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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342 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.

    • Bob from Tennessee from United States says:

      Patty, a man wants his wife to hmself. that is normal thing of life. Remember, Bible says for a man to LEAVE his mother and father & be joined to his wife. In other words, children leave home so parents can enjoy their lives together. And the wife to be submissive to the husband, not the children. Your husband decided not to have children to have and enjoy his own life. Which is OK. But, he has to know that he agreed to move back & allow your 16 yr old move in. He is a good guy to agree to that, most would have not.

      About the grandchild, that is tougher, a much larger invasion of your privacy & time together. Again, he wants his own life with you, which is fine. You need to encourage the parents of the grandchild to be responsible & use birth control before another one arrives…

  4. Sami from United States says:

    I just met my son, whom I adopted out when I was 16. He is beautiful and became my focus. We both don’t ever want to be without each other again. We met in 2012. Yes, we both became a little obsessive; he unfortunately lost his job recently and decided to uproot his life and come to where I and his other biological family live. It has been just myself and my husband since his son has moved out. Bliss really, and yes everything has been in agreement of whatever my husband wanted to do. I was told I was very submissive.

    Well I’m 50 years old now, been thru some health issues, and finally became tired of him deciding what is best and whatever he wants to spend our money on, while our home is in shambles, besides, what I’ve done to improve within budget. So my son, whom I’m attempting to get to know and we’re needing our bonding, I want to stay with us for a small while (my husband said no more than two weeks) to get on his feet and find a job. He’s so jealous and upset. I get these feelings; I feel bad for him, tho at the same time REALLY? After two days he’s pitching a fit! Every little thing he yells at this young man for, who has no where to go, and put his heart out on his sleeve, and left his city. I do really need to handle this very delicately and I haven’t. Help.

  5. Fred from Australia says:

    We have a single daughter, now 6. Before marriage, my wife was a bit of a social butterfly, but over the years, she became more of a home body like me (I enjoy just being at home with my wife and family).

    These last two years my wife has become obsessed with ‘socializing’ our daughter. She says she doesn’t want her to become ‘insular like us’. She’s been signing her up for every activity possible and arranging as many play dates as possible and taking every and any excuse to take her out. It’s now gotten to the point they’re literally out every single day and night of the week, driving around from one thing to another and they often don’t get home till well after dark and my daughter has fallen asleep in the back of the car (and my wife is irritable and totally exhausted herself).

    She chose a school 45 minutes drive from our home (and nowhere near my work) because she wanted her to mix with the ‘right sort of people’ and on different days takes her to sports and choir before school and drama, ballet, sports and girl guides after school, which are all located in different parts of town. The odd day when something isn’t on, she’ll take her to play in parks or arrange play dates with other moms (again, near her school and no where near our home). Weekends are full too and she has even started taking her on camping holidays to the beach over weekends, so sometimes I don’t see them at all for days.

    I’ve taken over pretty much all the household chores -she says she’s too busy and never at home to clean up -but they certainly make a terrible mess when they’re at home. Cleaning up their mess on my weekends takes a lot of time and has really been getting me down.

    And all this living out and activities costs a lot of money. I found she was hiding large credit card bills at the end of last year. We had a talk, she said she’d wind this back, cut back on all this, but 6 months later and it’s worst than ever, she’s again well overspending the budget each month.

    We’ve continued to have long talks for a while now, but wife is totally unrepentant. She sees what she’s doing with our daughter literally as her job and tells me we’ll just have to wear the cost financially and to our relationship.

    The final straw for me is the last few months she’s added rekindling her own social life to her list, but taking the time from the few odd days of the month spare that she had for us as a couple. It started with spending more and more time on Facebook. Then she started getting invites to parties and outings from other mum’s she’s met. She’s also since become obsessed with her appearance, splashing out on new clothes, going to the gym, make up and nails. All this would be great, but it’s not for me, as I hardly see her. She’s even started buying and wearing lingerie, but she wears it out under her clothes when out, never to bed for me. The only bonus is I get to baby sit and spend more time with our daughter on those odd nights or days when she’s out.

    (I know that last bit sounds really suspicious, but I’m certain she hasn’t been having an affair. Yes, I’ve pried into her accounts and phone to reassure myself and I frankly don’t see how she’d have the time given all the time she spends with our daughter.)

    I know every one of those feelings listed in the article and I’m feeling a few of them right now. It’s Saturday morning, she’s taken our daughter to morning dance class. I know they won’t be back until late afternoon. Then they’re off straight after with grandma to a concert.

    It’s not all bad, I don’t think my marriage is over, we’re still talking honestly, still stealing moments of physical intimacy together (usually late at night). I guess I wrote all this to get it off my chest because as I guy, you don’t talk to other guys at work about this sort of thing. My wife is the one person I shared this sort of personal stuff with and she’s simply not there for most of the time and dismissive when she is. It’s hard knowing she’s willing to sacrifice us for what she thinks her daughter needs. Anyway, thanks for listening

  6. Rodney from United States says:

    I need some advice. My wife & I are celebrating our first year anniversary. The first three months of it, I was unfaithful & committed adultery. A lot of things that I’ve done before we were together carried into our relationship, then marriage. I’ve asked for forgiveness time after time, and I’ve changed my lifestyle since that happened. She says that she is a mother first, then a wife, because of my betrayal towards her. I apologized countless of times & I hope she can truly forgive me one day soon, so we can make our marriage a healthy one. Any advice for me?

    • Bob from Tennessee from United States says:

      Mother first? I guess you to have a child, you didn’t state. You know this, an affair only lasts a few minutes but causes years of damage. Your best thing to do is to ALWAYS be accountable, where you are, who you talk to, have 0 contact with other women, limit your drinking, control your anger, you may say something that you will regret. Try to start over, maybe quit asking for forgiveness, just show her you will faithful with your mind & body.

  7. Ritchie from Canada says:

    Interesting article. My wife of 35 years would likely be hurt and deeply offended at the suggestions you gave in the article. Is this a common problem in married Christian couples? What in the world is the cause for this to develop? Interesting stories below…I guess I’m not the only one. Well I love the Lord, do you think I should just let this thing go and get along with the unemployed, unappreciative able bodied son on welfare and his mother=my wife? And ignore the cold shoulder?

    • Ritchie from Canada says:

      Guys need a bit of connection from thier wife, my wife is in a very nice way a Grandmother with a capital G.

  8. Bob in Tennessee from United States says:

    I can agree and experience all 5 points listed first. To a man; his pride, joy & his strength is his woman. He leaves his mother & father & joins or becomes 1 with her. But when children come along, she joins or becomes 1 with the children, not with the man. That starts the endless cycle. When the children move out, the man feels like he may get his woman back, then grandchildren come along. It’s all over. The man disconnects himself from the family because he feels like he is not the ‘head’ of the family anymore.

    I guess the best thing to do is show your wife what attention she will let you, do not disconnect too far, the children will eventually grow up, you will have a brief connection time, then grandchildren will be born. Find a good hobby that you can do with other guys, golf, cycling, or buy a big motorcycle. Motorcycle is pretty good. It’s something you and your wife can do together when you climb your way up to 3rd or 4th on her list. And when you fall back to 10th you can do by yourself or with your buddies.

    My marriage is not bad, I read the other comments & see this. My wife is a good woman, we still have date nights, sex a few times a month. I see this in almost every family at different degrees. It just happens. Finally, ladies, move your man higher on your list. The Bible says to be joined with him, not your children. Men, keep your eyes & thoughts off of other women… bring your wife flowers… they will go a long way!!

  9. Gnu5 from United States says:

    The Bible does not require a wife to even love her husband, it only requires her to respect him. Ephesians Chapter 5.

    Children should always come first. Always – for they are the next generation. If I was made to choose between the loss my children or my husband, I’d pick my children every single time for they’re the new generation to carry on legacy and life.

    Both men and women are people with feelings, wants and needs and both sexes have familial obligations. However, women not only work full time, but they work full time at home. Men DO NOT WORK FULL TIME AT HOME. I work 55+ hours a week and support a family of 4 with a stay at home husband. As soon as I get home, it’s me the kids hit up for food, homework help, etc. They don’t go to their father nor does he get up off his duff to offer assistance. If I ask, I’m the nag. I stay married only because children of divorce do not fair well. As soon as they’re grown and out of the house, I’m gone. I know many, many women that feel the same way.

    I’m sure it happens, but it’s rare to see men assist their wives with the kids and household chores. Before all of the sputtering of but…but… I fix the cars, I do repairs…!!! Fixing a car or household repairs don’t happen daily and may only happen a few times a year if at all and most of the time, people hire mechanics or handymen to do these jobs. That is in no way comparable. Cooking, cleaning and child-rearing are a daily occurrence that men very seldom assist with. As a result, a lot women become very resentful at times. Children are also exhausting -physically and mentally. Women burn the candle at both ends when they have children and having to soothe the ego of a self sufficient, grown adult is irritating.

    Men seem to think that women are pampered, couch lounging, bon bon eating princesses. Are you kidding? Women do most of the world’s unpaid labor in and out of the home. And with more women working than not, we’re punching in at home as well as work with absolutely zero time to ourselves.

    If men want the sole focus of their wives, agree to not have children. I’ve never met a woman that didn’t love their children more than their husband. If God didn’t intend almost all women to feel that way, God should have corrected that “flaw” in our natures. Otherwise, couples should contribute equally when they are home together to household chores and child-rearing. Couples who cooperate, stay together -a “traditional Christian marriage” doesn’t protect you from divorce, nor does it ensure happiness. You make your own happiness.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      WOW! I’m sure glad that I’m not married to someone like you, and I would imagine that most any man would feel the same way. Basically, what I see in your comment is that you view men as basically breeding monkey’s and once they make their deposit, the wedding vows are thrown out the window, the husband loses their value, and the children become the center of attention of the home. And once the children are gone, so is their mother… some legacy!

      As far as husbands being as lazy as you indicate. We must go around in different circles. I see some of that, but not like you indicate. I see a lot of great husbands and fathers. I love my husband AND I love my children (they’re now grown)… the love is different for them. I don’t love one child more than another, just differently. The same goes for my husband who WAS/IS an involved father (as is my son who has 2 children). I love him differently than I love my grown sons and grandchildren.

      And as far as God correcting that “flaw” (of wives loving their children more than their husbands), where is it written that God reprograms us to do what is right? We WORK on our character, and continually look to the Lord for the help and empowerment to do what we should. We aren’t robots, and we certainly don’t come out of the womb all clean from leaning towards selfism. “There is none righteous, no not one…”

    • Bob from Tenn from United States says:

      Gnu5, you are quoting the Bible, respect your husband, but not love him? OK, please check the definition of respect “a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important” (Webster). Also the Bible does not state: Children should always come first. It just talks about raising & correction. I’m sorry your husband sits around on his ‘duff’. Don’t hate other men for his actions. Maybe you should respect him as the above definition. You may see a NEW MAN!!

    • James from United States says:

      You are the typical modern day woman. If you come home and your kids are alive and the house didn’t burn down, then your husband did his job. (You can hire a daycare to do this too, so he saved the family $400/wk.) He sits around because he already knows he’s not getting any positive attention from you, smart guy in my opinion. He deserves better and I hope he realizes this sooner than later.

  10. Rashaun from United States says:

    I can’t say that I am nonexistent in my household, but I am certainly expendable. No one, neither my wife or kids really care if I am there or not. I am more so a facilitator who ensures that there is a steady money stream to keep a roof over their heads, and food in the fridge. Our bed, as I am typing this has two of my children laying in it with my wife. They have their own room with their own beds. Every single night, they lay in between us, and she allows it. I have come to the point that I do resent my wife and kids, and I have already displayed acts of anger
    only because she will not acknowledge that her attention to them is tearing us apart, instead saying that I am childish and selfish, even jealous of my children.

    Yes, I am jealous. I miss my bestfriend, my wife. I am at the point where my faith in a resolution has dwindled almost to nothing. Divorce is now crossing my mind, and even infidelity. I really need help, I don’t think a counselor will help because my wife will never admit that she put the kids before me. She will place the blame solely on me at every turn.

    • Bob from Tenn from United States says:

      sorry to hear that; it happens to a lot of us guys. Not really sure why, maybe since the woman birthed the baby she feels like it is her object to give all her attention to. I believe the children replace the object that women need to give attention to. Espically if it’s a son. You see the mothers’ picking daughter-in-laws to pieces because they are not good enough for their baby son. (Everybody Loves Raymond) Generally the opionon of men has declined in the past years. You can see how stupid commericals make them (us) look. Eventually the children will grow up, you will get your wife back for a few years, then grandchildren will come along. It will start all over again.

      What to do? Love your wife, show her attention & children attention. Women like it when you show the children attention. Try to schedule an overnight trip for you & your wife w/o children. Go on a date with her or double date with her friends.

      You? Find a good hobby, golf, cycling, buy a big motorcycle. You can ride with other abused/neglected husbands. When you scratch your way back to #6 on your wives’ list you can take her riding. When you fall back to 10th you can ride with your friends.

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