Love and Respect in Marriage


I recently was at dinner with some of dh’s family and dh’s mother asked me how things were going between us when he went outside with his cousin to smoke. All I said was that we are growing apart and living separate lives. Well, yesterday in an argument with him, he let it slip out that his family, his aunt and uncle and cousin were upset with me for talking about him when he was not there. So I decided to email all these members and his mother. His mother emailed me back saying that she heard nothing bad in what I said and that she worried about her son and she loved us. My dh has Parkinson’s and we argue a lot of his driving when he doesn’t take his medications like he is suppose to. He is what the medical community call “noncompliant patient.” Yesterday he took a narcotic that usually knocks him out, and then he wanted to drive and I said he shouldn’t. That is when we argued. Anyway, his cousin emailed me back this response:

*Men MUST have respect. Women NEED love. This is Biblical- in Ephesians 5:22-33, it basically tells us that a woman should feel so loved and cared for, that she trusts her husband completely, so that she can submit to his leadership, knowing that he has her best interest at heart.

(33) "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
This scripture gives a man instruction on how to love his wife, because men are NOT naturally loving or nurturing other than to themselves- but women are, so we don’t need to be told to love. It then has the final statement for women to respect their husbands, because it is not natural for us to respect, but watch a few men together, and that’s what makes them tick!

NOTE: IT DOES NOT SAY WE ONLY RESPECT OUR HUSBANDS WHEN THEY LOVE US, OR THEY CAN LOVE US WHEN WE RESPECT THEM!!! Males and Females are commanded to go out of their natural behavior norms, and just do it, even if the other partner isn’t reciprocating. The end result should be a formerly unloving husband feels his formerly unrespecting wife respects him, he will respond with love, or visa-verce.*

She also said that because my dh is a man "he needs respect to feel loved and loving. He needs respect to feel worthy and loveable. He needs respect to feel like a man. He needs the respect of his wife and daughter to make him feel he IS the head of his household."

I can’t put my finger on it, but this bothers me. It bothers me in that she doesn’t know the whole story of what is going on in this marriage and felt the need to give me this advice, but her theology or interpretation of the Bible verses don’t seem right. I could be wrong and if so I am sure some of you will say so. I am not good at expressing myself in writing, so what do all of you think?

By the way, this woman is not Catholic and from what I gather from the first time I met her is very judgmental. She asked my dh at that time to say a prayer and not one formulated by the Church and when he did, she criticized it and said it sound so Catholic and not from the heart. I could not believe she said that, but he did not correct her. She is also recently divorce and is writing a book on her experience of it.


You should NEVER talk about private marital issues to either side of the family! That was your big mistake! This can of worms is what happens… old loyalties rear their heads and people go on the defensive.

These are things that should only be discussed with outsiders who are required to maintain privacy… like family therapists, social workers, counselors…

What you should have said was either, “we’re fine” or “I don’t discuss private marriage stuff with anyone.”

You can’t fix this episode, but you can do better in future.


It sounds to me like she the cousin . is a very unhappy person. It sounds like to me she should worry about her own problems and not worry about yours. As far as the MIL her response was nice. I feel for you. It must be very difficult to deal with your husband with this disease. Maybe there is some kind of organization that can help with this horrible illness. That would make it easier for your husband and yourself to possibly cope. Maybe bring it up to the Dr. next time. Try to relax and not worry about it you have your hands full as it is. You are there for your husband and when they get something like this i can understand the distance. Just hang in there and try to take a day for yourself. you deserve it. As far as the family forget it for now. And you are right the woman does not understand the scripture. God wanted us to respect eachother and love eachother the way GOd loves the Church. Maybe go to one of the classes they have for marriages in trouble the church has. Sometimes a different way of seeing things helps. talk to someone though you cant do this alone. its too hard. you are in my prayers


You have a good point. but they did ask and the poor woman had to vent. She really has her hands full. They should have been more compassionate towards her.


No one HAS to “vent” - that’s a bunch of psychobabble cr*p.

What goes on in the privacy of a marriage between a husband and wife is just that - PRIVATE. It is no one’s business. If they ask, tell them all is well - otherwise be ready for arm chair Dr. Phil sessions from family members who have no clue and no context of the issues.

What in the WORLD was the OP thinking in the first place when she EMAILED personal details about her marriage? Email is not intended to replace human communication on the intimate level when picking up a phone or face to face is an option. Unless you have some major announcement to make such as a birth or surgery result. Gossiping (and yes, this is gossiping) through email only leads to misunderstandings and problems.

I say keep your marriage to yourself - speak on the basics, and never get into the intimate details of your marriage with anyone. It’s none of their business.



Thank you for your compassion.


Liza, first of all I did not email his family intimate things of our marriage. I didn’t include anything about our marriage. All I did was email his family a letter of apology for offending them. My dh’s mother was not offended and she thinks her sister, who she will be the first to say is in a dysfunctional marriage, took things way out of proportion. Again, I did not talk in the email about things of our marriage except to say I was sorry to offend them. That was it and then dh’s cousin wrote the above back to me. She got all her information about our marriage from my dh and not me for I rarely talk to her. So in this email she is upset that I supposely talk about dh to her parents, but it is okay for her to hear from my dh about our marriage. I did not even know he was doing this until she emailed me back and knew more than I ever told her.


Honestly I don’t see anything wrong with how the bible was quoted. Husband’s absolutely do need respect. Ofcourse when someone wants to drive while impaired asking them not to is not disrespecting them. But yes we do owe respect to our husbands. And talking about problems with your marriage with his family while he is not that there is not respectful of him. Issues between you and your husband are your private business, pulling family into is a bad idea. In the future don’t discuss it with your inlaws or your family either.


Amen amen.

Write 500 sentences “I will not discuss private marriage issues with anyone but my Priest and my therapist”.


I want to thank all of you for your responses, but some of you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say. I am sorry if I don’t express myself well enough, but the Parkinson’s is only one illness I am dealing with. My dh has mental health problems and can be unreasonable and irrational at times. I have been to so many marriage counselors and they all say that he is the one that has to want to change, in referring mostly to his anger problem. Many of these counselors call my dh stubborn in his way and his way is the only way. He is not open to women driving the family, it has to be the man. I have been dealing with this for 9 years. When I do see a counselor on my own, they all say to get a divorce. I want to talk to my pastor, my dh won’t let me and out of respect for him I don’t. So I do not have anyone to talk to about things that are eating away at me and yes, we are growing apart everyday. WE can’t talk or have a normal discussion for he takes things and twist it around. You have no idea what it is like to live with someone with mental illness. Depression I can handle, but the more irrational behavior and arguments is very difficult. So when someone ask how we are doing, I just said what was the truth. I can’t talk to a counselor or a priest. I don’t have many friends at all and so I have only my sisters and the rest of my family. My MIL knows what I deal with a lot for she had a hard time controling her son before I knew him. His whole family deals with stress with so many addiction. His whole family can’t deal with stress and literally “freak out.” This is what my dh learned from his upbringing. He grew up in a very dysfunctional home. All his brothers are alcoholics and so are his cousins. All of them smoke to help cope with stress and admit it.

I have written about my marriage many times on this forum and it doesn’t do me any good to keep writing it, but for this thread, I was just wondering about my dh’s cousin interpretation about the scripture she quotes and her definition of it in reference to love and respect.

I always thought that a man needs to love and respect his wife and she do the same for him. But how can there be these when one has no idea of what love really means. This is what I think about my dh. He has never known true love and what it means. I do everything in this household, the inside and outside and I really should not due to my many disabilities. Yes, we both have disabilities and both are 100% totally and permanently disabled by the Veteran’s Affair. We both live in chronic pain 24 hours a day. We handle it differently. I turn to God for my strength and he turns to his many addictions. Don’t get me wrong, he prays and goes to Mass, but he doesn’t seem to have that personal relationship with God. He is so unhappy not only in this marriage, but in life in general and has been this way before marrying me.

By the way, I have begged him to allow us to go to Retrovaille and he won’t. He said his aunt and uncle almost got divorce over that and he won’t go. He wants to go to Marriage Encounter, but we both met with his counselor and he agreed that we have too many problems to go to Marriage Encounter. The counselor is Catholic, a fallen away one, but is familiar with both programs. My dh is stubborn and refuses to go to Retrovaille. .

So I don’t have no one to talk to about my marriage except my family. I have not told them details anyway, just things they see for themselves for dh has lost his temper in front of them and in fact in front of our neighbors. He is much better on medication, but that is another issue that is wrong in our marriage and that is that he is a non compliant patient and doesn’t take his meds like he should. So yes, I have anger towards my husband, but when I think of his mental health, I try to understand. I feel that I am coming apart at the seams. I have to be the strong one for my dh and my dd.


If your husband has Parkinson’s and is “noncompliant” with regard his medication, you have every right to refuse to allow him to drive an automobile with you in it. Beyond that is the culpability resulting from a motor vehicle accident which resulted because you didn’t take the keys away from a person who should not be driving. Get something from the doctor to show to the state department of motor vehicles regarding his condition and get his license suspended or revoked until he is under proper medical control.
As for family squabbles, don’t let them buffalo you. Stand up for what is right and proper and good for the entire community. Remember that Paul encouraged his communities to always behave in such a manner that no one could fault them for civil disturbance, dishonesty, or sedition. He wanted them to be above reproach for anything so that they would be free from criticism and censure. In this case you want to be above reproach should there ever be a question of your husband’s ability to drive. Take away his license and you won’t have to worry about it.



I stand by my earlier statement for HEALTHY marriages.

nana3, I am sorry to say that it sounds like you are married to an emotional abuser. If he refuses to change, I don’t think there is any way to help your marriage. He won’t ALLOW you to speak to your pastor? What kind of control freak does that?

There is respecting your husband, and then there is letting him control and manipulate you. They are two different things. I think you need to discern which you are doing. One is good… the other is bad.

Only you can decide why you put up with being treated this way, and if you wish to continue. But, I would recommend that you do not confide anything in his family. They are the ones who taught him to be how he is… of course they will defend his sick behavior.

Even ill people can still take responsibility for how they treat others.


Im sorry nana 3 I still dont see where you should have been treated the way you were. All you said is that you feel like you were growing apart. I see no disrespect for your husband there. You are going through a very very emotional time now. When a spouse is sick its usually so hard for the other spouse. Harder i think. Noone understands how hard it is until they are in those shoes. You have to do everything and you are emotionally drained. And this is not Dr Phil stuff. i have been there. I feel for your husband also but for you the most. you have the whole world on your shoulders and noone sees it. God BLess you. Please dont be hard on yourself you have enough to worry about. When you have been thru what you are going thru, you just feel like what else. God knows you are doing the best you can and he will give you the strength to get thru this. Also remember when people are on medications they are not themself either. Im sure your husband doesnt realize how this is for you. I promise to pray for you tonight that things will get better. Keep the faith they will. It just takes time. And ask for help dear please dont do this alone. no one is that strong.


Nana I am truly very sorry for your situation. Even though your husband has asked you not to discuss it with your priest I feel that you should. Confession would be a perfect place for that and no one can tell us what to say or not say in confession. I think this is a much better option that discussing it with family. Spiritual direction is crucial in your situation.

It is very hard to treat some one with respect who isn’t loving toward us and I’m sure you are doing the best you can. Your sister-in-law certainly may have over reacted but the way she quoted the bible isn’t actually wrong. We do owe respect to our husbands. Sometimes that is very hard when mental illness and physical problems are involved but it is something we must try to strive for. My mother suffers from mental illness so trust me I know and fall short often enough.

What does treating your husband with respect mean to you? Maybe you have a different interpretation of that than I do.


Love and Respect


nana 3 i just read your last post please dont give up. Dear God my heart goes out to you. You can vent. talk anytime you want. thats what this is for. we may not be able to help. but we can lisen. And you are right about scripture my love it was taken out of context. You are 100% correct its a 2 way street. dont think you dont deserve to be treated the same as him because you do. God Loves you. You just remember that. And you find another Priest he doesnt know then. But you are a person too. and you deserve to be happy. NO ONE deserves to be treated like that. You take care


First, the email: Say a prayer for her and delete it. You have too much going on right now to debate someone over Scripture.

Second: your marriage: I will pray for you. Your above comment really struck me…your husband wants to go to a marriage encounter? That sounds great! What difference does it make what the counselor thinks. Your husband has a problem with Retrouaville because of his family experience and he is afraid because he doesn’t want to lose you. I bet plenty of marriages that need mending (and lots of it) wind up at a marriage encounter. Sure, it may not solve all your problems in one weekend but maybe it will open the door? What can it hurt? I will keep you in my prayers, hope this helps a little.

God bless,


I would say I disagree with you on a number of statements and it sounds to me you take offense at the idea of psychiatry/psychology, but there is strong truth to many treatment approaches that do work, because people do have psychiatric diseases or are at risk for ones when placed in environments that are abusive or restricting.
The OP was simply being honest; not gossiping- which is purposefully mentioning things about othrs (whether truthful or not) in order to make them look bad in front of others and hurt their reputation. She was stating this because she saw the invitation to speak about it as someone reaching out; a person who might care about the problems she is facing. She NEEDS this and better from family members possibly than any other source since many times they can take a much more proactive involvement in helping. Say hypothetically we have a case of domestic violence or emotional abuse (not saying this case it). The abusee will feel powerless and will not be able to seek out help from either authorities or doctors or others because they are afraid. They will not seek to tell others they are being abused, but if someone really asks them- they see this as a window, a chance for hope. I would say even now, she is doing this by talking to us here on the forums.
One thought is that besides possible emotional abuse for which the OP might see if they can get counseling as a couple, also consider the fact he has a chronic and debilitating illness that not only has physical problems, but can progress to depression and dementia. The husband made be in need of serious counseling himself to face these issues; get treatment for depression and better comply with meds.
To everyone: please do not brush aside the prison that mental disease creates and how it can hurt loved ones!


You and i disagree on this 100%. I do see how the bible was quoted. What this woman did is what alot of people do, they use the scripture as a weapon, instead of the loving word of God, What the cousin did was mean, she knew the abuse this women is taking and she used the word of God to condone it. Gods word is to help us not hurt us. Just because the scripture was correct, doesnt mean the woman meant it this way. And clearly that shows. What the women did was go to the bible pick out a verse and use it to make this women think she deserves this abuse.Thats what i see. and the best part is this same women is herself going through a divorce. But see Nana3 could sure pick out some verses for this woman, starting with divorce and then the splinter in the eye. But Nana wont do that she is too good of a woman. She would never use the word of God as a weapon or a means to fight. Like the cousin. again Nana3 i see what you are asking and she was wrong.


If your husband is not fit to drive a car, do not get in a car he is driving. Do not allow any children you may have to get in the car.

If your husband will not allow you to speak to a priest, that is a terrible thing. Respect for your husband is one thing, allowing him to treat you as a child instead of as his partner is another.

Please, get help from a priest or a Catholic counselor.

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