Marriage Missions International

How Husband Feels When Wife Puts Children Ahead of Him


How does it make a man feel when his wife puts their children ahead of him? We posed that question to a group of men. Their most common answers are listed below:

1. Insignificant and disrespected
Most replied that they felt a deep lack of respect from not only their wives, but from their children as well. “Respect is important to a man, and he doesn’t feel that when the children consistently come first,” said one man.

2. Unloved
Most men, unlike most women, associate love with actions instead of with feelings. When a woman places her children above her husband, her actions say to him that she loves the children more than she loves him. Though not as vocal about it as women, men desire to be deeply loved by their wives. It is difficult for a man to see his wife cherish the children, but treat him in a cool or casual manner.

3. Lonely
One of the man’s greatest needs is companionship, and he usually expects to find this in his relationship with his wife. “As my wife pours more and more of her life into being a mother, she pours less and less of it into being my wife,” said one man. “The friend I once had in my wife is now a friend to our children, but a stranger to me.” The lonelier a man becomes, the more vulnerable he is to outside temptation. Is your husband lonely because of the time you spend with your children? Are you in any way making him more vulnerable to the attentions of other women?

4. Unappreciated
Men appreciate being appreciated! Many men feel that their wives show greater appreciation to their children than they do to them. “If our daughter goes to a friend’s for the night, my wife misses her terribly,” said one husband. “When she comes home the next morning, my wife is ecstatic to see her and acts as if she’s been gone forever. I can be gone for days on a business trip, and my wife acts like I never left. Sometimes she even seems to resent my return home.” Does your husband know how important he is to you and how much you value him? Are you an appreciative wife?

5. Resentful and Angry
Though not a majority, some men stated that when their wives put their children first, they felt a sense of resentment and anger; some felt this way toward their children, others toward their wives. “My fifteen-year-old son walks through the door and my wife immediately asks abut his day or rubs his back if he’s tired. She pampers him constantly. I find myself resenting him, even though I know it isn’t his fault.” Is your husband frustrated or even jealous of your relationship with your children? Could it be that he feels left out or overlooked?


Maybe you’re sensing that you need a major overhaul in this area, or perhaps just some fine-tuning. Regardless, here are some ideas to consider:

1. Think positive thoughts.
For every positive thought you have of your children, think of two for your husband. Begin noticing the many things he does. Perhaps he sees to it that the house is locked up every night or helps you replace light bulbs. Men enjoy praise!

2. Give him the benefit of the doubt.
Often this comes easily with our children, but is more difficult with our husbands. Grant him the same gracious generosity that you so readily give your kids.

3. Be spontaneous.
Surprise him once a week with a random act of kindness. One woman recently discovered that her husband liked a slushy drink from a local convenience store. She began buying them for him. “He loves it when I do this. It’s such a simple thing to do, and lets him know I’m thinking about him.”

4. Invest in his stock.
Share with your children things you admire about their father. This lets them see how important your marriage is to you. Though it’s been said dozens of times, the way Mom sees Dad is the greatest influencer of how the children see him. Do this with others as well. Many women excel at communicating their children’s strengths, but not their husband’s. One woman pointed out that often friends will talk about their children in glowing terms, but when they talk about their husbands, they tend to talk about their weaknesses and inabilities. If you do this, stop! Commit to sharing with others only those things that build your husband up. Words are infectious and should be chosen wisely.

5. Make your bedroom a haven.
Too often this is the catchall room. Make an effort to keep it clean, organized, and inviting. One woman bought a small love seat and placed it in the master bedroom. This is where she and her husband spend a few moments together once they’ve gotten in the door at the end of the day. It shows their children that they value each other’s company as well. Burn a fragrant candle so that the room smells inviting and warm.

6. Cater to his quirks.
Many times we think our children’s quirks are cute but our husband’s are obnoxious. One woman discovered that her husband liked his sheets changed often, yet she preferred going longer between changings. “I fought this for years,” she said. “I thought he was being too obsessive. One day my daughter asked why I ignored her father’s request for clean sheets but always changed hers whenever she asked. I was shocked. I didn’t realize I did this. I suddenly saw that I was not only dismissing one of my husband’s rare requests, but I was also modeling wrong priorities for my daughter.”

7. Check your attitude.
Said one woman, “I was stunned one night when my husband told me that he wished I had the same attitude toward him that I had toward the kids. From his perspective, I bent over backward for them. I ran all over town to find my daughter the right dress or my son the right tennis shoes. But he said that if he asked me to stop at the hardware store and pick up a gallon of paint, I balked.” Our attitudes speak volumes to our husbands.

8. Pray for your husband.
This tip could go in every chapter. There is nothing like prayer to soften your heart and sharpen your focus.

9. Reintroduce pet names into your relationship.
Refrain from calling him “Dad” or Daddy.” Choose instead to call him by a name that shows your love and high regard for him as a husband.

Your husband may or may not respond as you re-prioritize your relationships. It really isn’t an issue, though, if you are doing it to honor God. Certainly it’s nice for him to notice and appreciate your efforts, but it isn’t necessary. God notices.

The above article comes from the book, The Politically Incorrect Wife: God’s Plan for Marriage Still Works Today, written by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby, published by Multnomah. This is a real down-to-earth book which is both inspiring yet practical, and helps those who read it to have a clearer understanding of God’s design for the married woman. The authors explain how, between the both of them, they bought into more than 40 years of modern day thinking, and eventually realized how it was sabotaging their marital relationships. As they explain, “Being politically correct kept our marriages in the ‘stuck’ position for years-so much so that if you had taken a snapshot of our marriages during that time, you would have found cold hearts and unhappy husbands who were resigned to living with emotionally distant and often angry wives.”

Excerpted from The Politically Incorrect Wife © 2000-2002 by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.


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208 Responses to “How Husband Feels When Wife Puts Children Ahead of Him”
  1. Brandon from United States says:

    My wife puts everyone before me –children first, her mom second and then friends. We have sex maybe twice a year as she would rather watch reality shows and singing competitions on TV. I’m so depressed and hate my life. Sometimes I wish I would just die in my sleep. I have no friends left because I moved and have no one other than my young kids to spend time with. I got married thinking I would have a companion in life.

    • Chris from Canada says:

      That’s exactly how my wife treats me, kids first, then her family, then strangers, then me. I’ve never been so depressed and lonely in my life, and I’m 42.

    • Gene from United States says:

      You are describing my wife, as well!

  2. John from United States says:

    My wife clearly loves the kids more than me, and I’m fine with it. I also love the kids more than her. If the house were on fire and I could only save 1 person it would be the baby. No question. I don’t think any woman truly loves her husband. Look at how the average woman treats men: constant nagging, never satisfied, uses sex as a tool of manipulation, constantly shifting moods, only cares about her needs, only cares about the money he brings in. I could go on and on and on.

    So what’s a man to do? I have to protect my heart, and that means ignoring all her disrespectful behavior towards me. It means not initiating sex with her so she can’t use that to manipulate me. It means doing all the housework, yardwork, errands and childcare so she doesn’t have an excuse to nag (but she finds one anyway). That’s what I have to do to live with my wife. I truly wish she would go away and never come back. I love my kids too much to divorce her, because our sexist courts would surely give her custody just because she’s female, even though she’s a lousy mother. If I knew I’d get custody, I would divorce her in a minute.

  3. Chris from Canada says:

    11 years ago after the birth of our first child, my wife became a mom and stopped being a wife. We share equally in raising the children, the household, and I worked very hard so that we could afford to have her be an at home mom. Essentially I would work a full shift at work, then full shifts at night as a dad, and every single weekend and holiday, she gets to sleep in as long as she likes while I take care of the kids to let her sleep.

    I have been totally abandoned by my wife; she does everything for the kids and barely thinks of me. We rarely have sex, maybe a few times a year, and that isn’t even my biggest complaint. What makes me the saddest is that I cannot remember the last time she said something positive or encouraging to me, or took my hand as we walked (it’s ALWAYS me reaching for hers), never once asks how my day was, etc. Meanwhile I never stop giving her compliments, thanking her for dinner, asking how her day was, etc.

    Over the past 11 years I’ve regularly brought this up and even asked for couples’ therapy, and that just makes her mad and completely ignores and dismisses everything I have to say. I want to scream at her to take just one minute, listen to what I have to say, and see what she is like through my eyes.

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