Disrespect First Sign

This is my daughter. I love her. Her name is Casile. When she marries, I want her to marry a man who respects her and treats her with dignity, as I have.

Research indicates that the first sign of a failure in marriage is a lack of respect between the two parties. Disrespect is the first yellow flag that the end is in sight and that the relationship will break.

I’ve seen this during my many years of pastoral care. If I detect any lack of respect between the wife and the husband, then I know the relationships is in serious trouble.

The curious thing is they may not know it. Let’s say the husband disrespects the wife. Some women see nothing wrong with this, or unusual. They take disrespect from the man as just life, normal, typical, or deserved. When I say to the woman that she deserves full respect and that her dignity should be honored, some are actually dismayed. But the seed may be planted. If the husband doesn’t come around to a position of respect, the marriage may fall apart.

I have strong advice for people in abusive or domineering churches as I do for women in abusive or domineering marriages: leave! Sure, there are always positive qualities to be appreciated within the unhealthy relationship. But these are far outweighed by the negatives. The toxicity of a bad relationship is always the stronger and more affective force. It prevails. Unless there is a miraculous transformation in the abusive or domineering one. But unfortunately these are rare.

This is my observation and experience.

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10 Replies to “Disrespect First Sign”

  1. Completely agree. It goes both ways, too. I’ve been around a group of women who seem to enjoy husband bashing like it’s some sort of sport. Hate that.

  2. Curious: does disrespect towards others (say, towards a parent or sibling) before it shows up towards the partner constitute a warning sign? Also, how do we discern differences between disrespectful moments that can be forgiven and disrespect that is endemic, a basic structure of the relationship, that is unlikely to change?

  3. Thanks David. I have three daughters (and a son). They are between 10 and 15 years old so we’re not at that stage yet but on the other hand it’s coming… I also fervently wish and hope and pray that they will marry partners who respect them.

    Your daughter is beautiful!

  4. Sometimes there are miracles; I had one in my marriage. You know about the man whom God knocked off his horse on the way to Damascus. God knocked my husband off his bike and broke his hip. I looked after him, though I was about to leave him because of years of disrespect. Suddenly he decided I was worth respecting; apologised for his past behaviour and asked for forgiveness. I now have back the man I married – and have for three years.

  5. Very true, David! On the flip side, when a couple find themselves in a horrible situation (regardless of whose ‘fault’ it may be) and are able to maintain their respect for one another, they will find that they can withstand any negative circumstance that challenges their marriage. I suppose it’s because when you truly love your spouse, respecting them is not so difficult…love does conquer all!

    And btw, Casile is take-my-breath-away lovely.


  6. Sound and profound advice David, as always. My husband and I give premarital counseling and from experience we learned that we have to talk about violence even at that stage in the relationship. And one thing we say is, the very first time your husband or wife hits you, leave and get help. Never stay hoping it will not happen again because without help, it will happen. And we also talk about disrespect as the first step in the slippery slope of violence.

    @AnneDroid, please don’t wait to talk to your kids…I was 14 when my boyfriend started beating me up. I thought I deserved it. It lasted a year and my parents never found out. There is an amazing amount of violence among dating teenagers…

  7. “I have strong advice for people in abusive or domineering churches as I do for women in abusive or domineering marriages: leave! ”
    Thanks for saying this so distinctly…it needs to be said more, to counteract the evangelical church’s frantic insistance to “stay above all else! if you leave, then you’re the one who’s got it wrong, not us!”…I’m still amazed at how people could tell me that the cruel treatment I received from church leaders & members was somehow God-inspired and ordained, and was done for my own good (God told people to spread lies about me for my own good? This is supposed to make me believe in a loving God?).

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