Need help being a better husband

Need some help here… It’s complicated to summarize, but here’s a first crack at it…

My wife and I have been married for 11 years. We have two kids, 3 and 5 years old. We both work full time, I’m in graduate school. We live a busy, but otherwise relatively unchallenging life.

My wife says she is unloved. I love her tremendously, but I will admit, I have trouble showing my love to her. We have not had much of a physical relationship for a while. I have difficulty expressing love to her (besides saying I love you, doing things for her, etc). She says she feels neglected and doesn’t feel like a wife. She says that I am no longer interesting to her, and that I haven’t matured into a grown man in the time we’ve been married. I feel like I’m only doing things for her and the family, and the way I show love may just be different than what she sees. (Yeah, the whole Love Language thing… Let’s not bring that one up again :slight_smile:) She sees me as always being busy around the house, and not paying enough attention to her or the marriage. I dunno, I guess I just think I’m trying to read her cues and hear her messages about what needs to get done, what her needs are, when she wants personal space, etc. I’m not going to pretend like that’ll be easy to always figure out, but I know I can do better. But how?

I obviously want to repair my marriage and save my family. If anyone can offer advice, resources, help… I’m all ears. I want to save my marriage!

First you have made a huge step in recognizing you need to make improvements and are asking for help!
I find this to be a great resource: https://www.gottman.com/couples/
You will get lots of great advice here :slight_smile:
Your wife and you are in my prayers. Do let us know how it’s going.

As a stranger on the internet and without getting to know you better, I’ll just throw a few random suggestions your way. You might get better advice from a counselor though.

You mentioned that you are doing things for her and the family. Are you mostly doing your things while she does her things? If so, look for ways that you and she could share certain activities, like cooking, washing, reading to/with the kids, other small-child care, shopping for family necessities, … and what else?

Do you two (or with the kids) get out of the house much for fun? Say, go to the park or playground, or walk around the neighborhood. Or get a trusted babysitter so the two you can go dining or dancing.

What about listening? My wife loves to talk about her day, and lucky for me, I’m a good listener.

I could come up with a lot more ideas, but perhaps you could think about it and tell us more about what you think you’re doing right and what more you could be doing right.

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Well, you know what part of the problem is already. Now you just need to fix it. :wink:

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Haha, well that’s a new one for me… Fixing that now!

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Have you ever actually asked your wife what it is she wants from you? Your way of showing love is to “do things.” But that is not how she feels loved. That is how you feel loved. You have to give her what she needs, not what you want to give.

Ha! I meant to reply to OP, not to myself! :wink:

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Well, you love your wife. the only thing to change is how you show your wife.

As her for what she wants. It’s possible she wants more proofs. Women tends to be insecure if they don’t see them.
Such as validation on what she has done, encouragement, love words, physical signs of affection, activities together and so more.
To find again the man she loves before getting married and caught up by the routine.

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Is it possible that your wife is suffering from mental/physical/emotional exhaustion?

You said that you live an unchallenging life

DUDE!!! You both work freakin’ FULL TIME!!! You have two small children!!! You are in GRADUATE SCHOOL, which at the least means that you are studying, and possibly means that you are physically gone from your house for various on-site labs, hands-on projects, research, etc.

Your lives sound VERY COMPLICATED to me–it sounds like work, work, work and more work and still MORE work!

Do you have full-time maid or nanny? Does someone cook for you, or do you and/or your wife have to do all the shopping and cooking, too. Do the children spend all day in a daycare while you and your wife work–that is exhausting for children!

I can’t even imagine both spouses working full time with young children, let alone one of the spouses attending grad school, too. WHEN do you SLEEP?! Ai yi yi!

And it’s no wonder you don’t have a physical relationship anymore–there’s no time left! Women can’t just 'turn it on" especially if they are exhausted and thinking all about the “LIST” of things to do the next day–they need time and lots of “wooing” and loving and tenderness.

It’s no wonder your wife feels neglected!!! You are both running on a treadmill like hamsters!

At this point, I think if you tried to sit down with her and discuss your crazy lives, your wife would tell you very impolitely where to go. She’s tired, stressed, and convinced that nothing will ever, ever change (which isn’t true–her children will grow older and require less hands-on care, but at this point in her life, it seems like they will be little and demanding forever and ever and ever).

She won’t listen to you. She doesn’t have the capacity to listen to you anymore–her cup is full, and there’s no room for a nice chat and discussion with you to outline a better life plan.

You need some help to sort everything out and come up with a realistic plan that might involve one or both of you cutting back on this exhausting schedule until both of your children are in school full time.

I think it’s time for marriage counselling. If she won’t go with you, YOU go and see if the counsellor agrees that you both have TOO MUCH going on in your lives, leaving you both with no time for each other.

The two of you need to get off that treadmill and re-discover each other. You have too much “life” going on right now.

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Can the two of you hold hands quietly for 15 minutes? Or can she put her head on your shoulder and just waste time with you?
If you are not making time and space for this (not saying you aren’t) then you have a responsibility to work on this simple thing.

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Hello and welcome!

These are more initial thoughts than anything else–> Please take them or leave them.

Does your family go to Mass together? Do you say a family rosary at least once a week? Do you keep your expectations lowered? Have you prayed about this? Have you asked God for help?

I think it’s great that you care enough to post about this.

My husband & I are in counseling and it’s helped out a lot.

Have you ever read “Be A Man” by Father Larry Richards? Maybe that can help.

Don’t know if it’s a good idea hearing things from the woman’s point of view though, either. Maybe better to talk with a man.

Placing you in the enclosed garden of the most sacred heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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My first thought is to ask if you have a date night once a week. Just go somewhere (or in pandemic times) get someone to watch the children and get take out, and spend time talking and mostly listening to your wife.
Perhaps she is exhausted, and is taking out her frustrations on you. Praying for your marriage.

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