What to Do When Your Husband is Disrespectful

couples fight

Are you feeling mistreated and unappreciated by your husband? Is he being rude and disrespectful?

Even though he is behaving in appropriately, it doesn’t mean that’s’ the way it always has to be. People can change and do change all the time but they need to know how.

Here are three powerful videos from Dr. Dana Fillmore, Author, TV Relationship Expert and Clinical Psychologist to help you understand what to do when your husband is being disrespectful.

Help Your Husband Hear You By Using An “I Statement”

Basically, any time you have something to say that you want your spouse to hear, the best way to get your point across is by using an “I” statement. There are four parts to an “I” statement.

1. I feel _____
2. When you _____
3. Because _____
4. I’d appreciate it if you would _____

1. “I feel __________”

“I feel hurt.”

“I feel rejected.”

See, when you start the statement with “I feel,” you take responsibility for your own feelings.

On a side note, remember we can’t feel a “that.

“I feel that you are being a jerk,” is not an “I” statement.

2. “when you __________”

“I feel hurt when you raise your voice.”

“I feel rejected when you forget to call me.”

All you do here is state the specific behavior that caused the feeling.

Again, resist the temptation to make a judgment.

Don’t say, “I feel angry when you’re annoying.”

Also, keep it short.

Don’t go on and on about what they did. You’ll lose them at about the 3rd sentence.

3. “because __________”

“I feel hurt when you raise your voice because it reminds me of my father.”

“I feel rejected when you forget to call me because it makes me feel disrespected.”

Explaining the consequences of the behavior helps your spouse understand the impact of it.

This one’s important because they might not think it’s a big deal because it wouldn’t be a big deal to them

4. “I’d appreciate it if you would __________”

“I feel hurt when you raise your voice because it reminds me of my father. I’d rather you use a quieter voice when you speak to me.”

“I feel rejected when you forget to call me because it makes me feel disrespected. I’d appreciate if you didn’t promise to call me if you’re not sure you’ll be able to.”


This can be a little awkward because it feels kinda touchy-feely, but it’s extremely important because we often tell people what we don’t want from them but it’s way more important to tell them what we do want.

When you kindly and lovingly ask for what you need, it’s so much easier for your partner to give it to you.

Then make sure to follow it up with the LOVE connection.

“I’m telling you this because I love you…”

Tone Of Voice Is Important

So, let me finish all this by talking about How we say it.

In other words, tone of voice.

How we say something is sometimes way more important than what we say when it comes down to whether they will hear us or not .

Walk Away Until You’re Both Calm

If your husband is being disrespectful, walk away.

That’s right!

Don’t fight back.

Just walk away and wait.

Wait till he’s cooled down. He will not hear you – ever – at all – if either of you is mad.

It’s a waste of time to even try and honestly, I have found that there is very little that needs to be discussed right away. Unless your house is on fire, it can wait.

So wait till you’ve both calmed down, wait till you have your head on straight and you’re sure your motivation for talking to him is coming from a place of love, then tell him how you feel.

It is only then that he may be able to finally understand how his disrespectful behavior affects you.

If you feel like you need more help with this, check out our marriage help library with lots of articles and videos to help you resolve conflict and feel more love in your marriage.

Still got questions? Please comment below.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

Dr. Dana Answers Angie’s Question About How To Deal With Her Disrespectful Husband

Whenever we receive a question that touches on a broad issue, it’s a great chance to not only help one couple resolve an issue, but also to share some insights with you.

Angie asks:

“My husband has no filter when it comes to saying things that hurt. We’ve been married 5 years, and his mouth – and the lack of control he has when it comes to thinking before speaking – has caused endless problems in our marriage. I’ve had enough of this. He complains about our intimacy not being what it should, but fails to understand that I can’t work on intimacy if I feel disrespected and hurt as often as I do. If he doesn’t change, I’m afraid I will have to call it quits. Please tell me what I can do about this issue…”

Angie sounds like she’s in a lot of pain and understandably so. It really hurts when someone we love speaks to us in a rude and inconsiderate manner. We tend to want to fight back or shut down. Neither is answer. Instead, we need to let them know how we feel in a manner they can hear – in a manner that is effective.

Effective communication begins with first understanding your own motivation. Asking yourself WHY you need to say something gets you in the right headspace to have a conversation they will actually hear. Because our spouse will always be more open to hearing what we have to say if our motivation is Love. Meaning if our motivation for asking for what we need is about protecting our love for them.

Angie talked about how her husband’s disrespectful communication is causing problems in their marriage. She’s actually even contemplating “calling it quits.” But she really just wants to stop hurting. She needs to keep in mind, that her motivation for talking to her husband about his disrespectful behavior is about ensuring that resentment does not build up so that she can stay connected to him.

There’s a difference between saying, “I hate it when you talk to me that way. You’re so mean and condescending. Why would I want to sleep with you when you’re being such a jerk?” or saying, “Hey, when you speak to me with that tone of voice, I feel really hurt because it makes me think you don’t love me. Then I’m angry all night and I feel really distant from you. I love you so much I don’t want distance between us so can you please talk to me in a calmer voice? That would make it so much easier to hear what you have to say. I also feel so much more attracted to you when I feel close to you.” See, one is blaming and shaming and one is about making sure they stay close.

You probably caught my use of “I statements” here. If you have my StrongMarriageNow system, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of “I statements” many times but let me touch on them again because they’re so important.

Watch These Marriage Saving Videos

How To Save Your Marriage On Your Own. It Is Possible!

Even if one partner wants a divorce or separation, it is still possible to recover what has been lost. You can save your marriage even if you are the only one willing to work on it. It may be easier than you think.

How Do I Get My Husband To Understand My Feelings

Getting your husband to understand you can be frustrating. Watch Dr. Dana help Matt & Angie with their communication issues to get powerful insights into your situation.

How To Get Over Years of Disappointment

Even if your spouse has let you down consistently for a long period of time, it is still possible to work on your marriage.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the Strong Marriage Now System link below!

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5 comments

sjmoon 9 years ago

i'm (successfully) building up my own business and i'm my husbands "ears". meaning, he starts building his own business and i am supposed to be all ears all day. for months. i feel like i do know, every once in a while, what i'm talking about. husband has great ---- theoretical ---- respect for my opinion. real problem: i suggest something business-related for months, he ignores it. a stranger says the same thing once - he jumps. always. this is only the business side of it. the list goes on. i don't expect my husband to do at all what i say. but he expects me to listen and give my advice and opinion. but it never, ever, matters. starting to feel like he thinks i'm ...just....dumb.

MommyOf2 9 years ago

My husband was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010 when he came back from his last overseas tour. I have read so much on this and kind of know what to watch for. The problem is, the symptoms that I see are more to the tune of BPD. For example, he can go from sweet and loving to a raging, screaming person if he thinks I said I love you in anything other than a cotton candy sweet voice, he has severed all ties with his family (except with his kids), he cuts me down and belittles me, he does the same with his kids, he cusses at all of us but can be so sweet when anyone is around, he constantly thinks everyone is against him, he tries to test me all the time, by this, I mean that for instance, today he said his blood pressure was up, I told him I would check it and he said no, don't worry about it, he said he would be ok. Well a few hours later he told me I am supposed to take care of him and just because he said no that I should have anyway. Something that I say that normally don't cause a problem, such as good morning baby, he will get upset about, other times he don't. I have the walking on eggshells feeling all the time. I never know what will set him off. The kids that are still in the home stay in their rooms most of the time. I am about 30 pounds overweight and he tells me that he will not be married to a fat woman and that I had better do something about it. I am up for hours at night because I am so tore up that I can't fall asleep. I will sleep a little later in the morning because of this. He gets so upset. He expects me by his side 24/7/365. He will call the kids names and scream at them at the top of his lungs. He must say 50 times a day that he is pissed or he is gonna kick someone's ***. Always negative and it brings us all down

Mike_Olsen_SMN 9 years ago

Hi, SJ - Communication is arguably the most important aspect of a marriage. Maybe this can help you - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/marriage-advice-understanding-differences-communication-styles/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 9 years ago

HI, Mommy - the stress in your home must be terrible for all of you. I would suggest counseling for your husband. If he won't go, at least talk to someone yourself to help deal with it. This advice may help you as well - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/health-issues-harming-marriage/

Impossible says I'm possible 8 years ago

Hi mommy, the battlefield and tours are unforgiving a stress of consistent distrust and high alert - first off the extreme is an adjustment not positive and certainly resonates that eggshell effect but try to be empathetic this that you feel was his constant and his norm, and is empathy in a strange way for PTSD it isn't fair or right but by loving him anyway your stress will lower and so will his. It isn't right to speculat how he feels but isolated and misunderstood.. The yelling at children is never acceptable but do not correct that behavior ever in front of the children, loving him anyway and choosing a better time to ask about his feelings is best. Breathe, the triggers will relax and you can get back into the sway of life and never go back to the past you and he does not live there anymore! That my friend is a trigger you can not know unless your on that field that tour and experience the smells sights and sounds that will never be forgotten but can be left in the past. As far as taking care of him and the picking of weight and you as a caretaker it is simply a cry for help because anyone who points a finger simply has 3 pointing back at them. Your patience is amazing and breathe with the knowledge of PTSD research and learn his triggers also rearing the children to respect and point out Daddy's positives, ie he can fix anything he keeps us safe and he looks amazing just be honest when pointing out the positives - also "the love dare" has a movie and a book and work book also will lower your stress when you focus on you and not him :)