Be Careful: Your Husband Will Seek Affirmation Somewhere

Photo by Ambro, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo by Ambro, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever noticed how the adulterous woman in the book of Proverbs seduces the unwitting young man? It’s not with sex (okay, it’s not just with sex); it’s with flattery. “She threw her arms around him… and with a brazen look she said, ‘I’ve offered my sacrifices and just finished my vows. It’s you I was looking for!’ …With her flattery she enticed him. He followed her at once(from Proverbs 7).

Flattery is simply a seductive counterfeit for affirmation. As one marriage counselor told me, “Affirmation is everything. When a man is affirmed, he can conquer the world. When he’s not, he is sapped of his confidence and even his feeling of manhood. And believe me, he will, consciously or unconsciously, seek out places where he receives affirmation.”

Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed. If a man knows that his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life. A man tends to think of life as a competition and a battle, and he can energetically fight it out if he can come home to someone who supports him unconditionally, who will wipe his brow and tell him he can do it. As one of our close friends told me, “It’s all about whether my wife thinks I can do it. A husband can slay dragons, climb mountains, and win great victories if he believes his wife believes that he can.”

Don’t tear him down!

If instead of affirming, a wife reinforces her husband’s feelings of inadequacy, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if we focus on our attention on what he is doing wrong in the relationship, we can unwittingly undermine what we most want—for him to do it right.

But I discovered a dismaying fact. Of the men I surveyed, only one man in four felt actively appreciated by his family. And 44 percent of men actually felt unappreciated at home. More pointedly, men in their prime years of responsibility for home, children, and work —men between their ages of thirty-six and fifty-five —felt even less appreciated.

I’ll bet that many of the wives or girlfriends of these men would be surprised to learn that they didn’t feel appreciated. My guess is that most of us do appreciate our men but don’t show it enough.

He’ll seek affirmation somewhere

If a man isn’t convinced that his woman thinks he’s the greatest, he will tend to seek affirmation elsewhere. He may spend more hours at work, where he feels alive and on top of his game, or he may spend too much time talking to the admiring female associate. He may immerse himself in watching or playing sports, feeling the thrill of the competitive rush. Or he may retreat to his workshop or his home office, feeling like he can control things there even if he feels inadequate and clumsy elsewhere.

“Why else do you think,” one man asked me, “so many men take sports so seriously? It’s something they feel good at, something they’ve practiced. They are admired and encouraged by other men on the field. People say ‘good hit?’ or ‘good shot!’ or show by tightening their defense that they know you’re about to smoke them. There’s nothing like that feeling. But I feel that same way at home when my wife applauds me for bringing in a big business deal or brags to her friends about what a good father I am. It’s that same feeling.”

During my clinical research for The Lights of Tenth Street, several experts told me that a chronic lack of affirmation is one reason so many men slip into pornography addiction. For whatever reason, they feel like less than a man, so they seek —and find! —affirmation in pornography. As one man pointed out, “All those women in the men’s magazines convey one message: ‘I want you, and you are the most desirable man in the world.’ My wife may be nagging me at home, the kids may be disobedient, and I may be worried about messing up at work, but look at the woman in that picture makes me feel like a man.”

If affirmation is indeed everything, why should a man have to look for it in other places when he has a wife who loves and respects him? There’s nothing wrong with work, sports, or hobbies —it’s wonderful for him to feel alive and encouraged in those pursuits —but they shouldn’t have to be a retreat from an un-affirming home life.

Create a safety zone

Obviously, if many of our men spend their workdays feeling like they are always being watched and judged, it is no wonder that they want to come home to a totally accepting environment, where they can safely let their guard down. Men need a place where they can make their mistakes in peace and not constantly worry that they are one misstep away from being exposed.

If we don’t realize this and are perhaps too attentive to their mistakes at home, we risk creating a situation that is the opposite of what we want. Most of us want our men to be able to relax and truly open up to us. But in many ways, it is up to us to create the intimate, safe environment that makes that possible.

We may think that the adage, “his home must be his haven” is antiquated and unnecessary these days, but that is far from the truth. In fact, as the workplace has gotten harsher and less loyal, more demanding and less tolerant of mistakes, I’d say it’s even more important that a man’s home be a haven. Most of the men I talked with crave a retreat from the daily pressure of always having to perform.

The gift of confidence

I heard from many men, “Men put a lot of pressure on themselves.” On the survey, one husband pleaded, “I want my wife to know and understand my weaknesses, failings, short-comings, and still want me. I need her to be my number one source of encouragement to become the man God created me to be.”

We might think we wouldn’t have the ability to change our man’s feelings of workplace inadequacy, but we would be wrong. By staunchly supporting our men, showing that we believe in them, and providing an emotionally safe environment to come home to, we can help give them at least the emotional confidence they need to dive back into the daily workplace fray.

In his autobiography, Jack: Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch, the famous chairman and CEO of General Electric, provides an insight for businessmen that is important for every wife —and mother —to hear. Speaking about his mother, he wrote:

Perhaps the greatest single gift she gave me was self-confidence. It’s what I’ve looked for and tried to build in every executive who has every worked with me. Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach. It lets you take greater risks and achieve far more than you ever thought possible. Building self-confidence in others is a huge part of leadership. It comes from providing opportunities and challenges for people to do things they never imagined they could do —rewarding them after each success in every way possible.

A wife can give her husband that confidence (just as, hopefully, a husband can for his wife). It’s not about being the supportive “little woman.” It’s about realizing that despite their veneer of confidence, our husbands really do “carry their treasures in fragile containers,” and they crave our affirmation for how they did on that play. It’s about sending the man we love into the world every day —alive with the belief that he can slay dragons.


The above article comes from the book For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men -by Shaunti Feldhahn, published by Multnomah. This is a GREAT book to help women learn about what motivates men and their thought processes behind their actions (or non-actions). Shaunti had interviewed over 1000 men in researching this book. As a result she found that she didn’t know the mind of her husband and others like she thought she did. So what she does in this book is reveal the findings her research brought out so that other women can better understand the men in their lives which will help them to better interact with them.

— ALSO —

There is also available: For Women Only Discussion Guide: A Companion to the Bestseller about the Inner Lives of Men, written by Shaunti Feldhahn along with Lisa Rice, which is published by Multnomah. It’s designed to be used in small groups, or even for having a one-on-one dialogue with the man of your life. Many women, after reading the For Women Only book may wonder, “So what do I do with the information I’ve just been given?” This discussion guide is designed to answer that question. It contains personal stories, questions, and situational case studies to help equip you to apply the truths you learn in your own life.

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Comments

151 responses to “Be Careful: Your Husband Will Seek Affirmation Somewhere

  1. Ah, the lovely legacy feminism has left for women. Nobody wants to say it but if she didn’t have a fancy career she would probably have had everything she wanted by now. The truth is, when the woman makes more money there is a significantly increased chance the marriage or relationship will end. The more women move up in the economy, the more unhappy they become. Experts here in the states are baffled that women supposedly “have it all” yet from every angle their happiness has been declining over the last 40 years relative to men’s.

    I don’t work. I’ve never had a career. I’m one of those “deadbeat” housewives out there that “doesn’t do anything” (or at least that’s how modern society has come to view those like me thanks to feminism the truth is I do a lot). This story really made me want to cry but I know there are millions of other women just like her out there. I think hopefully my generation is slowly catching on that the feminist movement has been bad for us.

    1. Actually, I think this comment and this article are both crocks. It comes down to the spouse’s character, not whether their partner is affirming them enough. You can affirm some people til the cows come home and it would still bode a bad future foe the wife.

      Example- a dear friend of mine: beautiful, raised three well-adjusted, well-raised Christian kids on her own while her husband worked. They had a seemingly healthy marriage. Did have some spats but nothing major. He was treated like a king. She didn’t work because his job took him all over the world and she needed to stay home with the family. Whenever his job had them move, she dutifully took care of the logistics and followed him everywhere. She had stopped working as a nurse when she had their first child and his career took them overseas and has not worked since (about 17 years).

      Today she is divorcing him because he decided he liked his assistants attention better.

      Point is- you can be the best spouse and it wouldn’t matter. If your husband has a bad character where he feels entitled to affirmations, and abuses his wife’s trust, the marriage breaks up. I truly dislike these kinds of articles. They imply that a person who cannot be self confident on their own need to find it elsewhere. And when they don’t, it gives them free reign to behave Dishonourably. What if he feels unaffirmed because actually made a huge mistake? Maybe accountability is the solution?

      1. The Prodigal Son’s brother did all the right things for his father and stayed very close to his dad through proximity but was very far from his father relationally. A wife can be a “good wife” on the outside but her heart can be far from her husband’s heart in the inside. Going to church faithfully doesn’t make you more of a Christian than visiting an auto shop regularly make you a car. People can mask their intent by their actions but their heart will be discovered through their ultimate actions.

        If she initiated divorce then she’s following her heart, which may have always been like it is now. Judas Iscariot never had much concern about Jesus but only what Jesus could do for him. Jeremiah 17:9 talks about the heart. The world tells women to follow their heart.

        1. Sparrow, I respectfully disagree about “following the heart.” Yes, sometimes it can lead you in a good way, but other times it can be deceiving. Our heart can cause us to be attracted to someone who is wrong for us… but because of the feelings we have for this person, we go with them anyway. I’ve seen women and men follow their hearts into abusive, and horrible relationships because the dysfunctional, harmful ways of this other person didn’t come out until later. I’ve also seen children abandoned by their moms and dads because that parent decided to “follow their heart” and do what they thought was best. Meanwhile, the children are devastated… and affected for the rest of their lives… not to mention what this does to the other abandoned spouse who was promised a lifetime of devotion.

          The Bible tells us to guard our hearts… it is the “wellspring of life.” “There is a way that seems right to a man (or woman) but its end leads to death.” We need to engage our hearts because love is a matter of the heart (and of the mind and soul), but we need to be “on the alert” as to where we allow it to take us.

        2. The Bible says a man is responsible for providing food clothing and intimacy; if he doesn’t she is free to leave. This is an abusive response and very judgmental. Women are supposed to rely on a man. The blame game always seems to be on a woman’s role these days from Christians. It’s so not true. Biblically the man is to be strong enough to be the head like Christ imagine if Jesus the head starts to change his mind about presenting us to the father without spot or wrinkle and blames us cause we don’t make him feel good. Please.

          I say this as a man has a responsibility and it seems more and more we allow him to abandon it and it’s ok blame the wife. A wife is not to blame he has a free will. The world doesn’t influence Christian women the church does. I am amazed though how this article was addressed to the woman being the problem. Sarah told Abraham to sleep with Hagar. A while later hager mocked Sarah and Sarah got upset and told Abraham to get rid of her. The word says Abraham went to God and complained about Sarah God rebuked him and told him to go submit to Sarah. In the New Testament we are told we are Sarah’s daughters if we serve our husbands without fear. That means we have to speak up sometimes and the man may not like it but if we are one he must be a man about it even God himself doesn’t stand judge between us as couples. So why does the church. The church should stand back and give the same advice to men go home and fix it stop winging and looking else where to feel better there is no better than your wife respect her.

      2. So, Cat, where did our self-confidence come from? Someone, somewhere in your past, probably at a very young age, made a point to build your self-esteem and self-confidence and the result is the proud, mature, all-together woman you are today. Seems you are not reluctant to take all the credit for this good outcome.

      3. I agree. I believe this is a Christian forum and even as it relates to marriage we should strive to be Christ like and work on putting the proclivities of the flesh to rest. We have to do better.

      4. Ah, we are so quick to judge…But I disagree with the premise of this article. I do not accept that I should affirm my husband INTO good behavior, emotional maturity and faithfulness. I will affirm him for displaying those things. We are in a generation of men anong who there is rampant selfishness and emotional immaturity, disguised as “how men are” (men don’t talk about feelings, or have feelings, or self confidence, and are all macho and locked up). They are sorely lacking in positive role models, and I’ve seen many women who are just married to adult sized babies who are threatened by their own wives intelligence or people skills, or _____ even if the wife does not work. These aren’t women who are bashing their men…. They are women who eventually tire of raising their husbands alongside their children and living without the active and emotional support they have given. Really? Affirm **those** husbands?

        When and where are these husbands being challenged and motivates to just plain grow up? When some of those couples divorce, these women have to restart a career put on hold in favor of their husbands, while continuing to do the lion’s share of family care, shop for Christmas & birthday presents, choose summer camps & put together easter baskets whike the men live like bachelors and babysitters. I’m all for affirming good behavior, but affirming your husband into it, or to prevent him from straying is ludicrous. If he has a straying eye, let’s have a high enough expectation of him as an adult to share with his wife what he isn’t getting from her. Perhaps there’s a reason why? Maybe they both need to get on a better page… To insinuate that she’s responsible for his poor response (straying) to her weak affirmation is only a little better than blaming a woman’s rape on how she was dressed…not an utter moral failure of the man. Time for everyone to grow up.

      5. Cat from Canada, Right on! I could not agree with you more. In fact, YOU should write these articles. Once again, according to this article, it boils down to the woman’s actions or inactions that lead husbands to stray. Affirmation. It’s something we ALL need, men and women equally. What’s wrong with talking openly with your spouse as in, “hey, lately I feel like you don’t appreciate or respect me. Can we talk?” Too many people, my husband included, seek attention and praise from outside of the marriage. You know, from women who are dressed up for work, not nagging and seemingly interested in every word (much different from home!).

        But it’s life. Most of the time it’s hard, not glamorous full of things to do and stressful. What a bunch of BS to imply that men need their ego stroked ALL THE TIME because that’s just who they are. And us women, well, we’re too busy making sure we stay quiet and obedient and that our boobs and butts don’t sag all while we play housekeeper. To my husband: I’m sorry your character is lacking and you are no longer confident in the life we have worked so hard to build together. The girls and I will be fine you jerk.

      6. Bam! Cat from Canada NAILED It! A man is a man when he acts like it, otherwise, he’s just a boy. A man shouldn’t seek affirmation outside of his marriage, and a wife shouldn’t nag. But a wife should be able to say when she is unhappy, and a husband and wife need to be able to work together to make the marriage work. It is a collaborative effort. MOST divorces occur not with first the revelation of cheating, but the finances. A financially insecure man is more insecure with himself. If he’s not willing to take responsibility for his family, and make his job the means and not the end, the marriage will likely survive.

        TOO OFTEN what is happening (and this is the reason this middle-aged woman never married–NOT because of my career, but because I can’t find a man who wants to be a stand up guy), that men use their careers to further their self-esteem. THIS IS SOOO DANGEROUS, because then the family is competing with the husband and father for his dedication. He will make excuses until the cows come home, leave home, and come back again, but ultimately, if he says it’s his job that’s ruling their family situation, he is: a.) not being honest with himself and/or b.) he’s not being honest with his family. THE FAMILY HAS TO COME FIRST.

        This is what marriage IS SUPPOSED TO BE: A man cleaves to his wife as if she is his own flesh, not someone merely he comes home to when he’s around, and the woman must cleave to her husband as if he is her flesh. By the way, feminism has destroyed manlihood, and keeps them as boys. It’s not that there are woman who have to work to survive, but women who put the cart before the horse and don’t demand that men be men before and after marriage. They sleep together, live together, etc. before marriage, and they will even contracept and abort their children, if “necessary”. They borrow money like there’s no tomorrow, and they spend it in the same vein. So, ok. I’ll be constructive: If we’re Christ-fearing in a holy way, where we truly love the Lord and want to please him, let’s be honest with ourselves about our own responsibilities, and about the nature of marriage as God intended.

    2. Firstly I want to say to Cat from Canada that it wouldn’t hurt to be a bit more open-minded. This article wasn’t written to be a “one size fits all” message, but seeks to shed some light on what may be going on in certain relationships and how we can get a better understanding of what our partners may be going through as understanding begets empathy. One tragic story is not proof that this article is a crock as you put it. There are more people in this world than you can imagine and each and everyone of them are different in their own way. You can’t make a generalization that large as to say what will/won’t work for others just because of the experience of one.

  2. It’s our job to take care of home, affirmation of our husband is just part of taking care of home! A man’s work is sun to sun, a woman’s work is never done!!!

    1. It’s not wise to make an article for loving wives to read that suggest it is the woman’s fault that her un affirmed husband runs to porn, etc. I understand you want her to understand the temptations he faces when he feels less than adequate but he is facing TEMPTATION. Spiritually it is the same temptation a woman faces to “tear him down” That is all. If he runs to “other” sources of significance (idols) instead of to God he is in spiritual rebellion against the lord and his wife. IT IS NOT HER FAULT. It is HIS responsibility to submit to God’s authority wnen he isn’t getting what he”needs”from his wife. Scripture makes it clear no man can fill the space of significance in our hearts, not our wives or husbands can do that for us. Maybe instruct with out blaming his failure to do the right thing on his wifes inadequacies?

      1. That was the truth. I agree whole heartedly. As a woman I’ve never been a submissive type by nature in fact the opposite. But the Bible says for women to submit and be in reverence of our husbands, meaning viewing our men with awe and respect. It’s extremely hard to do for me personally esspecially when we tend to feel like we’re competing against a ton of things to even keep him happy therefore home.

        I do believe most men today as well as us women need some serious heart healing. And the confidence on both parties will come when it flows out of a healed whole person. I believe the only way at this point is to follow Jesus and ask Jesus every second what to do. Seriously. Before we even speak if we’re feeling any negative feelings we should ask God for understanding and what to say and do. Then the Holy Spirit can do some work on our husbands for us and they won’t resent us or run but actually be healed through our relationship with Jesus. It takes some real discipline.

        But every man is broken because of sin and so are we women. We’re all just acting and reacting. We need to become whole and our relationships will naturally prosper. It’s not a matter of fake it till you make it force yourself to do What’s necessary. It’s don’t judge. Ask God for guidance in all things including our emotions and heal eachother. Our men need God. And so do we.

  3. We spend so much time affirming that we get tired and it becomes unrealistic. I can say that my husband is everything to me and the thought of him not being around scares the living day light out of me. But this is me being insecure and deep down I know that it is through male psychological dominance that I’m feeling this way. I should respect and be a good house wife with all the shirts washed and ironed.

    On the other hand we are threatened by feminism even by our husbands and the wives at home including myself, are made to feel guilty. In addition, we have to receive the stress that the husband brings home from work whilst our baby brains shrivel up even more and gradually it us us who feel hopeless, so we can’t win? And the saying Ladies of Leisure, tugs at my hair! I would love to hand 20 pooey nappies to any working person and smile whilst they run a mile.

    Affirmation should work both ways and it is not only about building confidence in the man but also receiving it back and every once in a while hear that we too are doing a good job, not told that we have it easy and aren’t paying the bills.

    We have it hard enough and a relationship works two ways. Affirming a man who can’t see past his own tail, is living a dishonest fairy tale. If my husband is stressed from work and moans about the house having a crumb on the floor, I will tell him that he should get the hoover out. I am in no way going to turn around and say, yes sweetheart you are right, I am your slave and you are a wonderful king. In the end you will praise and praise and they will only recall the bad things about you in return and all your efforts are unnoticed. Finding something good to say in both is good but placing a heavy weight on one side of the seesaw is only asking for trouble. Accepting each persons flaws forms a healthy relationship, masking them builds one huge house on sand. So yes, I guess we can keep all our feelings in a glass bottle but one day it will break.

    1. Just a question. Does your affirmation, you know telling him everyday how much you care, match the actions that you have towards him? I am a husband who is battling multiple problems related to the service. I have become increasingly agitated and authorative in my marriage. I hear how much I am wanted everyday, but I do not feel it. I recently surprised my spouse with a night away. Top notch hotel, beautiful new dress and accessories, and a rose petal filled room and bed upon our return. I was thanked with a meltdown at the beginning and a lonely end at bedtime.

      I attribute my change to finally asserting my opinion and making myself heard. I want to be heard and listened to as much as I do in return. I do not want a doormat nor do I want a criticizer. This is not about feminism or male dominance. I just want to be listened to.

      Your reply lies heavily on a man being the problem and I believe my wife would write the same. What are your thoughts about this side of the conversation and what is a husband to do in this case? Are we just supposed to believe the words and ignore the actions? ~Stephen

      1. A woman does not respond to authoritative agitated men, believe me. It always surprises me when men are shocked when their wife lashes out. We’re expected to always be chilled out. If we display anger or agitation we just get a calm down dear! Then we’re treated like we don’t have a range of emotions.

        Your wife can sense these weekends away, which is code for how I want to get sex off you. A vast majority of women don’t just lie back and take it. They just clam up and make an exit. If women were respected as sexual beings that had strong desires, life would be different.

      2. While your idea of a lovely night is nice maybe it was not thought out all the way through and she knows it, making her feel as if she’s invisible and that you’re just out for what’s important to you, when her feelings should be considered also.
        Have you ever asked her what she would like to do? Just give her the reins? Say, “I’d like to do something nice and fun with you that YOU want to do” for a change… and MEAN IT and then DO THAT THING.

        If you can build on that and REALLY hear her maybe your whole relationship would turn around.

        She could be angry at you for a whole laundry list of things, but still love you. If she hasn’t tried to coax you in any other way and just walled herself off that’s another story altogether, she may have “check out”.

        This article is awful. I’m so tired of women being dumped on for not being “nurturing” enough when it is mostly women who are nurturers (not all, just a large portion of women).

        Some people are pathological narcissists and don’t know how to have anything beyond a surface relationship. They seem wonderful on the outside, appear very generous but get to know them and they are typically siphoning off time and energy away from where it belongs with spouse, children, family, on a regular basis, instead choosing to spend their efforts on superficial relationships because they get to wear the “good guy/good girl” face and they won’t be getting a steady stream of sunshine blown up their tails with truly intimate relationships.

        1. This is an incredible place here where so many perspectives are being heard and shown for sure. I’m realizing the answer is almost never “do”. It’s usually stop. Listen. Pray. Slow to speak quick to listen. A lot of men seem to my experience, to be very distant, distracted and far away. But that doesn’t mean women need to do more. Maybe a back run and ask him how he is. You’re real proud of him but you’re sure he has alot of pressure on his shoulders.

          We ALL need to hear we’re doing a good job. Praying really helps. You cannot give any man everything he needs. Not can he give you everything we need. Only God can do that. We can’t even pour love and affirmations on our husband if our tanks are empty. Who’s filling our tank up? God can. And we should all get to know God more. When we do that We actually start naturally pouring love and affirmations on everyone around us not just our husbands and everyone starts prospering. Anytime you feel lonely go to God. Any time you need some attention or feel misunderstood go to God. In prayer. He’ll take care of you him and everything.

  4. I guess I’m a little bothered by the lack of solid theology in this article. To want affirmation and encouragement is human and so is wanting to be genuinely honored and respected when we are doing a good job. But when we don’t get it and we sin in response, then we’ve made that desire into a demand. Anything that causes us to be willing to sin when our desires aren’t met is an IDOL. This article somewhat normalizes sin and comes close to making it sound as if it’s not an adult choice to do so and as if men are not responsible to examine their hearts and police their own motives, as any Christian is. Men don’t stray because they aren’t getting affirmation. They stray because they’ve made their wives’ responses their source of worth and identity.

    I would be the first to admit how hard it is to put down the flesh (the part of us that rises up and says we are entitled to something and if we aren’t getting it, we are justified in doing whatever in response). I’ve poured affirmation into my husband. When he wants or needs something, I go gang busters to help him get it. I usually have supper on the table when he gets home I’m often able to spot when something is bugging him and through prayer, get an idea of how to help him. I have areas of lax discipline as well where there is a need for improvement and lately I’ve become a bit shrill and bitter towards him so I am not perfect. Yet there’s little in the way of encouragement from him. He has been verbally abusive, irresponsible, selfishly one sided and disloyal when it comes to standing with me when someone else is treating me badly. Yet I have not withheld affirmation and encouragement from him for the entire decade we’ve been married. No matter how much I do, he sees only the negative. It’s really, really frustrating to live with someone who only sees obstacles, barriers, negatives and impossibilities and since this is an anonymous post, I will tell you that quite honestly I’ve struggled lately with being fed up with him, sick of constant miserly and critical attitude. He’s a glass half empty kind of fellow. I can do 8 out of ten things well or right and he sees only the two not done right. He has an amazing ability to turn a positive into a negative.. Its as if he delights in taking away every bit of joy in every little thing and negating my contributions. He refuses to examine his own life and be honest with himself about what is particular issues and their roots are. There is very little reward in being his wife and plenty of discouraging, crazy making frustration. It’s hard to live with someone who worships his own proud image of himself and is not interested in seeing anything else. So should there be a commensurate article that says “Be careful men, if you don’t value and encourage your wife, she will eventually kick your sorry hiny to the curb”? That does actually happen so does that mean we should orient our responses around fear of what our husbands or wives might do? No, I don’t think so. That idea just promotes fear based idolatry even more. Idolatry is already the problem, promoting it won’t fix it. Much idolatry in marriage has to do with getting married and then attempting to turn marriage into the nurturing and secure caretaking we didn’t get. There’s that need turned entitled demand thing again. This is why some folks get married and immediately sag to the floor and become helpless sandbags, looking to their partners to provide these things for them and then falling apart when the spouse can’t or won’t. When we aren’t granted our idol, a defiling root of bitterness sets in. Been there. Am there but aware of it.

    Here’s what I think is a wiser and more scriptural alternative. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Seek to worship Jesus first in all that You do and make having a good connection with Him Your most important and fulfilling priority. I’m not suggesting that Christ being first means we don’t have problems or that marriage can’t disappoint. But it can mean that we have peace in the midst of a storm and that our fulfillment isn’t resting on another person’s performance. This actually frees us to accept that we’ve married a sinner full of weaknesses and flaws and to love based on Christ instead of performance. It also frees us to have the moral authority to confront when it is bibilcally needful, such as in cases of abuse that are ongoing. If you’ve become dependent on something you dare not rock the boat. I think the church is elevating marriage to a place that is near idolatry of marriage. The success of life doesn’t rest on solid marriages. It rests on solid commitment to Christ and all the rest of it follows after that. No matter how legitimate some of the things we want from our spouses are or how biblical they are, the fact remains that God designed marriage as an opportunity for serving and giving to another person, for becoming Christlike and holy. Approach marriage with an eye to seeking to be happy and it short circuits. In fact I’ve heard a rumour that He will purposely sabotage our idols until we are seeking Him as the well spring of our lives and hearts. It’s a rotten trick, I know, but He’s gone and designed the whole universe so that it only really works and hums when the focus is on seeking Him as the Supreme love object, and self giving without thought of anything in return. The real ironic rub is that when we do this, those things we were panting after come around on their own. But turn and pursue them and they flee like frightened deer who decline to be corralled. Woe to the person who successfully manages to corral his or her idol. Like the manna that the Israelites were told not to hoard, it changes form into something repugnant and nasty when we do so. From my human perspective I’m tempted to exclaim, what a dirty trick! But I know that the universe was designed around Him and not me and that there’s perfect, glorious wisdom in this.

    RE Andy: Andy I’m sorry that you have suffered being flamed for attempting to say that men juggle too. I don’t know if you’re a single dad or married. But I do know of men who have “sandbag” wives who aren’t doing their jobs for various reasons, and so these guys come home from a long day at a physical job, and push a vacuum and don an apron and lift dripping children out of bathtubs to help make their homes run smoothly. Then they go out and mow the lawn or change the spark plugs in the car or fix the shingles on the roof that blew off in the last windstorm. No one has an exclusive corner on righteousness and no one is without sin.

    I know at least two men whose wives are in a wheelchair and so these guys do their own jobs and also shoulder the lion’s share of what would usually be her duties. It’s true that there are a lot of guys who whine and complain and make out like they do it all when really they just attend to their own corner of the world. But it’s not always that way. Folks having the blind mentality of a teenager who has no clue what it takes to put food on the table or run a household are not new and are not restricted to one gender.

    1. Well said! This is by far the most realistic and balanced view. Yes, the answer is in first seeking God –to build, heal and restore every part of our being (Mind/Soul/Spirit) and not in attempting to look to our spouse to complete us. This will never happen for they are just as imperfect.

      In close intimacy with God, everything on this earth just pars into insignificance –one becomes more forgiving, gracious and loving. To Respond or To React –the choices just become easier. In Christ-likeness, there is a palpable sense of Holy reverence that even our spouse can feel –surely respect, honor, protection and wisdom comes from Him.

    2. What this article provides is unadulterated fundamentals. What you guys discuss is tainted experiences. Stick to the fundamentals but don’t be a fool is what I’ll say.

      It’s like at work, we offer people openness, and chances, we show trust and we provide backup support. When all fails, it’s a bad apple. We do not look at bad apples outside our work and start by looking at our close staff members as bad apples. That is a lost game, already.

    3. Hello: I’ve read the main article for the first time. As a married man the issues spoke about. Inside this really hit home for me. I then scrolled down many replies. But for what ever reason I stopped at yours. I found myself reading through your thoughts. Then encountered that wall which is built around you.

      In my daily life that wall was built right in front of me by my wife. I couldn’t read any more, I’m sorry. One point that you made regarding your relationship with God, has me replying to you.. I have been reading a book from John Eldridge,
      “Wild at Heart,” a must read for all men, religious or not, they must read it. My point is perhaps the time should be taken to read the book noted for women in this article. It may help you out..

      A quote if you don’t mind…”THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN LIFE IS DISCOVERING WHO YOU ARE. THE SECOND GREATEST IS BEING HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU FIND”

      Please take care of yourself and good luck John…

  5. Well Jen and other people, I was abandoned completely by humans from maternity and with many years with many people. I never was loved by any woman. For contrary I was always used for revenge and dirty sentiments inter humans and cry again and again and again and again disappointed. I wish all that time to be loved and offer my love to a woman but it never happened. So I realize again one fact, curiously, I do not hate humans for contrary I discovered they are like flowers, very sensible, very jealous, depending from many things like climate change, atmospheric pressure, chemicals from aliments, negative and positive bio-energies, if they have opportunity of good education or have bad education, if they are involved in hate and revenge and many material ideas collected from this Social System where this System teach people from childhood most concurrence material life who represent for to many people from this planet, just material way but, no sentiments.

    Even from little child I was marginalized and many ugly things were done to me, from many others. But even when I was tortured many times I have never had complexes and wish to be loved and feel a woman to wish from me my love and my protection. Of course, that never happened. I do not know why. I came on this world of God where I feel others around me and give each other affection or true love and from when I realize an existing relationship like that each others I tell my self, I am not from this World God and I always was grey and nonexistent. So, curiously, even in pains to feel always abandoned, I discovered an single sense of Life, Love, but not any kind of imagination just True Love when man and woman construct this, they will never die.

    Any way, a life for people may not be a material life but an opportunity to construct and give each other man and woman True Love what I do not feel from anybody. I want mean with this, is curious when an orphan man feel other in love or each other receive affection why they can’t construct True Love when they have just one opportunity and contrary, transform that opportunity in negative way? What’s happened with Humanity and with the World of God?

  6. I just wonder how you are supposed to affirm if your husband is always to tired, always working, and always puts the kids first. What happened to meeting each other half way?

    1. That’s a tough one. I’d even say I’ve had the same struggle. The only answer I have is prayer. But sometimes you just have to come out with it. He may really not know how to love and be intimate. Intimacy (into me). I’ve experienced that with my husband. But I had to fight just a little. A little bit of connect time every night goes a long way. Everyone deserves that. Maybe find a show you can watch together if it’s hard to know what the relationship is really missing or why we’re all acting the way we are.

      We like Marriage Today on CTN. Or I share stories of my life and how I feel about things during that or what I experienced today and sometimes they’ll open up also. Its not always affirmations they need. Its someone truley knowing their soul and thinking they’re awesome anyways. Its being best friends. Not just performance. Turns out my husband always clammed up because he had some real inner struggles going on inside and was feeling shameful and was afraid of seeming less manly in front of me or afraid I’d lose respect for him. So he kept a wall up. Shoot for transparency and a safe zone to share and be human together. Pray pray pray! The movie War Room really inspired me and I’ve seen so many answered prayers. God is for you. And wants you to have life abundantly. Ask him for help in all things. Even to soften and open your husbands heart to you and yours to him.

  7. If they feel their containers are too fragile, maybe they should see a psychologist… Or get a less stressful job and take a pay cut.

  8. My hubby is not communicating with me, and doesn’t trust me. We have many misunderstandings; he is not ready to talk it over, not ready to give our relationship another chance.

  9. This article is complete nonsense. Women deserve as much affirmation and respect in their personal lives as men do. Men need to put in the time and attention to their wives and marriages to make it work as much as she does. IT IS NOT HER FAULT if he decides his vows aren’t worth the effort and looks elsewhere for temporary pleasure and ego boosts. That is not a mature married man.

    1. Marm, You’re missing the point of the article. Of course, women deserve “as much affirmation and respect in their personal live as men do.” But this article is not addressing men. There are other articles posted on this web site, which address men on this issue of building up their wives. Also, you’re right that men “need to put time and attention into their wives and marriages to make it work as much as she does.” Again, that isn’t the point of this article –that point is also addressed in other articles.

      The point is that if a wife is continually withdrawing affirmation and is continually critical, etc… of her man, then he isn’t going to be as fast to want to spend time with her. One of the things that attracted him to her was her affirmation and such.

      We ALL need affirmation. Yes, the “mature married man” would not look for “ego boosts” where he shouldn’t. Just as a person who is exceedingly hungry shouldn’t look for food where he shouldn’t –especially “forbidden fruits.” But the reality is that it happens. This is just a warning to women to realize that it’s important not to keep withdrawing affirmation from her husband –to try to find at least SOME ways to build him up so he wants to spend more time with her. It’s not good to keep a husband (or a wife) starving for affection and affirmation. Sadly, many times there are others who will step in and give it, which then brings temptation to this starving man (or woman). The author, Shaunti Feldham is not justifying cheating, she’s just giving wives a “heads up” as to an important thing to do that we sometimes forget.

    2. A marriage is a partnership… a husband should affirm his wife and support her too. If a man is unhappy and feels he’s not getting enough attention, then he should pour attention on his wife so that she can reciprocate… act inwardly towards the marriage rather than looking outside. And if he or she cheats, then that choice and responsibility is 100% his or her fault respectively. Both husbands and wives may contribute to the dissatisfaction in a marriage, but cheating is a selfish and damaging act which is a selfish choice. One can suggest marriage counseling, serve divorce papers if so miserable, but neither spouse should feel entitled to cheat. Marriages cannot be expected to be “perfect”, but it’s both of their responsibilities to speak up about their needs and not passive-aggressively harbor resentment. Act to mend, and if it’s so awful, then get divorced before cheating.

  10. After my husband’s mother died, there was not enough affirmation that could come from me to make up for her loss. Instead my husband turned to having emotional affairs on the internet with older women to validate some part of himself, I couldn’t.

    The last straw in our marriage came when he wanted us to sleep on his mother’s bedframe, which he had inherited from her house. I just couldn’t bring myself to sleep on the frame that she had wasted away on before her death in the hospital from cancer. So, as a result my husband filed for divorce. In the end I think I’ll be better for it. I fear he will never be validated enough by a single woman now that the primary force in his life is gone.

  11. Listen to this now will you. As if men are the only ones who are sexually tempted by others while married. Women are the worst perpetrators of this offense. All those men they are ‘friends’ with. They aren’t just ‘friends’. Please, do us all a favor and quit trying to play like you’re all angels.

  12. So, Here I am 56 years old and in 27 years I have cooked, cleaned, prepped meals for the family when I leave for a week. I travel for business. I do 95% of the cooking all hot and ready when they come home. I do the groceries, tend to the outdoors. Shuttle the kids now in their 20’s around… Offer and do planned romantic nights get always, try to reinforce positive emotional deposits, back rubs.

    All I get is I don’t do public displays of affection, you don’t say thank you for things that are expected… I’m a camel so no need for sex. Perky, get some else. How do you cope with this environment when there is nothing to build on?

    1. God can And will restore all things. Sounds like he feels empty on the inside and has nothing to give. Pray for him. Go to church together.

  13. I think this is something both parties need to be a part of –not just the wife for the husband, but also the husband for the wife. Support is key to all relationships, especially those closest to us.

    There is also the matter of personal accountability. Not receiving enough affirmations does NOT excuse poor behavior. When we reach our tipping point, we all react a little differently. Some yell, some cuss, some throw things, others shut down, or make passive aggressive comments. We all have a tipping point –fact. Life is full of stresses that push us closer to that point –fact. It’s our responsibility to provide positive self-care to get away from those tipping points –fact.

    Self care needs to be a balance of relational, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health. This responsibility is your own, not your spouse’s. Affirmation is part of a healthy relationship. Self care is part of a healthy life.

  14. What a crock! If he decides to go seek affirmation elsewhere, then eventually that “elsewhere” will also tire of stroking his ego. Who wants a man whose internal conversation is constantly telling him he needs someone else’s approval to reinforce his self-worth. I refuse.

    1. I agree with Kate. Right to the point, Kate. Each of us has to find drive, ambition and social life of our own and BRING it to our spouses. Yes, we have to be affirmed. Some men require so much attention, and give so little in return, there is nothing left of us.

  15. This is so very true. Us men, are tough on the outside but can be fragile on the inside. We keep a hard heart to the rest of the world: work, associates, etc. that when we come home we hope it’s a safe haven. We hope that we can relax and be accepted for who we are, faults and all.

    The only times I’ve ever looked at another woman besides my wife in a certain way was when my wife was giving me hassles at home. And not the usual argument, because everyone argues once in a while. But in those instances where my wife belittles me or makes me feel less of a man. In those situations where the whole world seems to be going against me for one reason or another and I’ve had a streak of bad fortune. Instead of supporting me or standing by me, despite all of the bad things that have happened, instead she berates me or blames me. It’s in those instances where I’m the weakest against flattery from another woman.

      1. It’s amazing how many women on these comments lash out when a man is being honest: Wa! Really? Then you wonder why more men say “never again” and move on. And why so many young men are hesitant to marry in the first place. Self fulfilling to say the least, but go ahead and keep mocking anyone you please… then ask yourself why men simply become indifferent to you.

      2. Hahaha. I get it. Everyone should own their own stuff. Be responsible. Don’t make excuses. But unfortunately only God can cure that whole in all our hearts. Anytime you rely on a woman for that you’ll always be led to keep looking elsewhere.

        1. Hi Gina, I hope the writer sees your reply, but this was written over 1 year ago. Yes your reply of course makes sense… but there is nothing in here that suggests that MtlChip and husband are believers. Seems more difficult… she perhaps needs to really sit him down and tell him how she feels in a way which does not leave him feeling attacked, but rather informed about a situation which needs to be addressed.

          I know that, as a man, I do not see some things very well at all, and I need my wife to spell it out for me. You’re right though, seems he may well feel empty inside…. Not easy, that’s for sure. Sounds like this has been ongoing for several years at least. I hope MtlChip comes back…..
          It was nice of you to reply…. WP (Work in Progress)

  16. This article is okay for women but to men I say, suck it up. Yes, frail men want and need affirmation, but don’t be frail. You set yourself up for failure. If God is pleased with you he’ll let you know. That is enough.

    Quit giving love to get love. Give unconditionally. This even applies to your marriage.

    Adopt a life of discipline and a degree of asceticism. Quit pigging out on food, sex, sports, entertainment etc. Be responsible for absolutely everything you can be responsible for. Don’t expect anyone to pick up after you, do your laundry, cook your meals, pay the bills, take care of the children, etc. If she does them, fine. Be genuinely grateful, but quit expecting it. If she wants to please you, she will do it to please God.

    1. Yes really! But…Why they need it is as important a question as any. What is it they need and can it ever even come from us anyways? If they feel like a failure no amount of saying “no you’re not a failure” will cure that pain. That’s why it doesn’t work. Genuine gratitude towards a man is amazing to them for all they do. Not a pat on the back and a good job baby! But really gratitude is key; but also they need their hearts healed and a relationship with God that assures them they’re doing the rights things and they’re right where they’re supposed to be. This society says only a couple things. You’re not doing enough. Go do more. But contentment comes from within; no affirmations can create that for anyone. Not to mention this whole positive thinking new age stuff and all this new theology is literally witchcraft. All power comes from God. And the Bible clearly says be humble and seek God. Ask God (pray) and he’ll answer you. Anything we do outside of that may Not be very fruitful.

      1. Hi Gina, Your question is a good one and I will try to answer it as a man who did not know a father’s love as a child, who has been a believer for almost 40 years, and who has been married to a very affirming wife for 36 years. Your question: “What is it they (men) need and can it ever even come from us (women) anyway?”

        My answer: At the end of the day, both men and women need affirmation from their spouses. God uses the spouse to meet that need in part only. The rest He does Himself, through all kinds of sources too long to list here. It took a long time for me to internalize my wife’s (and others’) affirmation for me because of the filters I had put in place after being abused as a child.

        God has given my wife insight, and others insight in His efforts to get through to me. I am eternally grateful for this… You are saying the same thing in a different way. Al’s text above says it very well.
        WP (Work in Progress)

  17. Where is the article, “Be Careful: Your Wife will Seek Affirmation Somewhere”? Women need affirmation just as much as men do; they need more than a pat, a grope, or a romp in the sack from their spouse who works constantly… There has to be a happy medium.

  18. Affirm yourself! Work hard, be nice and be humble. An adult should not need daily praise from another adult to feel good about themselves… that is the road to vanity and self-absorption.

    Enjoy each other’s company, laugh together, split the chores evenly and cultivate your own interests and friendships -that will make you feel good about both yourself and your spouse. Don’t buy into this very antiquated view that men need propping up to ‘slay dragons’ …dragons aren’t real and neither is the notion that men’s egos are any more or less fragile than women’s. People who don’t invest in their own character and their interactions with other have fragile egos. It’s not a gender thing, it’s a lazy thing.

    1. Edash, I too totally agree with you that it is a lazy thing! I agree with everything you said.

    2. Amen!!! When a man looks outside his marriage it’s not always because the wife is falling short somewhere in his neediness basket. Some men have hidden insecurities that has nothing to do with what their spouse gives or doesn’t give. That’s where all of us tend to screw ourselves, when we think our imperfect spouse is supposed to constantly supply our needs when in fact God didn’t design us to be able to live upto such high expectations. That’s why He tells us in the Bible that we will not find what we need in the things and people of this world, it can only be found in him because he is perfect and knows what we need & will supply it.

      How does God know? Because he made us. He designed us to have the need for affirmation. Why? Because if we could get all of our needs met by people & material things of this world then we would need God for anything.

      1. Amen. There’s the story in the Bible about the Tower of Babel and God said (paraphrasing) they’re doing this together but without me. They need me. so let me confuse their language so they seek me which is what they truley need.

        Genesis 11:7

        God didn’t do this to annoy us or to make it hard for us. He knew our needs couldn’t be met ever without him. So he had to make it that way so we would seek his face. Not our neighbors.

        Any man or woman looking elsewhere for they’re needs or ego, etc. is committing adultery. They don’t need a better person in they’re lives they need Jesus. There’s only one truth one way to life. Jesus!

  19. I wish my wife would understand this. We are separated now due to a breakdown on both sides. She feels everything is my fault and even admits that for the last few months she has purposefully nagged and criticized me to “teach me a lesson”

    1. We all need to check ourselves every now & then because when we blame others for total demise of our relationship then it’s obvious that we haven’t checked our own inventory.

  20. What about the wife who does give her spouse affirmation but he still chooses to find it elsewhere? At the end of the day no one human can get affirmation every time he needs it from his spouse, which means he needs to grow up spiritually, get closer to God and get his voids filled by the man (God) who made him & his identity.

  21. My husband just appointed a young assistant (and not bad looking). He is also interested in playing action cricket. Should I feel worried? We are 18 years together and have a 5 and 2 year old. I just feel uneasy…

  22. I understand that it’s really important for husbands to feel like they’re in control, needed and can relax and sit comfortably wherever he wishes without worrying of getting yelled at by his wife.

    We’ve been married for over 17 years now and I think I’ve given him more than enough time and chances than he deserved. I’ve let him decide on whatever he wishes to do although before he does what he’s decided to, I always make sure to comment and give him my view of each decision, but I don’t insist that he listen to me.I know his sleeping or rather over-sleeping habit really annoyed me and I’ve always complained about it but in the end, I’ve learned to accept it. He’s had many bad habits which I tried for over 17 years to understand.

    At first, he usually gets the perception from new friends or neighbors that he’s a nice person. People tend to trust him and really like him until they see how he treats me. I am a working wife and a mom to our 3 lovely kids. Even if I have a career, I still managed to take care of the kids when I get home as well as the household chores. I make sure everything is going well as expected and I didn’t mind that. Although, sometimes, I tend to become grouchy and pretty annoying especially during hectic days. I always tell him what I need him to be but not necessarily push him to do it. I’d always cry begging that he’d see my efforts to keep our family going well and the patience I give him despite of his losing jobs almost every 4 or 5 months.

    I only wished for one thing…for him to show his love to me by simply hugging me and letting me know that he’s right there beside me ready to help every time I seem to feel very tired and unloved. He doesn’t have a decent job, I’m way drowned in financial loans I availed of for us to get by every time he doesn’t have a job and not earning for the family; he doesn’t let me be whenever I get the monthly tantrums women usually have during their monthly period. I can’t be frustrated with what he’s doing for the family…if I do, he’d be more frustrated with what I do for the family in spite of the fact that I cover almost everything in the house. I am not allowed to complain or else, he’s going to have a longer list of what to complain about me. He just simply wants me to consider his view and feelings and will never try to put the shoes I’m in to understand where I always come from.

    The worst thing happened just recently. Out of desperation to get his kindness and attention, I cut my left wrist while texting him. I told him what I did but he never bothered to reply nor call just to check on me. He didn’t even bother to go home and make sure I was okay. There was no fear in him to lose me. I felt so hurt but it made me realize that it’s time for me to stop. Since then, I stopped listening, stopped understanding, stopped being patient and most of all, I don’t see any reason to love him still and stay in our marriage.

    When I read your article..that I need to affirm his manhood or he will look for it elsewhere, it really hit me. How could a husband like mine find affirmation elsewhere when he’s been treated like a king for over many years? He wasn’t forced to do anything for us. We only want him to treat us the way he treats other people…nicely and sweetly.

    I’m really sorry but I don’t agree to the affirmation thing mentioned in your article. My husband’s got it but he still couldn’t get enough of me and our kids. All he wants is for us to respect him but he doesn’t see us as humans who need some simple hugging, patting and encouragement instead of insults and sarcasm. I hope you don’t mind my comment but it just doesn’t apply to me. Thank you anyway.

    1. I agree with you completely! Your husband ignored you and you are supposed to give more attention and affirmation? Like yourself (married 24 years) my husband acts like I am the dirt under his feet. No hugs, not one sweet word; he does not tell me he loves me. I have spent 27 years with this man who basically lives like he is a bachelor, not engaging in the marriage but seeking other women instead. I finally have had enough and I am leaving. This is nothing about me not giving enough, this is about me being the caregiver to a man who does not care about me.

      Lady, do not cut yourself. Care for yourself, love yourself and do what you have to do to be healthy for you. Your worth is not dependent on your husband.

  23. This article would have been wonderful. Unfortunately, it was discredited by the threat of adultery and the insinuation that it would somehow be the wife’s fault if she regularly failed to be affirming enough of her husband. A less connected and fulfilling marriage could certainly be the wife’s fault due to a lack of daily affirmation of her spouse. However, the complete destruction of the marriage that would be caused by an unfaithful husband would be entirely the husband’s fault. Adultery is not merely a weakness or shortcoming, such as failure to be affirming enough of one’s spouse…adultery of any kind (yes, even pornography) is an active choice to violate sacred marriage vows. I don’t remember specifically promising to affirm my husband every day when we took our vows (although I certainly do that anyway), but there was definitely a line in there about “forsaking all others.”

    Next time you decide to write an article insinuating it might be the wife’s fault if her husband does something wrong, you should probably refrain from using a husband’s violation of one of the ten commandments as an example. God holds each one of his children personally responsible for following his commandments, regardless of whether the people in our lives make that easy for us. In fact, we are even more personally responsible for upholding His commandments when it is NOT easy to do so. Similar to how Jesus says to love your enemy, since it doesn’t mean much when you choose to only love those who love you in return. Daily affirmation is vital to a healthy marriage, and you made some excellent points.

    But again, next time, don’t threaten the reader with the possibility of adultery if she doesn’t supply that to her husband. The truth is that nothing a spouse does (or doesn’t do) can truly affect the other spouse’s decision to cheat. It may certainly give fuel to the fire for the adulterer’s “list of excuses,” but the actual source of the problem that led to an act of adultery (a.k.a. sin) is always the same: a lack of God in the decision-making process on the part of the sinner. If you want to try to fault a wife for her husband’s infidelity, then the only way you could possibly insinuate that would be if you were writing an article on the importance of a wife’s role in her husband’s formation of faith. If she does no place God in the center of her life first, then she cannot help her family do the same. However, interestingly enough, the Catholic Church actually makes it quite clear that the weight of proper spiritual formation (and ultimate salvation) of an entire family specifically rests on the shoulders of the husband…not the wife.

    1. Hi Alexandra, As a man, I would agree with your comments completely! However, I did not have the impression that the article was hinting that the wife would be at fault if the man would step outside of the marriage “fences.” Of course each of us is responsible for our own actions! The article was simply telling wives what they need to know and do…to make the home environment as safe and pleasant as possible.

      At the end of the day, I think also that the man’s character itself also plays a crucial role. Sadly, it is also true that the wife can “do everything right” and even so, some husbands still do “unexplainable things.” Such decisions lie completely outside the wife’s responsibility of course. However, I think it is valid to add that the opposite is true too…some women step out…even though they may have excellent husbands….the sad truth is that we are all fallen and sinful. And yes, your last sentence is true too. A very tough (but not impossible) assignment!! Thank you, WP (Work in Progress)

  24. No offense but this article doesn’t apply to “lazy child like husbands” that act like an entitled teenager and aren’t a true husband. When the wife has to be the role of both wife and husband, some men need to grow up and take responsibility and be a husband. Not a bratty teenager who doesn’t work and doesn’t help with any responsibility.

    1. Dear Jaded, You’re right THIS article doesn’t address men like your husband. But if you were to go into the For Married Men section you’d find a lot of articles that talk about the husband’s responsibilities. And there is nowhere in God’s word that cuts men any slack who don’t live up to God’s plan for husbands. ~Steve Wright, Marriage Missions International

  25. A good article. I’ve always thought that too much “not so useful information” during school years like algebra, calculus and trigonometry not to mention ancient history etc., could have been better by being replaced with Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people.”

    Let’s ask ourselves, what do our children learn about future life in school? Knowing how to get along with other people, especially our partners is of foremost importance. There will always be time for “deeper studies.” Good advice could be given to all our young folks taking their first steps “out in the open.”

  26. Wow I’m speechless. I did a Google search “why does a married man feel the need to seek attention from other females” and found this read. This is the first time I’ve ever felt inclined to comment on a web-based forum post. I would honestly watch paint dry than read a book and I plan to research the authors from this particular posting and plan to make a purchase.

    I’m currently in a high-school sweethearts, 18 years together, total marriage that’s in a HORRIBLE nose dive with my spouse losing almost 150 lbs and changing. Thank you for shedding light on my situation and hopefully my spouse will change now I can explain it to her.

  27. I feel like my wife does not appreciate me at all. I do the best I can for her. We do have a 2 year old which can be exhausting at times. I am usually the last one to bed and the first one to wake up. I get up with our child 7 days a week so she can sleep in. She has a physical job with being a hair dresser and even though she is working only part-time, it can take a toll on her body. I rub her feet for her almost everyday. I make her coffee every morning, I usually do her laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away) for her without even asking along with our son’s. I empty the dishwasher without her asking. I do my best to be a good spiritual leader by doing devotions but I feel like she never pays attention or does not want to do them.

    She always criticizes me for the smallest things and reminds me of my screw ups not matter how big or small. She repeatedly rejects me when I attempt to initiate any sort of intimacy. She makes me feel unloved and unwanted. And if I don’t notice something that she did around the house such as laundry or cleaning or something like that, she gets angry and says I don’t appreciate her. She expects me to notice everything she does. She expects me to be a mind reader.

    Now I will say that her mother is very disrespectful towards her father. She constantly belittles him and embarrasses him in front of people and makes him feel worthless. I’m not sure if that is where my wife is getting it from. But the funny thing is, my wife NEVER used to be like this. She was the exact opposite. She was the most loving person in the world and she made me feel loved and like I mattered to her but she does not do that anymore. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I do my best to plan dates, write her notes, and send her surprise flowers. And when I do that, she seems to like it for a day or 2 and then everything goes back to her seemingly not even caring about me.

    She puts housework before me as well as yard work. She is more concerned with the floors being slightly dirty than talking to me about my day or spending time with me in general. I don’t feel like I’m the most important person to her (besides God of course) as I should be now that we are married. I don’t even feel like I’m in the top 10. I feel like our child, her parents, her brother, and her friends/coworkers matter to her more than I do and that she does not even care about how I feel about anything. I’m always the last to know about anything new or exciting in her life. And something else that bothers me is that she try to make it seem like our marriage and home life is perfect to other people. I can’t tell if she actually cares about our marriage or what people think of our marriage more.

    I don’t do these things for my wife to gain accolades, I do it because I love her and I want her to know that I appreciate her and that I love to serve her. I’m not saying that I’m perfect and I never do anything wrong. I mess up all of the time. The difference between her and I is that I own up to my mistakes and she whenever she does something wrong or messes up she become petty and spins it enough to make it seem like I am the one who caused her to mess up. Now I will say that going outside of my marriage is not even an option for me. I love my wife more than anything in the world and would do anything for her. I’m just trying to figure out the best way to handle this. Whenever I try to talk to her about this and how I feel, she says I’m too sensitive and says she doesn’t have time to always make me feel better when I’m down. I’m not looking for that. I just want to feel loved and wanted by the woman that God chose for me.

    1. Hi Tony,
      My first queston is, Have you shown this text to your wife? It is a well written account of where you are right now… and she may not have the least idea you feel this way.
      I wonder also if she sees all the things you do for her as indications that you love her. She may not you know. Are you aware of the “5 love languages?” By this I mean that everyone has a “love language” such that, if others “speak their language” then they perceive that they are loved. Yours may well be “acts of service” ie. things you do around the house, and chores you do to make her life easier. Hers may be something different, like “quality time” or “words of affirmation” More about this here below>
      http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
      http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/learn-to-speak-your-spouses-love-language/understanding-the-five-love-languages
      http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
      She needs to hear from you where you are. I have an idea that she really has no idea.
      These are only “first thoughts” but I hope these words help….. and I hope to see things go better!!
      I am married now 36 years… we have 2 grown children. (I am the husband) I hope to hear from you…. WP (Work in Porgress)

    2. Dalrock.wordpress.com. Look for the article “she felt unloved” and read as many of his articles as you can.

  28. I have been married to a man for 24 years that has sought the attention of other women like I didn’t even exist. I found this terribly crushing in the beginning of our relationship. In the first year of marriage he has an emotional affair; at a time when we should be enjoying each other he was seeking attention other places. I asked him why and he said that I didn’t laugh at his jokes…seriously? I didn’t laugh at his jokes so he had to seek attention elsewhere? I had been the one seeking him and he was eating that up but the chase was not mutual. He was caught up in lust and fantasy and spent time he should have been working on the marriage seeking to please his lust.

    I am actually leaving, filed for divorce which will soon be final. Our years together never changed no matter how much counseling we had. He felt it was his right to seek other women and blamed me for not giving him attention when actually I see that he never showed any interest in me as he was seeking other women, daily thru porn or some other means. With time I disengaged as I did not feel he loved me and he did not want to spend time with me, would not speak. I did try but his only solution was for me to engage with him sexually…trust me I tried it repeatedly and he was never able to give on his part and his behavior never changed. He wanted his cake and eat it too.

    I spent over 4 years in therapy and realized that a man who has to be filled by seeking the attention of other women is empty inside and he using this attention to fill himself and feel good about himself. I do not believe a wife can fill a man who is empty inside. I think it is the responsibility of the husband to seek what is harming him and his marriage

    Too much is passed on to the wife to “fix” in the marriage and somehow we are held responsible for their actions but that is saying I am responsible for my alcoholic husband’s problems and that I can fix that. This is not possible. We each have to find ourselves. We can support our spouse but it take two and if one spouse chooses actions that harm a marriage they make the choice and the consequences will follow.

    I do not feel women are obligated to walk around in some state of denial for the sake of family or their religious beliefs.

    1. I found this article and the discussion today and it is the best thing I have found after looking for answers as to why my marriage ended. Without writing an essay my husband was unfaithful. He says that he felt undervalued. I have felt very guilty about this and have been questioning my part. I have reached this conclusion: Yes, I did undervalue him eventually, but as an earlier post said ‘I felt empty and had nothing left to give’. He was not a bad man, but allowed other things (gym, friends, alcohol, his hobby) to take precedence over myself and our children. It seems he was searching for happiness and approval wherever/however he could to build his low self esteem. He is the product of an over-protective mother, a domineering father, was bullied at school as a child and sexually abused by a family friend. He had no real life-experience when we met and I suppose that I did become a mother figure.

      My point is this: while I loved and cared for him, I have needs too, and I am worn out from being all things to him. I want someone to care for me too. I agree that both men and women need positive dialogue, but sometimes our partners have stuff going on inside that they need to work out. I feel he needed to go off and explore and learn, although this has of course caused much heartache. I did my best, but I’m not perfect, just human. Even so, I feel that I should have handled things better, been open instead of becoming resentful and being passive aggressive. I’m learning, not sure he is though :(