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After years of doing research into how men think and feel, and doing interviews and surveys with thousands of men for my book For Women Only, I realized that this subconscious disrespect of men has worked its way into our relationships with them – and is doing incalculable damage.

Because, ironically, what men most need from their wives is respect and appreciation—and what is most painful is that sense that someone views them as inadequate. In fact, I was astounded that three out of four men surveyed said if they had to make the choice, they would be willing to feel unloved if they could just feel that their wife respected them, trusted them, believed in them and admired them… and all those things were more important to the average guy even than feeling loved.

I think because we’ve grown so used to a subtle – or not so subtle! – level of disrespect, that we don’t realize how often it creeps into our relationship with our husband. So we as women are really good at showing love, and we’ll say “honey I love you” and do all these things we hope he’ll see as loving… but at the same time – without realizing it!—we’re often criticizing him frequently, or questioning his decisions all the time, or teasing him in public about not being able to fix those broken cabinets in the kitchen… and any man hearing that is going to feel like ‘she just does not respect me.’ And since that is his worst feeling, he won’t feel loved.

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