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Why Some Husbands HATE It When Their Wives Read Marriage Books/Blogs

translation
Sometimes husbands get VERY upset if they find out their wives are reading any “self help” books or blogs about marriage.
Let me see if I can explain what may be going on in a husband’s mind after having some conversations with Greg on this topic.   He used to HATE when I read marriage books.
I think that men don’t usually seek help unless they have a problem they truly think they can’t solve.  I believe that husbands assume that wives do the same thing – but we are just always looking to improve – even if things are really good.  That one misunderstanding causes a lot of problems!
Husbands may associate their wives reading marriage books as meaning:
  • she doesn’t accept me for who I am
  • she wants to change me
  • she thinks I am a failure as a husband or as a man
  • she’s going to start doing psychological experiments on me again, and when I don’t “respond the right way” she is going to be angry
  • we are about to have a lot of fights
  • she is going to have even higher and more unrealistic expectations of me than she already did
  • only people with serious marriage problems need marriage help – she must think our marriage is awful
  • she is going to focus only on what she thinks I do wrong and not see the things that she does that hurt me
  • she is going to try to control me even more than usual
  • she is going to listen to the author of that book instead of caring what I think and how I feel
  • she thinks I’m a loser (from a comment on this post)

Some husbands have not experienced their wives reading a book about learning to meet their husbands’ needs and learning how to understand their husbands, empathize with them, respect them, cooperate with them and honor them.

Here is something I think is interesting.  Greg told me recently that he never prayed for God to change me during those 14+ years I was so disrespectful, prideful, controlling, unforgiving, impatient and self-righteous.  He believed me that he was the problem in our marriage, just like I had told him that he was. 🙁  He never thought about wanting to change me.  He never thought of me as being disrespectful.

He knew I was arrogant – which I was blind to at the time.  But he felt he was not worthy of respect and that he did not deserve to ask for my respect.  🙁 He believed me that he was far from God and felt it was impossible for him to try to be close to God the way I was.  Yikes!  Of course, now I know I wasn’t too close to God myself all those years, even if I did pray and read my Bible a lot.  My disrespectful, condescending, self-righteous words and attitude affected him greatly.

I guess all of those reasons explain a lot about why he was shut down, didn’t look for help and stopped trying.  How it breaks my heart now to know my husband felt all of these things for so long.  It is scary and sobering to realize the power I have as a wife to destroy my husband and marriage.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish woman tears hers down.  Proverbs 14:1

If what I am doing to try to be close to God results in me being bitter, resentful, angry, upset and disappointed – I am NOT going the right way!  I may have sin in my heart – idols, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, selfishness, etc…

  • If I am truly drawing nearer to God – His Spirit will fill me with increasing grace, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  If I am getting closer to Him, I will obey Him in everything.  If I am getting closer to Him – I will have forgiveness and perseverance.  I will become more and more like Jesus if I am really growing spiritually.

IT  IS POSSIBLE FOR HUSBANDS TO LEARN TO LIKE SOME MARRIAGE BOOKS AND BLOGS!

Once I read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – Greg quickly decided he LIKED this kind of marriage book, and he started a search for more books so that I could learn more about respect and biblical submission.  I asked him to see what he could find.  I had no idea where to look.  He bought me a few dozen books in the 2 years after that.

If I focus on my own obedience to God, my relationship with God and I accept my husband and don’t try to change him – that is the ticket!  I don’t even read the parts that are about what husbands “should” do anymore.  It is better for me not to go there – even now.

Now he is happy to see me reading marriage books – as long as I am focusing on what I can do on my end of the marriage, not trying to change him.   He even blogs about marriage for husbands now AND he reads marriage books himself!?!?  The ones for husbands! That is SO CRAZY!!!!!!

Such a God thing  – to take my husband, who used to HATE marriage books and was so shut down for many years and so wounded and passive after all of my control and inadvertent disrespect – and now he is such a godly, strong leader in our home, and is willing to write about godly marriage for men.  It still blows my mind every time I think about it!

Greg doesn’t think that most husbands will be open to the idea of any marriage book, blog or whatever being worthwhile until he sees real, consistent change in his wife over a significant period of time.  Greg said husbands know that they aren’t going to change even if their wives want them to.  And they are afraid of their wives changing and being different from normal.  Most men hate change – even potentially good change.  Change can be scary.  Old ways are familiar and they feel they know what to expect.
But –

A wife becoming respectful and honoring his leadership is the kind of change a husband would welcome… as he begins to see that it is for real and permanent.

“Should I tell my husband that I read your blog?”
MANY husbands WANT their wives to talk with me or read my blog, but their wives won’t.  Most husbands, once they read a few of my posts – are ecstatic to have their wives read my blog and the books I recommend.  A rather large number of men read my blogs – which is extremely unusual in the marriage blogosphere.  Most likely, your husband will eventually be glad you are reading my blog (and certain books and blogs) if you really seek Christ and seek to obey His Word as a wife.  But is it wise to talk about it????
  • If a husband is close to God – he can probably handle his wife talking some about what she is learning – especially if she is able to talk about it in a non-blaming, respectful way.
  • If a husband is far from God – talking about what you are doing spiritually is probably going to repel him. I would suggest NOT talking with him about what you are learning and doing to grow in that situation – following I Peter 3:1-6 for wives whose husbands are disobedient to the Word.  I am not saying “don’t grow spiritually” – I am saying, “don’t use words to tell your husband about what you are doing.  Words don’t mean a lot to most men.  What will impact him and preach a much louder sermon than any lecture, nagging or verbal preaching ever could  – is your respect and joyful cooperation with his God-given leadership (unless he is asking you to clearly sin).
My calling is to seek to be a godly mentor to wives as the Titus 2:2-5 mandate gives to older wives. (I am 40 and have been married 19.5 years.  I have been on this godly wife journey for 5 years this December. Anything good in me is ALL God.)
Titus 2:3-5

3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Here are some of my goals:
  • I want to always point wives to God’s Word to live in complete submission and obedience to Him – having Jesus as LORD.
  • I desire to encourage wives to be filled with God’s Spirit to have the power and freedom  to do what God commands us to do – that we could never do in our own strength.
  • I want to always uphold husbands’ God-given leadership positions in marriage/family.
  • I want to always uphold a wife’s influential authority in marriage and teach women how much more powerful our godliness can be in our marriages to build up and bless and to eliminate the destructive power of our old sinful nature by dying to self and living under the Lordship of Christ.
  • I want to seek to encourage wives to respect their husbands and biblically submit to their decisions (unless they ask their wives to clearly sin).
  • I seek to address wives’ sin that many of us tend to be blind to in our culture – pride, self-righteousness, idolatry, disrespect, control, etc…
  • I do not talk about what husbands “should” do or tell  wives to try to change their husbands.
  • I don’t teach men.
  • I strive to tell wives to accept their husbands, respect the good in them and be thankful for them – even if their husbands never ever change.
  • I desire to encourage wives to be humble before Christ and before our husbands.
  • I seek to encourage wives to bless their husbands and to be joyfully available to them spiritually, emotionally, mentally and sexually whenever possible, to do good to them, to cut out all the sin in their own lives by the power of God regenerating their minds and souls and to become the woman God desires them to be.
  • I hope to expose some of what wives do that comes across as disrespect that we are unaware of so that we can learn to cut out all unintentional disrespect.
  • I encourage wives to spend PLENTY of time with God, reading His Word, laying their lives down to Him, trusting Him and praying.
  •  I especially encourage wives to ask God to change THEMSELVES.

23 thoughts on “Why Some Husbands HATE It When Their Wives Read Marriage Books/Blogs

  1. { I Remember What I said , In An E-mail About Commenting From What I Am Learning About Verbalizing Skills My Apologizies }

    But

    You Mentioning The Love And Respect Book I Feel I Must Say Is An EXCELLENT Book ! Opened My Eyes To ALOT!
    I Liked The Saying One Woman Put In Her Story . . Love Is A Choice , Not A FEELING , But A Commitment !!!

    I Thought , It Was A FEELING . . Imma Be Honest !

    We Also Took A Marriage Class At The Church We Were Attending At The Time. It Was The Love And Respect Program!

    However , I Got MORE From The Book !

    Love Is A Choice And A COMMITMENT . . . I Know My Husband Loves Me !!

    I LOVE Him , And I AM SO THANKFUL

      1. Thank You So Much !!

        I Am So Glad That My Generation , And Generations To Come , Have You For Guidance , Advice Or ,How Ever One Wants To Put It !!!

        I Am So Thankful !!

        God Is So Good !!

        HE Is Using You , In A MIGHTY Way !!

  2. Yep – when we were first married I used to read books all the time and leave them out. My husband used to get very angry and say that I might as well be reading “Why My Husband Is a Loser” in his opinion. It’s been a tricky road but doing the things you mentioned above has been a process that has helped me to a new place (I’m still working on) now. Thank you!

    1. Wow! He made his feelings very clear. I think that will help a lot of wives to understand how men feel about this.

      I think that men don’t usually seek help unless they have a problem they truly think they can’t solve. I believe that husbands assume that wives do the same thing – but we are just always looking to improve – even if things are really good. That one misunderstanding causes a lot of problems!

      Thanks for the comment! Very helpful!

  3. This is another great post. I would also add that most marriage books, conferences and counselors (in my experience) tend to focus on fixing men and do not address issues that wives bring to a marriage. For many men, going into a situation where it is assumed that we are the problem and if we would just love our wives right then our marriages would be fine is like asking us to sit still while we get our teeth kicked in. However, a book like Love and Respect is much more well received because it addresses both the husband and wife equally. I will gladly have my sin addressed if my wife’s sin will be equally addressed. However, if my sin is addressed and hers isn’t, then it just becomes cannon fodder for her contempt.

  4. I agree with this, but would like to add another man’s perspective.

    There are two issues that concern me when it comes to those kinds of books, and they apply to both genders. The first is that the authors often are coming from a skewed or improper perspective. The second is that far too often people read books not to see how they can improve, but that validate them.

    If an author’s perspective is skewed, biased or simply inappropriate, the book can be very harmful, and this applies to any kind of self help book. Right now if you look ate reviews of Love and Respect you would see many people, male and female, who oppose the book because it does not fit with their world view or spiritual beliefs, as is their right. Similarly, many of the books one hears about on talk shows have a very clear bias that may not be compatible with the beliefs of the other spouse, or the couple’s belief system. In the name of “empowerment” I have read advice given to women that would make any kind of healthy relationship impossible, regardless of your belief system.

    I also have seen far too many cases where someone looks to self-help books for validation. As an example, business books have always been a big seller. Many times business leaders will seek out books not to educate themselves, but to convince themselves they are right. There is nothing like being forced to read a book that is being used solely to justify actions. Similarly, you see this in self-help books. If it’s uncomfortable, and any good self help book should have portions that make the reader uncomfortable, many people will either not read it or tune it out. Nobody likes being told they are wrong.

    While it would be foolish to deny the gender biases in this world, the fact is that in the arena of relationships the media panders to what they think women want to hear because women are more likely to buy the books, read the magazines and watch the talk shows. Thats simple business 101. As a result, they are pushing messages that they believe their market wants to hear. It’s easier to sell a product that places the blame on someone other than the purchaser, so men take a real beating in a lot of those books, on the talk shows and in the magazines. There is a reason that so many men simply despise the hosts of the daytime talk shows. We’re simply tired of being told how awful we are because we were born male.

    1. Embracing Grey,

      Those are very good points. I appreciate your masculine perspective as well. It is so easy for us to seek validation instead of conviction. That is certainly human nature – but it is destructive to our marriages.

      You are right that mostly women buy marriage books. It makes sense that people would write what sells.

      Thank you so much!

  5. @The Peaceful Housewife:
    “My calling is to seek to be a godly mentor to wives as the Titus 2:2-5 mandate gives to older wives”

    May God bless and keep you and your household April!
    Long time lurker, overdue encouragement… well done!

    Blessings in Yeshua,

    Hannah

  6. I wouldn’t mind if she was reading a book like

    “100 Hot Outfits Your Husband Will Like”

    or

    “Coy Flirtatiousness – the Key to Marital Intrigue”.

  7. I am 35 now, the same age when you began your journey to becoming peaceful wife….this summer, God showed me this same proverb you quote at the beginning of this post, 14:1 The wise woman builds her home and the foolish women tears hers down with her own hands. Everything I have been reading since that verse has been convicting me of all the ways I have created pain in my marriage. How can it be that I have had marriage expectations so wrong in my head? Our grandparents and our parents have all had loving, lasting marriages that I have learned from, but how did I get so twisted around as to how to achieve this? All this time, (I first met my husband in our first year of college, over 16 years ago) I have been seeking after a marriage centered on God with a husband who leads, but I am seeing that all that I have been doing has created an environment where he doubts and has shutdown. Right now, my feelings are all tangled up, I am praying to be released from these feelings because it is following these feelings that has resulted in destruction. My husband and I read at least 10 marriage books and attended numerous Bible studies and Sunday school classes on marriage, and counseling…..we “knew” how to do this “right”, but I never got the message until now! Why did it take me until 35 to see this proverb???? I was always looking through the glasses of seeking validation that what I was doing was right. I found your blog through asking this question in a Google search, “how to become wife who submits” and can truly say that your journey and your words are an answered prayer for me. Since feeling God’s conviction through this proverb, I have been praying for his help to become the wise woman who builds. I wrote a list of all the resources I had available to me to learn how to pursue this wisdom. Women from my church, the books I already owned on my shelf, prayer and Bible study, counseling. God has been faithful in answering my call! I have been able to meet with my friend and pastor, and I have connected with wise friend, older than me, who is willing to mentor me (at least in this early renewing of my mind and heart)–this alone has been a huge answer to years of prayer for a mentor. I have read numerous articles and chapters in books that have continued to lead me towards God in how I live my days as wife, mother and scientist. And now I have discovered your journey, I have only read parts of a few entries and already I can see your words as treasure. Thank you for choosing to share your story as an encouragement to me (and many others). I have two young daughters and I have resolved to teach them everything I learn so that their journeys will not be plagued with the same pitfalls that mine has experienced. I know I have so far to go to live into this new wisdom. When I look back on 5 years of walking in this new direction, as you have been for the last 5 years, I hope I will be able to know in my heart that I have begun to be this wise woman who builds. My father’s advice has always been to “Think Smart.” I think that I finally am figuring that out about marriage. Thank you.

    1. Seeking Wisdom,
      I am so excited about what God is doing in your heart!!!!! This is about to get really good. 🙂 Please let me know how you are doing! Praying for God’s greatest glory in your life!

  8. Just had another random thought I wanted to ask you about! You had said that all those years your husband hadn’t even realized that you were disrespecting him…that he thought he was the problem.

    After you started being convicted of all the disrespect and everything, did he later look back and see what you had done? Not in a condemning way, but did it at some point click with him, where he was able to see what you did, and recognize what it did to him?

  9. My husband has said that he hates these because they are other peoples issues not ours so it cant help us in anyway to read about their problems.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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