Healthy Relationships: The Power Of Respecting Your Man Even When He Doesn’t Seem to Deserve It


respectBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Relationships have always intrigued me; more so the romantic ones. I enjoy talking to people about relationships and asking them questions, especially when they have been in relationships that have lasted a long time.

One word that comes up over and over again when it comes to what men need to be actively involved and invested in a relationship is respect. One very interesting and important aspect of romantic relationships is that in a relationship between a man and his wife, or a committed romantic relationship, a lot of the rules that we know that apply to our lives in general do not apply in the relationship.

Below are the reasons why you should respect your man even when he doesn’t seem to deserve it.

1. Give respect before it is earned.

In general, most people believe that respect is earned or that it must be received in order to be given. The difference in romantic relationships is that even though relationships are a “give and take”, being committed means that you do the right thing regardless of what your partner is doing. By entering a relationship, you indirectly agree to respect your man and if you don’t respect him, you should not be entering the relationship with him -this is even more true for marriage.

Another important point is that when you commit to spend the rest of your lives with your husband, you typically say some vows. What you commit to do should stay consistent as long as you choose to stay in the relationship. The great news is that, for the most part, people generally rise up to the expectations we set for them. A man who is treated with respect will generally act accordingly.

2. Give respect when it is least deserved.

If you’re in a long term relationship, it is inevitable that both of you will make an error in judgement or you will do something “wrong”. Again, even if you are sure that what your husband or partner did is completely wrong, this is not a reason to start being disrespectful. Your relationship, if it is healthy, should be a place where you are free to be yourself and have the freedom to make mistakes.

Continuing to respect someone when they make a mistake is very important because disrespecting them will only make any problems worse. You can ask questions, express your thoughts and feelings and even request a behavior change but all that can be done while still being respectful. The bigger the mistake, the more important it is for you to respect him. Think about it; if you felt horrible and lousy because you made a mistake, wouldn’t you want and need the love, support and encouragement from the man you love? Men are no different; they need love and respect especially at the worst times in their lives.

Giving someone love and respect does not mean that you approve or are accepting of what they did; it means that you are a mature women who honors her commitment, even when it is hard.

3. Give respect even after the relationship ends.

My belief is that when you get married, it is forever. That having been said, the reality is that some marriages end, as do many committed relationships. When a relationship ends, it does not give anyone license to start being disrespectful. When children are involved, it is even more important to continue to not only show your ex respect but to also make sure that you speak about him with respect in his absence. Children don’t choose their parents but their parents have a choice as to how they will model responsible behavior whether is is during the relationship or after the relationship. No matter how horrible you think “he” is, his children do not deserve to hear him being disrespected, especially not by their mother.

It is important to note that I am not encouraging women to tolerate unacceptable behavior and or bad treatment in their relationships. Instead, I am encouraging women to respect themselves enough to  conduct themselves in a way that does not damage their own self esteem, their children’s  and that of their partners and in a way that does not destroy their relationships and their children’s relationships with their fathers.

If you are a woman who genuinely wants to be in a relationship with a man, you have to respect him because it is important to him and to the success of the relationship. If you don’t respect him, then don’t get into a relationship with him. If you have yet to marry him, then love yourself enough to end the relationship if you do not respect the man you’re in a relationship with; it is better for everyone. For the married women: if you married him, you must have seen something in him worth respecting. It is important to work on your relationship to restore the love and respect that were there when you decided to marry your husband.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs. Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter



  1. I am so sorry but I do not agree with your article….I am very old school.Respect is deserved and vice versa.How in the world can you have any respect for anybody who doesn’t value you enough to give you the same?It is inevitable that You start to loose feelings for that person.If they cant give it to you then you should value yourself enough to move on and find someone who will.
    After all aren’t you worth it?????

  2. Shelley Curtis on

    Great article & absolutely true. You give respect because this is in divine order. You are to respect the position God put in place

  3. Men should avoid black women like a plague. Due to slavery, their concept of family has been distorted. Black women as a whole are self destructive. They will rip apart their children from their father, because they have been bred to be emotionally and psychologically independent. This is in direct opposition of what is required for a family to stay in tact & survive, interdependence. It is easier for a black women to exhibit pride, bad attitudes, hot tempers, and the inability to control their tongue, than it is to listen to wise counsel, exhibit patience, love & respect. Therefore, they should not be upset when the highly successful, good natured, good hearted men of their own race chooses to marry anyone except a black woman. We have to move beyond just being good enough to give good sex, have baby daddy’s and ex-husbands, to knowing how to have successful relationships, marriages, self-worth and restoring the family unit that slavery destroyed. It is a choice, so choose wisely!

    • Your comments toward race is just pure ignorant it shouldn’t matter rather you white, black, purple, or a rainbow. Does the article say only white Americans can have a successful career and marriage. Please have serveral seats and get to know God. God is of love not of hat Lida be blessed

    • I completely understand where you are coming from. But people are always so quick to judge black women and black men for the behaviors of today. We need to stop attacking people and stop addresses the effects of a problem before we address the cause. Slavery has be so destructive to the African American race black men were beat in front of black men and vice versa. The image of the black man was destroyed by white people as well as the image of black women. We are so quick to just dog our own race with out having sympathize with the struggle that we as a people had to endure and are still enduring. If you are black you should be trying to encourage sisters to treat their man with respect and dignity instead of bashing them. Dating outside our race is definitely not the answer but building each other up can do great wonders. Something for you to think about.

  4. Well done article and words both parties; men/wombman need to embrace. I don’t think Kim was wrong in her comments, when you discover disrespect isn’t mutually given, you should remove yourself from the situation. Lisa, should we also say that Black men should be avoided like the plague b/c due to slavery their concept of family has been distorted as well. I have first hand experience, thank’s to my Black sperm donor father of the destruction that men cause the women/children they say they love. Just like the post traumatic slave syndrome we suffer as a result the effects of domestic violence from someone who claims to love you is just as damaging and with similar long lasting effects. Because of Black men’s diminished position everyone is against him including his woman, or so he feels, therefore he lashes out against the one who who is more vulnerable than he, has his back the most and attempts to lift him up, his woman. Beating her, while with child, deepening her lowered self esteem by confusing your attention to her. One instance making love the other trolling the street for new pussy, disrespecting himself and family in the process all the while being egged on by other damaged men who don’t honor themselves or that from which they came, a wombMan! With your understanding of some of the causes of our family breakdown, why wouldn’t you offer solutions for improvement rather than spewing your venom about what you think Black women are capable of. You are disgusting, even more so if you are a Black woman! With people like this in our midst it’s no wonder we are in the condition we are in. I will not bend to the conditions this world has put on me, RBG for life!

  5. Sisters, respect is not earned, it is given.Things that might be details on the definition and criteria of respect to you might be very important to him, and vice versa. Therefore, there is ABSOLUTLY no man on the face of this earth that can earn your respect, all men will fall short unless you decide to give it. How can you reap what you haven’t sown? Yes it helps when there is good gesture on the other part, but it just a help, because there are exactly as many ways to fault him as there are many reasons to disrespect him, and vice versa.

    • Ntumba, respect is indeed earned. I can earn my wife’s respect and I can loose it also. No one is perfect but we all know what is considered reasonable behavior. A woman cannot be expected to respect a man who is not trying to care for his family. An abusive man is not worthy of respect. Children sometimes lose respect in their dads. Often the man has turned his back on his family. The idea of a man being respected despite what he does makes no sense. My wife challenges me to be my best self. We challenge each other. I have seen women become doormats. They still usually loose the man because uhis demands become increasingly unrsonable. A man cannot be respected just because he is a man. Commanding officers have been relieved of their duty because they lost the respect of their men. They had to go.

      • Cambie, you mentioned “Commanding Officers” and “men”. What happened when these men were not valued and respected by their Commanding Officers? One of the primary duties of a Commanding Officers is to maintain moral up in order to carry out a strategy. So the men are less likely to be distracted from the goals and the strategy. These men entered their platoons with a soldier mentality, at that point they GAVE respect to that Commanding Officer. When did he have the time to earn that respect?

        Men turning their back on their families. Whatever the mentality they entered marriage (soldier/mercenary) with, did they receive the respect they needed at entry? How do you think a man starved of respect since childhood will react when even the people that are “supposed” to value and respect him are making him feel worthless and none of his “achievements” is even praised for a second or two and instead it’s his shortcomings that are shouted at him for hours? He will rebel!!!! Then we enter a vicious circle: she will rebel back.

        Doormat women, yet they still give respect. However they give it, it is given (the quality of it is in the eye of the receiver). They don’t have to, but they give. That’s because respect is not their primary need, love is. These women crave for love first, they see respect as a bonus. It’s fine to want love, but for these women to agree that respect is a bonus and not a need is setting themselves for a fall.

        It’s all about needs and their priorities and goals. You are happy because your wife respects your achievements (you) and loves you. She is happy because you love her and praise (and respect) her. I know you know the difference between “primary” and “only”. And to finish ask yourself what drove General David Petraeus to retaliate with “affection” against that woman who had UNPRECEDENTED access to General Petraeus. He did not become a four stars General just for pealing potatoes, women love heroes and heroes love to be treated as such.

  6. Sandra Marchan on

    I Love it. Many bitter women have down talk the male figure that was once there. This is how children nowadays are disrespectful to the point that they still haven’t found their true identity. When women bad talk father figure that just show how grown you are. You are not only hurting the child by bad talking about their father but also disrespecting your own self.
    Know when to walk away like a boss.

  7. Why would you give respect to anyone that doesn’t respect you? RESPECT is EARNED!! I think women are soo desperate to find and keep a man..we allow them to disrespct us. It’s better to be by yourself.

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