Q&A: Honouring my wife even when she’s rude


I know I’m supposed to love and honour my wife, but there are times when she’s incredibly rude and unkind to me, our children, and even family and friends. How can I “honour” her when she’s behaving badly?  

Answer: There are many ways a husband can honour his wife. Admittedly, that’s a lot easier when we’re happy and the relationship is peachy. But unkind and selfish behaviour is something we’ve all been guilty of, and it’s how we respond to our spouse when we’re on the receiving end that’s the key. Here are a few approaches that you may find helpful:

  1. Separate the person from the behaviour. Your wife is of value and worthy of honour regardless of her behaviour.
  2. Recognise that your perception of your wife is impacted by her behaviour. It’s easy to “switch lenses” when you’re frequently hurt or frustrated by her. Consequently, you may be tempted to see everything through a lens that accentuates the negative and eliminates the positive. Psychologists call this “confirmation bias.” The remedy is to flip the lens and begin actively looking for the positives. 
  3. Consider how you might be distorting the problem. Is it possible that you have a hot button, a pet peeve, an old wound, or an issue in your past that makes a particular behaviour loom large in your mind?
  4. Finally, confront the negative behaviour, not the person, using healthy conflict-resolution tools. It’s critical to do this in the spirit of honesty and humility versus anger and pride. This ultimately is how you will honour her. 

For help on navigating conflict in a respectful, appropriate and effective way, call our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

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