twenty years and in that time he has held over 23 jobs. I have never been able to depend upon him for a stable income for myself or our children. I have always had to work full-time to make certain our family had an income and insurance. This is not a matter of him not being able to find a well paying job, simply that he always knows better than the boss or feels he could do better so he either leaves or get fired. Currently he is not employed, not eligible for unemployment and picks up odd jobs. He states he does not want to find a job until he determines what sort of job will make him happy. We will lose our home in about 45 days because I do not make enough to pay all of the bills. How do I respect a man who cares more about finding a job he enjoys than making sure his wife and children have a place to live?

During our marriage he has owned 14 different vehicles, some with payments higher than our last apartment rent. This is just one sign of the way he spends money. He will buy toys for himself when there isn’t enough money to buy the kids shoes they need. We’ve declared bankruptcy once and currently have nearly $50,000 in collections (not including mortgage). I cannot control his spending and obviously he never intends to. How do I show respect for a man who will put his own need for stuff above the needs of our children?

While we were dating and engaged he offered to attend Mass with me and did so weekly because he knew it was very important to me. Shortly after the wedding he stopped attending and tried hard to make me feel guilty for not staying home with him on Sunday mornings. I am saddened to say I allowed him to keep me away from church for awhile but I been attending each Sunday for the past 18 years. He does not interfer in my upbringing of the kids as Catholics but does not attend Mass or pray with us other than at dinner. How can I show respect a man who is not a spiritual leader of our family?

His public behavior is beyond embarrassing and hurtful very often. He has been an outrageous flirt our entire marriage although I get no flirtatious attention from him at all. This is far beyond innocent. He insists he has not had an physical affair but did admit once to just “sleeping” with woman when he was on a trip alone and felt lonely. He has been kicked out of several organizations because of sexual harrassment. He sees nothing wrong with this behavior and treats me as an overly dramatic wife who does not accept that this is just who he is. As of last year I made the decision to no longer attend public functions with him. At least this way his behavior is not thrown in my face. How do I show respect for a man who shows no respect for me?

He has lately reduced his binge drinking but in the past it was totally out of hand. He would not even remember what had happened while drunk. My pleas for self-control were met with anger. Last year he came home very drunk and began to verbally and physically attack me. He stopped only beause one of the teenagers woke up and yelled at him. Not only did he terrify me but he ruined the image our teenager had of a father who can be trusted. I told him if it happened again I would leave. He continued drinking and only stopped after being told he could no longer be a part of a special group due to his behavior while drunk. I am so hurt that he would choose drinking over me but that he did cut down when threatened by an outside group. Losing them was a bigger threat to him than losing me. How do I show respect to a man who has physically threatend me and put alcohol above our family?

While I work full-time he stays home and plays on the computer most days. My evenings are filled with household chores and taking care of kids. He occassionally does a small chore but nothing that takes more than a few minutes. He is yellings at the kids for not helping enough but he does not offer to help at all. I am beyond exhausted all the time and desperately need his assistance but this has been the pattern for twenty years and he is not changing. How do I show respect to a man who does not care enough for me to try to make my life easier by helping out around the house?

Two years ago I asked if he would be willing to attend a Marriage Encounter weekend since we have some friends who are part of that but he declined by telling me it would be a bad idea because I would learn things I really don’t want to know. A year ago when I confronted him about some issues he stated that he had been really thinking about our marriage for a long time and has come to the conclusion that he guessed it would be ok to stay married. Not because he loves me but because it is easier than getting a divorce.

I do not want a divorce. I do love my husband. However, I emotionally cannot continue to live like this. I am no longer able to forgive him when he shows no remorse and continues to hurt me each day. I am an unhappy, angry person and I don’t like who I am becoming.

I can find plenty of Catholic resources that tell me how to have a good marriage but they seem to be written for spouses who are both willing to work at it. Can anyone recommend good resources to help me forgive, begin healing and learn how to show my husband respect while living with behavior that is in no way respectful?


I'll be honest... I am typically a marriage cheerleader, but taking what you say at face value I honestly have a hard time finding a common or middle ground. It's clear he has been having affairs, he might very well have been all along. I also have a feeling like he lead you to marry him under false pretenses, which would actually mean your marriage wouldn't be valid ***only an anulment proceeding can validating this***.

I don't know what to suggest for you, other than persuing a seperation. I would love to say try counsoling, but again taking everything at face value I have a hard time believing he would work things out, at least with out a dramatic action taken first (i.e. leaving).

I would say give your self a little time... At this point I wanted to write about how it might be a good idea to take a long vacation before you seperate, but honestly it doesn't sound like you can afford one.

Ugh, I guess I'm not good at relationship advice in this situation. I can say reading about these kinds of situations always make me sad. They remind me how lucky I am to have a spouse (wife) who is perfect for me and puts her all into this relationship.

One thing I can offer you is this, you are in my prayers. God bless, I truely hope you find a good, stable workable situation for you and espeacially for your poor children.


Love and Respect

Women need love.
Men need respect.
It's as simple and as
complicated as that.

        **— Emerson**

The Power Of Respect Talk

            For over a year, I encouraged a wife to speak and show respect to her  husband. This was a troubled marriage, lacking good will. Here's what  she wrote one year later:
“Dear Dr. and Mrs.Eggerichs, Thought you might like to know that on New  Years Day, exactly 1 year after I tried your teaching in practice, my  husband said 'I Love You.' My heart was too full for a while to do  anything but just treasure the moment, but I wanted to share it with  those who helped it happen. Thanks again for your teaching and  encouragement. Sincerely, B.H."
*Respect Works!*
Good things happen when a wife obeys God’s call on her life as revealed  in Ephesians 5:33. "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves  himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (NIV).
**Though a husband may not deserve respect and a wife may not feel any  respect, contemptuous speech never touches the human spirit in a  positive and lasting manner.**
The Bible reveals that a wife's respect for her husband is as powerful as her husband's love is to her.
This is why Ephesians 5:33 says what it says.
A husband needs to feel respect for who he is in the same way a wife  needs to feel love for who she is. When a husband's need for respect is  met, he responds. Though a husband's response tends to be less  sentimental than a wife's, the depth of that man's response is similar.



Please look into Retrouvaille. It is a program for marriages in serious trouble.


Forget about getting him to councilling etc. Right now all you are to him is an "enabler".

You need to copy and print out what you've written here and send it to your pastor asking for a meeting. Talk all of this over with him but then be prepared to take the necessary action for the good of yourself and your children...And frankly that means seperation and possibly civil divorce.

I know you Love him but - but what kind of love goes on for 20 years without this "big kid" growing up and taking his responsibilities seriously.

Believe me this is the best thing for him as well as for you.

He has to be left on his own - sink or swim....Only in this way will he have a chance of figuring out what life as an adult is really about.

I know this is hard to read/hear but I have to say that Ihave seen similar situations and without something truly drastic, he will never change - and might not change even if you leave him....

Actually I suspect that you already know this.....



My heart sincerely goes out to you. It struck me right away that your husband must have an NPD, and I saw in an earlier post that you suspect it as well. Would it be an option for you to live with your 3 kids, could you support the 4 of you without your husband's contribution? From what I've read, your husband is basically a burden and doesn't contribute in any positive way at all. You're not your husband's mother, so what he decides to do if you decide to separate shouldn't stop you from making important decisions for you and your children's welfare. It sounds like he has given up on life and is despondent, and doesn't want to change or be shaken from his inertia. You've given him more than enough chances to get his act together, and he needs to be informed of what he stands to lose if he doesn't show a serious determination to change. Meanwhile, try what buffalo suggested, go to the prayer request section where lots of good people are eager to help ,and take Heaven by storm (that is, let the saints and God know you need help). This is too much for you to handle on your own. I'll pray a decade of Hail Marys for Mary to give you comfort. God's blessing and peace to you Donna.


My prayers go out to your husband, you and your family. I will pray to St. Jude for your situation. Blessings


My heart goes out to you! I agree completely with JKRH !
While you are together you are inadvetantly 'enabling' his behaviour.Even if you end up in civil divorce (and you may find your marriage is not valid via seeking annulment) you can still love the man from a distance.You can pray for him and when or if he gets the help he needs to change in his life (as I hope the shock of you leaving with the children may do) you can be friends with him "eventually".I think you will have to tread carefully not o encourage him to continue this beahviour of irresponsibilty.So distance is sometimes the only answer.Go and speak to your priest and may God bless you

Our Blessed Lady please intercede for this lady and her husband that he will get the help he needs to recognise he needs to change and that this mother can keep her and her children safe away from him for now.Amen
Memorare (Prayer to Our Lady)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen


Are you really sure you "love" your husband or are you really just afraid of change and the future without him. Twenty years is a long time and some women are just afraid of the future, the change, and so remain in their own little hell. How old are the kids?

He is a leach---I think deep down you do realize this.
He is not showing much love or respect for you or his children.
And contrary to whoever believes what--a wife also deserves and needs respect too.
How on earth you should be expected to respect this man is beyond me as you are the one that has been forced to run the show, work and come home and work some more all while he is playing on the internet and drinking up the money YOU work hard for taht needs to be spent feeding the kids and keeping a roof over your heads sans him. LOL!
You are doing it all on your own already--soooo---

And then he's going to yell at the kids and start to shove you around???
This guy needs to be shown the door.

Being on your own is not the end of the world in fact it is a new start. I think you already know your options.or lack thereof. Go to Mass, go to confession, receive Christ. Ask him for guidance and direction since your husband is nothing but the lump on the couch.


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