Marriage Killer #4: Superiority Complex

My kids used to tease me about the way I could give a “drop-dead” look by raising one eyebrow. It came in handy as a high school teacher, but it can really get in the way when you need to display a gentle and kind spirit toward your husband.

The raised eyebrow usually lets him know I’m not pleased with something he’s done.

Where does that raised eyebrow come from? Well, for me anyway, it stems from a prideful heart. Maybe some people just have a twitch or raise their eyebrows because they’re puzzled. Not me. It’s pride through and through. If I want to communicate to you that I disagree with what you just said or did, or I think my idea is better, my way is superior, or I know best, my eyebrow throws an insult to your intelligence. That is pride through and through. Sickening, isn’t it?

The older I get, the more I realize how much I still need to learn. This realization has resulted in me becoming a less frequent “eyebrow raiser.” In fact, I’m afraid I may almost have forgotten how. (Maybe I should hang on to that ability just in case I ever need to return to the classroom?)

Probably none of us believe we’re superior to our husbands (I know I’m certainly not!), but our attitudes can convey this idea—even though it’s unintended. Nothing deflates a man more than treating him with a disrespectful, condescending attitude that communicates: “I’m far superior to you.”

I may not understand all the ins and outs of practicing biblical womanhood, but one thing that Scripture makes clear is that I’m to respect my husband, and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t include a raised eyebrow.

[box]“The wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:33).[/box]

Your facial expression may not involve raising the eyebrow, but are you guilty of using body language or tone of voice to communicate a negative message to your husband?

Are you intentional in encouraging him or is he more familiar with your criticism?

Where does this post find you today?

Originally posted 08.26.09 at

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/


  • Robyn

    I have been reading all of these posts with a heavy heart. My husband wants a divorce. I still feel God working in my life but this is so painful for me. How do I not look at him with that raised eyebrow when he has caused me so much pain. I know God has a plan to use all of our pain but I am having a hard time seeing that right now.

  • JF

    Thanks for this reminder! Mine isn’t a raised eyebrow but it is a look I give him and it’s sad but a lot of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it until he calls it to my attention and my first response is always, what?! Then I realize I am doing it so often I don’t even notice it anymore, that makes me sad! I am NOT superior to my husband and I am being disrespectful by giving him a “look”. Thanks for your post reminding me of this today! I am asking for forgiveness from my Heavenly Father and also my dear husband. I love you blog and your books! Blessings to you!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Robyn ~

    I know it is so hard, I am so sorry for this painful journey you are on. The only thing that really helps to conquer that temptation to lash out with a “raised eyebrow” (or other negative reactions) is to go back to the cross. Consider what Christ endured for you without “raising an eyebrow” and ask Him for grace to demonstrate love and compassion when your husband is not pursuing godliness. I encourage you to camp out in 1 Peter 3:8–17 for a bit. Walk through that passage with your husband in mind and ask God to speak to you about how to apply this passage in practical ways to your marriage.

    As you begin applying things God is showing you, I encourage you to not lose heart and to always cry out to God for “Help!” Ask Him to fill you with His empowering grace to love your husband well and to choose the way of humility rather than pride. Especially cry out for this when you are at a moment of temptation, wanting to lash out, or give in to anger and self-pity, wanting to demand your own way, or exert a destructive fierceness.

    Let your husband know specific ways you now realize you wronged him in your marriage, ask his forgiveness and appeal to him to seek out biblical counsel. You might consider sharing with him our story by watching our video together or listening to one of our radio interviews.

    Robyn, you may do everything possible to reach your husband’s heart without seeing him affected, but bottom line is, you will be blessed by walking in obedience to God.

    Pausing to pray for you and your husband now ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, JF

    Thank you so much for your kind comment! I am thrilled to hear that you are applying what God is teaching you! May you see much fruit from that!

    Praising the Lord! 🙂

  • Annie

    Um so……what if your husband is the one, and he is very, very big on himself and cannot take “No” from you? mine is not that interested in developing traits that are beyond himself and his money much of the time, it’s almost all the ever talks and thinks about….so I feel alone in my inner growth, while walking on eggshells every single day of my life now, and probably for the rest of it.

    Men need to respect us too, people need to respect all other life in general, not just go stomping our way and hurting all those smaller than us! but men are told they can do punish wives and subdue all other life…nobody really stops them, it’s a man’s oyster.