The desire for respect is an inherent one, but not everyone is willing to give it readily. Your husband is in contact with many people during the day while away from home. Some may be impolite and insulting him which eventually can upset the person. As his wife, he expects you to show respect and encouragement at home and thereby boost his trampled ego.
To honor and respect your husband does not belittle you, but it provides energy and inclination to struggle to make a better life. You should always greet him, and with your greeting, give him a feeling of veneration. Do not interrupt him when he is talking. Be courteous and polite when you are talking to him and do not shout at him. Let him enter first when both of you are going to a meeting. Praise him in front of others. Ask your children to respect him and reprimand them if they are discourteous towards him. Be respectful of him in front of guests and be attentive to his needs, as well as the guests. When he is knocking at the door you should try to open the door with a smile and a happy expression. This small act of happiness has such an effect that it refreshes the man's tired spirits. Some women may think that such behaviour is strange. Imagine greeting your husband as if he was a guest. This is not the correct attitude because the man has been struggling all the day for the well-being of his family and he deserves some consideration and respect when he returns home. That first greeting makes a big impression and what's good for a guest is good for the family members.
"The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) stated: 'The duty of a woman is to answer the call at the door and welcome her husband'."1
"Imam Sadiq (AS) stated: 'A woman who respects her husband and does not harass him, will be fortunate and prosperous'."2
"The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) stated: 'A wife is duty-bound to arrange for a basin and towel to wash her husband's hands'."3
Be careful not to humiliate him, do not talk to him harshly, do not abuse him, do not be inattentive to him, and do not call him by any obscene titles. If you offend him, he, in turn, will insult you. Eventually, the spirit of love and trust will erode. Consequently, you will have constant quarrels and arguments which may lead to a divorce. Even if you continue to live together, your lives will surely be filled with many turbulent moments. Feelings of antagonism and psychological disturbances may build up to the point that it becomes hazardous to the couple's life in that it may lead to crime. The following stories, illustrate some of these points:
"A twenty-two year old man, stabbed his 19-year old wife to death after he was abused by her. In the court he said: 'I was married to this woman a year ago. At the beginning my wife loved me very much. But it was not long before she changed and started to humiliate me. She would use abusive language with me on every possible occasion and over the smallest issue, would make fun of me. Due to a squint in my left eye, she used to call me a "blind ass". One day she called me a "blind ass" and I became so furious that I stabbed her fifteen times with a knife'."4
"A seventy-one year old man who had killed his wife, explained: 'Suddenly her manners towards me changed and she started to ignore me. Once she called me "an intolerable man". I realized that she did not love me any more; I became suspicious of her and killed her with two blows of an axe'."5
1-Mustadrak, vol 3, p 551.
2- Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 253.
3- Mustadrak, vol 3, p 551.
4- Ittela'at, 14th Urdibahisht, 1351 Solar Hijri, no 13787.
5- Ibid, 1st Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri, no 13652.