Being married is a beautiful thing. That being said, it isn’t always easy. You and your spouse aren’t always going to get along, and you’re not always going to understand each other. In heterosexual couples, this can be even more pronounced as women and men don’t always understand each other. Men try hard but let’s be honest ladies, we can be confusing sometimes! Husbands – here are a few ways you’re hurting your wife that you probably don’t even realize.
Dear Husbands: Here Are Ways You’re Hurting Your Wife That You May Not See
Let’s be clear here: Women do things that hurt their husbands, too. This article is not meant to be husband or men-bashing. The purpose is to point out some of the ways you’re hurting your wives that you might not realize are hurting them.
1. Withholding Physical Affection
Physical intimacy is an important part of a marriage. When I say physical intimacy, however, I’m not just talking about sex. Things like holding her hand when you walk down the street, putting your arm around her during a movie, or even holding her hand while driving is important. Hugs and kisses are important, too – ones that don’t have sexual intent behind them but are just there to say “Hey, I love you”. Pay attention to see if you are or aren’t doing those actions – if not, do your best to start. They may feel small, but they mean the world to your wife. (1)
2. Prioritizing Work
Men have been taught by society that they need to be the breadwinner of the family and take care of their family financially. While obviously money is important and being financially unstable is hard on a marriage, spending all of your time working is also damaging. Your wife needs and wants to spend time with you. Make sure you carve out that time every week – a predetermined weekly date night, even if it’s just a movie night at home. If you’ve worked late or had work dinners once or twice already that week, do your best to make sure you get home on time to be with her. (2)
3. Porn Habits
Watching porn occasionally is not the problem here. Be mindful of how much you are doing this and ask yourself why. Studies show that married men who use porn are more likely to get a divorce than those who don’t. Watching porn can even make physical intimacy with your actual partner less enjoyable for you (and, subsequently, them). Be mindful of your habits and what impact they are having on your spouse. If you think you might have even a small problem, seek help. (3)
4. Not Helping Out
If you ask wives what one of their biggest stressors is, it’s that they feel their partner doesn’t help out enough around the house. Unequal division of household chores is something that women have been battling for decades. Of course, they did the lion’s share when women weren’t allowed to work. Now, however, women have careers just as busy as their husbands’. Despite this, they still do more chores on average. Make sure that you, as the husband, are stepping in and helping out equally. Perhaps, even, sit down and have a conversation about how you are dividing the chores and what can be done if one partner falls behind. (4)
Yes, of course, this one goes both ways. Complaining has a negative impact on any kind of relationship, but especially marriage. After all, you live together. Your spouse has to put up with your complaints on a regular basis, and quite frankly, it’s exhausting. Yes, sometimes work is rotten – we all have bad days. While your spouse is there to be your shoulder to lean on, make sure you’re not all-negative all the time. Their sympathy will wear thin – and their capacity to put up with you. (5)
6. Not Communicating Well
This is one of the worst ways you’re hurting your wife. Women are natural communicators. We like to talk about everything and share our feelings. Men, on the other hand, have been taught by society that showing emotion and expressing your feelings isn’t “manly”. Unfortunately, your wife needs and wants that kind of communication from you. She wants to know how you’re feeling and she wants to connect with you on a deeper emotional level. In order to do that, you need to open up a bit. Without this communication, they will feel like they are living with a stranger and your connection will slowly wither away. (6)
7. Acting Childish
Every woman loves it when her man is a little goofy sometimes. It’s fun and allows them to be silly, too. There’s a difference, however, between being goofy and acting like a child. For example, not cleaning up after yourself, not putting in the effort to communicate your feelings with her, and acting childish during disagreements are not acceptable.
Emotional maturity is one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship. This means being able to communicate respectfully during disagreements, always avoiding tough conversations, becoming defensive, and not owning up to your own mistakes. It’s wonderful to have fun and be silly, but when it comes time to make important decisions, take care of the home, and work through arguments, make sure you are acting like an adult. (7)
The Bottom Line
These are seven small ways you’re hurting your wife that you may not even realize you are doing. If you are unsure, talk to her – remember, communication is key. Make sure you go into every conversation with an open mind that is willing to accept constructive criticism. As previously said, these are all things that a wife can be missing, too. If you feel your needs are being unmet, again, talk to her. A marriage without constant feedback on whether each other’s needs are or aren’t being met is a marriage that eventually falls apart.
- “Physical Touch is Healthy.” Everyday Health. E. E. Kane. November 15, 2017.
- “Your Marriage Or Your Job? How To Balance Your Career And Your Relationship.” Forbes. Erika Boissiere. October 24, 2019.
- “Researchers Explore Pornography’s Effect On Long-Term Relationships.” NPR. Shankar Vedantam. October 9, 2017.
- “How to Keep Housework From Hurting Your Marriage.” Very Well Mind. Sheri Stritof. February 4, 2020.
- “Why We Complain in Relationships and How to Stop.” Psych Central. Hilary Lebow. June 23, 2021
- “3 Detrimental Effects of Lack of Communication in Marriage.” Marriage. Mary Fisher. November 5, 2020.
- “How to Recognize and Deal with Emotional Immaturity.” Healthline. Cindy Lamothe. March 30, 2020.