(The Single Woman Series – Batch 5)

The answer to the question posed in this Article is a resounding NO. I’ve been saying this for many years and I am going to say it again: Please don’t be fooled by his slyness and be careful not to delude yourself with excuses. If a man does not respect you, then he does NOT love you. This may seem harsh and difficult for some to digest but alas, it is true.

The fact of the matter is that there is no way that a man can have little or no respect for a woman and be in love with that woman. This is because respect is one of the indicators of the existence of real love. It is one of the first things to look for. It is a necessary ingredient or prerequisite of love. In the same way that you cannot have a cake without flour or juice without water, you cannot have love, genuine love, without respect. In short, no matter how you feel or how committed you are, if respect for you is missing in your relationship, then it is because the man you are with is not in love with you.

At the risk of sounding repetitive but because too many women, even Christian women, find themselves in this situation, I feel the need to say this again, so that it can properly sink in: It is impossible for a man to not have respect for a woman but yet ‘claim’ to love her. He is lying.

In Matthew 7:15 -20, on spiritual matters, Jesus warned his disciples to beware of false prophets who specialised in deception, pretending to be what they were not. He told them how to detect them, stating:

  • “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

To my mind, the same wise principle applies in the area of love relationships. The ‘fruits’ of that person you’re with will tell you how he really feels about you. If a man claims to love you with his lips but yet, his actions never seem to measure up or they blatantly contradict, then his actions which are the ‘fruits’ (not his words), reveal how he really feels about you.

If for example, he constantly disrespects you by insulting you, speaking harshly to you, speaking down at you, ignoring or downplaying your concerns, embarrassing you (especially in public), putting others before you, like his friends, work or family, failing to do what he said he would do and constantly serving up apologies or excuses, seemingly taking delight in harassing, provoking or upsetting you, is unconcerned when he hurts you and refuses to stop doing the things that he fully well knows is contributing to your hurt, if he treats you, not as the precious gem you are but badly or as an after thought, if he takes you for granted and does not show appreciation for all that you are and do, then dear lady, the writing is on the wall. He is showing you by his disrespectful actions, that he does not love you. Love does not look like any of the above actions. Love, which is referred to in the Bible sometimes as “charity” is exactly what 1 Corinthians 13 says it is.

Mind you, if a man loves you, he wouldn’t be perfect. He wouldn’t get everything right all of the time. He will mess up sometimes and disrespect will rear it’s ugly head on occasion, like when you are both angry and are having a verbal (not physical) fight and tempers flare. You yourself may find that you have been disrespectful in what you have said. That is to be expected and is perfectly normal. Generally though, that man will respect you and deep down, when a man respects a woman, she knows it because it is reflected in how he treats her generally. By ‘generally’, I mean that he does not display a pattern of constant disrespect. He may slip here and there occasionally (and a man that loves and respects you will feel genuinely disappointed in himself whenever he does) but for the most part, he will treat you like a woman should be treated when she is highly valued.

When a woman is with a man that she wants to be with and he loves her and therefore genuinely respects her, it usually shows. For, when women are loved and therefore respected in their relationships, this makes them feel secure, cherished, content and the result is that they tend to give off a confident glow. I am not saying that a woman’s confidence or aura comes from her being in a relationship with a man. I am simply saying that when she is in a relationship, if she is treated well, is respected and loved, it tends to show. People can see it. For, she tends to look radiant, happy, satisfied, confident and blooms for all to see.

On the other hand, when a woman is in a relationship with a man that treats her with disrespect and is therefore not in love with her despite how hard she tries to earn that love, that woman walks around looking anxious, unhappy, dejected, sad, depressed and forlorn. Even if she is pretty, the mistreatment to which she is constantly subjected tends to show on her face and in her demeanour, even if she tries to hide it. She may successfully hide it for a while but after some time, the pain of the situation she is in begins to take its toll. She gets tired of pretending to keep up the ‘show’. What the world then sees is a woman that looks wilted because she has been neglected, not nurtured. It sees a woman that feels down, anxious, insecure, unsure of herself and her worth, sad and depressed.

When a man respects you, truly respects you, he will consider you, he will study you, so that he can better understand your likes and your dislikes and he will be careful not to do the things that upset or hurt you. He may fail on occasion because he is human but your relationship will not generally be characterised by blatant disrespect and disregard.

A man who respects a woman will treat her as 1 Peter 3:7 commands husbands to treat their wives. This scripture states, “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

A man who respects a woman will therefore not exploit her because she is the weaker vessel. He will not play with her emotions and cause her to constantly worry about what she means to him and whether he truly values her. Instead, he will give honour to her by treating her honourably.

To dwell with her according to knowledge, would mean to study that woman and learn more and more about her, then to adjust and adapt and curb behaviour, the goal being to try his best to please her. A man will not be motivated to do this, if he does not respect a woman. In short, he will not want to even make any real or sustained effort to do this, if he is not in love with the woman that he is in a relationship with.

Ladies, this is a hard pill to swallow. I know. But if a man knows what upsets you and he does it anyway, time and time and time again, then guess why? It is not rocket science. He does what he does because he does not respect you. If he spares no thought as to how his actions could impact you and does not seek to curb his behaviour for your sake, then guess what? He does not respect you. If you are not sensing that he holds you in high esteem and admiration or he once did but no longer does, if you are not feeling special when in his presence and in that relationship and he is not behaving as someone would if they have in their possession, something that is very precious, then guess what? He has either never respected you or he has lost respect for you.

Love and respect go hand in hand. It is possible to respect someone and not be in love with them but it is not possible to love someone and have little or no respect for them. Respect is one of the reasons why a man loves a woman. It is one of the reasons why he falls in love with a woman. You cannot possibly have his heart if he does not hold you in high regard.

At this juncture, I want to address three (3) important issues about love and respect, which women need to understand. These are as follows:

ONE – A man does not respect you if he does not hold you in high regard.

I said this before but it is worth delving into deeper. Think about it. How in the world is he going to respect, far more love you, if he does not look up to you or does not admire or hold you in great esteem? By admire, I don’t mean your looks or how well you apply makeup or dress. It has nothing to do with your physical package. I mean that he holds admiration for you when he considers your character, your story and what he perceives you to be within.

In the Bible, Boaz clearly respected Ruth the widow, for her story, her selflessness, her courage, her devotion to her mother-in-law and her determination. Before he entered into a relationship with her, he held her in such high admiration, that he told her, based on what he had heard about her character, “…for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” (Ruth 3:11). This was a high compliment, perhaps the highest compliment that a man could ever pay to a woman. Now, at this point, Ruth still being a stranger to him, he was not in love with her but notably, he was not opposed to the idea of marrying her, if the man who was nearer in kin to her than him, should decline. One gets the sense that he eventually did, not just out of legal duty but because he considered it an honour to marry a woman who had impressed him so. In addition, not surprisingly, the respect that he had for her was not just conveyed in what he said but he demonstrated it in the way he treated her, which was always honourably and with the utmost of care.

In return, Ruth demonstrated such humility and respect for Boaz in her dealings with him, that it was clear that she would make a beautifully submissive wife. This brings me to my second point.

TWO – Submitting to a man does not put a woman in danger of him not respecting her.

Some women mistakenly think that if they are submissive to a man, that he will not respect them. They think that they must be combative, stand up to him and fight to assert their rights or else, he will walk all over them. This is not true. Such women are confusing being a doormat (which is not good) with being submissive but these two concepts are not the same.

The Bible calls women who are wives to submit to their husbands but of course, men looking for wives will be looking for this trait from the onset of a dating or courting relationship. Notably, the Bible calls a woman to submit to her husband, so it is her duty but it does not call her to be a doormat to him.

There is a difference. Men tend to respect women who are submissive but not women who are doormats. Women who are doormats, say yes to practically everything, have no opinions of their own or are afraid to express them, fail to have standards in terms of what they will accept or not accept or pretend that they don’t and allow the man to do whatever he wants, for the sake of remaining in the relationship, in the hope that being completely agreeable will win his heart or for fear of rocking the boat.

On the other hand, it is possible for a woman to be submissive but yet not be afraid to have her own opinions, to express her views and to hold fast to her standards. Sarah in the Bible demonstrated this quite well.

Although she understood and accepted that her role as the wife of Abraham required her to submit to his leadership and to respect him, to the point where she even called him ‘lord’, she was not a doormat. She was opinionated, saw herself as Abraham’s equal in the marriage and was not afraid to confidently express her views to him on issues, to tell him what she did not like or to tell him what he should do. It is clear as well that Abraham loved and respected her, as he listened to her counsel, even to the point of giving in to it on one occasion when he ought not to have.

THREE – A woman does not have to work hard to earn the respect of a man or to be perfect in order for him to respect her.

I know that some of you are like: “Okay, he doesn’t respect me. I realise that. Now, what can I do about it? Is it my fault that he doesn’t respect me? And what can I do to make him respect me?”

In beginning to respond to these questions, I will say, that for a man to respect you, this does not mean that you have to be perfect, nor does it mean that you have to exert a whole lot of effort fighting to earn his respect. Many women make this mistake, trying to be someone they’re not, trying to get a man to love and therefore respect them but this usually backfires.

See, whether a man respects you or not is mostly out of your control. A man will respect who he respects and you cannot force him to respect you.

I say ‘mostly’ because yes it is easy for a man to respect a woman that has noble character, beliefs and conduct and conversely, women can do things or behave and dress in ways that cause a man to not respect them. Our conduct can have some bearing therefore on whether he respects us or not. For example, a man does not generally respect a woman that dresses provocatively, exposing all of her wares to the world, as if what she has is not valuable but cheap. He does not generally respect a woman that behaves as if she is desperate, does not know her own worth and chases after the man as if he is the last man on earth.

However, while we can certainly have some level of influence in a man feeling a certain way about us, at the end of the day, whether he decides to respect us or not is generally outside of our control. For, even if a woman behaves honourably, dresses modestly and carries herself with respect, there are men that will still not respect her. On the other hand, a woman can be imperfect, have flaws, weaknesses and ugly ways which a man clearly sees and yet, he still respects and adores her. Respect is therefore a subjective thing. For, a man could respect and hold in high regard, a woman that we objectively consider as not deserving of his respect.

Rachel in the Bible is a case in point. She was clearly far from perfect and cannot be said to have been honourable or upstanding in character. For, instead of relying on the true and living God, she saw the need to put her confidence in an idol seemingly, stealing it from her father, hiding it and then lying about it. She used her husband as a bargaining chip with her sister Leah who was also married to him and because she knew that Jacob truly loved her (Rachel) and not Leah, used this to her benefit, Jacob seemingly doing whatever she pleased. When she realized that she could not have children, instead of taking her complaint to God as Hannah did, she idolized having a child, to the point where she demanded that her husband give her a child or else she would die.

Despite her obvious lack of character and flaws though, the Bible tells us that Jacob loved her. He was devoted to her. In all of his dealings with her, this devotion was demonstrated in the way he treated her, always with the greatest respect and as if she was precious, even showing her and the first child that she bore him (Joseph), favouritism. For example, when he thought that he and his family were in danger of being killed by his twin brother Esau, he protectively put Rachel and her two sons at the very back of everyone else, including Leah, her children, and his other two wives and their children. It seemed that he did this to give Rachel, who he valued the most and her sons, the best chance of escaping, if need be.

Whether we think she was worthy of Jacob’s love and respect or not therefore, it was clear that she had it, even while being her imperfect self. She did not put on an act for him, to impress him. She was Rachel and he fell in love with her anyway. We know that he loved her because apart from the Bible telling us that he did, his protective and even discriminatory actions in her favour, consistently bore testament to that fact.

Joseph, in the New Testament, also respected Mary, even when he thought that he had been mistaken about her character. He clearly loved her, so that even when he found out that she was pregnant during their engagement and thought that she had sinned with another man, although he must have been hurting and would have felt disappointed, betrayed and heartbroken, yet, he considered seemingly, how best to bestow mercy upon her, so that she would not suffer the brunt of the punishment for fornication, which, according to the law, said that she was to be stoned to death. In other words, due to his love for her (which did not automatically disappear because he thought she had sinned against him and against God), instinctively, he was still very protective of her. He did not want her to be made into a public spectacle and so he wanted to put her away, meaning to end the engagement, privately. In short, although he believed at the time, that Mary had acted dishonourably and there was no future for them as a couple, he still desired to treat her honourably.

Matthew 1:19 states, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.”

Ironically, as stated before, you could be an honourable woman with a lovely personality, upstanding, full of morals, have a beautiful character and be the kind of person that people generally admire but yet, not have the respect of the man that you are in a relationship with. It happens. As the saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt”.

If this is your situation, there is nothing that you can do to make that man respect you. You cannot control what he does or does not do. If he does not respect you, it just means that he is not the right one for you and you are not the right one for him. It means that he is either too blind or self-absorbed or lacking in character himself, to see your value and worth. Matthew 7:6 rightly counsels: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

You could be respectable and upstanding and he still not respect you and that is okay. It means that he is just not rightly suited for you. If you’re not yet married to him, this is your cue, your opportunity, to show that you respect yourself, by ending that relationship. In doing so, you maintain your self-respect and also make yourself available for the right man, who has enough common sense and God-given wisdom, to see your value.


In summary, I wish to reiterate the point that if a man does not respect you, whether you did something to bring about the disrespect or not and whether you lack honourable, admirable, upstanding character traits or not, it means that he does not love you. There are no ‘ifs’, ‘maybes’ or ‘buts’ in this matter.

Furthermore, if he does not respect you while dating or courting, no matter what you do, he is most likely not going to suddenly respect you in a marriage. What will most likely happen in that marriage if you make the mistake of marrying him, is that the culture of disrespect will continue and may even grow worse.

I wish that women would understand this and stop thinking that if they get him to marry them, that he will begin to see their value, begin to treat them properly and begin to respect them, in the marriage. The disrespect will only continue and whatever you tolerated before, he will expect you to continue to tolerate inside that marriage.

In any event, at the end of the day, whether you are upstanding in character and have behaved respectably or not, all human beings are worthy of respect because they have been created by God in his image and likeness. Being a human being and especially a woman, is a high honour that God has bestowed upon us and in light of this, we are all supposed to have basic respect and to be treated with basic human dignity.

If a man does not respect you though, don’t beat yourself up. It may be cause for some introspection on your part, yes, as you may have behaved in ways that made it hard for him to take you seriously. Yet, sometimes, it has nothing to do with you whatsoever. You can be a woman of noble character and he still does not respect you, maybe because he is too daft to recognise a quality woman when he sees one. Yours may simply be a case of you trying to feed pearls to swine. Alternatively, you just may not be his cup of tea or he may have certain prejudices or hangups in relation to women in general.

The bottom line is, while you can influence to some extent, whether a man finds it easy or not to respect you, you cannot make him respect you. That is his decision. You cannot make a man respect you. You cannot force him to do what does not come naturally to him. If you are honest with yourself and realise that the man that you are seeing and was hoping to build a future with does not respect you, then also be honest with yourself and admit that it cannot be that he is in love with you.

As stated before, one sure way to determine whether the man you’re with or interested in, loves you, when he claims that he does, is to look at the way he treats you. If women would get this point, it could save them a whole lot of heartache and trouble. Sadly, many women are busy fighting to build futures with undeserving men who do not see their value and do not respect them. In short, they are chasing after and are committed to men who are not in love with them. Not surprisingly, the results are usually disastrous.

Ask yourself: Does how he treats you measure up and match what he is saying or is what he is saying just words? Do you feel safe, secure, satisfied, assured, valuable and content in the relationship? If not, why? Could his constant disrespect, even if subtle, be the elephant in the room? Do you feel as if you are blooming or wilting? Plants only usually bloom when they are well-watered, nurtured and taken care of. They wilt from neglect and bad treatment.

If that man treats you badly or there is a culture of disrespect in your relationship, if there is a great disparity between what he says with his lips and his actual conduct, then dear lady, don’t be fooled. Believe his actions, not his words. For, as the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”.

Finally, while you cannot make a man respect you, I’ll tell you a little secret: Men generally tend to respect women who respect themselves.

Instead of trying to make a man respect and love you therefore, focus on respecting yourself. This will either attract the right kind of man who respects you or at the very least, expose the man that needs to be kicked to the curb because in your respecting yourself, you do not tolerate a culture of disrespect. As a matter of fact, men that don’t respect you or have a culture of not respecting women, tend to run when they realise that you respect yourself and therefore, have boundaries that you will not under any circumstance, allow them to trample upon.

On a related note, it is important that I point out that this Article and all of the advice I have given above is for single women, meaning women who were never married or were married but their spouse has died and so they are back in the relationship market.

If you are a married woman and realise that you made a mistake by marrying someone that never respected you or lost respect for you, I feel for your situation. However, the institution of marriage is permanent. Whether you choose to separate or not, God hates divorce (which is different from separation) and condemns remarriage, where your spouse is still alive. Once he is alive, whether or not he initiates the divorce against you, remarriage on your part or any other kind of romantic relationship with someone else is out of the question. God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that a divorcee is not eligible for remarriage.

If a divorcee should choose to disregard God’s Word and remarry, God calls this adultery. He also makes it clear in his Word that no adulterer that remains in adultery and does not come out of it in repentance, shall inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9 & 11).

If you fear God and can’t imagine a life of singleness, it is therefore in your best interest to try to make the marriage work, even if this means you separate for a while and pray about it, seek good, wise, spiritual and Bible-based counselling and hope to be reconciled at a subsequent point.

If you want your marriage to work, while you cannot make that man respect you, one of the best things that you can do for your relationship if you did not before, is to begin to respect yourself. This may work wonders. If the man did not respect you, for example, because you were a doormat or a walkover or because you behaved too desperate, now is your opportunity to get and practise some self-respect.

This does not mean that he will suddenly begin to love you though. If he didn’t love you going into the marriage, chances are that he wouldn’t in the marriage. We often reap what we sow and this marriage, if built on a foundation of disobedience to God’s Word (like an unequally yoked situation), disregard of his will (due to our stubbornness or failure to seek his counsel) or delusion (where the person duped us and we failed to heed the warning signs), it may well be our cross to bear. You may well have to endure in that marriage, till death do you part, not having the respect of your husband.

Yet, as bad as this sounds, for some, all is not lost. God is able to work miracles and if you are a child of God, prayer can change things. Keep the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ therefore, go back to the foundation, the very start and repent of anything you may done wrong that you need to repent to the Lord of. Then, keep asking God to salvage your marriage from ruin and remember, while it is a given that you must respect and submit to your husband, it is equally important that you learn to also respect yourself.

(Written on 30th October, 2022)

Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:

  • Note 8 – ‘My Quick Ten Point Checklist – Is He The One?
  • Note 10 – ‘Characteristics Of A Counterfeit’
  • Note 18 – ‘You Can’t Change Him’
  • Note 21 – ‘When He Doesn’t See Your Worth’
  • Note 20 – ‘Equation For Relationship Success’
  • Note 57 – ‘Who To Marry?’
  • Note 58 – ‘To Tell If He’s The One, Put On Your Spiritual Glasses’
  • Note 68 – ‘My Detailed List – What I Want In A Divinely Compatible Spouse’
  • Note 128 – ‘God-sent Or Just God-ly?’
  • Note 130 – ‘Ladies, How Long Are You Prepared To Wait?’
  • Note 144 – ‘Before You Say ‘I Do’
  • Note 145 – ‘Does He Love You Or Lust You?’
  • Note 147 – ‘How To Tell If He’s Your God-sent And Not Just God-ly’
  • Note 149 – ‘Making The Wrong Decision Can Be Costly’
  • Note 258 – ‘The Man Of The World vs The Man Of God’
  • Note 260 – ‘Common Sense Tips For Choosing The Right One’
  • Note 266 – ‘What Is Romantic Love?’
  • Note 271 – ‘Not Just Any Man Will Do – My Top Ten (10) Pet Peeves In A Man’
  • Note 275 – ‘How God Wants Us To Treat With Our Idols’
  • Note 303 – ‘What Is Love Really?’
  • Note 311 – ‘How To Make A Man Love You’

Additionally, under the ‘COURTING OR ENGAGED Daughters’ page:

  • Note 33 – ‘How Much Should He Love Me?’

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