How to Deal With an Emotionally Distant Husband

I’d like to thank Daniel for this post – for presenting the ladies who read my blog with a masculine perspective of this important issue.  The posts on my blog are targeted only for wives – and all of the posts here focus only on what wives can control and what we can do on our end of the marriage relationship to bless our husbands and to honor God’s commands for us as wives in the Bible.

I am not an expert, a trained counselor, a psychologist or  a pastor. I hope to encourage wives to look to Christ for the power and strength to bless and heal their marriages. Things on my blog may be helpful for you, or they may not. I write especially for wives who tend to be more controlling with passive husbands. Wives who have more domineering husbands and who tend to have a hard time speaking their hearts and minds may not find this blog to be a good fit because they will have to correct from the opposite end of the spectrum as wives who are more dominating and controlling. And, if you are experiencing abuse from your husband, this blog is not going to be helpful for you – please seek godly, experienced help ASAP! Please be sure you are safe. Ultimately, each wife will have to prayerfully decide what would most honor God and be the best course of action in her marriage and her unique situation.

For posts about what husbands can do on their end of the marriage, please check out Daniel’s site (link is at the bottom) or my husband’s site http://www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com. 

Husbands AND wives both need respect and love.  Wives can feel disrespected and unloved, too.  But today, we are going to focus on a major reason (not the only reason) but a major reason why men sometimes shut down in marriage and some proactive and positive ways wives can respond.

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Do you have an emotionally distant husband? Does he often “check out” on you or refuse to talk to you? Or maybe he just doesn’t know how to connect emotionally? This is a common problem that many women face in their marriages. It might seem as if your husband doesn’t care about you or that he isn’t interested in you. Sometimes, you may feel like your suffocating under the emotional neglect. Some women even go so far as to say it feels as if their husbands hate them because of this problem.

What can you do if you find yourself in this kind of situation? Is he really uninterested, or is it that he just doesn’t know how to relate in an emotional way? If so, how can you help him to come out of his protective shell without pushing him away? If I may, I would like to offer a man’s perspective on this important issue.

The Problem – Why Husbands Are Emotionally Distant

There are many reasons why husbands can be emotionally distant. We men often find it very difficult to open up emotionally to our wives. In most cases it has nothing to do with whether we are interested in our wives or not. In fact, we want nothing more than to be the best husbands we can be. And that’s exactly where the problem lies. We’re afraid to fail.

It is a scary thing for a man to expose himself emotionally. What if he looks foolish? What if he looks weak? What if he looks like he doesn’t have it all together? What if his wife judges him, or worse, openly criticizes him?

This is scary stuff for a man. Seriously.

Not to mention that most of us just haven’t had much practice in this area. Most men have very few close relationships with other people that we can share this type of stuff with. We internalize our thoughts and emotions and mostly try to find logical ways of dealing with things. Sharing our dreams, desires, fears and conflicts is unnecessary, maybe even counterproductive.

To make the problem worse, men are wired differently than women are. You’ve probably heard that women are multitaskers and men aren’t. Not only do men find it hard to do more than one or two things at a time, but we also find it difficult to hold onto more than a few thoughts in our heads.

If you’re a woman, you probably have about 100 things going on in your head at one time. You’re worried about your kids, you’re thinking about your friend who is having relationship problems, you have a running to do list going, and you have several other hopes, dreams, fears, and concerns all bouncing around in there at the same time.

As a man, I’m usually only thinking about one thing at a time. Usually, if it’s the task I’m currently engaged in. If I’m doing something that doesn’t require much attention then I can think about something else at the same time too. This is why my wife can ask me what I’m thinking about and I can often say “nothing” with complete honesty.

There are plenty of other reasons why I might be emotionally distant from my wife as well. Maybe I’m tired and have had a long day. Maybe I’m irritated because she said something I didn’t like, so I withdraw. Maybe I’m irritated with something that has nothing to do with her. Maybe I’m worried about work or bills or something else. None of these things mean I don’t like my wife or am not interested in her.

The Solution – What To Do When Your Emotional Needs Aren’t Being Met

So here you are left with this gaping need for love, affection, and intimacy on an emotional level. Your husband isn’t meeting this need, either because he’s ill-equipped or he’s in a bad season in his life. How do you, as a women, get your emotional needs fulfilled?

The first thing you should do is stop looking to your husband to meet all of your needs. That isn’t his job. That’s not the purpose of marriage.

Only God can satisfy your deepest needs and desires. It is only when you look to God first that you can have your needs satisfied. Don’t believe me? Look at scripture:

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.(Psalm 37:4 NIV)

When you look to Him first and foremost as the ultimate fulfiller of your desires you will be satisfied. If  you try to get your emotional needs met by your husband, your kids, other relationships, or some romance novel you will find that it just doesn’t work.

That being said, having emotional distance between you and your husband is not part of God’s design for marriage. So how do you help him open up his heart to you?

Have you ever tried to tell your husband how much you need him to open up to you? If so, this is the wrong move. You’re actually pushing him further away by doing this. Why? Let me illustrate.

Your husband thrives on respect. It is the primary thing he needs from you. You need to feel loved, cherished, desired and attractive. Your husband, on the other hand, needs to feel important, accomplished, capable and needed.

If you tell him “I feel like you don’t love me,” you are communicating a need to him. He doesn’t see it that way, though. He feels as if you are calling him a failure. He’s not a good enough husband. And he withdraws even further into his protective shell. He shuts down and shuts up.

So what can you do to fix this situation? You need love. You thrive with it and you wilt without it. The solution?

Give him respect.

Do your best to make him feel like he is the best husband and father in the world without putting the pressure on him to perform. You will find that with some time, he will begin to open up more and more to you. He will start sharing on his own, without needing to be poked and prodded and, dare I say it, nagged.

But it’s not fair,” you may be thinking, “why should I have to be the one to do all the work? Shouldn’t he put in the effort to meet my needs?”

Yes, he should. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to worry about it. He’d give you all of the love you need and you would give him all the respect he needs. But this isn’t a perfect world. We live in a fallen world, and both you and your husband are fallen, fallible people. You both need to take responsibility for what you can control. Ladies, you can’t make your man show you the love you need, but you can influence him in that direction by being obedient to what God has commanded you to do. And influence is much more attractive than control, anyway, so it’s a win-win for you.

If you want more love from your husband, give him respect. You can complain about it or you can do it with a cheerful heart and see the results for yourself.

This is a guest post by Daniel Robertson. To learn more about building a strong Christian marriage based on Biblical principles, please take a look at my blog at God’s Help For Marriage. You can also link up with me on Google+ or Facebook.

RELATED:

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A Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

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59 Comments on “How to Deal With an Emotionally Distant Husband”

  1. S
    October 10, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    I agree with K. I also take issue with the statement that was made regarding the man not being responsible for his wife’s identity and happiness. I was in a really difficult marriage for almost 8 years that ended with my husband cheating on me. After I took him back and him doing it again, we are on the road to divorce. I never expected him to fill any voids, I expected basic human decency from him. All I wanted was for him to want to have an occasional conversation with me and not walk out of the room ( or house) when I was speaking to him. I wanted him to spend time with me and our children once and a while. I wanted him to answer the phone when I called. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    By the way, we did try Christian marriage counselling and I tried the love dare. My counselor seems to think he suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. So sometimes it’s not always the woman’s fault. She said unless gets help, he will always be that way.

    • peacefulwife
      October 10, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      S and K,

      Thank you both so much for your comments!

      K – I’m so sorry for the pain you are experiencing in your marriage. Yes – there can be times where a husband’s sin must be respectfully confronted, absolutely.

      S – I am SO terribly sorry for the pain you have been through in your marriage. And I am heartbroken to hear how things ended. I can’t begin to imagine the pain you have endured.

      I don’t think that one post can offer all the possible reasons that men shut down. But I do think that Daniel is hitting on a primary cause – when men feel disrespected. My husband was shut down for MANY years and I didn’t understand why at all. He never told me I was disrespectful – but looking back I see that I was quite controlling and disrespectful and that is why my particular husband shut down. At the time, I just thought he was incredibly unloving and sinful and God needed to change him. I had no idea that I was actually contributing to the problem, and in my case, I was personally sabotaging our marriage with my disrespect and control – but I couldn’t see it at all for many years.

      Of course there can be a variety of other reasons that men might shut down, too. But a wife can’t control the variables for many of the other reasons. So I do think it is certainly worth consideration that perhaps if a husband is shut down, maybe he could be feeling disrespected, even if he has not voiced that idea. My husband NEVER told me he felt disrespected, but that is exactly how he felt.

      Men have a much broader definition of disrespect and respect that we as women are often completely unaware of. So we can often unknowingly come across disrespectfully.

      I actually agree with Daniel – that a wife should receive her identity, strength, joy, purpose and happiness primarily from Christ. I know I used to idolize my husband and expect him to be completely responsible for my happiness – that sure didn’t work for me.

      I do think that husbands are very responsible before God for their godly leadership and for treating their wives with love, honor, consideration, respect, gentleness, tenderness and Christ-like selfless leadership. So your husband will certainly answer to God for his failures.

      Most husbands – when they are feeling respected, will behave with basic decency, and usually with love and a servant’s heart.

      If a husband is hiding an addiction or is actively involved in infidelity or has some untreated mental disorder or is deeply ensnared in some sin – a wife’s respect may not be enough to help him overcome all of those things. But for most men, a wife’s respect will draw her husband back to her and help to motivate his love for her.

      Sometimes men walk out of the room when they are feeling disrespected – often to keep from blowing up and losing his temper. Sometimes they don’t spend time with the children when they are feeling disrespected – or, obviously, there could be much more going on.

      I’m so glad that you did try to salvage your marriage, S. I’m sure that helps you to feel like you did all that you could to try to heal your family and not have to look back with regrets.

      I don’t believe that Daniel’s message here is that a husband shutting down is that it is “always the woman’s fault.” I think he is hoping to help a lot of women see that disrespect can cause husbands to shut down many times. And if we are aware of that, we can certainly work on our respectful behavior and that can make a really huge difference in many cases.

      I am praying for you both and for God’s greatest glory in your lives!

    • JM73
      January 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      So very glad I found this article. My husband and I have been married for 15 yrs. It seems lately that we are going through a period where he isn’t feeling appreciated or respected. I never intended for him to feel this way. I have always been focused on pleasing him that I didn’t focus on fulfilling my own needs. I was expecting him to take care of them I guess. So thankful to be able to get a man’s perspective. Thank you for putting this out there for everyone. I know that with time and patience we can work through our issues.

  2. peacefulwife
    November 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Jean,

    Thanks for your comment! I am so sorry for your pain!

    This site is for wives only. So I don’t have articles and posts for husbands here. That is why it may appear to be unbiased and unfair. I welcome you to read some more posts. :)

    My goal (whether it is my own post or a guest post) is to point wives to focus on their relationship with God and their own obedience to Christ. I spent 15 years pointing my finger at my husband demanding that he change and demanding that God change him. That left me a powerless, angry, bitter, lonely, overwhelmed, stressed, worried woman.

    When I began to focus on my own relationship with God and the commands God gave to me and handling my own sin – that is when God began to do miracles in my life and then in my marriage and in my husband. I now have intimacy with God like I had never experienced before and the marriage of my dreams. I can’t keep God’s beautiful design to myself – not if I could offer God’s hope to people who are living in despair.

    Of course wives can feel disrespected and shut down. Absolutely! We all know how to do that and I don’t think many wives need much help understanding how miserable, unloved, angry, bitter, upset, lonely and hurt wives can feel. The posts on this blog are to give wives power to move in a positive, healing direction for themselves and their marriage. My husband has a blog for husbands and he deals with teaching men to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her http://www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com. Scripture does not give women the authority to teach men. But Titus 2:2-5 gives me authority as an older wife to train the younger wives, so that is my goal here.

    Absolutely a wife’s opinion is very important and if you read my posts – you’ll find dozens and dozens of them are about how important a wife’s opinion is and how we can express that in a way that will actually get us heard by our men. The Bible does say that God designated husbands to be the leader in the marriage, but a wife has influential power and needs to bring her perspective, desires, wants and opinions to her husband or she is wasting her influence. When an agreement can’t be reached – it is up to the husband to make the final decision – he is accountable before God (Ephesians 5:22-33). But how can a husband make a wise choice without all the information?

    Husbands and wives both need love and respect. That is how marriages work. Men tend to be weakest at love, women tend to be weakest at respect. Men tend to need respect primarily and women tend to need love primarily – but ultimately, God uses marriage to train us in holiness and to stretch us to learn to give what we are weakest at and to learn to obey Him not our feelings and intuition to find His joy and peace.

    We don’t have control over our husbands. It took a long time for me to really get that! I can’t control what he does or if he pouts or shuts down. I can influence him to not want to be around me by being critical, negative, complaining, whining, demanding, pouting, bitter, angry, unforgiving, lecturing, bossy, scolding -etc. Or I can influence him to feel safer with me and to enjoy being with me if I am encouraging, respectful, admiring of what he does that is right, trusting of what he is trustworthy about, kind, friendly, smiling, etc. (If he is in sin, there are specific ways to deal with that, I have posts about that, too – you may want to check out the Blog Timeline at the top of my home page)

    I believe that God can and does heal many marriages after affairs. I would rather prevent them, of course! But if you read my posts, I don’t believe you will find the philosophy in your last paragraph anywhere on this blog. There are times when if a spouse is unfaithful and unrepentant, the marriage may not be able to be saved. But there is great power when even one spouse determines they will live for Jesus and obey Him and there is great cause for hope when God is the 3rd partner in a marriage – even when there has been infidelity.

    All humans – men and women – are wretched sinners in desperate need of the blood of Jesus Christ. All of us need the power of God’s Spirit to be godly spouses. None of us can do anything good on our own. In fact, Isaiah says that our own attempts at being good look like filthy, bloody menstrual cloths to God. Apart from the power of Jesus in my life – I can not do anything good in God’s sight.

    It is my desire to give wives tools that will actually bring about healing first for themselves and their relationships with God and then for their marriages.

    I am praying for you – that you might find the abundant life that Christ offers to you and find healing for your great pain. I’m very glad to meet you. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. Brandy
    December 4, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    This spoke to me in many ways and on many levels. I am going through a difficult time with my husband and I found this post to be truly inspiring and encouraging. Man nor Woman are perfect and all fall short to the glory of God but the journey is the lesson and Iwant to learn it with all my heart. I will continue to pray for my husband and that God restores our marriage and love for each other. Thank you for sharing this.

    God Bless You

    • peacefulwife
      December 4, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      Brandy,
      I am so sorry you are hurting! I pray that God might draw you close to His heart and that you might clearly hear His voice. Praying for healing in your soul and your marriage and that Christ might be greatly glorified through you! :)

  4. Zoe
    March 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Ive been married for10 years and feel like I’m getting to the point of throwing in the towel. I know marriage is hard work, and over the last 10 years I have worked really hard to keep the marriage together. My question is what do you do when the work is one sided? He’s so emotionally distant and we’ve gone for counselling, talked about it so many times- he apologises and makes promises which he never keeps for longer than a week. Every attempt to resolve conflicts come from me, he’s quite happy to sulk and give me the silent treatment for weeks when I do or say something wrong. So much so it feels like I’m walking on egg shells. I’m tired of reading books on marriage because I’m beginning to feel like the more I try to ‘honour and respect’ him, and get rejected, the more my self esteem suffers. We have two beautiful kids who adore their dad and I’ve always told myself that for their sakes I’d stay with him, but it’s getting to the point that I feel I need to move on.

    • peacefulwife
      March 27, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      Zoe,

      I am SO SO sorry for your pain!

      Does your husband say anything about what he wants or what is causing him to shut down?

      Any mental disorders, addictions, or medications that might be contributing to the issue?

      How do you respond when you are disappointed? What kinds of things do you do and say?

      Are either of you believers in Christ?

      I’d love to talk with you some more about this if you want to.

      Much love to you!

  5. Cyndi
    June 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    I have been married to my 2nd husband for almost 8 years. It has been a struggle from day one, to get him to open up to me. He does not communicate with me, even to the point that we go without sex for months on end, because he won’t risk what he takes as rejection if I can’t have sex with him at that moment. I dont get it, because I have very rarely said no to him. It started out in the early years that he would just ask…no foreplay, no passion, no intimacy…I would obligatorily say yes, but then sex (on his part) would be so distant and mechanical, that I felt kinda like I was his blow-up doll afterward. After years of begging, Ive finally gotten him to where, every once in awhile, he will actually kiss me a little during sex. (the only kissing we ever do otherwise, is a quick peck goodbye or hello). I know youre going to ask what have I done to help the situation. Well, Ive talked to him lovingly, suggested different bedroom activities, even initiated a lot myself in the early years. But I just was not wired to ALWAYS be the initiator…in my mind, a man takes control, but if I want to have sex on any kind of regular basis, I must initiate, and then it seems only for release, not for love and intimacy, so Ive just stopped. I once bought a book entitled “The Art of Sex” (illustrated with pictures and all) thinking it would spark interest and maybe be a mutual turnon, along with teaching us both a few things. He hid it under the bed. Last time I saw it, it was covered under a 1/2″ of dust. Once, in our first year of marriage, I stood, very provocatively, just inside the front door in a sexy babydoll nightie, complete with a thonged behind,and spiked heels (Im 125lbs, 5″tall, and was very proud of how I looked for him)when I knew he was going to be home from work. He walked in, looked at me once, made a sexual noise, and then dropped his eyes and wouldnt look at me again, kept his eyes closed., lights off while we had sex (notice I said had sex and not made passionate love). Same thing happened whenever I would do something risque to turn him on. After 8 years, we are like room mates…there are so many things we are seperate in. He keeps us seperate. He has his own bank account, I have mine, and Im not allowed to see his. There are just so many things like that, that Im just tired of it and want out. Ive tried to leave many times, but I hate the thought of it, everything about it, except the part where I wouldnt have to deal with his “crap” anymore and could quit struggling. We have 3, soon to be 4, grandchildren, from each side…my kids and his, which each of us have become very close to, and they have become close to us…I dont want our grandchildren to have a grandparent ripped from them, and so I stay, and stay, miserable. Ive turned to God and it helps for awhile, but the feelings always return each time a situation occurs that brings the weaknesses of our marriage to the forefront. We’ve seen several counselors, but he always quits going after the first couple of sessions, and then gets irritated when I ask about it and says “I;ll go back, Ive just been busy”…but never goes back, until I beg for weeks, then end up demanding he go back or I leave. I know if we dont get real help, I will eventually get the nerve to leave. Please help.

    • peacefulwife
      June 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Cyndi,

      I am SO sorry that you are experiencing so much pain and rejection! It sounds like there is much pain on both sides of the marriage. :(

      Are either of you believers in Christ?

      What is going on with your husband?
      – Is this his first marriage?
      – Was he molested/abused when he was younger?
      – Does he have a porn addiction?
      – Does he have medical issues – low testosterone, low desire, E.D., is he taking anti-depressants/blood pressure meds/prostate meds that might be causing physical problems for him?
      – Does he feel disrespected in the marriage? (there is a post about this at the top of my home page you may want to check out)
      – What kind of sexual history does he have?
      – What was intimacy like for you before you were married?
      – Was he taught that sex is evil when he was young?

      How do you communicate now?

      What does he say he wants to change in the marriage?

      Check out the post at the top of my home page about respect and the one about respect and sexual attraction.

      I also have a post about The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage

      I am praying for you both – and I am right here and glad to talk with you about this! I want to see you both close to God and each other!

  6. Malaw
    June 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Wow this article is an eye opener. It made me realized how I am putting more pressure to my husband than I should. What an amazing insight.

    • peacefulwife
      June 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Malaw,

      I am so glad it was helpful! I hope you’ll look around – I’ve got lots of posts to help you learn to speak your husband’s language of respect. Several posts at the top of my home page are especially good places to start – one about respect, on about disrespect, one about respect and sexual attraction. Check them out! Let me know if there are any issues you want to talk about. :)

  7. Daniel P. Robertson
    July 10, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Hey Kat, thanks for your comment. My wife read this before I posted it, so she knows where I’m coming from on this.

  8. proofpositive
    July 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    I disagree with giving respect as the solution to a man’s emotional detachment. I showed a lot of patience and respect for the first two years of our marriage and my husband just took it to mean that I approved of how the relationship was going. No friction, nothing to see here… I’m not saying don’t respect. I’m just saying it will not get you the love you need and it is not necessarily any solution to this problem.

    • peacefulwife
      July 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Proofpositive,
      Thanks for your comment!
      You make a very good point. Respect is not a “cure all.”
      If a husband is doing very well in other areas, but is feeling disrespected, then seeing and experiencing his wife’s genuine respect can be a huge help and may trigger a big positive response in him to be more loving.
      Respect does not mean that a wife cannot say what she wants and needs and can never address issues and problems. That sounds awful! I believe it is a wife’s responsibility to say how she feels and what she wants and if she has an issue – but to say it in a respectful way. Pretending everything is fine when it is not is a recipe for disaster – it seems to me.

      Ultimately, a wife shows respect because she wants to obey God’s command to her as a wife. But if she is showing respect to change her man or make him be more loving – that motive will not work. I totally agree.

      There are men for whom real, genuine respect about the good things in them helps them to blossom.
      But there are men who are emotionally detached who have very serious issues – drug/alcohol addictions, major porn addiction, infidelity issues, uncontrolled mental health disorders, violence, etc. – that are not going to respond to a wife’s respect.

      Respect is a great step – it is a legitimate need that men have. And being a respectful wife honors Christ. But a wife cannot change her husband, only God can do that. A wife’s respect cannot cure his sinful nature or major issues.

      I appreciate the comment! I pray that you might find a relationship with Christ Jesus if you have not already. It sounds like this has been a very painful road. I am so sorry to hear that. I’m glad to talk with you any time. :)

    • taeboss
      December 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

      I agree…respect comes from a mutual admiration..

  9. Confused
    September 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    My Emotionally Distant Husband responds to others in a way I would expect him to respond in sitiuation with his wife. So why he can’t he do the same for the woman he comitted to and who committed herself to him? Thanks.

  10. Kelly
    September 16, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Thank you so much for the insight. I’ve been married for 3 years now and it seems like I’m the only trying to remain connected with passion, communication, and love. Sad to say I’m lonely, and when I confront him he shuts down… I will work on my respect issues and continue to pray for our marriage. Thanks again!

    • Daniel P. Robertson
      September 16, 2013 at 12:51 am #

      Thank you for your comment, Kelly. This really is a difficult thing for us savages to get a handle on. :)
      Hang in there, do your best to show your husband respect, pray for him, and trust God to work on your husband.

    • peacefulwife
      September 16, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Kelly,

      It is great to meet you! I have a LOT of posts that may be helpful. You are always welcome here. :) Check out some of the posts at the top of my home page. I’m here if you want to talk!

  11. Kris
    September 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    I related to “S” comment… I don’t feel like I’m asking to much. And as “confused” says… it’s ridiculous that he can interact with others and be so pleasant but then I get the short end of the stick. For 13 years my heart has been broken and I can not alone repair it… went to councelling with this type of teaching ” the women has to change” and the man doesn’t have to take any kind of responsibility … it’s a two way street, no matter what I do he still isn’t happy. Sometimes they need to work on their inner selves and deal with their own issues but when they sit in an office and hear the wife only to be told to change… does that not give them a license to continue to work on nothing. After sessions my husband would say see it’s all your fault… and disregard anything else that was said. And if he’s so afraid at failing, then why doesn’t he see that pulling away is doing just that! … I go to my husband a directly express that I would like him to spend time with me, and he will refuse… He says if I ask for it and he gives it to me that it’s not genuine. Seriously? If I’m having a bad day and need a hug… why should I make him guess what I need because then I will never get it. But then when I tell him that I need a hug I still don’t because he doesn’t feel it’s then genuine… to me that’s just sick and twisted. I’ve never had to play such games to get my needs met and I don’t understand why it has to be that way at all. I love my husband and appreciate everything he has done … but I also need it back sometimes.

    • Daniel P. Robertson
      September 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

      Kris, thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns here. The truth is you can’t repair your broken heart alone, and neither can your husband. Is it possible that you are looking for your husband to fulfill a need that can only truly be met by Christ? Your husband is a fallen person just like the rest of us, and will never be able to meet your needs completely. I think that God allows these difficulties so that we can learn to rely on Him more and trust in His good plans for us even when things aren’t looking so good. This is the real secret to peace and joy. As Plasm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

      As for being afraid of failing, most people would rather fail by not trying than to take a risk and try and still fail. It’s something I’ve seen in every area of life. It doesn’t make much sense because in trying at least you are having a chance at success and even if you fail you’ve learned something, but that doesn’t change that most people would rather just not try.

      Something you could try rather than trying to get him to spend time with you is to try to join him in something he enjoys doing. This goes back to that responsibility thing you were talking about. You are both responsible for your marriage but you are the only person you can control. Trying to get him to spend time with you isn’t working because he probably feels like it’s just another thing he’s failing at and another thing he needs to do. But if you engage him in a fun activity he likes to do you are turning the focus from “working on the marriage” to just having fun, which I think is a much better recipe for emotional intimacy.

  12. Lyn
    September 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    I am engaged – I have been with him for a year & a half. We got into a horrid pattern of verbal arguments months ago that became verbally abusive. He has completely checked out emotionally….no intimacy, I see him about once a week and it always ends in a fight – we break-up – end the engagement – weekly. Anything I do – when I call – he says I am monopolizing his time. We are Christians. I am as perplexed as my friends who know him well and I can’t believe all of us cannot figure this out – he has never invited me to his place (never), he has tons of debt (don’t know if that plays in), job instability and an ex-wife who is unkind to him. He has two girls. He was very consistent with romance, being chivalrous, making certain after arguments to call and talk it out and see me fairly soon after – we live about 10 minutes from one another. Now he hangs up on me when I say something he doesn’t like, freaks out if I interrupt him, says vile things to me – just horrid – and does not spend any time with me at all. What is odd is he offered to go to couples counseling – asked me to go and he said he’d pay for me to go….and we just started. I can’t believe I am a really smart girl as are my friends (just brilliant people) and we can’t figure this out but we have narrowed it down to four possibilities: 1). He is having an emotional or full blown affair, 2). He has a mental illness – Bipolar (He is ADD) or BPD, 3). He is suffering from depression, 4). His life is simply out of control – financially, career wise, etc. and he is hiding something b/c I am never ever invited to his place – once I went when he was out of town and it was so messy that I gasped – not a normal messy- a ‘on the way to’ hoarding messy/dirty. I am so confused to know ‘Was he really who I thought he was’? And why can I have a healthy stream of relationships in the past – be a college grad – have a wonderful family/friends – and NO ONE can figure it out. I have asked him of course and he says it is that he has fallen behind with life due to our arguing – he blames everything on ‘me’. It is as if he is gone – I am single – yet when I said I think it is time to give back the ring and end it, he desperately wants to hang on. He does not take me on dates – he initiates nothing and this was a highly romantic man who pursued me long after the ‘early phase’ of dating.

  13. Lyn
    September 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Let me add to give more background….he moves from job to job – twice divorced – tons of credit card debt – seemed to have a heart of gold – very vulnerable man yet with an anger management ‘streak’. He doesn’t seem to be motivated at this stage to pursue or invest beyond his words what an engagement/marriage would require yet listening to him – he is an amazing communicator – he is always saying ‘I would LOVE to start planning’, I would love to do this or that’ but then nothing happens….unless I take charge. It’s gotten so perplexing that I am getting physically ill – migraines, insomnia, etc. I feel I am at the end – I know that – of deciding ‘when to leave’ but I feel i want to know what happened. We have lost a connection with one another and a beautiful one with the Lord as a couple. I am running to God first and praying – trusting in Him. My best friends said there is something ‘off’ with him – in their opinion – and he almost seems like he is not being truthful about who he is – but they were unable to explain why they felt that way.

  14. Lyn
    September 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Yes he is. I can give you a specific conversation but I can do it on email – not the internet. I didn’t realize I would be already posting so much for public viewing. I will read the post you referenced.

  15. mackstj
    September 26, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Glory to God for this message

  16. Cat
    September 30, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Can you refer me to any resources for wives who are emotionally distant and want to change? About a month ago, I became painfully aware of my disrespect toward my husband and the hurt it has caused. Your blog has been helpful as I have been trying to soak up anything to help and encourage me on my journey to learn and practice respect in my marriage as God intended. But communication is also an issue for me. I’m a very private person and the result is my husband does not feel an emotional connection to me. I desperately want to change. Anything I find relates to the husband being the non-communicative partner and how the wife should respond to him. I try to reverse the information to apply to the wife (ie me), but still nothing seems to address how the detached partner (husband or wife) can make steps toward change. Praying and trusting God is obviously a huge step, but any more suggestions or resources would be so much appreciated.

  17. jpflorida
    October 15, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    This is a great article, thank you. both my husband and myself are emotionally distant. We will be having our one year anniversary and not once have we lived together. I am healing from some health issue so I had to quit working but he finds many excuses not to work. He lives with a roommate and let’s him take care of all the bills. He wants me to move in with him and the roommate. I refuse. He’s had issues with porn, he has trouble communicating with me and texts me, he can’t say I love you without saying it in a strange voice, he rarely ever tells me I’m beautiful, but often times criticizes me. He won’t go to counseling and doesn’t want me to go because it’ll only be my side of the story. I drive an hour and a half on weekends to see him. He doesn’t like to drive here. I feel very unappreciated, undesired. He says the dumbest hurtful things. When I have been most vulnerable he doesn’t know what to say. He won’t defend me when I’ve been verbally attacked by his exgf and her mother. The list goes on. Now I have become emotionally distant because I’m tired of hurting. I don’t even know if I love him as a wife.

    • peacefulwife
      October 15, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      jpflorida,

      Would you like to email me? This sounds like a very difficult situation. I’d love to talk with you. :) aprilc@sc.rr.com

  18. Sidra
    November 4, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    I am really impressed with Daniel & Peacefulwife.
    This is the very first time that I come across such a well balanced analysis regarding what & how man feels when he gets emotionally distant to his wife. I specially admire that you guys focused on biblical teachings and Love for God.
    I ,though,m a Muslim woman I would tell you that Islam also teaches us the same thing to love,seek love,rely and please GOD before loving anyone else. I want to endorse your suggestion to not to make your spouse like a GOD in your life,release him for human mistakes,guilt,failures & other weakness like we do to ourselves.

    • peacefulwife
      November 4, 2013 at 6:26 am #

      Sidra,

      It is a pleasure to meet you!

      Thank you for your comments. :) You are always welcome here.

  19. dina
    November 6, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    My husband has been emotionally “absent’ since my daughter was born 3 years ago. We were joyously happy two years until that point. I never really noticed I was being neglected emotionally until my daughter arrived. He started working overtime, stopped calling me while at work, forgot our anniversary, seemed uninterested in the bedroom and had a look of disgust when he spoke to me. It was like the love he had for me just disappeared. He is an honest guy, always was where he said he was, so I do not suspect cheating. I began trying to ask what is wrong, that didn’t work. That just made him grow angrier. I took him to therapy…he says it just made us fight more. I begged him to change if he loves me….and that made him totally shut down. I was so lonely, starving for just a conversation or a laugh, that I couldn’t take it any more. I told him to leave. I would rather be in my bed alone, than to be in my bed and be ignored for the next 30 years. He has been gone for 5 nights, sleeping in his sisters basement. He only called my phone to speak to my 3 year old daughter. Why isn’t he seeing that I was a good wife who just wanted to be loved by him? Why isn’t he using his key to come in and hug me, say he will change, and it will all be better? How can he just let our family go?

    • peacefulwife
      November 6, 2013 at 6:31 am #

      Dina,
      I am so sorry things are so painful!

      I don’t know what is going on with him. I do know that many times husbands feel neglected and left out when babies arrive. I also know that sometimes when husbands shut down they are feeling unappreciated or disrespected. I don’t know if that is the case here.

      Check out the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect and respect and see if that helps make the picture any more clear?

      I’m glad to talk with you some more about this.

      Much love to you!

    • Nick
      February 3, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      Was your husband in the delivery room? Ladies DO NOT allow your men into the delivery room. It’s culturally accepted now but it’s not necessarily a good thing for your man to see you in this situation. Many cultures didn’t allow it and it’s for a good reason.

      • P
        February 3, 2014 at 9:53 am #

        Delivery room or not, absence is absence. It’s a choice.

  20. P
    November 15, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I walk alone in my marriage and have done so the whole time. My husband chooses to not be involved & either leaves the house or hangs up the phone rather than discuss any issues going on in our home. We have been to workshops, parenting classes, counselors; all of which I have pushed for. There is no change. After 20 + years and 3 children who are preparing to leave the on their own journeys, my heart breaks from loneliness and despair from carrying the family, the marriage, the decisions, etc., alone.

    He now works out of state, his choice. It is not much different as I have parented alone since the beginning. I am a Christian, albeit, a broken one. He says that he is but does not p/up the Bible, go to a class, but sits in church and calls himself good. My frustration lies in “the image” that is not real. I am not expecting him to fulfill me, but to support my needs w/hip replacement, miscarriages and other illnesses; he committed to that, and that is not too much to expect from a spouse. I’ve had to struggle to find that support elsewhere; rides to the hospital. He thinks the children should do it. I realize his upbringing was not great, however, I believe that a person chooses to be married seeks to do a good job. A person chooses to be a father/spouse/mother/wife, makes different choices to make this happen. My spouse does not attempt to reach for those goals, but is busy seeking the next job.

    I have found that I am a smart, intelligent, woman capable of humor; but I am lonely. I feel that my spouse has a responsibility as well in becoming a man. It is not something I am willing to carry for him. We are here to help one another, but to only carry each other’s burdens for a short time. At this point, I am unable to continue to carry this marriage and certainly, I am not willing to pretend it is good. I am a married single woman, not by choice, but by my spouse’s abandonment of the marriage many years ago. I will not take the blame for that, but choose to move forward in serving God. I no longer wait for this partner to step up to the plate; it won’t happen. My children understand this; they’ve watched it all their lives. I am an old woman, but I am not taking this lightly as I move forward.

    • peacefulwife
      November 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      P,

      It is wonderful to meet you!

      I’d love to talk with you maybe by email – would that be ok with you, if you are interested, of course?

      I also have an email support group for wives whose husbands are involved in infidelity or have abandoned them – some are still in the same home, but do not speak to their wives at all. You are welcome to join that group. There are times when separation can be necessary – possibly divorce.

      My greatest concern is your walk with Christ and you being able to clearly hear God’s voice and for His will to be done in your life. :)

      I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my precious sister in the Lord!

      aprilc@sc.rr.com

  21. atomikcupcake
    November 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    There are a lot of fair points in this as far as how men think, but I have to say, the advice itself just sounds like a lot of excuses. Is it really necessary for me to walk on eggshells, making sure I talk to my husband the right way so that he never feels disrespected, lest he withdraw into his ‘protective shell’? Bull crap. Make sure he feels needed…but not emotionally, or he’ll withdraw. This article basically says ‘You can feel like a decent, loved human being…but only as long as you do all these things.’

    And what if I’ve withdrawn because I feel disrespected? What if I do my best to maintain a respectful attitude and my needs aren’t being met? This article doesn’t mention what men reading this article can do to try more to open up emotionally, at all. There is no compromise to the solution, only that the wife needs to change to fit his needs in order for hers to be met.

    • peacefulwife
      November 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      atomikcupcake,
      It is great to meet you!

      The purpose of my site is to help wives look at ways we can understand our husbands’ perspectives better and to learn how to speak respect to them in ways that are meaningful to them and to become the godly wives Christ desires us to be.

      I don’t address husbands in my posts. My husband has a blog for men http://www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com, or men can read this guest post’s author’s site.

      The vast majority of women have no idea how we come across to our husbands in ways that hurt them. If we knew how we sounded to them, and the damage we were doing, we would want to change. Just like we would like them to learn to be more loving – they would appreciate it if we would be more respectful.

      This isn’t about walking on eggshells, but about being sensitive to what our husbands hear and about approaching them with consideration, thoughtfulness, gentleness and realizing that they have feelings, too.

      Husbands and wives BOTH need love and respect. Absolutely.

      Wives tend to be very loving. We don’t need a lot of coaching on that. But in this culture, we have almost all lost our sense of treating others with respect. So that is where we as wives might be able to use a little bit of help.

      The reason I have this site is because for over 14 years, I thought I was the best Christian wife ever – but I didn’t realize until late 2008 that I had actually been disrespecting my husband in many ways that I was totally unware of. THen I was upset with him for being passive, withdrawn and unloving toward me.

      When God showed me that I had been unknowingly quite disrespectful for almost our entire marriage, I was in complete shock. My criticizing, belittling, bossing him around, undermining his decisions, bashing him to my family and friends, focusing on all the things I wanted him to change had to go. Now, God has radically changed me. And – after He radically changed me, He radically changed my husband and my marriage.

      Now I know how to approach my husband in a friendly, non-pressuring way. Now I show faith in him as a man and I treat him with honor. And now we have the intimacy on every level I had always wanted. But I could never have his heart by trying to force him to change. I had to learn to accept him and respect the good in him and not try to change him. God can change people. I can’t.

      I invite you to read the post at the top of my home page which is a compilation of 9 different husband’s lists of things they find to be disrespectful. It’s a long list. And pretty shocking for a lot of women.

      How I WISH I had this list years ago. I had no idea all the things I never even thought twice about that wounded my husband. He never said a word about it – he just shut down and shut me out of his heart.

      Husbands have feelings. They have emotions. They seem really tough on the outside, but if we want our marriages to be the best they can be – we have responsibilties to treat our husbands well. God commands wives to respect their husbands (Eph. 5:33). This is the same God who commands husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:22-33). God made men. He made women. He made marriage. He knows how to make it all work best.

      Of course husbands have plenty of areas where they can improve, too. But we can’t make them do anything. We only control ourselves. I spent 14 years pointing at my husband demanding that he change. It turns out, my power was in looking at my own sin, my own pride, my own areas that God wanted to change in me. That is why my site is for wives. I only talk about what we can control.

      I hope you will take a look around.

      You are welcome here. I know that what I talk about sounds strange to our ears in this culture where disrespect for men is totally normal and expected. But – if you are willing to be open to it – the keys to a thriving marriage are here, and the keys to the peace and joy God has for us if we are willing to do things His way, trusting His wisdom, not our own.

      • atomikcupcake
        November 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

        Thank you for your response, I will definitely look into your posts about disrespect. I’ve done so in other forums before, but it can be very offputting–I even read one where a man thought it was disrespectful for his wife to change the channel!

        I guess what I’m thinking is that yes, it’s possible that I’m unknowingly being disrespectful. However, I also believe that it’s a husband’s responsibility to speak up when he feels that way instead of being passive and withdrawn, which is, from what we’ve been taught in this culture, a woman’s way to handle a situation. Men want to feel manly and respected, but if they act in a passive, disrespectful, and submissive way by hiding their feelings about a situation and not resolving to have their needs known, I don’t find it to be my responsibility to pry it out of him just because he’s acting a certain way, just as I wouldn’t expect him to do the same for me. Hence the walking on eggshells metaphor: I just don’t feel like I have it in me to watch what I say at all times in order to avoid disrespecting him because I’m not outright told if i”m doing something disrespectful. It’s a vicious cycle of communication barriers.

        It’s also very hard admittedly to take that step to respect someone who you feel does not respect you–and I can’t help but feel disrespected in thinking that my husband has left it up to me to figure out why he’s passive or withdrawn instead of coming right out with it.

        • peacefulwife
          November 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

          Atomikcupcake,

          In an ideal world, yes, men would say, “Please don’t talk to me like that” or “I don’t like it when you …”

          Men and all people, I believe, do have a responsibility to verbalize their feelings in marriage and in relationships.

          My husband talks about this on his blog. I personally believe if my husband had told me I hurt him many, many years ago – I would have felt awful and would have wanted to fix the issue. I WISH he had told me how he felt. For many years, I assumed he must be fine because if he wasn’t fine, surely he would say something.

          My husband freely admits now that he SHOULD have said something and that going passive was not a healthy or responsible way to respond to my behavior.

          I have a post that is an interview with my husband about this issue. I asked him why he didn’t say anything at the time – I think his responses are interesting.

          Ideally, both husbands and wives would seek to become better and desire to bless the other and honor God.

          Different men have different things they feel would be disrespectful.

          I also have posts about what men find to be respectful - which probably would have been helpful for me years ago, too.

          I appreciate your questions and have enjoyed discussing this topic with you. If you ever want to talk about anything, I’m glad to hear from you. :) aprilc@sc.rr.com

          • atomikcupcake
            November 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

            I’d actually be very interested to read those, thank you! I think it’s wonderful that you and your husband both blog and can use the connectivity of words to your advantage. I enjoyed our discussion as well, I’ll be sure to follow your blog. =3

      • atomikcupcake
        November 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

        (edit to add to my post)

        Oh wait, it WAS your list I read! It’s a large list of interpretations, some of which make me feel like I can’t be myself because literally anything could set a man off. The more general ones at the top of the list can apply, but I still think that you should be allowed to bring them up without it dooming your communication with your spouse. What if he ISN’T contributing enough financially? What if he ISN’T satisfying you sexually? Should we simply not bring these up because they’re considered disrespectful? If these are truly an issue (which they are in my relationship), then I know it’ll hurt, but my feelings are important too.

        The problem I find with that list is that so many are COMMON for men to do to their wives, but they don’t view themselves as being disrespectful doing them, just like a woman reading it might not know it’s disrespectful to her husband. For example, helping too much, asking if he remember to pack something, commenting on his lack of remembering, etc.

        It just seems like anything that might threaten his ego is on the list and becomes a no-no, which sounds like it would create a huge gap in communication that is based on what is “safe” to talk about to preserve the feeling of respect.

        • peacefulwife
          November 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

          atomickcupcake,

          It is a long list. Not all men have all of those issues. But – as you begin to really learn about respect, it becomes easier to understand why those things, that seem minor to a lot of us as women at first, really could be a problem for our husbands.

          I have posts where I talk about how to ask for things in respectful ways. I talk a lot about the importance of sharing our feelings and desires and ideas.

          One post is “A Husband’s Authority and a Wife’s Authority” – a wife has a very powerful type of authority in marriage called “influence authority” – much like an advisor would have with a king or president. Often influence authority can be even more powerful than positional authority. So, a wife is not left without a voice or without power in the marriage. Actually, even though this is really counterintuitive to us as women and goes against our culture – as we learn this language of respect, our husbands begin to also respect us more – then they begin to allow us to influence them. Eventually, our husbands begin to care a lot more about our feelings and desires and all we have to do is simply say “I want X” “I don’t want X” one time, and they will often bend over backwards to delight us.

          It is ultimately a win/win. We end up having a godly kind of power to build up, bless, encourage and inspire our husbands that is infinitely more powerful than our old sinful ways of trying to control, force, nag, lecture, criticize to get our way.

          Some husband solve their wives packing for them or making sure they packed what they need – some don’t. This is where each wife will need to study her own husband’s preferences -just like each husband will need to study his own wife’s preferences on what makes her feel loved and secure.

          At first, wives tend to go a bit silent on this journey of becoming a respectful, godly wife. I did. But that was primarily because I suddenly realized that almost every word out of my mouth had been sinful before – pride, control, idolatry of self, selfishness, worry, fear, lack of trust in God, lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty, living as if I was sovereign instead of God, gossip, etc. So, for awhile, I backed off and got pretty quiet while I tried to figure out what was disrespectful and what was respectful.

          Sadly, for me 5 years ago, I had no list. And at that time, my husband was not able to verbalize to me what was disrespectful and what was respectful. And I had no book that had this stuff in it. I was SO CLUELESS! I wanted to learn to speak his language, but I felt like I was learning Chinese without a teacher and without a book. It was a slow process. I hope to connect the dots a lot closer for the wives who come behind me.

          I learned to stop the things that I was doing that were actually sinful things – bullying my husband verbally, criticizing, arguing, complaining, ordering him around, being exasperated with him… And I began to become more the woman I had always wanted to be. This was with God’s power helping me. I couldn’t do this on my own, by the way. Then, I began to learn to focus on the good (Philippians 4:8) and not focus on the negative things about my husband. I was shocked how I began to see more and more good things and fewer and fewer negative things because I fed the thoughts about the good things. I focused on appreciating anything he did that I liked. I focused on encouraging him and pointing out his strengths. It felt awkward at first because I was used to saying so many negative things. But in time, it became a new normal.

          I did lose myself. I lost my old sinful nature. But that is a WONDERFUL THING! I put on my new self in Christ – and became the woman of His dreams and the woman I wanted to be all my life. Then Greg became more and more the godly man I knew he could be when I stopped trying to control him and stopped being mean to him. It was amazing to watch him stand taller and become more confident and plug back into our marriage and into our children’s lives. I began to support his decisions as a dad and talk to my children about respecting their dad. We became a true team.

          A few years ago, Greg asked me to teach other wives what God had shown me. I cannot imagine a better compliment from my husband than that!

          Husbands and wives both need love and respect. Husbands can definitely be disrespectful, too – in which case a wife can say, “Please don’t do X. That hurts me/That feels disrespectful/That feels unloving.”

          I am looking forward to more discussions with you! Have a fantastic week – and Happy Thanksgiving, my new friend!

  22. Carol
    November 26, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    Thank you, this is exactly what I am going through…. I am the one with the problem but don’t how to start fresh. I lack so much in so many areas of my life and I blame my husband. I have pushed him away and we have disconnected. I was beginning to feel as divorce was the answer for us but I have realized after reading this I need God! I don’t want God to be my crutch but to feel complete by him and this is where I stand. Incomplete!

    Thank you,
    Carol

    • peacefulwife
      November 26, 2013 at 6:13 am #

      Carol,

      Welcome! I have so many posts about exactly this – how to become a godly wife and how to tear down our old ways of thinking and start fresh doing things God’s way. Check out the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect and respect.

      You may also want to look at my series from last week about FAQs that starts with “So When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?”

      Let me know if you need direction after that. :) We can walk this road together.

      I also have a Youtube channel with about 65 different video topics if you are more of an audible learner “April Cassidy” is my channel.

      I’m right here if you have questions. I will do my best to point you to Christ and His Word.

      You may also want to read my “About” page.

      Much love to you! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!

    • Daniel P. Robertson
      December 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Carol.

      I would like to say that God is not a crutch. We were all created to need God and so we are incomplete without Him.

  23. Nikki Husar
    November 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    I have been married for 32 years with a husband who could not find it in himself to comfort, support, nor share his feelings with me. Consequently, there has been much damage done to not only me, but to my son due to his aloofness when it comes to times of grief, illness or any other instance that calls upon him to hold and empathize those that need his strength. He is not equipped to be available and appears to be a shell of a husband who is a rainy day friend. I know that our Lord is the ultimate shelter for our hurts, but living with a man who refuses to acknowledge that within the Lord’s guidelines in regards to marriage in that both spouses are to become one in every thing has made this situation hopeless. Through my experience with mental and emotional problems due to a lack of support, I know what the Evil one is using to attack marriages of Gods people. It is called passive aggressiveness, a disorder that begins at childhood and affects everyone that touches this poor souls life. In spite of my plea to our Lord and the enlightenment I received, I am sad to say that I am in the process of divorce and the later years of my life will not include a man and wife as one.

    Many are not aware of this devastating disorder, but those that suffered from it for years have the emptiness and heartbreak that comes with it.

    Nikki

    • peacefulwife
      November 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Nikki,

      It’s a pleasure to meet you!
      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear about how painful things have been for you. :(

    • trish
      December 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Nikki, regards
      I am not saying this is the problem, but it does sound like he got stuck at some point, that he could not grow or change. I have met some who got stuck, even decades later they had not grown at all. It does not mean you are at fault in any way, you have suffered a lot and it has done damage. As for being on your own later on, many women have a lot in their lives through friends and family, it can be very good and positive. You can have a rich life, i hope that many doors open for you and you get to enjoy life to the full for as long as possible. It is not always our input that will change things, we are to do our bit, but we are not responsible for the outcome, that is down to God. We have to be totally open to God and let him work in us, It is up to each one to be willing and to take action, we alone are the ones who decide which way it goes.

  24. pcg47
    December 1, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    I agree with Nikki’s comment. I have jumped threw hoops for the past three years trying to make my young marriage work. Standing by my man when he had two unexpected strokes that changed both our worlds forever. Always giving him the understanding, support and patience he needed to see it threw this dark time in his life. He is never there for me in any way shape or form. Never acknowledging all I do for us. I have leaned on my faith to see me threw. But it still doesn’t change the fact that woman are raised to be supportive and understanding and the men they love abuse that love and leave us empty. Everytime I try to leave he uses some form of passive aggressive behavior to get me to stay. So he can be cared for and not have to care for me. I had such hopes for my future with him. Now I feel like a withering flower in the desert dying from neglect. I’m done.

  25. diane ramirez
    December 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. My husband does not share much with me at all, When I want to talk he just shuts down. He did have an affair which I found out about cause I found his emails. He did not have a problem with being open with her. But yet with me he shuts down. Could it be he only share’s stuff with her? Maybe for all I know it’s still going on.

  26. trish
    December 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    If a man shuts down because he feels disrespect he is not being mature. While he is shutting down he is not open to discuss the problems. God does say to put away the child and be an adult, to behave like an adult. If it is up to the other one to to make it right, are they not refusing to be right of their own accord. If they shut down every time they feel aggrieved, whether at work or elsewhere, they might have a mental problem. They would be wide open to the enemy and all sorts could get in. It could even be a matter of the one shutting down doing it to try and control the other party. It is not a good thing to shut down at all, and i do wonder what Jesus would have to say about the one who shuts down mentally, It is by no means a mature thing to do.

    • Daniel P. Robertson
      December 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Hi Trish, thank you for your comments. I would like to say that in writing this post I am in no way saying it is OK for husbands to shut down. If this post were addressed to men, I would have said things differently than I did here.

      This post is written to wives who’s husbands have a hard time opening up, for whatever reason. The question isn’t whether the man is being mature or not (for this post), the question is how will a godly wife respond to this hurtful situation? Will she point the finger and blame him for everything wrong with the marriage because he isn’t meeting her “needs”? Or will she stand by him, support him, and do her best to respect him even though he is a fallen human being who makes mistakes?

    • peacefulwife
      December 11, 2013 at 6:05 am #

      Trish,

      Hey! It’s great to meet you. :)

      You know – earlier in our marriage, I would have agreed with you. My husband became increasingly passive during the first 14 years of our marriage – and I seriously thought something was wrong with him – or that he was just the most unloving man on the planet.

      Now that I have been studying men and marriage and learning to stop my own disrespect and control for the past 5 years – I look at things very differently.

      Men’s brains are actually wired very differently from ours. They have millions less neurons connecting the two halves of the brain. This makes it a lot harder for men to process heavily emotionally charged conversations quickly. Some men literally need to go off by themselves and process things for hours to know what they think about certain things. My husband is like that. But he is not the only one. I was really surprised to read in “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn and “His Brain, Her Brain” by Dr. Walt Larimore MD that this is actually pretty common for men. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care. It doesn’t mean they have a mental health issue. Sometimes, it just means that they are different from women. That’s not bad. It is just different. MAN, I could have spared my husband and I both a lot of frustration – and myself many tear filled nights if I had understood this one thing. Dr. Larimore says it can take men 6-8 hours longer than women on average for them to process extremely emotional issues.

      Now, I know that if there is a big decision, I can share my thoughts and desires with my husband and then give him some time to process.

      I also know now that many men will shut down when they feel disrespected. In a man’s world, when one man disrespects the other – that is a challenge to fight – either verbally or physically. But a husband, especially a decent man, doesn’t want to hurt his wife. So, sometimes he shuts down or even leaves when he feels disrespected in order to protect her from his own anger. He is trying to do the honorable thing and not crush her with words or respond to the challenge in a physical way because he doesn’t want to hurt her.

      Unfortunately, when we as women feel unloved, we tend to respond with disrespect. We often don’t even realize how we come across to our men. But our tone of voice, posture, body language, facial expressions and words can sometimes scream disrespect to our men. That is what I used to do. That is why my husband often shut down and he eventually shut me out of his heart until God finally showed me what I was doing and began to show me what it means to men for us to respect them.

      Another reason that men may shut down emotionally is that many times, they don’t think in words. My husband doesn’t. Some men do. But the engineering types sometimes do not. So when they work on solving a family problem, they sometimes think more in formulas. Some men think in silent movies. I have had husbands who are lawyers tell me they think in words and could respond quickly, but many of them do not respond quickly with words because they want to take time to be sure they express themselves in ways that don’t hurt their wives’ feelings and they want to be sure they are making a wise decision before responding hastily.

      Some men have trouble accessing their emotions. And then it can take extra time for them to translate their feelings into words.

      I hope this may be helpful.

      I have also done some surveys of men on my blog in the past year and some of them have been kind enough to answer some questions for me that I have found to be extremely insightful.

      You are welcome to check out these articles.

      Men and Emotions
      More about Men and Emotions
      A Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions
      Another Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions
      An Interview with My Husband – Understanding a Passive Husband’s Mindset

      May God richly bless you. :)

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  1. Types Of Houses » Blog Archive » Emotional Detachment Causes Hd - May 6, 2014

    […] How to Deal With an Emotionally Distant Husband Peacefulwifes Blog source […]

Beginning 7-21-14 I am back from a one month blogging vacation. You are welcome to leave respectful, edifying, constructive comments. May God richly bless your walk with Christ!

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