I love this topic, thanks for starting it. I am a husband, so I won’t comment about what specific things are to be done, but I just want some of you ladies to know how important this is to many husbands.
I asked my wife a few years ago what she needed most out of our marraige. She said security. At first I thought that was security in our relationship, but I later discovered that it meant far more. She wanted to feel physically safe, emotionally safe, mentally safe and spiritually safe. Each of these things takes different acts on my part. I finally got that.
If she had asked me the same question in return, I would have said respect. To me, a wife’s respect - and the specific things she does or does not do - are a baramoter of a marriage. If the wife is actively working on things to show respect, then the marriage has a great indicator. If the wife is doing the opposite - undermining the husband on purpose, then if is ill.
For the first twenty-three years of our marriage, my wife was so supportive of me in this way. The children never questioned my authority, my wife backed it up 100%. She never spoke down to or about me. She respected my opinions and ideas even if she disagreed. I felt very blessed and our marriage was strong.
When my wife began her spiritual journey that led to her falling away from the True Faith and converting to another demomination, she changed in many ways. Her conversion path was filled with lies, anger, secrets and hurt and in the process she seems to have lost much of her respect for me. Not respect in the bigs ways, just the small ones. For instance, I am no longer allowed to have an opinion that’s different from hers. Even if I speak a verifiable fact that she disagrees with, she will correct me - even in front of the children.
She makes decisions about important things to do with our children without consulting me, in fact she uses a “spiritual leader” as the main input for one of our children, in spite of the fact she knows that I really dislike the man.
She seaks out the ideas and approvals of her friends and even our grown children and never asks for my input. This is the polar opposite of our first twenty plus years of marriage.
A lack of respect is withering to a man; on the other hand, a man who enjoy’s the respect of his wife is a blessed man and he knows it.