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

    Change “man” to woman and “husband” to wife and that’s the life I’m living, or barely existing in. My husband spends all of his free time with our kids, barely talks to me when he comes home and gets defensive if I bring it up in conversation.

    Our marriage has been very rocky for the past two years, we’ve seen counselors, secular and religious, but nothing changes. I’m a stay at home mom right now
    and I feel pretty much useless. I also stayed home when the kids were infants and this was the same situation. I feel hopeless most days. I clean the house, cook, do laundry, make snacks when the kids get home, help them with homework, and have zero energy for much else at the end of the day.

    Intimacy has been a huge problem, and despite my physical and emotional issues that make this difficult for me I’ve agreed to sex once a week because my husband becomes angry and irrational if I don’t give in to him. It doesn’t matter if I’m depressed, sickly, or tired. I don’t even feel human anymore and I wonder how much longer I can survive in this marriage.

    • Patricia from Canada says:

      Dearest Kay; Currently my husband and I have three young children; twin toddler boys: the saying ‘keep your head in the game’ is like having two heads playing two different games with twins. It is madness!! So I completely understand the tired beyond capacity, when your head hits the pancake pillow it is instant coma!!

      Lately I also feel my husband’ frustrations because the boys are having croup; so we REALLY aren’t sleeping. I have a vision in my head of laying with Jesus, just sleeping. Funny, day-dreaming about sleeping!! Something sparked me when I read your passage…about physical affection. Last night admittedly we had a quickie while our one boy was screaming at the locked bedroom door.

      I don’t discuss these things with people openly; but since this is anonymous I can. Kay; sex is important, for both parties. Agreeing to once a week is like saying I will attempt to enjoy this. This is the only man on the face of the Earth you are physical with, spice it up…find the energy!! Get the kids to help with chores, go on date nights- rent a hotel room for a night. Get dressed up, feel sexy, touch the husband more even if it’s just a hug. Say ‘I love you’ all the time!!!

      Something I recognized in myself is I crave attention. I’m not sure if this is you!? When my husband wouldn’t text me during the day I would be upset that I was ignored. Silly really!! He’s busy at work. Soon I realized instead of craving attention from others I should seek it for myself. Going for walks, reading, painting or even doing my nails!! You may feel like you’re in a rut; but you CAN get out!!! Have faith and think of new things to aspire to change.

      Kay; I’m sure you’re a beautiful woman, still vivacious and full of life!! The work you do around the home is greatly appreciated and admired!! Don’t feel down, instead feel invigorated!! Much luck to you and many blessings to your family Xoo

  2. Leah from United States says:

    So what happens when the man does NOTHING for the kids. The mom does it all. The man lays down and takes naps and doesn’t care that the Mom is tired and sick. I have twins, a new puppy, 3 cts and a big house. He works 2 really long days and is home the rest of week sitting while mom is running ragged! Maybe we’ll put him before kids if he will put me before himself. Sorry but kids come first. I am not laying down to cuddle when I am have (2) 3 yr olds running amuck upstairs.

  3. Patty from United States says:

    I hope I can shed some “light” on the subject here. Let’s start out by letting you know that I’m the wife. My husband and I have been married 7 years. I don’t believe that there is a more caring, loving, man around after meeting him. His love towards me is immeasurable. He never had or wanted the responsibility of children. I however have six.

    We were alone our first five years of marriage. I was the apple of his eye and he was the apple of my eye. We did everything together. The things about him that made him the apple of my eye are: he’s passionate about everything he does which usually makes him the best in the crowd, he has great integrity, he loves God more than anyone I’ve known, plus he’s very good looking and sexy. But I never gave it a second thought as to why he never wanted kids. We were in our mid 40’s when we got married, so I had no intentions of having any more.

    When we hit our 6th and 7th year of marriage, we moved back to the town where my kids were living with their father because they asked us to. The youngest was 16 and was having a hard time dealing with her father. So it was my husband’s idea to move back near them and get custody of the last one living at home. I also wanted custody but I wanted her to move to us. We both thought we could handle it, especially because the love we shared was so unique to what we saw in the world.

    We had no idea what would happen when a granddaughter (of one of my other children) would be thrown into the mix. He started to kind of try to control my feelings towards my granddaughter. He would tell me, in a demanding way, how to deal with things that I felt were beyond my control (we had her more than I would consider normal, sometimes 2 weeks at a time). And when I couldn’t find it in my heart to push her aside his actions disappointed me. He made it obvious to everyone involved that he didn’t want her around. Do you see what happened here? “His actions disappointed me.”

    That is what caused him to no longer be the apple of my eye. It wasn’t that I was choosing her over him. The loving kindness I showed him in the first five years now sometimes has to be forced. He’s asking me to be someone I’m not. He’s asking me not to have motherly instincts. It’s those very instincts that made me a loving wife, a good mother, grandmother… or whatever has those feelings inside and it’s impossible to just turn them off.

    I would compare this to me trying to tell him how to manage his people at work in order for him to be able to spend more time at home. I can’t do that… he wouldn’t be a man. I have to say, things are not going well here for me. I hope that I can be quiet and patient with my husband, because I DO love him and long for the closeness that we once shared. It was awesome…everything about it was.

    What I would suggest to men out there in this situation is to look at what your wife is doing and really admire what you see. Share in the joy without faking it. Love your children of stepchildren like she does. She’ll see this in you and desire you more than ever before.

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