Monday, August 3, 2015

Just Ask Joyce: “How can I get my wife to respect me?”

Q: “My wife is like a clanging gong. I find myself staying at work longer, playing golf more frequently, and tuning her out. To say it is causing stress is an understatement. I love her, but I feel badgered. Nothing is ever enough. I can’t do anything as well as her dad. Now the kids have started complaining about things I do as well. How can I put a lid on this and gain the respect I desperately need?”

Joyce: As irritating as your wife’s dialogue may be, there is a disconnect needing to be revealed in the relationship. I sense several issues without probing further.

She is misguided in her comparison of you to her dad. Her relationship with her father is admirable and precious and should not be interrupted — she should simply learn how to rein in her tongue. Bear in mind that you are not in competition with her father. You have your own gifts for which she fell in love with you. Be reminded of those qualities you possess that won her heart initially and caused her to step out of her dad’s home and into yours. Perhaps fanning those characteristics would light the embers that seem to be smoldering after a few years of marriage.

Now is as good a time as any to set out to win your wife’s affection and silence that enemy tongue of hers. Try applying this duct-tape remedy:

  1. “Honey, put on your red dress; we’re going out tonight!” Plan a romantic rendezvous—an evening that will set the mood for a heart message. Open the car door for her, remind her of her beauty, laugh, enjoy remember-when moments, and rekindle the sparkle in her eye.
  2. After dinner and dessert, relax. Perhaps the tongue has already wagged, and you’ve been sufficiently nagged. If so, it’s a perfect segue for addressing your concerns. If you have been spared the torture, don’t sweat it. It’s still the perfect time.
  3. Take her hand. Tell her the qualities you love about her. You will need to have rehearsed this in your mind prior to broaching. (No woman will believe a man stumbling to define her attributes.)
  4. Then, the question must be posed: “What is it you love most about me? What qualities do I possess that you admire most?” Give her time to consider the question. (You have had forethought; she has not.) Have some discussion surrounding the character traits each of you admire about the other.
  5. Then, it’s telltale time. “Honey, I need you to hear my heart. If I could be anyone else but me, who would you choose to be married to?” (If she’s a smart woman, she’ll tell you that’s nonsense!) “Then why do you compare me to your dad all the time?” would be your next round of undressing this issue. “Your dad is an amazing man, and he has an amazing daughter! That’s why I married you. I respect him and who he is, but I’m not him, and won’t ever be. God didn’t give me the same gifts He gave your father. It hurts my heart and crushes my spirit/ego when you compare the two of us. I feel I can never do enough, provide sufficiently, nor measure up to the man of your dreams. And now, it’s beginning to rub off on the kids, and that really hurts.”
  6. Confess your penchant to stay away from home because home doesn’t feel like a refuge any longer.
  7. Next, ask questions that lead you toward resolution. “What can I do to help us through this conflicting season in our marriage? I need to be respected, just like I need to love you the way you deserve to be loved. Can we both try harder?”

What you have described has all the makings of marital disaster. Don’t allow your legacy to be tarnished because you didn’t attempt a tender way to deal with the tension. Dig, probe, and dissect every aspect of what has taken your marriage from blissful to wistful. Your kids deserve the best shot they can get of an intact mom and dad. To allow demeaning behavior to continue could serve to deny them of that score in life.

Change your life … NOW! Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life Fix-It Pro™, at I’m here to help! Check out my books and other resources today at Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and get connected to great family nourishing ideas! Join me on Just Ask Joyce live on WFIA 94.7fm/900am weekdays at 3pm.

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