How Husband Feels When Wife Puts Children Ahead of Him

wife puts children ahead of husband - Adobe StockHow 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. “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. This was something I didn’t even realize I was doing. 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.

This 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. It gives the reader 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. Eventually they realized how it was sabotaging their marital relationships.

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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Filed under: Childrens Effect on Marriage For Married Women

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422 responses to “How Husband Feels When Wife Puts Children Ahead of Him

  1. I’m sad because my husband texts and talks to his 30 year old son all the time because his wife works Saturday and Sunday. We barely talk…and when it comes to sex he says he needs it. This is both our 2nd marriage and I don’t want a divorce. We’re married 11 years. But I feel so alone. Pray for me.

    1. Are you being his wife, lover? Asking him to do fun things? Ball games, beach, park, out to eat?

  2. Me and my husband are going through the roughest part of our marriage and I’m scared to death he is going to leave me. He got hurt and had to have surgery so he hasn’t been able to work or provide for our family for awhile now. I recently lost my job and am now working two to catch up and get us back on the right track. My son is 16 and my daughter is 12. And last night we got into a huge fight that started with my son and husband where it got physical between the two. I took my sons side because I thought that is what a parent is supposed to do. Put your children first. In the end he said that us three are always against him and he was leaving that he didn’t care if he was homeless, he just couldn’t stay in a house where everyone hates him.

    We have been together 17 years which is over half my life and I don’t know how to live without him. I know I could do it money wise but that’s not why I need him. I need him because he is my husband the love of my life; my other half, my support system. I don’t want to live the rest of my life without him. And our kids don’t understand why we are still together after everything that has happened because he told the kids they weren’t his (which is a lie they are definitely his) and he didn’t love them like they don’t love him. (Which made both the kids cry). I have supported this man most of our relationship I have always been very independent in that area and I am now thinking that I have been going about my relationship the wrong way. After reading this there is a lot I myself need to change because I haven’t been making my husband feel like he is loved or wanted like I should.

    I don’t want to give up on my marriage I believe once you say I do that means forever til death do we part. I can’t see the rest of my life without him in it. But after last night I am scared it is too late. Is there any way I am going to be able to save my marriage and my kids understand why? Cause I have been praying and praying but I feel like that’s not enough. And he isn’t the type that will go see a therapist to save us.

    1. You said, “I thought that is what a parent is supposed to do. Put your children first.” No, that is incorrect. Biblically you put your spouse 1st. It is tough being a man. Especially when you can’t provide for your family from injury. Then you feel everyone is against you. Sometimes the only thing a man has is his wife. I recently had a relative commit suicide who has similarities as you are talking about. Try to make up with your husband, let him know that you & children have his back. Take it slow.

      1. What about his wrongs? He told the kids they weren’t his and he didn’t love them. Things are hard for women as well.

        1. You are right, but it appears that the husband has a lot against him & a lot of pressure on him. His wrongs? Again, a lot against him & he said some bad things. I go thru my wife saying things that are bad to me every month when she is PMS’ing. She has no excuse. This guy needs a pass. I realize that you are defending the woman; I am being compassionate for the man.

  3. Just found myself here… Get this off my chest to anyone who will listen. I feel everything in this article. Since having kids my wife puts me last. Utterly and completely last. 100% of her love is for the kids and I get nothing. She sleeps with the kids. In their bed. In my bed. Anywhere I am not. She calls me daddy even if if they’re not around after asking her not to. And not in the weird kinky daddy way which isn’t my thing but still would be better. We’ve had sex 3 times since last July. And I am highly considering leaving at some point. I’m 29 years old I didn’t sign up to be ignored after having kids. Things were great before – now I feel like the money machine keeping this boat afloat while wife and the kids are enjoying themselves in pushing the things from behind. Any time I bring this up to her she gets angry and I am unable to talk about that. I’m about out of here…

    1. Sorry to hear about this. It happens to a LOT of guys & the women get VERY defensive about it. Great before ? yes, all she wanted is children, not a spouse. Leave her? She will take you to the cleaners. Will it get better? Eventually after they grow up & hopefully move out. Then grandchildren come on the scene. It will be all over for you.

      What to do? Find a good time consuming hobby. Golf, fishing, big motorcycle. Something to escape to, also you will be with other guys who have been oppressed & neglected by their wives. Do stay faithful to her. Try to plan a overnight trip without children. But be prepared; she may be worried sick & text/call them the whole trip. Then want to head home at 7:00AM.

    2. Sorry mate, but you have made 2 big mistakes.
      1. You married. Yes, it’s really a bad deal to man these days to marry. You won nothing, just lose. You lost your freedom, you lost your income, actually you lost everything. Actually I prefer to be single all of my life instead to marry.
      2. You have kids. It’s not a secret that women put their children on 1st place. This is natural. Even every female animal in the world does that. The problem is that the marriage is not natural. Most male animals just make females pregnant and then go away without any kind of responsibilities and yes this is natural. It supposed to be like that even with us – humans. We are not monogamous. We – men are not supposed to carry women and children for our entire life. The marriage trap is created by women to tie men to support them all the time.

      1. Really? Lol, I can’t believe how selfish men are; it’s all about you right? Forget about the kids? You have needs, right? Really? If things don’t go the way you want, marriage is crap and women make you do it? For real? GOD’S Word is to treat your wife like a queen, I don’t hear that. So, yeah, you stay single, and please don’t have any children. Have you read any of these posts on this site? These poor women, wives to men who don’t appreciate, respect, just plain abusive emotional and physical and they are doing and praying for their selfish husband whom cares about nothing or no one but himself. I will be praying for you brother.

        1. Problem is we all want to be happy regardless of religion. Times are changing and I suspect that back in God’s/Jesus day women were treated slightly differently. What we need to realize is that we really need total equality. For instance why shouldn’t I be instantly considered as a 50% chance that I will be as good a person as my wife to bring up the kids (in fact I would be better) -because the antiquated law says so. No one should abuse their wife, each husband should treat their wife as a queen. Yet realize you do not put them on any kind of pedestal or treat them like they are special as this is the easiest way to turn off women to you.

      2. Nature, how many times have you seen a male – let’s say lion with the cub’s? Never. Marriage goes against nature, leaving men (most of us!) wondering why we come last. Men are hunters, here only to provide. Monogamy is definitely against nature. If it weren’t, people wouldn’t cheat. Overall, nature is brutal.

    3. Don’t leave yet, I know you feel neglected, but you need to know being a mom is hard especially if you have more than one child. Sounds like you don’t have anything nice to say about your wife and you probably say them to her and that’s why she doesn’t care about sleeping in the bed with you at night. See, if making changes on yourself, look at yourself. You will see the change in your wife. As long as you complain about her caring and loving your kids, she will always rebel. I am a woman, for make a date night once a week just for a start,don’t let her refuse, even if she check on the kids 1000 times,it will eventually stop.

    4. Don’t leave, just change your attitude. I wish I did a few years back. Just don’t give your money freely and easily (after bills etc are paid). They don’t need those Barbie jeeps and shopkins on every shopping trip! DO NOT talk to your wife about your feelings; it will be worse in the long run. Learn how to be more of a man. I’m not slating you at all but I did the same thing and it ended badly! This stuff only works in movies, not in real life.

      1. That’s not entirely true, Jungle. I’m glad my husband DID and DOES talk about his feelings. He treated me good, and I treat him good –even better than before because his growth prompts and encourages me to grow. This stuff doesn’t only work in movies. It works for many, many of us. Yes, movies are fantasies, but the reality of working to bridge our differences works too… actually, better. Some marital partners DO eventually wake up and change. I have many, many friends who don’t put their children in front of the husband (except during times of illnesses and emergencies –but even then, the husband is an equal partner –different roles, but equal).

        Please be careful of being so doomsday for everyone. I’m sorry that so far things haven’t worked for you, but don’t suck hope from others just because of your past and present circumstances. Sometimes things/people DO change. I hope they change for you.

  4. I happened upon this site after out first session with a counselor. I was floored on how it outlines EXACTLY and EVERYTHING how I feel. I am not particularly good at expressing my emotions like most men. I forwarded the link to my wife and hope she reads it and understands. I thank the author for such a well representation of how men have feelings too, and they can be much different than women’s point of view. I felt such a relief after reading this that I am not the only one, it’s not just me being selfish. I am also going to forward to our counselor, so she can use it with others in this position. While my spiritual beliefs are not particularly Christian, I do honor and respect those of virtue. Again, a heart felt THANK YOU.

    1. Your wife will just think you are a sap and want you to “man up.” Don’t send her this. It is useful as a man to better ourselves and look at this but ultimately keep it inside and don’t tell your woman and you will be much better off for it!

  5. Good article. My 27 year children-centered marriage failed after the nest was empty. The picture for this article is perfect: dad’s behind with the camera, he could disappear and not be missed for some time. Helicopter soccer volunteer moms are harming their relationship with their guys. Most guys just load up on other stuff to make up for that void, but it’s still a core void, they’re feeling neglected and resentful, and that builds over time. It kills many marriages, much is written about it.

    1. Sorry to hear that. You quoted the issue: “children-centered marriage.” Not supposed to be that way. Before you argue, the Bible says that a man & woman become one. Not parent & child become one. Some worship their children and are children’s servants. Enrolling them in Soccer, gymnastics, baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, every childhood sport imaginable, while the marriage falls apart. My pastor said its ‘child worship.’ This makes for children who EXPECT everyone to do for them. Just look, you see the grandparent holding the child while the son or daughter aimlessly walk along.

  6. I just want to say that as a man who is separated and about to get divorced from a narcissist and emotional abuser (with children) all five of your points are spot on. It doesn’t matter the reason but they just are exactly what men resent, in my case in the extreme. But talking to friends/family after they are married, I realize all guys suffer with this in some degree or another.

    I am going to throw in another one. Men want to feel like they are the ones with the “power.” They want to feel like the strong ones, and indeed should make the decisions. When we get married we lose a small proportion of our power, and kids arrive we lose more. This is because the wife becomes more high value than the husband, and unfortunately in today’s society I believe in helping the woman bring up the children it lowers our women’s opinion of us as a manly man ultimate in about 50% of case ending in divorce.

  7. My son calls himself not living here but wants to use my car to go to school. When you disrespect your father and the mom takes up for him …It’s an injustice and they don’t see anything wrong with it. I told him if he disrespect me he can’t live here. So he says fine. But you need me. Something is wrong with this picture.

  8. I don’t post. But this time, I may be able to help so here goes.

    I’m a husband and have older kids; senior year in high school and one that is in college. I operate a successful business and my wife and I have been married 20 plus years. Historically, the marriage has been a roller coaster. Over-simplified, I’m the one that has wronged this family. That’s what the biography is going to say, anyway. I get that, but it’s not that simple.

    This just happened to me and it happened on my wife’s birthday. She had made plans in the morning to hook up with friends, had a meeting with a Christian group helping kids, then in the evening texts me that she wants to meet up with her friends to go dancing. She doesn’t dance. The last time we danced was at our wedding. She hates it. I spent the day cooking a dinner. And no one cared a bit. She never gave me the opportunity to spend any time with her. So here goes the argument. She came home and I didn’t have any desire to go dancing and hang out with her new friends, but I told her I would go earlier. When she came home the kitchen was a mess and I got the third degree. Then my son jumped in when I yelled this is crap. My wife completely backed my son during our argument. I was told to leave. I did. I came back later, tempers had simmered, and now, I don’t know what to do. I asked for a family meeting and my daughter replied, wife did too a little later, son did not. I feel all of these items listed (insignificant, unloved, disrespected, etc) and I also know my behavior is a huge factor. I yelled. No excuse for that.

    Leave or stay. That’s the options. Leave can mean a multitude of things. Stay really means only one thing. Take my licks, apologize, start leading my family again, and quit whining about everything. Get in the word and start praying. I typed into google, “my wife loves me more than my kids” to get here. Duh. She loves them with everything she has. It’s not that she loves them more, she loves them regardless of me. Right now, she probably thinks I’m a putz. So yes. right now, probably loves them more. I feel horrible for this. My wife hasn’t left me for another, she just has left. I’m no idiot, things tend to grow. She’d never compromise herself by being with someone else until I have called it quits. But here’s the thing: I feel like that’s exactly what she’s doing> pushing me out, waiting for me to leave, so I free her. She’s embedding herself more and more in church groups and functions, and essentially our typical week leaves absolutely no time for us. There’s no talking, no prayer, and no reading together. I still think my wife would throw me under a bus to save our kids lives. I get that. I would be surprised if I didn’t run under the bus first. So this article is somewhat flawed. But I get the connection.

    I think ultimately there’s more going on. When I typed into google, “my wife loves me more than my kids” I’m simplifying things way too much. Rule 1. In all our cases our wife will always protect and defend our kids till the end. Rule 2. I’m human and so is my wife. Rule 3. Yell or get physical with your son is your decision not his. Make him feel protective and he will be exactly that. He has you’re genes, in the absence of the Father, he fills the void.

    I’m not going to leave after working through this in my head. I have some things to do and need to get a few things straightened out. I’m going to stay, meet with my family and fix this. I’m going to ask for forgiveness and find someone I can talk to because there are still things that I need to get worked out. I was always fearful of this, felt as though I was giving out information that was personal to me or my family. I still am so I’ll find a credible counselor. Someone who doesn’t talk like a gushing emotional spicket but someone who has some real insight in how to be successful. I hope I’m wrong about what her intentions are. At this point it won’t matter. But it’s clear to me what’s happening. There are layers to this and not so simple as she’s just putting the kids first. I hope this helps someone else.

  9. Would you have done it when it was just you two? That’s the question you have to ask yourselves before flushing your marriage down the tubes.

    1. Sleeping with children. Would you sleep with someone else or somewhere else prior to kids? No? Then don’t.
    2. Would you call him the same nicknames you call him now?
    3. Was intimacy important prior to kids?
    4. Who was your focus prior to kids? Your marriage is even more important after having kids, for the sake of the kids.
    5. Do you talk, connect, bond the same as you did before kids? There are huge red flag, if you’ve stopped.

    1. I’m not sure if this is the answer you are looking for, but if you put your children ahead of your spouse–it’s called having a children-focused marriage. You are cleaved to, married to your children above your spouse. Take care of your children… yes. Love your children… yes. But don’t focus more on them than you do what it takes to grow your marriage, and the close relationship you are to have with your spouse. To the best of your ability, make sure your home isn’t completely child-focused, that the marriage relationship goes in a healthy direction to grow it.

      1. Try ‘child worshipping’ family. Cindy said it very well. We are supposed love and to ‘train our children’. But we are ‘joined as one’ to our spouses — not servants to our children.