There is one thing every married couple will tell you…marriage is hard. Whether it’s the first few months or year twenty-five, men and woman who are invested in their marriage all know the big and small things that push their buttons and make marriage downright tough at times.
While researching marital problems I was caught off guard by all the articles I found that pointed out the things women could/should do to make their marriage better. Hmmm, I thought, what about men, do they not have a responsibility to work on the marriage also?
Then my mind wondered to how often problems in a marriage are caused by men alone. Out of curiosity I emailed ten married women friends and asked, “What does your husband do that drives you crazy?” And, the responses I received were all things I’ve heard in the past when counseling married couples.
Based on that, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, there are things that are common to men that negatively impact a wife and, as a result, damage the marriage. Maybe men should put some thought into changing these behaviors? What do you think?
Below are 9 Marital Problems That Only Women Face
Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
1. He never attends the kid’s school activities.
Four out of the ten woman I emailed listed this as one of the things their husband never does. My friend Julie said, “On top of that, he couldn’t tell you the names of the children’s teachers and would probably have a hard time telling you the names of their schools.”
This made me wonder if some fathers out there aren’t understanding the value of fatherhood. Especially in this day and age when fathers are more hands on with their children. Are men who don’t make their children’s school activities a priority devaluing their role in their children’s lives or, are they devaluing the importance of those activities?
Whatever the reason, some of these men need a talking to. They need to get their ass in gear and become involved in their child’s school activities. Why? Because they are fathers and that is what fathers should be doing.
2. He is still attached to his mother’s apron strings.
Two friends had this on their list. Amanda said, “I swear, we’ve never taken a family vacation without his mother. If we go out antiquing on a Saturday afternoon we swing by and pick up his mother!”
Jennie shared this story, “We decided to buy our first home. He HAD to have his mother’s input on our buying budget, what neighborhood would be best to buy in and how many bedrooms we should look for. I finally stood back and let him and his mother go house hunting together.”
These guys aren’t still attached to their mother by their apron strings. They’re still attached by the umbilical cord! Can you say, “Mama’s boy?”
These guys are either driven by guilt or had domineering mothers and are afraid of the backlash if they don’t include their mother.
There are men who love their mother and, out of guilt will include their mother where she shouldn’t be included. A good mother will recognize this tendency in her son and not allow it to carry on for a prolonged period of time. Then there are the domineering mothers who feel they should be number one in their son’s lives.
If you are dealing with a domineering mother-in-law and a fearful husband, get thee to a marital therapist!
3. He expects too much of her.
My friend Rose wrote, “He expects me to take time out of my job to take the kids to the doctor, to their school activities, to take care of EVERYTHING concerning the home, the automobile and whatever else may come up in our daily lives. His excuse is, “I make more money than you so you should be the one to lose time from work.”
Ouch! I know how important Rose’s career is to her. She may make less money but that is no reason for her husband to dismiss what is important to her. And, it is certainly no reason to dump more responsibility on Rose!
Rose needs to set boundaries, have an intensive discussion with her husband about who is responsible for what and stop doing it all just because he makes more money.
4. He reneged on how many children they would have.
This one is sad in many ways. Emily and her husband had discussed how many children they would have before marrying. When the time came to talk about child number three her husband shut down the conversation and informed her he was done fathering children.
You can’t force someone to have another child if they don’t want more. Not if you love them anyway. And, it is possible, after becoming a parent to change one’s mind about how many children they want.
Life can look vastly different after marriage and parenthood than it did during the planning stages. This is a situation where Emily is probably going to need to validate his feelings about another child and sacrifice her desire for one more.
I suggest Emily wait and see what happens as time goes by. As the two children, they have now grow, her husband may begin to long for another child also. If not, this is a situation in which Emily is going to have to respect her husband’s desire to have no more children.
5. She wants more sex, he doesn’t.
Connie wrote, “We have sex, on average, twelve times a year. I long for sex at least once a week. Any discussion with him about the difference in our levels of desire turns into him shutting down and telling me “it’s not about me, it’s about him.”
I wouldn’t classify Connie’s marriage as sexless but, it is definitely sex starved…for Connie anyway. I don’t think Connie asking for sex once a week is asking for too much. I also don’t think that Connie’s husband is investing enough concern over the fact that his wife is feeling rejected sexually.
These two need to be in therapy and, Connie’s husband needs to see a Urologist to find out if there is a physical reason for his lack of desire for sex. This is a husband who either has a physical problem or a psychological problem that is interfering with his ability to engage in a normal sex life with his wife. The underlying issue needs to be addressed!
6. He is a slob.
I have very little to say about this. If he is a slob, it’s because he has been allowed to get away with being a slob. If you’re picking up after him, he has no reason to pick up after himself.
I know for many of you neat-freak types, this is a hard one. But how is he supposed to become self-sufficient if you keep doing everything for him? Don’t worry; I have a solution for you! When your husband drops his dirty clothes next to the hamper instead of in the hamper, or at the side of the bed, or on the living room floor, wad them up, stuff them on his side of the closet, and close the closet door. There!
Now you don’t have to look at them anymore! Of course, he won’t notice the giant pile of clothes on the closet floor, but he will notice when he finally runs out of clean stuff to wear. When he asks you where his clothes are, say: “Oh, I only wash clothes that make it into the hamper. Anything that wasn’t in the hamper I figured wasn’t dirty, so I put it back in the closet. On the floor.” This works. I know from experience.
7. He thinks housework is women’s work.
According to my friend, Andre, her husband watches games on the weekend while she cleans house. He plays golf while she uses her Saturdays off work to take the kids for haircuts or to buy new shoes. Refer to #6 for a cure for this problem.
Although it won’t be easy, if the house becomes dirty enough and the kid’s hair becomes too long, when he mentions you slacking on your “women’s work,” tell him, in no uncertain terms, that you’re on strike until he moves his ass and beliefs into the 21st century and starts pulling his weight.
8. He doesn’t share his feelings and thoughts.
I suggested my friend Bromliegh get herself and her husband into therapy. There are many reasons men clam up and refuse to share their feelings and thoughts. Some of which are marriage and relationship killers. That problem is an entirely other article. So, if you’re having this problem, therapy is where you need to be.
9. He is obsessed with sports.
My friend Leah is a true, football, baseball and basketball widow. It’s so bad at her house the only time they take a family vacation is to travel to a sporting event.
Leah’s husband’s involvement in sports is excessive by any measure, and his indifference to her emotional needs is selfish. He needs to understand that his sports fixation makes Leah question his loyalty, and that to rebuild their relationship he needs to limit his involvement. He entitled to watch and play sports, but he can't let them dominate his life to the extent that his wife feels neglected.
They need to come together and honestly express to each other how sports became more important than the relationship and work out a schedule where they are both getting what they need. Leah is going to need to give him time with his sports and television, he is going to have to push back from the television and spend quality time with his wife and children.