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3 Common Frustrations of Wives

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Next month marks two years that I’ve been the content manager for iMOM. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart and what I’m learning about marriage and parenting with you! During this time, the comment I’ve heard the most in response to our marriage articles is this: “Why don’t you write this to men too? They need to hear it! I do everything for my husband and he does nothing for me. I am trying and he’s not.”

In my response, I always point out that iMOM is a platform for women, so we write to women. But our partner site, All Pro Dad, speaks to men in their language and challenges them to be better husbands. (So sign yours up for the Play of the Day email!) But this cry—“I do everything for my husband and he does nothing for me. He doesn’t care.”—is weighing on me. What does a wife do when she’s the one who puts in the effort and her husband just doesn’t? Here are 3 common frustrations wives have and wisdom for how to handle them. 

1. I do everything for my husband and he does nothing for me or the household.

We might as well tackle this one first! His dress shirt is wrinkled and you have a wedding to get to in an hour. You iron it before even jumping in the shower and you know this means you’re going to have to rush to be ready on time. Meanwhile, when you ask him to zip up your dress, he asks you to step aside so he can see the TV. Why do you notice and respond to his needs while he seems oblivious to all of yours?

Don’t stop serving your husband. Instead, speak up about your frustration. Keeping it bottled up will only make the bitterness inside you boil. He’ll likely say he just doesn’t see it (which will probably get you more frustrated), and that he’s not a mind-reader. Ask him how he’d like you to communicate about what you need. Establish a method for sharing your needs that doesn’t feel aggressive to him so you can help him understand what you want. 

Share these All Pro Dad articles with him:

5 Common Areas Women Want Men to Take Initiative

The 6 Best Things a Husband Can Do for His Wife

2. He’s not the least bit romantic.

iMOM has a lot of articles about flirting with your husband or putting the spark back in your marriage and so many women say, “I want him to flirt with me!” How many wives have been disappointed because they fantasize that “this is the year he does something unexpected for our anniversary” only to find out he’s planned nothing or even forgotten it altogether.  

Just like the previous frustration, you need to tell him. If romance isn’t important to him, he’s not going to bend over backward to make it happen. Tell him what romance looks like to you and ask him what romance is to him. Then, when he does it, don’t make fun of it or criticize him. And chances are, if you reward him for his efforts, he’ll get more creative next time.

Share these All Pro Dad articles with him:

10 Ways to Romance Your Wife

5 Things to Do When the Spark is Gone in Your Marriage

3. He just doesn’t listen.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled “You’re not listening to what I’m saying!” at my husband. Does your husband not listen during fights? Does he not hear you when you’re asking for help? Maybe you feel like a broken record because you’ve told him so many times why you’re unhappy. 

Healthy communication isn’t easy, but it’s also not complicated. It comes down to using assertive statements and active listening. Assertive statements start with “I” and are constructive and clear, not wishy-washy. “I would like more help around the house. I want to find time to talk about this.” Active listening restates the message to let the sender know whether it was clearly understood. “If I understood what you said, you’d like more help around the house and want to take time to sit down and discuss it.” This practice feels elementary, but it’s foundational to good communication.

Share these All Pro Dad articles with him:

What Happens When You Don’t Listen to Your Wife

20 Things Wives Love to Hear From Their Husbands

What if you’ve already tried it all?

You might be thinking, “Yep, I tried all that. He didn’t change.” I understand your frustration. I will ask you, though—how consistent were you? Did you give up easily? It’s very tempting to quit when we’re trying to help our marriages and our husbands don’t even notice, much less reciprocate. It feels unfair that we’re the ones trying. But here’s the thing: You can’t control him, his actions, or his response. You can only control what you do, so why not fight for a happier marriage?

If you’ve tried everything and are just exhausted by the mere thought of it all, ask him to go to counseling with you. If he won’t go with you, see a counselor by yourself. It’s not cheap, but it’s way cheaper than a divorce. Your marriage is worth it.

What have you done to try to make your marriage better? What has worked or not worked for you? 

ASK YOUR CHILD...

How can you tell when people need help? Do they always ask for it?

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