Why Men Feel Inadequate

feel inadequate

Many men feel inadequate at home.

The majority of men do want to be good husbands. But in the same way they worry that they not know everything about being a good employee, they secretly worry that they don’t know how to be a good husband, provider, or handyman.

“At least at work,” one man told me, “I have an idea of how to succeed—work hard, get ahead, complete assignments, and get in good with the boss. At home, what is the measure of success? How do I know whether I am a success or a failure?”

Not surprisingly, men said they judge themselves—and feel that others judge them—based on the happiness and respect of their wives.

What Your Husband Wants You to Know

If a man feels like he’s trying to bluff his way through this being-a-husband thing, you can imagine his relief when he can tell that his wife feels loved and happy, or when she publicly honors him and his “husbanding abilities.” And conversely, you can imagine the trepidation he feels when he receives the cold shoulder confirmation that he got it wrong again, that he is indeed an impostor and he doesn’t know what he’s doing in his personal life.

What Should Wives Do?
It’s not your man’s responsibility to figure all of this out on his own. Once we understand what our husbands secretly feel and think, our words and actions can make a huge difference.

  1. Affirm him! Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed. If a man knows his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life.
  2. Don’t tear him down! If instead of affirming, a wife reinforces her husband’s feelings of inadequacy, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  3. Create a safety zone. Men need a place where they can make their mistakes in peace and not constantly worry that they are one misstep away from being exposed. If we don’t realize this and are perhaps too attentive to their mistakes at home, we risk creating a situation that is the opposite of what we want.
  4. Supportive sex. “Sex plays a huuuuuge role in a man’s self-confidence!” reported one husband to me via e-mail. “A man can be having a horrible time at work, but if his wife wants him physically and affirms him in bed, he can handle the rest of the world, no problem.”


  • Elliot Seung-Hui

    MY penis!

  • Via

    My husband tells me I make him feel inadequate when I speak to him. He tells me what I’m saying, whether it be about us or the family or something that has nothing to do with him all together, makes him feel like he isn’t doing enough. He has said he has felt this way since we have been together, he claims I don’t respect him or love him. I’m constantly giving him words of affirmation, trying my absolute best handling my son and now being pregnant with our first to show him by my actions, I am doing good my best in every aspect I can think of and he tells me the same thing all the time. Am I doing something wrong? Could it just be an insecurity of his that he needs handle? What can I do better?

    • janon

      When people are called out they always fly to defensiveness and rationalization.

      One thing that certainly *wont* fix anything is being convinced it’s just him, that you’re doing nothing wrong, and that you need to focus on figuring out whats wrong with him.

      Try asking and listening. Really listen. Not like most people who merely pause while the other person vents then launch into self defense regardless of what they said, never even really hearing it.

  • S

    My “Christian” husband had an affair for over 2 years and I have lost all ability to think of him the same or “believe in him” even though that’s what he tells me that he needs from me. How can I when he has cheated on me and lied to me and deceived me all while I’m homeschooling and faithfully caring for our children?

    • Kaleigh

      I am incredibly sorry to hear about this. I think your question is valid and would probably be asking the same thing if I were you. I’m so thankful that you are still with him and that you are fighting for your marriage. I will be praying for perseverance in that and that God would work in your marriage to unify you and restore the places that have been broken and hurt.

  • There are two very big things that are driving boys, later men to school failure and later, to life failure. One is the belief boys, later men must be strong which is allowing much more aggressive treatment and much less support for fear of coddling. Two, the information age now requires lower average stress for learning and motivation along with much more stable, mental, emotional, social, academic skills, which are not supported for boys, later men which is causing them to grossly fall behind collectively in many information age countries.

    The belief boys should be strong “allows increasingly” more aggressive treatment by parents, teachers, peers, and others as early as one year of age, designed to create more anger, fear, and tension, so they will be prepared to fight, defend, and be tough. This is coupled with “much less” kind, stable, (very little kind verbal interaction), and much less mental/emotional support, knowledge, and skills for fear of coddling. It is the more aggressive, less supportive treatment, which creates the toughness or extra maintained layers of average stress: anger, fear, preparation for defense, and anxiety. These layers remain in the mind and take away real mental energy from academics, so those boys will have to work two or three times as hard to receive the same mental reward for work expended.
    This more aggressive, less supportive treatment creates more social/emotional distance/distrust of others – parents, teachers, peers, and others in society. It creates lags in social vocabulary, less knowledge of syntax and other communication we as girls are given on a more continuous basis. It creates higher average stress, which creates more activity for stress relief (not genetics but environmentally created). The higher average stress also creates higher muscle tension, which hurts handwriting: more pressure on the pencil and a much tighter grip, hurting handwriting and motivation to write (too much pressure tighter grip causing early fatigue).
    The total effect including less care and support creates much more failure and a feeling of hopelessness, especially with our false genetic models firmly in place. Also to make it even tougher for boys is the granting of love and honor (feelings of self-worth) only on some condition of achievement, status, or image. This was designed to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth low to keep them striving and even be willing to give their lives in time of war for small measures of love and honor from society. Males not achieving in school or other areas are given more ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given boys for fear of coddling. Many boys (as you would expect) thus falling behind in school then turn their attention to sports and video games to gleam small measures of love and honor not received in the classroom. This also acts as a psychological catharsis for much more “maintained anger, anxiety, and hurt” they accumulate from the more harsh treatment they experience over time. The belief boys should be strong and the false belief in genetics creates a blatant mental denial of the differential treatment, which is creating the lower academics, lower esteem, and other problems many boys are facing today. So strong is the belief boys should be strong there is an almost emotional cannibalism allowed upon boys and men who appear weak in some way by society: parents, teachers, others, even from many girls and women, especially in the media.
    As girls we are treated much better and enjoy more hope and care from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment, much more continual, positive – mental, social/emotional support, verbal interaction and care from an early age onward, this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls when compared with boys. We enjoy much more care and support from society from infancy through adulthood and receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We enjoy lower average stress for more ease of learning. We enjoy much more freedom of expression from much protection that makes us look more unstable at times. Of course we can also use that same freedom of expression to give verbal, silent abuse, and hollow kindness/patronization to our Male peers with impunity knowing we are protected. We enjoy much lower muscle tension for more ease and ability in handwriting and motivation to write. We enjoy much more positive, trust/communication from parents, teachers, peers, and more support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. The lower the socioeconomic bracket the much more amplified the differential treatment from infancy and more differentiated over time through adulthood.
    What is worse, we as girls and women can do all of the right things but then face the backlash of being Female, among many other Females, girls and women who are now using our false feelings of superiority to hurt boys and men in school, the workplace, public offices, and even stores and restaurants. Theory to all [email protected]