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“I Just Want Him to Want to Spend More Time with Me!” – a Discussion


I think that almost every wife has felt like this – most of us, many, many times. For some, maybe it has been every day for years.

It is GREAT for us to ask our husbands for what we want and need.

As grown adults with God-given free will, our husbands do need to have the right to say “yes” or “no” without us freaking out. AND, we will get much better results if we approach our husbands in a respectful, positive, upbeat, friendly way.

Let’s also keep in mind that different people have different ideas of what it means to “spend time together.” For many of us as wives, what we really want is face-to-face time to talk and share emotions. I could personally handle many hours of this every single day! Sometimes husbands define “spending time together” as simply doing an activity together, without talking. Different people bond in different ways. It is not that one way is “right” and the other way is “wrong.”

Maybe our husbands also have a different perspective on “feeling connected.” I know it was a lightbulb moment for me when Greg and I had a discussion about how he feels connected vs. how I feel connected. I felt “disconnected” unless we were actively talking/cuddling. He said he always felt connected to me unless I told him I felt disconnected. That was actually really helpful to me to know that Greg always felt connected to me. It helped me learn to rest in his love.

Sometimes, we can focus on bonding with our husbands in ways that are meaningful to them – doing things they love, or just being together without talking. And sometimes we can ask for more face-to-face time.

My concern is that we learn to share our needs in a healthy way without demanding, manipulating, becoming bitter/resentful or sinning. And I would love for us to be able to remain emotionally and spiritually stable even when we don’t get what we want. I know I have talked about ways to do this, but I would love to involve more voices in the discussion. 🙂



If you have learned how to approach your husband about this issue in a godly, respectful, friendly, pleasant way, PLEASE SHARE your approach with us! The more answers, the better. (And, if you would like to, maybe include a very brief description of your particular husband’s personality. That may help the other wives.)

I would also love for you to share how you gracefully handle the situation when your husband can’t or won’t give you what you desire. How do you find contentment in Christ alone?


How would you most appreciate your wife approaching you with her desire to spend more time with you? If you would like to briefly describe your personality type, that may be helpful for the ladies, as well. (Greg has asked me not to post “manospherian” comments, so, my apologies, but I will not be able to approve these comments in order to honor Greg’s request of me.)



  • I may use your comments anonymously in a post or even in a book in the future. So if you comment, you are giving me permission to share your quote anonymously. Thank you so very much!



The sin of complete unbelief  in Christ is the “unforgivable sin.” Having weak faith or little faith is a different issue. Please check out my comment on yesterday’s post that goes into more detail about this. 🙂


You can find me on Facebook, too, at Peacefulwife Blog. I sometimes include additional stories and discussions there that you may enjoy.  You are welcome to join us!



Submission Means Holding Things of This World Loosely

Stages of This Journey

When Do I Get to Be Peaceful?

The Separation-Leads-to-Greater-Intimacy Paradox

God Answers a Wife’s Question – Why Doesn’t My Husband Spend More Time with Me?

Respect Doesn’t Work on My Husband

This Is Not Working. I Don’t See Progress

Contentment Comes from Having Christ as Lord

How to Overcome Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

Breaking the Romance Addiction

The Fantasy of Romance

I Want to Feel Loved

How to Ask for Something So That Your Husband Wants to Say Yes

When Your Husband Rejects You

Why Is the TV More Important to My Husband than I Am?

Responding As a Godly Wife

Laying Down Expectations

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Joyfilled Wife’s words in The Importance of Spiritual Pruning are VERY helpful!

172 thoughts on ““I Just Want Him to Want to Spend More Time with Me!” – a Discussion

  1. I am looking forward to comments on this because I am struggling in this area. I know I need to find contentment in Christ alone, and I am working on getting there. Maybe it just takes time?

    1. Courtney,
      It does take time, practice, learning to hold on to our desires loosely and cling to Christ alone. And sometimes, there are things that other wives or husbands share that give us lightbulb moments. That is what I hope for this discussion to be.

      Much love to you!

  2. Strangely, this is the exact thing that has been a source of contention in our household lately. It has definitely gotten to the point where I am feeling bitter and cast aside by my husband.

    I want him to want to spend time with me…and asking him to spend time with me and him agreeing just seems like he’s doing it to appease me so I will be content for a few days. It is very frustrating to say the least.

    1. Hi, Mrs. G.

      If I may, perhaps I can help you to understand your husband’s perspective in your situation.

      You asked him to spend more time, and he did spend more time. Yet you are frustrated. This gets him confused and frustrated, because he honestly believes that he did exactly what you asked him to do.

      I would like to make a suggestion to you that might create in him a desire to spend more time with you. Thank him for spending time with you, even though you believe that he did it only to appease you. And then drop the issue, at least for now.

      If he believes that you honestly appreciate that he did spend some time with you, he will want to spend more time with you. However, if he believes that you will not acknowledge what he did, then he will figure, “What’s the use? She won’t acknowledge that I did spend time with her.”

      In addition to thanking him for spending time with you, spend some time with him. But do it his way, not your way. When he is working on a project in the house, simply sit with him without saying a word, just because you want to be with him in his world. If he wants conversation, you talk about what he wants to talk about, and only for as long as he wants to talk about it. Otherwise, don’t say a word. He will notice that you sat with him with no strings attached, and that you let him totally define how the time together was spent. He will appreciate that you were with him in his world, and you let him totally define that world.

      It may be a slow process, but if you will begin thanking him for whatever steps he takes, however small, and if you will begin spending time in his world as I have described above, I believe you will begin to see improvement in your situation.

        1. Thank you, April. And although it is sad to read some of the comments of the women, I am thankful that they honestly expressed what they are going through, because I want to make sure I don’t make any of those mistakes when I remarry.

        1. I appreciate your kind words, Julie.

          Often in a marriage, one or the other person will feel like they got shorted by their partner. I promise you, if you let him define the time, he will not feel shorted. (He may feel shorted if you define the time.) And if he is a reasonable man, he will want to return the favor.

          1. Thank you for the insight, Jim!

            I’m sitting with my husband now….he’s working remotely on his laptop… is on. I started learning about the game last season, so we could have this in common. We have some really enjoyable (short) chats during football games. It has become quality time for us. Just a year ago, I never would have dreamed that!

  3. This is a topic we have just been “discussing” in our house. I’ve seen my husband face to face for 20 minutes in the last 96 hours and in that 20 minutes the conversation consisted of about 5 sentences. I am struggling in this area to be content with this kind of life and failing to be content in Christ alone,
    so I am open to suggestions on how others make it work!

  4. I am a newly wed wife but struggle with this very issue on a daily basis. We are both in our second marriage and have children making us a blended family.
    While we were dating, we spent all our free time after work together, talking for hours, doing devotionals and going out for coffee
    Once we got married everything changed and we instantly had a blended family with all kinds of needs and demands.
    My husband felt the need to immediately assume his role as Godly father and husband and wanted the home to be run in an organized and God honouring way.
    This of course significantly reduced the amount of time we were able to spend together.
    I immediately began to feel neglected and abandoned and fell in to a deep depression from which I am battling to emerge at this time
    As a broken woman with a past of abuse, loss and trauma, I instantly assumed that because he didn’t pay as much attention to me he no longer loved me or was interested in me.
    This caused me to cling to him desperately, crying and asking for him to spend time with me whenever I was home. As a result, he began to withdraw from my and daily expressed his exasperation with my neediness and demand for his time.
    My marriage is teetering on the brink at this time after only 2 months of marriage.
    If anyone can speak words of encouragement to me or if you have any suggestions of how I can find my fulfillment in Christ, I would love to hear it
    In Christ

    1. Tracy, I know exactly what you are saying about being clingy and needy and then having him withdraw all the more. It seems like if I act more aloof, then he is more interested in me. However, it feels very silly at this age and stage in our marriage to be playing games like that.

      I am interested to know what others’ take is on this, especially from the husbands’ points of view!

      1. Mrs. G.,

        Here’s another take….

        I don’t think of that as playing games, although I understand it feeling like one, because I have experienced it.

        Even in our friendships with women, we naturally are not drawn to those who act needy or clingy. It appears emotionally draining. It feels the same to our husbands. We may feel like we are aloof inside, but I think what they’re gravitating to us for is we atrn’t acting “wanty” ( “I need I need! Feed me feed me!” from that old Bill Murray film, “What About Bob”)

        When our desire is to please God, and we truly find our greatest satisfaction in Him, we don’t require so much from our husbands and that is very attractive. They get to feel inspired by us instead of needing to be responsible for our contentment.

        1. I think too to my husband when i was very needy and clingy it felt a lot to him like I was trying to control him. Which with a husband like mine who is very sensitive to being controlled, he wants to run the other way. When I stopped trying to force it it came naturally to him.

    2. Hi Tracy! I don’t know if this will help, but I wrote a post recently that I think will speak to you. It’s called ‘Great Expectations’ (on I think you’re expecting too much from your husband/relationship, and your approach can cause a strain. You need to put yourself in his shoes too. He’s just taken on a huge responsibility, not only being a father to your children, but trusting you to be a mother to his, and also choosing to be faithful to you. He also needs to adjust to this new responsibility. But he choose you. Don’t doubt your value now, and don’t make him doubt you either. Do let me know if the post speaks to you.

    3. Dear Tracy,

      How my heart goes out to you! When my husband and I were newly married, he too spent little time with me because we had purchased a fixer upper that needed a new roof and many other improvements before it would be weather-tight for a long, cold winter. He is a man who takes his responsibilities very seriously, so much so that he becomes almost overanxious to do everything he believes is required of him as a godly and loving husband very well and on time. And until it is, it’s very hard for him to relax or think about anything else. That first autumn after we were married I so wanted him to spend at least a little time talking with me or at least relax with a cup of coffee and cuddle a little every day, but he was constantly distracted, edgy, and fell into a deep sleep every night. I made the mistake of thinking he regretted marrying me, buying the building we did, and that he was disappointed in me personally. I had a lot of expectations of what a “normal” newly married man would act like–and he didn’t. I cried and expressed my fears and asked if he loved me, etc. After much misery and conflict, we got past this time of pain and personal growth in our lives, and I realized that my husband was terribly worried that he wouldn’t get the building sufficiently winterized in time to keep us warm and that he would fail in his responsibilities as my husband to take good care of me. He said he loved me very much, but counted on me to understand that what he was doing had to take first priority over spending time with me, and that when he was done, he would.

      I know my husband much, much better now, and realize how true that was. I subconsciously expected him to be like other men, and he is who HE is–extremely conscientious and hyper-focused. Is it possible that your husband is doing the same thing as mine did? Since yours is a blended family, I’m sure that during the first few months your husband wants to spend much time providing for and settling his family into their new life. He may have the same huge fear of failure that my husband did. My fears and crying sapped his energy and left him very frustrated and feeling unsupported in trying to successfully meet his responsibilities. Instead of crying and thinking the worst, why not talk with him lovingly and ask if you two can work out a schedule, etc., and certainly let him know you appreciate all his efforts in your family’s behalf. Find ways to encourage him with a smile, tender look, and good meals. With time, the balance will come. Much love to you! Elizabeth

  5. I had a feeling this would be a very important issue for many ladies! I know it definitely was for many, many years for me in our marriage. Interestingly, I would try to demand Greg’s time, affection and attention. That didn’t work. But sometimes, he would spend time with me. I often wasn’t satisfied because he didn’t talk enough. Then he would try to talk more, but I wasn’t satisfied because he didn’t say the right things. Or he didn’t talk “enough.”

    Quite honestly, I was pretty insatiable for a long time in our marriage even if Greg did try to meet my needs.

    I’m going to add a few links at the bottom of this posts to other posts where I talk about things I have done to handle this issue.

    And I am excited about this discussion continuing over the next few days to see some other wives’ and husbands’ ideas, as well!

  6. This is the one area that still gives me a lot of trouble….. something I still greatly want and hope for. I do not know the answers and am looking forward to reading other comments in hopes there will be something helpful.

    While I haven’t found the answer, these are a few things that have helped me:
    1. As April said, remembering that my husband does not need ‘quality time’ to feel connected to me. I can be secure in the fact his love is always strong for me.
    2. I stopped expecting it as much. While I do still hope for it sometimes, most of the time, I realize it is not likely to happen and I find something else to keep myself busy.
    3. When I want to go out and my husband is not interested, I still go out- with a girlfriend or close family member. We enjoy a nice restaurant, a movie or shop- something my husband does not enjoy anyways.
    4. I try to pray about it and accept that it is something that may not happen for many years or ever. I am really working hard on coming to terms with the fact that quality time may be something my husband is never interested in.
    5. I remind myself his lack of interest in doing things together is not a reflection of his love for me.
    6. I remind myself that Time is not his love language and he probably doesn’t understand how important this is to me.
    7. Sometimes- on a very rare occasion- I will express to him that I would like to do something together. A lot of those rare times, he isn’t interested. I try to not be too disappointed.
    8. He shows his love for me in so many more ways. He is a good provider, he is kind, he is affectionate, he is loving with his words, he will do almost anything I ask him to do as far as picking up something for me, he is a wonderful father, etc.

    I really struggle with the fact that my husband has a lot of activities that he enjoys doing solo or with other guys…. I don’t mind at all that he enjoys hobbies- that is a GOOD thing, I know but I feel hurt that he has SO much interest in activities on his own but what seems to be little to no interest in doing things with me…and the things he does are not things I could join him in….

    But his choice is just that, HIS choice. He is allowed to choose to not spend quality time with his wife…. sometimes I feel hurt that if we do some sort of activity, his attitude seems like he is completing a chore and not enjoying himself….

    When those things get to me, I go back to the points 1-8. I have come a long way with this issue but haven’t reached a point of complete peace and look forward to reading other wives points of view to hopefully help me with that!

    1. Thank you so much for this, A Fellow Wife! I believe it will be such a blessing to other wives, as well.

      I know that for me, when I find myself beginning to feel disappointed or rejected by my husband, those are big flags for me to examine my motives and my thoughts and to look for any sinful thoughts and repent and then focus on the sufficiency of Christ in my life to meet my spiritual and emotional needs. (I talk about this in Triggers for Sinful Thoughts)

      It is very easy to begin to expect our husbands to meet needs that only Jesus can meet. When we put our husbands above Christ in our hearts, setting our hearts on them instead of Christ to meet these deepest needs, we often slip into idolatry.

      I am actually thankful now that there are some needs my husband doesn’t meet for me spiritually. I know that probably sounds weird. But I also know that if he were to do all the things I want him to, I could so easily begin to trust in him and depend on him instead of on Jesus. And that, for me, is dangerous.

      If he did do these things with me, it would be awesome. But I can be content in Jesus, looking to Him to meet my deepest spiritual needs and finding all of my identity, peace, joy, strength, purpose, hope, help and power in Him alone.

      Then, I can be completely unshaken no matter what my husband is or is not doing. And I can be content if he spends time with me or not. It would be awesome if he did spend time with me or talk with me a lot. Sometimes we do have pretty deep discussions now – several times a week, I would say. So I can be thankful for that. But if he is busy or tired, I am also able to be thankful to just be beside him in the same room. And if he is too busy to even be in the same room, I am able to focus on journaling, praying, reading the Bible and learning at God’s feet. Any ability I have to do this now is a God thing – not an April thing. In my own strength, I cannot do any of this at all. In fact, if I begin to focus on what “Greg should do” or obsess about what I want, I will begin to quickly spiral into sin. And it will get worse and worse until I repent and return to Christ!

      There was a VERY, VERY long time that was lonely in the beginning of my journey. For the greater part of the first 3 years of this journey, Greg and I did not have lots and lots of conversation. He was still pretty guarded and shut down. I learned to sit beside him joyfully and read, study and pray. Or, to be in a different room and read, study and pray joyfully. For me, wearing a scarf on my head to acknowledge Greg’s leadership, authority, protection and covering offered a tangible means for me to feel more spiritually connected to him (I Corinthians 11:3-16). This practice seriously helped me so much. It also helped me hone my respectful attitude toward Greg, even when I was praying.

      That time of things being pretty quiet was also a very important time of pruning and refining for me. It forced me to learn to obey God just for the sake of obeying and loving God, not in order to “get what I wanted” in the marriage. That was a very necessary time for me.

      And, I am still being refined. Greg still does not meet all of my spiritual needs the way I would like him to. He meets a lot more than he did years ago. And I am extremely thankful for all that he does for me and with me now. I know he will stand accountable to God for how he leads me and our children. I trust God to work in him. I know that I will be accountable only for my part of the marriage and for my obedience to God. And I depend on God to meet my needs no matter what my husband does or does not do. That ability to hold Greg and spiritual/emotional/physical intimacy loosely did not come naturally to me. It has been a work in progress. But it has been very freeing and has given me much peace as God empowers me to look to Him, not to my husband, to fulfill my soul.

      The Separation Leads to Greater Intimacy Paradox

      God Answers a Wife’s Question – Why Doesn’t My Husband Want to Spend More Time with Me?

      Prayer Day – Consecration

      TheJoyFilledWife also talks about this in her story in this post

      1. I want to say this one thing….. relating to you saying that you talking about finding contentment in Jesus, with or without your husband adding to that…..

        It is almost as if we NEED to give up all of these things we want and expect to NOT get them and then we find a place of acceptance in that THEN if our husband does do something loving toward us, it can be a BONUS- not something we require and expect…. because it is a BONUS, we are truly happy about it instead of expecting it as our ‘due’ then wanting more.

        At least, that is where my thoughts are a lot and I try to keep them there!

        1. A Fellow Wife,

          Yes! I personally had to completely drop all of my expectations. And I had a TON of them! I had to be able to accept Greg as he was, without trying to change him or demand anything from him. I had to decide to respect, honor and love him just because I love God and want to please Him – even if Greg never ever changed.

          Letting go of our dreams and expectations is PAINFUL. This is part of Dying to Self.

          I haven’t seen wives progress in this journey until they are willing to lay down their desires, dreams and expectations. I think that is a really important step. As long as we cling to what we want and our will – we are not fully yielding to God and His will. It’s not that what we want is necessarily bad. But are we willing to lay it down and be content in Christ alone?

          I was really shocked to discover just how evil and sinful my motives were in loving God for so many decades. I thought I was loving God from a pure heart. But what I was really doing was serving Him and trying to obey Him so that I could get what I REALLY wanted – my husband’s love, attention, affection, my way and being in control myself.

          That was not real love for God. What I was doing was attempting to manipulate God in order to have my idols. I didn’t understand that was what I was doing. I didn’t often see my real motives. But a big sign for me that I am making idols in my heart and putting them above Christ are things like – discontentment, anxiety, fear, depression, discouragement, disappointment. When I put something above Christ in my heart, these are the results.

          Are You Willing to Sacrifice Your Isaac?

          1. Oh! And I also had to learn to interpret Greg differently, too. Many times, he wasn’t with me because he was renovating the house or doing something FOR ME. That is a big way he shows his love for me. So, I had to learn to interpret him working at work and working on the house as ways that he speaks his love for me and to receive that expression of love even though it may be different from the way I express love.

            And, I had to learn to understand that when Greg wasn’t super verbal about his love and emotions – that didn’t mean he didn’t love me. It meant he was different from me. It meant he was a man, not a woman. It meant that he wasn’t as verbal as I was. But just because he didn’t express himself like I do with the same words and the same volume of words and the same adjectives, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.

            Learning to understand and translate Greg’s actions and words or lack of words properly was a HUGE help to me!

            1. Another thing that was really super helpful for me was to learn to understand how Greg processes emotions and how different men process feelings and emotions. And I had to learn that when I am PMSing or hormonal, that there are times I need to learn not to trust my feelings.

              You can search my home page for:
              – emotions
              – feelings

              There are tons of posts that are helpful about that and here are some about PMS

              The PMS Issue Part 1
              The PMS Issue Part 2

        2. You’ve captured my thoughts as expressed in “Great Expectations”, a post I wrote not too long ago, when pondering on this issue. We have to stop expecting our husbands to make us happy or whole. That’s God’s job! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      2. This really spoke to me, thanks for referring me to your comments April. My big triggers are feeling rejected and disappointed by my husband. I used to feel very “poor me” and fight that feeling now. I’m in the quiet phase where I don’t even know whether to go try and sit with him quietly in the same room or just leave him alone completely — I’m assuming he’d tell me to leave if he didn’t want me sitting there with him, but who knows.

        I do believe you are correct that if my husband were to be the man of my dreams instantly in response, I’d probably take a less aggressive approach to changing myself. So ultimately I see the good even though its painful right now to deal with being ignored continually.

        I cannot tell if I am trying to get what I want with the children thing or if God is blessing me by having my husband tell me he is willing to go through IUI despite not being sure I will change enough to save our marriage.

        The beginning of this journey has so many uncertainties, but I can already see it paying off. When I am respectful, I will get very TINY signs from my husband that its working and he is happier with my changes. When I slip, it seems worse than ever – but perhaps you are right, and now I am just noticing how bad things were for the first time.

        I cannot express enough my gratitude for you and your willingness to “put yourself out there” by writing this blog. Thank you, I feel like you have helped save my marriage. 🙂

  7. Two more insights I want all of us to see as we talk about this:

    1. This longing and hunger to be with our husbands and connect emotionally and spiritually – is exactly what God desires us to have for Him!

    2. God hurts when we don’t long for Him, His Words, being one Spiritually with Him in a similar way as when we hurt when our husbands don’t seem to want to connect with us spiritually or emotionally.

    1. Yes, amen April!! Sometimes I wonder if that is what the Lord was trying to teach me all along —That He desires to spend time with me!!! Such a good topic and so many helpful incites. That was my biggest issue when my husband and I first got married. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to spend time with such a wonderful person like myself;)>. The more I begged the more he pulled away.
      I married a very controlling, take charge, kind of man and he was not about to let a young gal tell him how he was and was not going to spend his time.
      It took years for me to figure this out—how many years, I am not sure we have been married 27 and it has just been in the last few years that we have been able to communicate with one another and not walk away hurt and frustrated. He will now most always stop what he is doing and listen, and now if the timing is right and I ask he will fix his schedule to fit me into it:) Yeah!!

      MMMmm how did it change….
      Many of the things have already been mentioned so I won’t repeat them, but one of the biggest things I will add that helped change my husband and I are the trials that we faced and the maturity that they brought.

      I wanted things to come easy, but that was not how the Lord designed it for me!!! He had a lot of pruning to do in our lives and it was through the trials that my husband and I are where we are today. The Bible says, ” My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

      I know that seems obvious, but I had to realize the Lord was on a mission and part of His mission was to conform us into the image of His son. I had to trust Him in this, and trust Him with my husband. This is the only way I could get through…to know that the end would be better than the beginning. I didn’t have to change my husband, God could do that and whatever process He took to get us to where He wanted us, I could trust in Him!! We went through many trials. I didn’t choose that road, God did. He knew what was best and marriage isn’t to make us happy it is to make us holy. He knew that my man would be the best one for me.

      Another thing…
      I was in that quiet phase for a long, long time. I was just too tired of trying, and begging and not seeing results. April had mentioned to encourage our husbands and to give them words of affirmation. She also mentioned it would seem strange at first, but over time it would get easier. She was right, when I first began it seemed so strange. I thought I was speaking a foreign language, but I persevered and I began encouraging him, lifting him up, letting him know he was the hero in my life. A funny thing happened, he began to want to please me more and spend time with me. Now I can’t seem to find time to myself:) No seriously, when he finally realized I really liked him and accepted him, warts and all, he began to see he wasn’t such a bad guy after all and began living up to my expectations; which at that point I didn’t even have. I was done expecting things, and as April mentioned and others I began to be content with the things I had; especially my intimate relationship with the Lord.

      1. savdbygrace,
        Oh wow!

        THANK YOU for sharing!

        I think you have so many important points. To me, the biggest, is that – this won’t come easily. There is a lot of waiting and there is pain in this process. When we expect immediate change and what we want right NOW – we will be disappointed. But as we trust God and His sovereignty and look to Him – then we find peace, hope, strength, power and joy in the midst of it all.

        Thank you so much for sharing this! I love it!!!!!

        What a blessing you are to us all.

      2. savedbygrace,

        Thank you so much for sharing your story. I identify with it so much.

        I am so glad for others who hang in there through the trials of marriage. It’s so incredibly rewarding to stay together to reap the benefits and to have a deep understanding of one another.

        These are the best years of our marriage, not in spite of our hard circumstances, but in many ways, as a result of our willingness to learn through them.

  8. This hasn’t been an issue for me in the last couple of years, but I discovered just now that this is still an area that I don’t understand, assumimg my husband had good motives…..

    I asked my husband this morning what his advice would be to a younger wife who has a husband who works hard and then has lots of interests for men and with other men. His advice was that the woman should take an enthusiastic interest in the activities the husband has. He said this is a really big thing and very bonding and enjoyable for a lot of men.

    The conversation quickly escalated from there, unfortunately on my part. In our dating years, and then for many years after our marriage, anything we did together was his interests, and a lot of those interests were spectator events, like sports or movies.

    I didn’t find thise activities condusive to talking about things, at all. The memories he has of those times were really special to him. Fior me, they are painful. The conversation just ended up with me in tears and him frustrated and confused, and disappointed to learn those memories for me were nit happy…..But I told him so many times back then that it would have been nice for me to choose some activities once in a while.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have chosen to focus on blessing my husband, and letting that be my focus. I think my expectations were unrealistic. It doesn’t make the memories any better, though.

    1. Julie,
      Oh no! That sounds like a very interesting discussion, but then so painful. 🙁

      I think that just like we women don’t really “get” how bonding things like being at a sporting event or watching tv together without talking might be for our men, it is highly likely that our men assume we are just like them, and that we really enjoy the things that they really enjoy – that we feel super bonded with them by spending time shoulder-to-shoulder. They don’t really need face-to-face time much. So, why would anyone need that, right?

      I think it is very helpful to know how special the memories of doing shoulder to shoulder things are to him. That is a valuable piece of information. I also think this is a good reminder to help us know that we do need to be specific when we ask for what we need, because men are not women. What we need doesn’t naturally make sense to them or even occur to them. Just like their needs don’t naturally make sense to us.

      I think it can be a great idea for wives to say, “I am so glad we are having this shoulder-to-shoulder time. I love being able to bless you.” But it is also ok to say, “It would mean so much to me if you would have about 10-15 minutes to listen to me talk sometime tonight. That really helps me feel emotionally connected to you. I love it when you share your feelings with me, too. I really love face-to-face time without any distractions. That is how I feel most bonded to you, Sweetheart.”

      Sometimes, we also do have to re-write our memories.
      I have HORRIBLE memories of our first summer together. HORRIBLE. I never felt so unloved, ignored and rejected in my life. Now, I know that my husband really did love me. But he was working feverishly with his dad 6 nights per week until 1am trying to fix up an old house for us to live in. I had severely sprained my back. He knew if he attempted intimacy with me, I would be hurt much worse. I cried all day every day. He didn’t know what to do with me. He figured he needed to rush the house along. I begged him to have a curfew of 10pm so we could have time together. He said no. He stopped talking to me or listening to me. Didn’t even kiss me at night. I have never cried so much in my life.

      NOw, I know that he really did love me. He didn’t know what to do with me. He was trying his best. He thought if he left me alone for awhile, I would be better. Um… NOPE! I became increasingly disrespectful. I thought he hated me. He didn’t say why he wouldn’t touch me. It was a mess.

      But, now, I can look back and tell myself the truth:

      – Greg did love me.
      – He was trying to provide for me.
      – He didn’t want to make my badly sprained lower back worse, which he would have if he did try to be intimate with me
      – He was exhausted
      – He had never seen me act like this
      – I didn’t realize that I was sabotaging myself and the marriage by my disrespect and hysterics
      – I deeply wounded Greg that summer, too
      – My feelings of being totally rejected, unloved, abandoned and alone felt very real. But Greg was not rejecting me. He did not hate me. He did love me. I just couldn’t hear his love. We were not communicating well.

      Now, I can be thankful because it is through times of trial like this that God has used my life to bless other women who are suffering. If everything had always gone perfectly – what testimony would I have to share now?

      Much love to you!!!!

    2. My husband and I just talked a little bit more about this. What I decided is to choose to change my memory thinking about the past. His motives were to spend time with me. Ya, it would have been nice if he’d have been more in tune to doing some of my ideas back then, but it does feel good that he loved my company more than anyone else’s, so I’m choosing to focus on that part.

      1. Julie

        It is a blessing that your husband wanted to spend time with you even if it was doing activities of his choosing. I would love for my husband to invite me along on activities he enjoys…. that would be better than no time together at all.

        But I do understand. It is a nice to think of a husband enjoying shopping with you, taking a long walk and talking or other things that you enjoy. 🙂 Most don’t so it’s good to have girlfriends to keep you company on those activities.

        1. A Fellow Wife,

          Thank you. You are so right, and after my second talk with my husband, I have a very different mindset about the past.

          I feel for you in your situation where you desire to be asked to join him. I’m somewhat embarrassed about my attitude.

          April, I just had a third talk with my husband, this time about shoulder to shoulder time, vs. face to face, and we suddenly realized where we missed each other back in the day. I am healed from the past!

          1. Julie,

            Sometimes, it is such a simple misunderstanding. We just assume that our spouse thinks like we do. We don’t realize there is any other way to think. I have seen similar misunderstandings cause HUGE issues in many, many marriages – including my own!

            WOOHOO! I’m so glad y’all had a lightbulb moment!

    3. Sometimes the problem in this lies in the fact that someone has to be with the children, and unless a couple could get a babysitter on a regular basis, doing the things he enjoys are nearly impossible.

      I wouldn’t mind sitting on the boat for hours on end with my husband while he fished and I read, but unfortunately, we don’t have a support system where someone could stay with the children.

      Even going on dates are very difficult because we are only able to get a babysitter a few times a year or for a special event.

      So a lot of times he is left doing his most enjoyable hobbies by himself or with his friends, and that just solidifies my feelings of disconnectedness all the more!

      1. Mrs. G,

        This is our situation exactly. I am working on giving up control, and my husband is very much enjoying extra time with his friends. Right now, I really don’t even mind him having extra time with his friends when the kids are in bed because then I can have more God time which I need!

        I have to try so much harder to keep my mouth shut and not be disrespectful or resentful when it comes to him being gone 4 extra hours during the day and I am with the kids. I am blessed to be able to stay home with the kids and my husband is a great provider, but I still need a break too. When I can get some free time in again, the bible and this blog help me regain my focus back to Christ and realize these are things my husband needs and deserves too. He wouldn’t be resentful of my taking that time, but I don’t have as many opportunities as he does.

        My biggest challenge where I am in this journey right now is staying silent so I’m not disrespectful. I’m definitely not always successful with it, but I am learning that I don’t regret keeping my mouth closed & often times wish I had done it sooner! My husband is choosing to be around others instead of just me a lot lately in what little time we do have & it’s definitely left me feeling disconnected with my husband right now too, but I’m slowly learning to lean on Christ to fill this hole!

        1. Courtney,

          There is often a “Frustrating Quiet Phase” at first. It should just be a phase – and then you will learn how to speak respectfully and share your heart and needs without being disrespectful. But at first, I couldn’t open my mouth without being disrespectful!

          This is a painful part of the journey.

          I am excited that you are seeking to focus on Christ!

          Praying for wisdom for you.

          I think it is also helpful to use that time for time with God. That is what I did. I actually really, desperately needed to spend that time with God, studying godly femininity and being a godly wife and what on earth respect meant and what biblical submission was about. I spent several hours a day for 2.5 YEARS studying and praying before I began to have any clue what I was doing. And then it took another 6 months after that for me to feel like I kind of understood and didn’t have to constantly study all the time and could begin to genuinely respond with real respect and biblical submission.

          I am not perfect! i have tons and tons to learn. I cant’t wait to learn all I can on this lifelong journey.

          I am excited about what you are learning and what God is doing in your heart!

          1. I am always grateful when you remind us how long this process took for you- it is encouraging to know that it takes a LONGGG time and to persevere.

        2. Courtney, you are so right. My husband has even asked me before why I give him such a hard time about spending time with his friends when he never says no to me doing the same thing. To be honest, my reason is that one particular friend of his I am not a fan of, and that is putting it lightly. At the risk of sounding judgmental, I will say that this person doesn’t have the same “value system” that our family has. But, that is probably a whole different topic! I guess the bottom line is that I can’t control who my husband befriends and I can’t change him. I can’t force him to want to spend time with me over this friend. I do know in my heart that if he were doing something Godly like attending a church meeting with other men I would probably be encouraging him right out the door!

          And I think you are right on about what a blessing it is to be home with the children. Allowing me to homeschool our children while my husband works is probably one of the greatest, most loving and sacrificial gifts he has ever bestowed upon me.

          Julie, Thank you for your comment and advice! I think that is a great idea and I am going to ask him tonight what would be a good time for us to just take that 15 minutes.

      2. Mrs. G.,

        Until the time when the children aren’t an issue in this, is it possible to ask your husband if you can spend 15 minutes together when he gets home, or the following day? You might use it as an opportunity to ask about his activity time and feel a part of it that way? Then you could also spend a little time talking about topics that interest you, personally, as well.

      3. I’m in the same situation, we havent had a babysitter in years, my husband really doesnt trust anyone with our children. So getting time together is hard. We’ve started doing date nights at home, which really helps. Mostly just renting a movie and smuggling on the couch. We also took a couple camping trips, and day fishing trips this summer, instead of sitting and reading a book, I sit and play with the kids, jump for joy if he catches something, and keep entertained near him. I’ve had to let the idea of date nights and time alone together go, as it was very much a trigger for bitterness for me. Now that I feel free from that bitterness, and the expectation, I am able to enjoy the time we do have more. We do family things together, and spend time together after the children are asleep, a fire pit in the backyard is a great way to reconect after children are in bed, or even when they are running around the yard. We love sitting out in the yard on our swing just being together and watching the kids play, and day dreaming together.
        When I stopped pressuring him to spend more time with me he started to activly try to include me and the kids more.

        1. The firepit is one for us too. One time I put the kids to bed early and then put up Christmas lights around the deck, had some of his favorite music playing and a dessert waiting when my husband got home. He was tickled at my effort. I honestly think what put the icing on the cake was that I didn’t expect anything romantic or intimate to come of that. It was just time together and time to focus on him and his day.

  9. NOTE FROM PEACEFULWIFE – WARNING to those of you who get triggered into sinful thoughts when hearing about what husbands should do – please don’t read this comment!

    I admit that I feel judgmental about this issue. Please forgive my rant. I’m just venting…..

    On one hand, I have chosen to accept the lack of interest that I feel from my husband. I choose to put my attention towards other things.

    However, I truly see it as a lack of responsibility to not make time and energy to nurture one’s marriage. My husband and I have been to countless marriage classes at church and did marriage counseling for about 18 months. Spending quality time together has been a major theme of all of our learnings. However, nothing has changed.

    One major lesson that I have learned is that we can’t live according to our emotions. We have to do things that we don’t “feel” like doing for the health of the marriage. So, that’s why I have chosen to “look the other way” when he seems to choose to spend his time with his friends, his parents, or with tv – as if he were single.

    Our marriage has struggled for a very long time. I remind myself that this is how he chooses to deal with his discomfort and the problems in our marriage.
    But, at what point does someone grow up and take responsibility to create positive changes?

    As wives, we make a conscious choice to speak with soft words, even when we’re angry, in order to respect our husbands.
    We have sex when we don’t “feel” like it because we know that it’s healthy for our marriage.
    We do countless other things when we don’t “feel” like doing because they just have to be done.

    Like Mrs. G said above – when do we stop playing games?
    Yes, I agree. It seems child-like.

    And, in response to Tracy’s posting above – her husband decided to assume the role of a Godly husband which resulted in him not spending time with his wife??? That, in itself, is not being a Godly husband.

    Tracy – The pastor, Jimmy Evans, has a marriage ministry. Maybe you and your husband can watch some of the marriage videos together. This topic is addressed in the videos called “lasting passion” and “proper priorities”, among others.

    Go to Click on “television”, then “latest videos”. Then scroll to the bottom. There are 10 pages of videos.

    Yes, I turn towards Jesus many times each day to deal with the loneliness in my very unhealthy marriage. I study marriage books for hours at a time and proactively develop new habits based on what I am learning.

    I thank the Lord, immensely, for continuously guiding me to wonderful resources that help me to learn and grow stronger and more patient, and more conscious.
    — I really am growing stronger (although this post doesn’t sound like it right now).

    I really try to respect my husband, but it is so very hard to do when he chooses not to follow the wonderful marriage advice that we have been given time and time again.
    I get through it by acknowledging to myself that this is his defense mechanism. Yet, at the same time, I am learning NOT to use my own defense mechanisms because I know that they are hurtful to him. (what’s wrong with that picture?)
    I know I’m still making TONS of mistakes, but my husband’s dismissiveness seems downright callous.

    OK. I’m done venting.
    I will turn to the Lord for forgiveness of my judgment and continue focusing on MY part of the marriage, and my responsibility to Jesus, regardless of the choices that my husband makes.

    The journey continues….
    thank ya’ll for listening.

    1. Eternally Learning,
      There are absolutely many things husbands can do and ways they can change that would greatly bless our marriages.

      However, focusing on what they should do – for many of us – leads us to a sinful train of thought – bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, self-righteousness… That is why I ask us to choose to focus on what we control in our marriages – which is just our end of the marriage and our walk with Christ.

      Of course husbands could and should be growing in Christ as well, and applying marriage advice. Yes. Amen.

      But – thankfully, we CAN be content even if they choose not to do those things. And we can find joy in Christ and learn to live in the sufficiency of Christ even when our husbands disappoint or fail us. That is GOOD NEWS!

      My joy and contentment doesn’t have to depend on my husband at all. I used to think it did. That left me a powerless, angry, bitter, victim.

      I’m glad that you are turning to God and that you are willing to focus on your end of things.

      That is where our power is – focusing on Christ and walking in obedience to Him, dying to self, yielding to His will.

      Much love to you! This is hard. It is painful. There is no getting around that.

      But, it is so worth it!

      1. I know – we can’t focus on the negative. I didn’t mean for my post to be destructive or triggering to others.

        If it’s best to delete it, no problem.

        I’m just still trying to reconcile some things about needs.

        I can focus on getting my needs met outside of my marriage – whether it be a combination of through Christ, friends, work, hobbies, etc. But, honestly, that does not nurture my marriage. That’s the definition of the single life.
        It seems that means turning away from my marriage, just as my husband is doing. There is no marriage left once that happens, just two separate lives.

        In the book by a Christian counselor, “His needs, her needs,” it teaches that we each have needs that are to be met by the spouse.
        And, to Julie, above, this counselor also explains the importance, to men, of doing recreational activities together with their spouse, but he warns that the activity must be mutually enjoyable.

        Of course, we have to put God first, but God made man and woman for each other for a reason.

        OK. As I’m typing, it occurred to me that I can either be right or be married.
        Some days I am stronger than others.

        I will continue to try to follow April’s advice and submit to my husband.
        I’m already doing it in lots of ways.
        There will always be room for improvement in that area.

        1. eternally learning,
          I put a warning for the ladies – so, they can read your first post at their own risk. 🙂

          I know that you are describing how many, many wives feel. And you have great points about what husbands should do.

          You just don’t have any control over your man, is the reality. And that can be a painful reality to accept, at first. But, eventually, it can be a freeing and empowering reality as we focus on what we can and do control.

          Of course husbands and wives both have needs. And ideally, each spouse would meet the other person’s needs. That is how marriage was created to be. And, if we were all still in the Garden of Eden, before sin – there would be no problems!

          But, we are all sinners, and we are all married to sinners.

          I wonder if you have checked out Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Keller? AWESOME resource!

          It is easy to focus so much on what our husbands should do for us, that we make them more important to us than Christ – or that is easy for many women. Sometimes we don’t even realize it when it happens, it seems so subtle to us.

          When we turn to Jesus to meet our needs, instead of to friends, work or hobbies- the marriage doesn’t fall apart or disintegrate or disappear. Nope. When we turn to Jesus, and we put all of our faith and trust in Him and we yield fully to Him, the gates of heaven are opened and the resources of heaven are available to us to pour blessing, healing and the power of God into our marriages.

          But, if we take our eyes off of Him, yes – we will be in trouble. Immediately.

          My prayer is that you might focus on your walk with Christ. That is where your power is, my precious sister. That is where unspeakable joy and peace are, too.

          Another awesome book, The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee.

          We will all be on this journey every day for the rest of our lives. It is exciting to think about all we will get to learn and experience and how God will work in and through us for His glory!

          Much love!

          1. That’s great, April!

            And if I may add, God’s more important goal is to conform us to the image of Christ, and what greater tool to reveal where we need to change, than in a marriage.

            I sometimes pray in difficult situations for God not to let me waste what He wants to teach me in it. I sure don’t want to suffer for nothing, and it affirms in my heart that God is still sovereign.

            1. Sorry, that last comment seems strangely out of place here. lol. I kept starting and stopping a thought as I was interrupted….No idea what the original thought I had was. (Old age.)

        2. eternallylearning,

          I started to get messed up a week or two ago in my own heart because I read ONE sentence about what godly husbands “should do.” I began to focus on my needs. Then came the temptation to be bitter. I don’t know if you saw my post about that.

          But – I personally cannot stay on my needs very long. I can ask for my needs to be met. Drop it and then be content in Christ alone. That is ok. But if I allow myself to dwell on my needs – I will very quickly spiral into a sinful mess.

          Maybe everyone doesn’t have that trigger – but that is definitely one for me.

          If I notice myself focusing on “I should get to have this” or “Greg should do that” – I am going to be launching myself into a very destructive mindset very quickly.

          BUT, as I focus on how worthy Jesus is and on worshipping Him, thanking and praising Him and Philippians 4:8 things as well as how I can bless my husband even if I don’t get what I want – I am empowered, energized and blessed.

        3. EL: I’ve thought a lot about the book His Needs, Her Needs. Boy, life for us wives would be great if hubbies would just read the darn book and do what Harley says. However, Harley’s book is written from the point of view of an ambitious man with a strong internal locus of control (i.e. the guy got a Ph.D., writes books, has his own business/practice, etc.). I don’t think he’s the norm, and certainly not the norm for the earnest wife/passive husband dynamic that frequents this site. So Harley’s advice works for Harley…but not the rest. Now if there were books written by passive husbands to show passive husbands how to overcome…but see, passive husbands don’t write books. They just kinda sit there. Passively. They also don’t fill out checklists of their wife’s needs, they don’t come up with a strategy to meet those needs, and they don’t self-monitor their progress towards keeping those needs satisfied. That’s what men with a strong self-efficacy do; passive men lack self-efficacy (I know, psych terms but Google them if you are not familiar with the concepts). Harley’s books. and philosophies were very frustrating to me too, until I figured that out.

          1. Marked Wife,

            You know what? You have such a great point here! Passive husbands generally don’t write books. And there are not a lot of resources for men to overcome passivity. My husband writes a blog now for husbands, but it was a struggle for him to find resources and he looked quite a bit, after I had been on my journey about 3.5 years.

            Here is another thing. It seems to me that a lot of very passive wives don’t write blogs or books either, I don’t write from the perspective of a very timid, introverted, quiet, overly submissive wife with a dominant husband. If I had a very dominant husband, he probably wouldn’t let me write a blog about our marriage! It is hard to find resources for overly passive wives, too, in my view. And they have to approach things from a totally opposite angle than we wives who tend to be dominating, type A and controlling.

    2. There is just only so much wehave control over. I think that sometines we have good intentions and we try way too hard. I know I used to do thay, and have the tendancy to try to slip back into that. I do not read marriage books that tell me what my husband should be doing for me anymore. Just how i can be a better wife, because thats the only thing i have control over.

      I found that teying to force counseling, reading books to my husband and trying so hard to “fix” everything I was being counterproductive. My husband thought that i didnt like him, trust him, that I was trying to change him, and he didn’t want to do it. While I was bitter and angry that he wasn’t doing this or that (that I probably wouldn’t have cared about before reading he SHOULD be doing it ) while I was feeling superior because I was at least trying to fix it.

      Honestly what worked best for me was to let go of expectations, to focus solely on making me better, to relax and stop trying ao hard, and to just pretend that there was nothing wrong in my marriage. I know that might sound odd, or like i was ignoring the issues, but we had gotten in such a bad cycle of trying and trying and trying that it just needed to be broken. So I pretended to be ok with him being exactly as he was, surprisingly it didn’t take long before I started to really be ok with him exactly as he was, and as he saw me respecting him more he worked harder to please me. And we got into a new cycle, but a good one. The problems really did just disapear.

      1. Sarah,

        Very interesting! As you focus on the good things and on being content, your perspective can really change. And as your husband doesn’t feel like you are trying to change him and never satisfied, that encourages him to move toward you, too.

        Greg used to HATE marriage books. He always felt I was trying to change him. And he was so right. 🙁

        Until I read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Then, he began to like some marriage books – if I could just focus on changing myself instead of trying to change him, that was fine with him. I dropped the expectations of him doing everything exactly as I wanted him to and began to be thankful and accepting of him. That was so much healthier for both of us!

        1. April, same here. We had a long courtship, and at one point in the midst of a heated disagreement that started from me trying to implement what I read… husband said to me,

          “Julie, why is it that every time you read a new book on relationships, we get into a fight?? Just stop your reading and enjoy what we have!”

          Several years into the marriage, the first two books that opened my eyes that our problem was ME, was Dr. Laura’s book, and then Love and Respect. Especially Love and Respect. I wept reading both of them.

    3. Really EL, just the fact that your husband has gone to so many marriage classes and even counseling shows that he cares about you a lot. MANY husbands will refuse to even set foot in a counselor’s office. Consider this: spending quality time together is your unfilled need. He is likely a guy who falls more on the independent end of the spectrum, and he can get his needs met quite easily just by sitting at the dinner table with you, patiently listening to you tell him all about your day. “Nothing has changed” because he doesn’t have the hunger. His need is met. What on earth would drive him towards a need that’s already met? Do you have ten slices of watermelon at a time or does one slice leave you feeling satisfied and happy? The basic premise of Peaceful Wife’s approach is to give our husbands enough distance so their hunger can get activated, and then make the interaction so pleasant that it’s the place a husband will go to, when he wants to get his need satisfied. But men are independent creatures. They won’t ever want us the way we want them. It’s, sadly, part of the curse: “and your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:17.

  10. I think having your own hobbies/interest outside of your hubby helps a lot. I know when I am busier and doing things- (out shopping, errands, spending time outside the home with the kids, other people, visiting family, etc.) I am not nearly as focused on my hubby and how much time ‘we’ are together. Most all my friends have moved, so that leaves me a lot of time; however, his few good friends are still in the area so he likes to visit with them for sports, etc.

    I know I cant hold that against him just b/c his friends are around and mine are all moved. Also- learning how men relate differently and consider “shoulder-to-shoulder” time the same as we consider girlfriend talk time. (from Love and Respect). So I try to sit with him and watch his sports, etc. and if you change your mindset and realize that is HIS bonding time, then it helps.

    Also, saying it in a non-confrontational way so as not to accuse him or come off like your saying he doesnt spend any time with you. I know my hubby likes to be out and is not a homebody so if I just suggest “hey would u like to go to x this Saturday maybe for an hour or so?” he’s usually down and wants to go. If I ask “hey do you want to watch a movie together Friday night?” he usually always says ok. Now if I start off complaining and whinny saying how we never spend time together, he’d rather be with his friends, etc. (which sometimes seems true to me) he will automatically go in defense mode and it starts a bickering session.

    I think the best approach is to gently let him know, and if he does not respond at all. wait another week or more and gently suggest it again, maybe even suggest doing something with the kids together as a family if he never ever spends time with you alone. and then praying about it daily. Also changing your mindset on how men like to “hang out” and what they consider “spending time together”. Then, when he isnt, you wont take such offense to it or take it so personal.

  11. welcome April! What was a turning point for me, is your blog (of course!) and learning how men relate etc. but what was really an eye opener was recently when my hubby had plans to watch a football game with a friend and I myself had something I reeeeally wanted to do on my own. I realized I could care less at that moment what he was doing and that we wouldnt be spending time together- all b/c I had something important to me I wanted to do and not having to “tend” to my hubby during those hours (for lack of a better word) was great b/c I had things I needed to do. So the lightbulb went off and I realized how sometimes it bothers me when he is busy with others, such as friends, and then when I am busy myself it doesnt bother me at all. Which is not fair to him. but its funny how if your feeling the slightest bit lonely or needy that if he’s busy with others or he’s just not busy with you, it will aggravate you way more. So I try to stay prayed up about this subject ahead of time now- and what I do is if I am not busy at all and I was hoping in my mind to spend “quality time” with him and it does not happen for whatever reason, then that’s God’s cue to me to break out his Word and study, spend time in prayer that I wouldn’t have otherwise, read a good biblical book, or listen to praise music. so those are my suggestions! It has helped a lot but I think the key is setting your mind before it comes to that and realizing if you feel that way- God might just be making your husband not spend time with you on purpose, b/c your putting your hubby as an idol and God sees it! Just a thought! 🙂

  12. I’m not sure if my comment went through as my computer froze right after I submitted. Please forgive if this is a duplicate.
    I wanted to ask you April, and forgive me if you have stated this in the past, what do you think the purpose is of marriage if we are to get all of our emotional needs met by God(and not “expect” anything from our husbands)?

    1. Hi Michelle, that’s a smart question! I think of the purpose of marriage in terms of both the Old Testament & the New Testament. In Genesis we learn that God created men and women to spend time together & help each other, to enjoy each other and be comforted by one another, but he created this for men & women (he created Adam & Eve and their relationship) before the Fall, before sin. Unfortunately God’s perfect purposes for marriage have been thwarted ever since.

      God also created us to have close relationships with Him, and the fall messed that up too.

      Because he’s a great God, he redeems us and he redeems all of the things the fall (and our sin) messed up. No marriage will ever look as harmonious and amazing as Adam & Eve’s looked before the fall. But with God’s help, I think we can get closer to those original purposes for marriage – help, companionship, enjoyment.

      That’s the Old Testament lens on marriage. In the light of the New Testament, I think the purpose of marriage is to give us a chance to lay down our lives for another – in a practical, day to day sense. (Of course there’s nothing practical about laying down your life for another! But it’s the example of our savior.)

      Hope this is good food for thought!

      1. Thanks for such a prompt reply April!
        I agree with your view on mariage but it brings another question.To clarify-if we look at it in Old Testament views- the goal should be togetherness-isn’t that what we wives are working towards when we advocate time with our husbands?

        1. I am re-reading your comment and I think you mean by adopting the New Testament view of dying to self in marriage, we can, as a by product, have more of that “before the fall” companionship and oneness? Im trying to save you some work-you work so HARD for us here!;) But I want to make sure Im reading it correctly because this is a bane in my existance-always wanting more time with my husband.

          1. Michelle,

            Wanting more time with your husband is fine.

            But the question is, what do you do and what do you think when you don’t get what you want?

            Are you still able to be content in Christ?

            If not, why?

            Much love!

          1. Ooops-thanks Sister in Christ! Yes, she actually sounded like you too:) Ok-I get it, there is no getting around being ok when I don’t get the time I want. I guess I’m still not understanding the line between deciding to get married because you enjoy spending time with your man, and then when you actually do get married, letting that go.
            Pray for me-its football season! I definitely get really pushed to the side in the fall, and now my husband has a golf obsession. I try to go with him as much as possible to play golf, and I sit and watch games with him(painfully I might add). I spend time with God everyday, and have learned not to make my husband an idol. All of this spiritual fulfillment, and I am still left wanting for physical time connecting with my husband that leads to arguements.
            I will keep looking at the comments to see if there is a breakthrough word for me.

            1. Can you read, page through a magazine or maybe work on a project like cross stitch while your husband watches football? Or maybe cuddle with him while he watches a game? That may not be an option if he gets very excited by the game.

              1. Thanks, A fellow wife. I don’t know if you saw that I do sit with him during some of the games. Honestly, that is even going to be hard after this Ray Rice fiasco and the way the NFL handled it. I do try to do things he likes and shoulder to shoulder time.It doesn’t mitigate, however, that as a woman I need real connecting from time to time and I”m wondering as a whole why would we get married if we didn’t think at least that part of being married would be met?

              2. Michelle,

                I hope you might read my series on Expectations here.

                It is not wrong to have needs. It is not wrong to want to be with our husbands. Almost every wife wants that. What is wrong is when we believe we are justified to sin in thought, word or deed when we don’t get what we want. If I want something so much that I am totally fine with sinning to try to get it – that is a problem!

              3. Michelle–

                I am pretty good at being able to tune out football or other shows my husband watches if I am really into a book I am reading. But that may not be something you can easily do.

                Secondly, I just want to say that I really feel your hurt! I hurt with you! I would LOVE for my husband to want to spend time with me in a way that met my needs. But I realize I have NO control over that at all. I can continue to be sad over that (and it is a temptation, I will admit) or I can accept that it may never happen and make a choice to do something fun on my own. I also try to remind myself of all the wonderful things about my husband. I have a list I keep in my phone of “10 ways I know my husband loves me” and when I feel sad or down, I read it to remind myself how lucky I am.

                I have also been close to two couples that went through huge marital struggles in the last year. I was able to talk to the men (both family members of mine) and see things from their perspective. These men loved their wives so deeply! But the wives didn’t see it. So much miscommunication!

                I learned from that… that just because my husband doesn’t show he loves me in the way I wish- time together, etc- it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me…. we are just speaking different languages. I try to ‘listen’ to his language and appreciate how he does show his love.

                I hope this helps, dear wife! I truly understand where you are coming from and I have been there. I just know that staying there is painful so I try to not let myself go there!

              4. Hi Michelle,

                I enjoyed your comment and the idea of having a list of “10 ways I know my husband loves me”. I don’t know if I can find 10, but I found the idea really great.

                I know what is it to really want to feel connected and not have our need met. My husband doesn’t watch a lot of TV and he is not into sports but he loves to chat with his numerous friends all over the world. Sometimes, I asked him: do you have 10 mn for your wife and he usually take some time ( his eyes on the tablet) and even sometimes had dropped the tablet but I wish sometimes to have more.

                I found the idea of having our own things to do definitively helpful. I don’t have a lot of friends (either does he but he has a lot of people he knows). It is a great tool I think to have a reminder like this list of how our husband loves us when we don’t feel it. So thanks for sharing.

              5. Dear Michelle,

                I’d like to encourage you, that although that deep desire of yours is currently going unmet by your husband, there may very well be a day when that changes. I have seen God do amazing changes just like that, not only in my marriage, but in the lives of close friends.

                In the meantime, whether that does or doesn’t happen, God is able to fill that gap with himself. There is an opportunity in this season to learn deep things that you may be able to use to minister to other women down the road who are struggling likewise. God is so good at turning our disappointments into rich blessings

                I do understand your questioning why get married if your needs are going to be unmet. Been there. It was PAINFUL, PAINFUL. At the same time, looking back, those memories are bittersweet because of how dear my times alone with God were. He was my comforter and my refuge in the pain.

                Praying for you…..xx

              6. How wonderful to have my posts heard and responded to with such concern;) I guess we will never know why God made men and women so different and that is ,essentially, what I am trying to figure out in my questioning. I know I am preaching to the choir here on this one.
                I think if it wasn’t for that honeymoon period in the beginning where our prospective husbands woo us by doing what we like, talking till the wee hours of the morning, and in my case-wanting to be together 24-7, then this period of having to be OK with different interaction wouldn’t be so tough to take.
                I will continue to be there for my husband, not sinning in my hurt and letting God use my marriage to help me in the process of sanctification. Amen?

              7. Michelle,

                Our being so different, men and women, points to the fact that God is so different from us as people. The more we learn to understand our men and our roles as godly wives, the more we learn to understand God and how we are to relate to Him. The marriage thing is kind of like a love lab where we have to live out the theology we read in God’s Word. It is where we learn the most and how we learn to experience God more fully.

                It is really all about Him and our walk with Him. When we get that, things begin to make a lot more sense.

                Much love!

              8. I don’t know how long you’ve been married Michelle. Please forgive me if you stated.

                But what I found in my marriage as the years go by, I think on some things, we both went through a painful period of adjusting our expectations. It took quite a long time for us to get to a place where we are content to embrace what is, instead of what we expected going in to marriage.

                And then, it also got to a place where the love and respect brought a freedom to talk more openly about some things, which in turn, got some of those unmet needs to be newly met.

                But it’s that letting go of the expectations part that is necessary sometimes, and can even cause a grieving period. At least that’s what I went through. And like stated earlier, God stepped in to fill the place only He should be filling, and that is where our contentment is to come from.

              9. Michelle,

                Let me also say, that it was not until way, way after I let go of my expectations for my husband and learned to be content whether I was receiving attention from him or not – that he began to draw closer to me.

                Now, we have long discussions, even about things I am interested in, multiple times per week, generally. And now, my husband doesn’t reject me when I ask him for time. In fact, if I ask him to, he will even turn off the tv (I don’t ask during a game that is important to him. He loves football, too).

                So now, we are actually both receiving much more of what each of us want in the marriage than we ever did when I used to try to force him to spend time with me and demand that he do what I wanted.

                I eventually, did get what I desired – at least a lot of what I desired – in our marriage. But it took several years.

                It was only after I learned to delight myself in the Lord and be completely content in Him alone that God began to change Greg.

                I am VERY thankful for that. In fact, I don’t want to go back to the way I was and it was completely worth it to be so lonely for so long in my marriage if the result is that I got to learn to draw closer to Jesus.

                Now, my husband is much more affectionate than ever in our 20 years of marriage. Is he as affectionate as I am? No. But he is not me. I am able to enjoy him, appreciate him and be thankful for what he gives me. I also know that he is good-willed toward me. He is not trying to make me miserable. (That is what I seriously believed he was doing when we first got married. I was so wrong!)

                Before we began having lots of deep discussions, I spent about 2.5 years just reading and sitting beside him while he watched tv at night. I learned to enjoy being in his presence and to enjoy sitting with him even if we were not talking. Now, I can be content just to cuddle together while he watches a football game, even if we don’t talk at all. And, if I do want to talk, I choose a good time, or ask if it is a good time, and then I get to talk all I want to. And he is very responsive. The tv usually stays on. I don’t generally ask him to turn it off. But, he gives me his attention and we have wonderful discussions.

                Would things be this way now if I had not been willing to release my expectations? No. I am absolutely sure things would not be this way now.

                Dying to self is painful. But it is necessary on this journey.

                I feel your pain. I feel your loneliness. I have SO been there. I was there for many, many years. I want you to have the emotional intimacy that you want. God has a path for you to be able to get there – but it does involve being willing to give up your dreams and trust God with no guarantee of holding on to your desires. But God does promise to use all things for your ultimate good as you love Him and because you are called according to His purpose.

                Much love!

              10. April, It’s so interesting to learn how many of us as wives go through so much of the same experience in marriage. At the time I was going thru what you describe, I thought we were unique in our experience…..You are so much more gifted in being able to articulate things than I and it clarifies things for me. Love that. Love you and your heart for other ladies.

              11. So encouraging April. I guess I haven’t completely made this step of letting go of my expectations for my husband. I did it but it comes back and I see it’s still there. Practically, bedsides praying and give it to God: how do you do it? Big hug. Sonia

              12. Sonadewonderful,

                I think this comes in stages sometimes. And sometimes it is something we have to lay down every day for awhile. Or even every few minutes.

                I did it by writing down all of my expectations and mentally and emotionally releasing them to God. Then, by learning to focus on good things, being thankful, focusing on Phil 4:8 things and my walk with Christ. At first, I was quiet a lot, because I didn’t trust my sinful mouth. I knew the thoughts in my heart are still sinful, and it knew at first that if I opened my mouth, sin would come out. So I was quiet for awhile about a lot of things as I begged a God to change me. After He began to change my heart and thoughts and I learned to take thoughts captive, I began to learn to speak and use my words to bless, give life, affirm, respect, build up and honor. It is a slow process. Or, it sure was for me!

              13. Thanks April for this idea of making a list and release each item. I’m gonna do that. I am still reading Love and respect. I guess the things I really have to work on is : not criticize him (that ‘s the big one) and work much on having a pleasant tone of voice and smile/happy face. But as you say, it’s a process. Big hug

              14. Sonadewonderful,

                It is a process, and it requires the power of God, our total submission to Him and it also requires practice. It is very much like learning a foreign language, in my view.

                I pray this idea may bless you, your walk with God and your marriage! 🙂

    2. Just because you don’t have expectations of your spouse doesnt mean he won’t meet your needs. Letting go of those expectations has actually led my husband to meeting more of my needs. Through submitting to my husband, it gives my husband the opportunity to take care of me, to surprise me, to make me feel loved, and when its not forced, when its unexpected, it is so much more meaningful. But ultimetly my true fulfilment should come from Christ not my husband. It’s easy to make your husband an idol, to put the marriage before Christ. But when you are fulfilled through God you can stop looking for that to come from your husband. My husband is bound to fail at times, he will not always live up to my expectations, if I have God first I can give my husband more grace and understanding.

      1. Sarah,
        That has been my experience, too!

        BUT, I had to carefully remove all of my motives to change my husband and make him love me more, and truly accept my husband as he was before God began to work in him. Interesting.

    3. Michelle,
      God’s primary commands for all of us as His creatures are (the two greatest commandments)

      1. to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our minds, all our souls and all our strength
      2. to love others with the love of God

      And some purposes that are equally important (I can’t count how many verses contain these purposes for us)

      1. for us to bring great honor and glory to God
      2. for us to be conformed into the image of Christ and to become more and more holy

      These purposes are higher than our emotional desires in marriage.

      The primary purposes of marriage:
      1. to display the intimacy between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33)
      2. to draw people to Christ (Titus 2:3-5 and uphold, not malign the Word of God)
      3. to be a holy, lifelong union and building block for families that demonstrates the love of God where we learn to understand who God is, who we are and how to relate to Him and others under the loving, nurturing, godly guidance of holy parents
      4. to bring up godly children (Malachi 2:15)

      Marriage has many blessings and benefits. When things are going well, we can absolutely derive great joy and pleasure from our marriages. But our happiness and meeting our own personal desires are quite secondary to the holy purposes of God.

      It has been my experience (with myself and many, many wives) that it is very easy for us to begin to expect our husbands to meet needs that really only Christ can meet in our lives. We must be so careful that we do not turn our husbands, or our feelings, or happiness, or having our will, or being in control into idols that we cherish more than we cherish Christ.

      When things are all in proper perspective and order of priority, marriage is a great blessing and gift from God.

      But Jesus is our Greatest Treasure and if we are desperate for anything but Him, we need to spend some serious time in prayer examining our motives. Contentment is a product of the Holy Spirit being in control of our lives. When my sinful nature is in control, I act like Galatians 5:18-21. But when God’s Spirit is in full control, no matter what my circumstances are, I will have His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Gal 5:22. It has nothing to do with my husband, and everything to do with my abiding in Christ and being filled with Him.

      Interestingly, as I am not desperate and clingy, demanding, angry, resentful and bitter – and as I have the joy and peace of Christ -that attracts my husband a whole lot more than my sinful attitudes used to. All my sinful nature could do was destroy my marriage. When God’s Spirit fills me, I have the power of heaven to breathe life and healing into the marriage. So, it is a win/win/win. For me, my husband and for God.

      11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:11-13

      This passage in Philippians applies in our marriages, as well!

      How to Make Your Husband an Idol
      Contentment Comes from Having Christ as Lord

  13. As a husband I read this blog a lot to get a broader picture of the day to day things that women and wives face because if I don’t then I overlook so much which becomes painfully obvious in hindsight. It seems so often that husbands are trying to work it all out, wives are trying to work it all out, but there is some breach or gap stopping the connecting. I guess sometimes it will be pride probably as with me it is just plain old fear of change and sometimes the different ways we both grew up before we got married but one thing is obvious – the people that read this blog or write to this blog WANT their marriage relationship to really work!

    My wife and I are so opposite its ridiculous and now that our children have all married and left home there is a real “who are you?” kind of realisation and a lot of unresolved hurts and distrusts. For me I really had to go back to when I first met my wife, how carefree she was, how happy, and then say to myself “if you think she has changed it can only be because she has spent so much time with me..!!” So then I have had to start giving her back freedom…security…love….peace…time – all these things I had unknowingly taken away from her and step by step I can see her slowly, very carefully taking the steps to believe in me again…but mostly I want her get to a place again where both of us can genuinely say “I don’t care what you want to do, let’s do it together, it’ll be fun!!” – its how we got married!!

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Gary! Yes, there is a big disconnect – we tend to think in very different ways and we may not realize exactly how different men and women are. Some of the issues can be cleared up so quickly when we just understand where the other person is coming from. And YES! Most spouses have good will toward each other and want marriage to be a positive, beautiful, loving, thing that is a blessing to everyone. Great observation!

      When even one spouse begins to focus on what he/she can do – amazing things can happen. And, in those moments when both spouses are working together to restore a marriage – it is truly beautiful! Of course, it will be painful at times. But what a blessing marriage can be, especially as we seek to live it out in the wisdom of God’s design.


  14. Hi April, I know we’re all at different stages in our marriages (and feel free to edit this comment if it may be a trigger for others). I’m so blessed, usually my husband wants to spend time with me! (I don’t think this is anything I’ve done – I’m sure it’s the transformative work of Jesus in my husband’s life.) But when my husband does pull away, it’s always because I was rude – selfish, snappy, condescending :(. I’ve been married almost three years, and I didn’t know men were so sensitive! But I’ve learned some of them are. Nothing drives my husband away faster than when I talk to him like he’s a child, or get a disdainful tone in my voice! Or when I embarrass him by disagreeing with him in public, or trying to boss him around, even in small ways, like, “Honey, you should tell blah, blah, blah story.” Funny how good manners and the fruit of the Spirit are really similar :).

    On a different note, I’ve found it’s important for me NOT to get my feelings hurt if I feel he isn’t listening. Early in our marriage, I’d be chattering away (usually while he was driving) and he said to me, “Sorry, all circuits are full.” He meant he had to focus on driving and couldn’t give me his attention at that moment. His simple communication helped me understand I couldn’t have his attention at that exact second.

    1. WHen we allow ourselves to be bossed or talk to like a child, it is like a slap in the face for someone to talk to us like this. So we will become angry, irritated. Over time of being talked to like this unless man has primary outlets other than the wife that validate his masculinity, his self esteem will be stripped. Yes you can strip it without touching him.

  15. As a husband who loves spending time with his wife and who spends most of everyday in close proximity of her, she has learned the following about this man.

    1. I can only do one thing at a time well & joyfully. I enjoy talking when its talking time. And when it’s not I prefer to concentrate on what I am doing.

    2. I love her more than anything. But any conversation where she expects me to carry half of it will have to be 5 minutes or shorter, then it drops to a 80/20 ratio at best. I’ve only got so many words to use in a day and when the quota is up it’s my Bible, a book, the TV, the computer…or watching paint dry- but no more words! They are truly painful after that point.

    3. I have two gears. Go all out and stop. I don’t switch them well. I’m usually good for conversation during the stop but not during the first 15 minutes of it. That is my transition time.

    4. She’s learned that I love her and I think she is immensely talented in many things- like scrapbooking. But I will never “care” about it. Just that she enjoys herself doing it.

    5. I don’t enjoy talking about things that I don’t care about. My eyes will quickly glaze over no matter how much I care about her. We like “meat” to our conversations. And yes, sometimes sports count because it’s the only “battle” that is allowed in manhood anymore.

    6. I could spend all day by her side and that would be enjoyable. I could not spend all day talking. But sitting next to her. Holding hands. You bet.

    1. CL847,
      THIS is extremely helpful! Thank you VERY, VERY much!!!!! I think that as we understand our men a bit better, we may see that the not talking thing may not be that our husbands are “unloving” but sometimes, just that they are different from us as women. And that is a good thing. As we can understand how our men function, think, feel and work, we can appreciate the way they are, admire, love and accept them instead of attempting to make them be more like women.

      Love this!

    2. CL847-you have just broken a code to my husband I think! I am going to ask him if any of these statements apply to him, because it really is eye-opening!! Thanks.

      1. Michelle,


        I had a feeling some of the men’s comments would really help the ladies. 🙂

        Thanks so much, gentlemen!

        And thank you to all the wives who have shared – there are SO MANY valuable insights here that I wish every newlywed bride could have access to!

  16. I write this with a heavy heart, but with the hope that it may help some wives understand some things from a man’s perspective. For me (and I would think it applies to at least a few other men), when requests are submitted like wanting to spend more time, you have to look at the recent history (and maybe even not so recent) history of the relationship. The first thing I have thought when it was presented to me was “when we are together it has always been a painful experience, so why would I want to do that.” I’m not saying this is right, but what I immediately think about are all the criticisms, innuendo’s, complaints, and disappointments, etc., that have happened when we have been together. It could be criticisms about how I drive, or what I wear. It could be unresolved arguments. I (we) have sometimes even though “Why does she want to spend time with me when apparently she does not respect me?” All these things and more go throught our (my) mind. Your motives may be pure in wanting to spend time with us, but if there are issues, it may not be easy to communicate it.

    I’m a pretty laid back guy. I will avoid a fight if I can. But I am very easy to approach. If you approach me correctly. If you don’t then the defensive shields will go up. What you are saying could be good, true and sincere, but if it’s said in a disrespectful way you will lose us. So my suggestion is that before you present your hubby with a request such as spending more time, ask him first about how he’s feeling about things in a non-confrontational way. Build up to that. If you are not careful, he will take it as a criticism…especially if you say something like “Why don’t we spend more time together?” All this might sound childish, but those are the things that go through our head, especially if we feel we have not been respected or appreciated. We will not be able to make the transition from not spending time with you to automatically wanting to spend quality time, unless certain things have been addressed first.

    1. CJ,
      Thank you for this! I think that you have articulated how many husbands are feeling very well here. These insights could be life-giving to so many marriages.

      Husbands (and all people) enjoy being around someone who is positive, friendly, encouraging, admiring and respectful. That is how husbands generally receive love. None of us enjoy being around someone who constantly criticizes us, is angry at us, is bitter, is resentful, is trying to control us, is upset most of the time, argues a lot, complains a lot… That is human nature – to enjoy being around someone who is pleasant to be around.

      I think if we all had to see ourselves on camera, we may understand our husbands’ responses to us better at times. Sometimes we don’t realize just how angry we look, how disrespectful our tone of voice sounds, how frustrated we sound, how much we sigh, how much we are trying to control our men. I have a Youtube video about the importance of getting rid of non-verbal disrespect, too. Because it speaks loudly about the state of our heart, mind and soul.

      I think we can all relate that if our child asks us for something in a very disrespectful way, we (if we are good parents) will not give the child what he wants when he approaches us in such a manner. But, if the same child asks for the same thing in a respectful, polite, well-mannered way – we may be happy to do whatever he asked.

      Our willingness to approach our husbands with respect speaks volumes about our love and appreciation for our husbands.

      I really appreciate your thoughts so much!

  17. Well what I have decided to do is to see a Christian counselor and she has been helping me. I am going and having fun with friends. I continue to read my Bible. But I don’t have a marriage. His loss. His choice.

    1. Sandy,

      Let’s pray together that God might restore the marriage. I’m glad you are seeing a counselor. I hope that you might be able to focus on your walk with Christ, and then maybe God might open your husband’s eyes so that he can repent of his sin and he might be restored to God and the marriage might be restored in time for God’s glory.

      Much love!

  18. This was a huge area of discontent in my marriage. I realize that it was too many expectations, my need to control the situation, and selfishness on my part. When I look back my husband always spent time with me, but it wasn’t always the way I wanted. Also being a stay at home mom I felt like he owed it to me to spend time with me when he was home. When he didn’t I became resentful and bitter. I didn’t always enjoy the time we spent together, there was more than one occasion that I ended up in tears because things didn’t work out how i wanted when we were together. I would be hurt if he went to the store by himself, let alone to do something fun.
    I didn’t really consider how he felt after a hard days work, how he needs much more quiet time then I do. He is an introvert while I’m an extrovert. I didn’t think about how much he hates being around large groups of people because I love it. That he just doesn’t talk much, and I can talk forever. Or even that he doesn’t like to be touched, but that he will put his arm around me and snuggle with me on the couch because he loves me. How the things that didn’t mean much to me, made him feel so connected.

    I was so worried about making sure my needs got met that I missed so many opportunities to connect with my husband. Once I stopped trying to make him meet my needs I was able to let go and enjoy. This summer for example we went camping with some friends, he spent most of the time fishing by himself, or with the other husband. I could have been bitter and angry, but I had a really great time playing with the kids in the water, getting to know his friends wife, and just being outdoors. Then on the way home, a 3 hour drive with 4 kids under 7 he decided he wanted to take a scenic drive,.just to see where it led. Old me would have wanted to control the situation, say um no thanks 3 hours is enough, but instead I said sure let’s do it. It ended up being an extra 2 hour loop that brought us almost right back to where we started. But we had such a good time. It was so worth it.

    Trips like this didn’t happen a few years ago, I would have been angry he wasn’t spending time as a family, and missed the time he did spend with us joyfully around the camp fire, I would not have added 2 hours to our drive, or enjoyed it if we had. And we would have both been bitter and I can say for sure he wouldn’t have been wanting to take me anywhere for a while. The biggest change was for me to start looking at thimgs from his point of view not mine. I still get a pang of jealousy when he goes somewhere with his friends without me, but then do something for myself instead, and he ends up coming home to a happy, refreshed wife which makes him want to spend more time with me. And its so freeing to not feel angry.

    It took a long time to get here though. There was a lot of healing to be done. At first asking him to spend more time with me would have made him feel frustrated, and like I was saying he wasnt
    doung enough. Now it would look different, I would just ask him if
    he wanted to do something with me. Most of the times he will.

    1. Sarah,

      Wow, I relate so much to you! Greg is an introvert, too, and I am more of an extrovert. I got married expecting Greg to be exactly like me. That expectation set me up for a lot of disappointment and misunderstandings.

      There is so much peace and freedom in accepting and appreciating our husbands and the ways they do show us love and thanking them for what they do for us. I love what God is doing in you and how He is making something so beautiful from your marriage!

  19. My husband and I have struggled with this. My husband is not a big talker and over the years I know that I have made spending time with me not a safe thing for him. I want to talk over everything during any and all activities and I’d complain about situations and tell him what he should do etc. We’d regularly end up fighting. He likes clear concise non emotive talks. I’ve seen his face light up when I talk to him in this way. It’s a language he can handle and he feels safe. He loves getting together with male friends and chatting to them. Sometimes I feel envious of this, but I think it’s the way that males talk. He feels safer and I know I have to work on how I talk to him. I am so much better than I was and I really can’t believe it took me so long when he was telling me all along. In my pride I thought I knew better. If I stick to facts and loose the emotion and the complaining and keep it pleasant and positive he responds. I was the wife in Proverbs 27:15. No wonder he didn’t want to spend time with me!

    He was sick with chronic fatigue for many years and as a result can’t handle to much loud noise and being touched actually gave him pain and still does at times. Being a teacher he comes home from work and wants peace and quite. I have had to alter my expectations and realise that the world is not going to fall apart if we don’t talk. I’ve got better and keeping myself occupied and learning to be content. There has been a lot of sitting with him while watching tv, but just being in the same room with him makes me quite happy now. He is a musician and will play one of his instruments and sing while I cook or clean and that’s really nice. The more pleasant I am the more he ventures out of his office to seek me out, to share something with me or hug me.

  20. Before I post my thoughts on this, I have a few questions about this subject that I hope you all can help me with.
    1. Many of you have mentioned that your husband failed to live up to your expectations in respect to quality time when either you first got married or over the course of your married life. Question: how did you come to develop these expectations? What are they based upon? Are they built just on hopes that you had before you got married, or were they based upon your experiences when you were dating, or perhaps somewhere else?
    2. What is your definition of “Quality Time”? How much quality time did you/do you expect during a given week? (I’m not looking for a hard and fast number here, just a general idea of what expectations are for this) Also, is a earnest desire to spend time with you count if you cannot spend time with your husband, or do you count that as time not spent.
    3. Did you convey your expectations to your husband before you got married or shortly thereafter?

    Like I said I’ll post some of my thoughts in a bit, but I was interested to see what you all thought. Note: no wrong answers here, and as Fitworks says: “Judgment Free Zone. “

    1. John from Cincinnati,

      Ok, I have to answer these, too.

      I had literally over a hundred expectations, maybe much more. They were primarily unspoken by me. It was just what I thought our marriage would be like – dreams, hopes, expectations I had picked up along the way. Some from the way my parents’ relationship was. Some from how we related as we were dating, and I assumed all the time we spent once we were married would continue to be just like that. And some expectations were from the media, romantic movies/books, etc…

      I also assumed Greg and I thought and felt the same way. And that if anyone didn’t think and feel just like me, that person was “wrong.” NOT a good approach to marriage. So if he didn’t do or say what I would do or say, I assumed he didn’t love me. Even when he really, truly did. I didn’t understand how he showed his love. I demanded that he show love the way I show love. That didn’t work.

      My expectations for quality time before we got married was that we would spend 3-5 HOURS every single evening talking, laughing and having face-to-face time. I expected it to be just like a date. Every day. Every. Single. Day. Then when Greg and his dad had to work on an old house for us to live in and they worked on it 6 nights per week for 3 months until 1am every night and Greg had no time for me at all, I was devastated. And I did not handle that well. He was trying to show me love by fixing up the old house and getting it done as fast as he could. I reamed him out for not stopping at 10pm at least, so we could have some time together.

      I did NOT convey my expectations to my husband and I never even thought about the possibility that my expectations might be different from his and that he had important expectations, too.

      I hope some other wives will answer, too!

      These are fantastic questions!

      1. I would like to hear more about why many men change so much after marriage. I would also think that marriage would be an extension of dating. I thought that one of the reasons people married was to continue the fun they had dating. I don’t understand why one person would suddenly ignore the other. Why not just stay single if you want to be left alone?

        1. I don’t think we realize it, but we as women change a lot after we get married, too. I sure did! I was very respectful and supportive before marriage, but then I wanted to take control after marriage. I am a daughter of Eve. I piled on tons of expectations that i didn’t have before marriage and then, at least for me, I became very disrespectful and controlling when my husband didn’t do what I wanted. Of course, I didn’t realize that if he had done every thing I wanted, just because I demanded it, it wouldn’t have meant anything and I would have lost respect for him. Many times, I put him in a lose/lose situation.

          Marriage changes people. We are now dependent on each other. And we all come with our own sets of expectations. Marriage magnifies our sinful tendencies. We can’t run or hide from them, they all come to the surface. We also tend to let our guard down and show the “real” us in ways we didn’t before marriage.

          It is my understanding that for some men, once they are married, they feel like they “won the prize” and don’t need to pursue their wives the way they did before they were married because she is theirs now. Why act like you are still in the race when you are at the winner’s circle?

          Certainly lots to think about.

            1. Lisa,
              You are exactly right. Many women stop taking care of their bodies or appearance because “Oh, I’m married now. What does that matter.” It is the same thing. “I already have my prize, and I don’t have to put forth effort anymore.”

              And, there are also many new stresses on the relationship with bills and chores and trials and problems that weren’t there before marriage. That makes things harder. Also, just the dailiness of it makes it harder. If you only saw each other once a week, your husband was able to have his time to himself and his down time and hobby time and his time of not talking before without you noticing it.

              Dating, in my view, isn’t very helpful in preparing people for marriage.

              Spending time with each other only when we look our best and act our best sets us up for a lot of disappointment. I think it would be interesting to minister together or build a house together or do something HARD together and have to see each other dirty and smelly or sick or tired. Those are the things that will show us a person’s true character.

    2. Hi, John.

      I can only answer from one wife’s perspective- mine.

      I thought my husband would want to continue to do things with me like he did when we were dating. After all, he couldn’t get enough of my time, then so it was shocking and hard to adjust when going from him wanting to sit by me and talk to me constantly and take me out to him sitting away from me in his recliner and/or being in his personal hobby workshop 5-6 days a week and going out with friends once a week.

      My personal definition of quality time is to DO something together. Not to just be home at the same time while he is watching tv and I am cleaning. That is not a fun way to spend time together for me. Quality time would be a date, going on a walk, playing a board game or *doing something* together.

      I would be thrilled if my husband made it a point to do something with me once a week or once every couple of weeks. AND acted excited about it and like he was enjoying it- not like he was having to do it and it was a chore and a bore. I would certainly give him credit if he wanted to spend time with me even if it couldn’t work out. I would just love to know he WANTED to spend time with me, even if that wasn’t a possibility.

      No, I did not convey this to him before marriage because I naively thought he would just want to be with me. Why wouldn’t he? He didn’t want to do anything BUT spend time with me when we were dating.

      For me, I want to do activities together. My husband does not enjoy the things I suggest. I have asked him to suggest things. He says he has no suggestions.

      He does like for me to sit in the room while he watches tv which I am happy to do and do often. I am happy that he wants me nearby. I am glad this meets HIS need for time together. It doesn’t meet my need- sitting on opposite chairs while he watches his show doesn’t give me what I need. I am happy to know that it makes him happy and glad to do that for him.

      I would love for my husband to display some interest in doing things with me. But that hasn’t happened in all of our years of marriage… we are going into our second decade together.

      I am thankful that he is such a wonderful husband in so many other ways.

        1. Hi, Julie

          I would rather not say exactly because I want to remain anonymous…. but I will say it is not going to a bar or anything to do with anything like that. It is a ‘guys’ activity. He usually does this with some of his male family members. Imagine something like going to a woodworking class or a shooting range…

          My husband is a Christian and I do trust him- there are no issues there. 🙂 It is just that he has a lot of interest in guy activities but little to no interest in what I feel is ‘quality time’ with his wife such as going on a date or taking a walk or things that I enjoy doing.

          I am doing my very best to let go of this expectation! To accept this may never happen and look at all the blessings I still have in my marriage.

          1. Hmm….I was wondering if you asked for the two of you to do the things he does when he’s with the guys, if he would enjoy that? Of course, you would need to be enthusiastic about it.

            I feel I must be misunderstanding what you said, and that’s okay!, I don’t have to understand. :^)

            I was just thinking about your comment to me earlier about my being blessed that my husband wanted to spend time with me in our early years, even tho we only did spectator events and his interests….I was wondering if your husband doesn’t ask you to do the guy things with him sometimes because he is sensitive to the fact that they don’t appeal to you. ??

            1. Hi, Julie.

              I would love to able to accompany my husband to his hobbies…. but I cannot…. there are actually strong fumes that occur with his hobby that irritate my allergies badly so that is not an option. I SO very much wish it was. But I appreciate your sweet suggestion.

              1. Oh, that makes sense. I am praying that at some point the two of you find some common interest that excites you both. And in the meantime, God becomes increasingly dearer and dearer to your heart…..xx

      1. A fellow wife I know exactly what you mean on how things changed over the years from constant contact to feeling like I have to ask for the contact. Like I said in my post-that is what is so baffling. But I will remember what everyone has posted here in that maybe in those times of us being together constantly didn’t allow for God to be truly head of my life. In hindsight-obviously I had less time with God because I was spending most of my time with my husband.

  21. I have had success with changing my approach. If I say, “you never talk to me,” a man can feel criticized. So I try to say, “I love it when you talk to me. I love the way it makes me feel all warm inside. And I really love the sound of your voice. ” (and I really do love the sound of his voice!). This approach, coupled with the right timing, has gained me some satisfaction with Conversation Hunger.

  22. I certainly relate to so many comments here. So many ups and downs. I remember hearing a pastor say that a great marriage was two people trying to outgive one another. I thought “wow, I certainly don’t see that happening here” but what hits me the hardest is taking a look at myself in that situation. I realize that I’m not anywhere near there, and it has made me take a look at how I am giving and/or serving him. So I’m looking for those little things that I know will please him such as making brownies (even though I don’t want the extra calories around) because that makes him feel loved, and the more loved he feels, the more he enjoys hanging out with me.

  23. In case you missed it on my Peacefulwife Blog FB page yesterday:

    I’d like for you to picture a woman in your life, ladies, who is controlling, demanding, “always right,” usually angry and generally quite critical of you. Maybe it is your mom, your mother-in-law, your sister, your boss, your co-worker or even a customer at work who is argumentative, contentious and never satisfied no matter how much you bend over backwards to try to please her.

    I am sure we all have at least one such woman in our lives.

    What feelings and thoughts come to your mind when you think of this woman?

    Warm, fuzzy, loving, tender thoughts?

    Or, “Oh no! When do I have to see her again?”

    Do you spend a lot of time thinking about ways you could spend more time with this woman? Or do you prefer to think about how you can avoid her?

    It was a real shock to me when I first realized that the way I felt about some controlling women in my life was exactly how Greg felt about me earlier in our marriage.

    I thought, “I am no where near as difficult and scary as so-and-so!”

    But to Greg, I was even scarier.

    Sometimes, I think if we had to see ourselves on camera, we might better understand why our husbands respond the way they do to us. We may not realize just how angry our faces look, or just how exasperated our tone of voice is a lot of times, or notice how often we sigh in frustration, or how often we argue, complain and get upset.

    It’s easy to assume we are completely justified in being upset when our husbands don’t do everything we want them to do. But, God doesn’t give us a free pass to sin in our hearts, even when we don’t get our way. If I have prideful, self-righteous, judgmental, critical, resentful, bitter, unforgiving thoughts swirling around in my head most of the time – I need to repent and allow God to cleanse me of my destructive sin and ask Him to fill me with His Spirit and His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

    The truth is, if God is in the proper place in my heart, those beautiful things are the things that will always gush out of me – no matter what my husband is or is not doing. My behavior and my thoughts are about my walk with Christ.

    What does your husband see when he looks at you and hears you? Are you friendly, positive, encouraging, genuinely admiring and respectful and peaceful? Are you fun to be around? Or is it painful to be around you?

    These are tough questions. But they are questions we need to ask ourselves every so often. As we allow our hearts to lie totally bare and open before God, He will remove all the sin and nastiness and renew our hearts and minds by His power. Then we can lose our power to destroy our marriages and our husbands and receive God’s power to bless and heal our marriages and breathe life into our husbands’ masculine souls.

  24. April, when I get remarried, I plan on continuing to pursue my wife as if we were dating. I hope that my wife will do the same.

    If both people make a sincere effort to continue “dating” throughout their married life, I believe that they will have a spectacular marriage.

    For some reason, hardly anyone thinks of this. Not sure why. I never thought about it until just recently.

      1. By the way, I talked about this very thing with my girlfriend last night. She agrees that we should keep “dating” each other throughout our married life, and that this will keep our marriage “hot”!

        1. I do this with my husband. If we get up early to go on a trip, I take the time for a little makeup and a cute outfit. I try to mostly do what I’d do if we were dating. He appreciates it. He recently washed the car before we went out because he said that that’s what he’d do if he had a date with a “hot woman”, lol. I don’t care if the car is a little dirty, but I took note of his effort.

  25. My hubby and I are together nearly every single moment. Although our offices are in different buildings, we both work at the same place and commute together. After work and on the weekends we often run our errands together.

    My husband is more dominant and commanding, though. He is always asking me to do something, call someone, look something up for him, etc. Also, he pretty much decides what we do and where we go.

    I don’t feel like I ask for much, or specifically ask to do certain things much. But when I do, I often get turned down. I feel like I am always doing what he wants, but he can’t do one little thing for me. Even on my birthday, it seems like we do what he wants, not what I want.

    I admit that my flesh could be blowing it out of proportion. 🙂 But that’s how I feel at times.

    However, looking back, I believe I have learned to be more flexible. I try to hold my needs and wants loosely. Although some days are better than others and I strive to be more consistent in my attitude.

    1. blesseddaughterofaking,

      It’s great to hear from you! 🙂

      I hope that you are able to share your concerns, feelings, ideas, needs and desires with your husband. I’m sure that can be difficult at times, if you tend to be quiet and he tends to be more dominant. If you want to talk about this a bit more, we can. Although I know that the dynamics are different in your marriage from my marriage. So, maybe some of the wives with more dominant husbands may want to help me out. 🙂

      Are you able to share when you feel sad or frustrated or upset?

      How do you usually approach asking for things?

      What do you do if he says no?

      I think it is important for us to share and express our concerns and needs and desires. But then, when we don’t get our way – we can respond without sin as we walk in the power of God’s Spirit. I am excited that you are holding things loosely except for Christ.

      Praying for wisdom for you, my precious sister!!! Much love!

      1. Thank you, April! I believe this is an area where we both have an opportunity for growth. You are right – I tend to be the quiet one. And if I express that my feelings were hurt in these situations, he tends to take it personally. So perhaps if I could be more consistent with being “peaceful” – then we would see improvements in the way we communicate.

        So maybe it boils down to something you have mentioned in your posts – “Change me, bless my husband!” 🙂

        1. blesseddaughterofaking,

          I have a very close friend who has a similar marriage dynamic personality wise as you do. She has had to work much more at learning to speak up and learning to take a risk and share her feelings – where my focus had to be to learn to filter and edit and cut down on my large volume of words.

          It can be tricky to learn to share our needs and desires and emotions, especially if our husbands seem to be upset when we do. I don’t think that we should stop sharing just because our husbands get upset. There are times when we still do need to share. But I pray that God will give you great sensitivity to His Spirit about exactly when to speak and what to say and how to say it. I”m so thankful His Spirit has wisdom that is infinitely higher than any of ours!

          “Change me, bless my husband” is usually a great place to start. 🙂

          I love you, my sweet friend!

    2. Blesseddaughterofaking,

      I have a child like this. He struggles to see anyone but himself. He likes to be in charge and having other children obeying him. Some people are just born this way. I feel sorry for him being so rigid. I think that “go with the flow” people are happier.

        1. Rigid is a very painful way to be. Because to change at all requires breaking!

          Our Sunday School teacher quotes all the time, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape!”

          And “The greatest ability is flexibility!” 🙂

        2. My child with this personality also becomes very upset when I correct him. Instead of being concerned that he may have been rude to someone (brushing by an adult saying hello or accidentally complaining loudly) he is mainly focused on himself and the correction. It’s really weird. It’s like he is the center of his focus to such an extent that even mentioning how his behavior may be affecting others somehow becomes all about him. I’ve applied some of Aprils principles to him with some success, but I’m confused because he IS to obey ME. He will be a command man when he grows up, but as of now, I’m the command mom. It’s not going well, lol.

          1. Lisa,

            You ARE your son’s authority. My son has a similar response many times. I think that is part of “the foolishness that is bound up in the heart of a child.” And it is why our children need us to share godly wisdom, correction, rebuking, disciplining, love, nurturing, etc…

            As our sons become more grown up, I think we will be transitioning more from dictating to using respect with them as we loosen the reins. I do not begin to claim to have all the answers on exactly how to do this, expect to know that it will take extreme sensitivity to God’s Spirit, an openness to allow my husband to direct the process and sensitivity to each particular child’s needs.

            Much love!!

          2. Lisa: My son was like that during his high school years. To put it bluntly, he was a master manipulator. He knew how to change the topic away from himself and onto you — it was your fault, not his. He knew how to make you feel guilty if you tried to correct him for something he was guilty of.

            The only thing I can say is, don’t let him use your feelings against you, because he will surely try. You will need a tough skin to deal with a kid like that.

            As a disclaimer, I will say that I never did come up with a way to get through to him during that time. But later, I read The Five Love Languages and realized that his love language was Words of Affirmation. I wrote him a very affirming letter, and it really touched him. We get along well now, as adults.

            I would suggest that you read The Five Love Languages for Children. Your answer may be there.

  26. I want to share about a conversation I had with my husband last night in hopes it will help other wives, too.

    I asked him very sweetly if he would please explain his definition of what it meant to him to spend time together. He was reluctant to answer, which makes me sad and shows me what a point of contention this has became in our marriage. I promised him this was not going to be an argument…. he said this question may not be but it could lead into one…. so point 1 is that he is very cautious to even discuss this subject- quality time together- and does not want to go there. This showed me just how big this issue has became between us over the years…. I knew this but it was a very vivid reminder.

    Thankfully, with a soft and gentle approach, he did talk to me about this. (which is BIG progress for us).

    Anyways, he said his definition of spending time together is any time that we are both home and in the same room together. We don’t have to be sitting together. We don’t have to be talking. We don’t have to be touching. Just sitting…. even feet apart.

    He told me he especially enjoyed when I would watch tv with him.

    I pretty much figured this was his definition of time together but it was honestly good to allow him to verbalize it. To understand that he does like time together, in a very different way than I do.

    Does this meet my need for time together? No. Not at all. But it is something I can selflessly give him. I would love if someday he wanted to spend time together the way I enjoy. That may happen and it may never happen. Accepting that is a very healthy step. Not easy but healthy.

    1. Hi, A Fellow Wife.

      There are very positive signs in what you have said.

      First of all, you allowed him to define what “time together” is. He has not felt safe doing that up until now, but last night he felt safe in telling you. What allowed him to feel safe was that you convinced him that you would not in any way argue with what he said, but rather would simply accept it. In other words, you would respect his thoughts, just as you want him to respect your thoughts.

      (Whatever you do, NEVER ARGUE ABOUT THIS TOPIC! You don’t want him to lose his trust in you.)

      Also, if you will now spend time with him in exactly the way he has defined it, I promise you that it won’t be long before he will be wanting to spend time with you in the way you want to spend time.

      If there is any hesitation on his part to spend time with you in your way, it may be that he won’t feel he can trust you to accept what he does with no strings attached. Make sure that you acknowledge any small effort on his part to spend time with you in your way. And never, ever criticize him for not doing it right. He will lose his trust in you if you do that.

      If he discovers that he can actually do something that you want, and that you truly are grateful for what he did, he is very likely to want to do it again.

      Congratulations on the progress!!!!

      1. A Fellow Wife, I agree with Jim, if you continue to do this for him, even though it’s not really your thing, I bet eventually he will want to do something for you. And make that time as loving & pleasant as possible. At least that has been my experience. My husband recognizes when I’m giving and/our sacrificing for him, and he responds in very loving, positive ways. However, I understand that everyone’s journey is different and we must continue even when we don’t get the response we want. I think of April’s post about what if our sole purpose here was to love our husbands….and I think about when she mentioned the sufferings of Job & Paul, etc….. this marriage stuff is definitely refining. Thanks for sharing, sure enjoy all these posts, they give me encouragement every time I’m with my husband.

  27. Daughter,
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Have you read the post, My Demon? That is exactly what you are describing! Wow.

    I love what you have learned. PRAISE GOD that y’all are doing so much better now. It is amazing how when we stop being destructive and sabotaging ourselves and learn to understand our husbands and speak their language, things often do improve.

    I am most excited that you are focusing on Christ first. It is easy to get our priorities messed up and then to make a mess of things.

    You are a blessing!

  28. I smiled when I read how you imagined married life would be April…as I also imagined chatty dates every evening in which we shared and discussed everything, that for me seemed the obvious way to a happy relationship…. I should have remembered the only quote my husband had ever mentioned about marriage was from ” Far from the Madding Crowd”, when the young shepherd Gabriel Oak proposes saying ” And at home by the fire, whenever I look up there you shall be – and whenever I look up, there will be you.” That was his ideal, and I never thought about that, just about my own disappointment

    One of the things that helped me was working out our Myers Briggs types, I’m an ENFP, a people person who loves to encourage others and thrives on praise myself, and I married an INTJ, and analytical introvert with a gift for criticism and detailed work! I do think we compliment each other quite well, but we have, very, very different personalities!

    1. Susannahc61,

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Susannah! What an interesting quote – your husband’s ideal. 🙂 Such a beautiful glimpse into his heart. And I think it can be very helpful to learn what our different personalities are and to focus on appreciating our differences and finding the good things about our husbands that we can appreciate, honor and respect.

      I appreciate your willingness to encourage the other wives so much!

  29. This is a very painful topic for me. So often when my husband and I are having our time, he looks at the internet. So, we might be having a chat and he picks up his phone and starts reading during the conversation. The conversation is not an argument. We are having a nice time. Then all of a sudden he just gets himself distracted and I feel dismissed. Poof! Our time has ended. He has a game on his phone. A fellow gamer will send a message and our time together is quickly over. Last night we were on a walk. We stopped for frozen yogurt. We had planned this walk to be a connection time in advance because we hadn’t been spending time together. While we ate yogurt he started reading his favorite blogs instead of chatting with me. It’s really hard not to get hurt. I feel like I must be so boring and a nothing to him, because he chats with so many other people, but not me. When he’s home with me he’s too tired and just wants to play his game and read his stuff. We’ve fought a lot over this. I don’t fight anymore. I’m reading your blog and the bible instead. I’m keeping my mouth shut, waiting on God…trusting Him. I’ve made an idol of my husband and it is so painful. I feel like I’m nothing right now. I know that isn’t true, but I just ache. I didn’t get married to be alone. Thank you for letting me share. It’s so nice to read this blog of sisters in Christ when the pain is in my face.

    1. pshanksj,
      I can understand why you don’t like this habit!

      Does he do this to other people, too? Is it just an addiction?

      What is his personality? Is he more of an introvert or extrovert?

      What were things like before you got married?

      I definitely don’t think fighting about this will help. Yelling, criticizing, lecturing, demanding… will not draw him to you.

      What happens if you praise him when he does give you the attention you like and if you thank him for listening and spending tim with you?

      I understand the pain in a situation like this. I absolutely do.

      I’d like to invite you to search my home page for these words:

      – idol
      – idolatry
      – fear
      – TV

      Let me know how you are doing and if you need to talk.

      Your comment got sent to spam for some reason – and I just found it last night. My apologies!

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