He said, "My Wife Doesn’t Value Me"
“One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.”
- Simone de Beauvoir
I was having a heart-to-heart with a friend the other day and it got real. We were discussing marriage as a partnership and how important it is to have both people all in. He wanted a woman's perspective and asked me a really important question that I think comes up in marriages more often than not.
"My wife and I have been married for almost eight years and in that time, I feel like she’s become someone other than the woman I married. She used to be warm, loving, and fun, and now, she barely seems to have time for our family. We have two young children and I feel like I’m doing all the parenting with little to no help or appreciation. All I want is for her to meet me half way with our kids but she’s been unwilling to do any more.
In addition to holding it down as a father, I work out regularly, eat healthy and take care of myself in an effort to keep the spark. Meanwhile, she’s too busy being focused on issues with her own body image that she doesn’t seem to notice. When we do get intimate, I feel like she’s only going through the motions. It’s far from fulfilling. I’ve tried talking to her about it but she only gets defensive. Anything she does to address my concerns only lasts a couple weeks and then it’s back to the same old routine. I’m at my wits end with one foot out the door. What do I do?"
Time can wear on a marriage just like it can on anything else. Over time, we become complacent, comfortable and stop noticing the little nuances about our significant others that made us fall in love in the first place. We become so blinded by our routines, schedules, and need to get things done, that we forget to stop and appreciate the ones we love for their part in making what we do possible.
Communication is key, and keeping that line open is imperative to your ability to thrive as a couple. Beyond that, understanding (for both of you) is what drives your ability to find a solution. It’s possible that she hears what you’re saying but doesn’t really understand the true gravity of your feelings.
1) Counseling, for maintenance, can be one of the most powerful things in one’s arsenal for keeping the relationship on the right track. Think of your relationship as a car and a counselor as your mechanic. You don’t have to go every couple of weeks, but when something goes wrong that you can’t quite fix on your own, it might be time to see a professional. There’s nothing wrong with seeking an unbiased third party to get help conveying your feelings to one another. Oftentimes, people are more open to receiving the opinion of a professional than they are to the ones closest to them. This can help remove the defensiveness you’re seeing from your wife when you try to address issues directly. It will also make her feel like you’re operating on a more level playing field.
Until you can make it to a counselor, or if you don’t feel like you’re ready for therapy just yet, there are things you can do to help bridge the gap.
2) Show her the appreciation that you want her to show you. In situations where you feel unappreciated, the knee-jerk
k reaction is often to just stop doing those things since they’re being taken for granted anyway. Rather than dropping the ball on things that genuinely need to get done, try recognizing the things that she does do to help. Praise her for what she does, say “thank you,” genuinely…in effect, you’re trying to kill her with kindness. It could just lead to the reciprocity that you so crave.
3) If your wife is not completely comfortable in her own skin, as her husband, it’s up to you to make her feel beautiful. If you started the relationship complimenting her, then that is a practice that needs to be maintained. It goes both ways! Physical attraction has so much to do with intimacy and, if she doesn’t feel physically attractive, then she’s not going to want to be intimate. As her mate, it’s YOUR JOB to make sure your woman feels attractive. The better she feels about herself, the better she’ll make you feel in the bedroom.
Of course, these are not quick fixes, but that’s not what marriage is about. It’s an investment, and like any good investment, it grows over time, requires maintenance, and is worth sticking with in the long run.