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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233 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!

    • Joe from United States says:

      I too wish I’d die in my sleep or in some sort of accident. I’ve never felt so lonely in my life. My wife is cold and refers to me as a stalker for wanting time and attention from her. Her priorities are the kids, brothers, dad, facebook, friends, co-workers, and the dog. I’m last and only get leftovers.

  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.

    • Kaitlyn from Canada says:

      Well of course women love their men. But you also have to accept the fact that we have our needs, as well, like chores around the house or even cooking sometimes. Everyone needs a little help. It’s tough work doing that every day on your own, not to mention the fact you said you had children.

    • Joe from United States says:

      I started doing more domestic jobs around the house, helped with laundry, cooking, picking up kids, etc. The more I did the less she helped around the house. Eventually I was doing it all. One day I suggested she cook dinner; she refused and said I was doing a good job. I don’t know how men are constantly called the selfish ones.

  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.

    • Kaitlyn from Canada says:

      You sound a lot like my father. He always wanted my mom to put him first and then the kids. He worked all night too so that my mom could take care of me and my sister in the day. He however, never let me or my sister hold our mother’s hand even when crossing a busy road. He gave everything up when he was done with it and shut everything he didn’t like out of his life. Even his own father.

      The day came when he decided to leave, and he took all the money. Left my mom without a job. He even tried to sell the house and keep all the money for himself, not even really caring what would have happened to us. My mother said to him she would always choose us over him and honestly that’s how it should be. But it made him mad. My mother even sold her van. She needed all the money she could get. We had to use our grandparent’s truck as they paid for gas.

      But then the day came where two teenagers had decided to go for a joy ride. They completely trashed the truck. And the sound of that boom and my mother crying because of all the drama is something I will never forget. My mother’s only hope was to get a job at a mall to care for us at the time. We could not even afford a babysitter so we were left to fend for ourselves, sorta. Now he’s used us for a lot of money because he thinks he shouldn’t be paying child support. And he has remained mostly out of my life. I only see him a few times a year for about 30 minutes to maybe an hour. So see it through the child’s eyes and maybe you will think differently.

  4. Dami from Nigeria says:

    People keep saying how mothers are bound to love their children. Of course that is right but the issue here is when that love consumes the woman and she forget that she is not the sole parent. I am married, I love my wife, I live in a different country so we mainly communicate on the phone. My lovely wife finds it hard to make time to call me just to talk like humans do.

    I drift in and out if depression because of this. I feel extremely lonely. Many other women want my attention but I only want my wife. I tried to communicate this state of mind to her in all humanly possible ways but it’s like I am speaking Yoruba. I don’t know what to do.

  5. Lisa from United States says:

    Men need to realize the kids needs us! My daughters will always be there for me; will my husband? NO! My husband works all the time. I work too. What else am I supposed to do? He is always on line and working. I guess he made me put my daughters first and not him. My husband and I never have fun anymore. Why wouldn’t I put my daughter first? She likes to have fun and not work all the time. Men, stop saying we cater to our kids -maybe if you paid attention to your wives, your lives would be completely different!!!!!!!! And we would cater to you!

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      WOW, Lisa! Your bitterness is overflowing here. I’m sorry that you have gotten to this point –truly. If you notice, I had to take a few things out of your comment because the guidelines on this web site ask that you don’t belittle, etc. This is a forum for constructive dialogue. Also, please read some of the comments already posted and you will see that many men pay attention to their wives and children and STILL they are pushed aside. Yes, I know this can be a two-way street, but it isn’t always the same for everyone.

      And I hope you aren’t serious about saying that your daughters “will always be there” for you. What happens if they marry? Are they supposed to shove their husbands aside for you? And what if they have children? Do you slide in first, or behind them? I can’t even imagine what you say to your daughters about your husband –their dad. I hope this was a one-time rant to us, rather than an everyday occurrence. Please enjoy your daughters, but don’t make them your source for entertainment. That’s more pressure than they should carry.

      Also, please know that no one MAKES us put someone else first, whether it’s a daughter or someone else. I don’t know the circumstances behind your words. I can’t read into your life, but I’ve learned that there are two sides to every story… actually 3. There’s hers, his, and God’s (which is a truer version, because He can see from a totally different vantage point). I have a feeling that if I ask your husband about your marriage and family life, I’d hear a totally different side. Please be aware of this.

      Lisa, I know this seems like I’m trying to push at you, when you obviously already feel pushed at, A LOT! But that’s not my intent. My intent is to have you look at what you’re saying and how you’re saying it and consider the bigger picture here. Would you really want to have “fun” with someone who yells out these types of things about you? My impression certainly wouldn’t be, “yeah, I want more of that… I’m going to make special time to stand behind the daughters and attempt to have ‘fun’ with her… yeah, that’s what I’d rush home to get more of!”

      I’m not saying your husband is without fault. I’m sure he has his own stuff going on that I would see as problematic. But attacking other men who are trying to make sense of why they used to be an important part of their wife’s priorities, and now they aren’t (especially when many of them DO try to help out and be supportive), is not a good thing to do. Insights kindly given, can go a long way. Being civil with people, even strangers, is a good thing. These men didn’t attack you, why attack them? And why lump them together with those you have a personal grievance against? Yes, you’re obviously bitter, but come on! Lets be kinder here. You’re better than this, I’m sure. Please put effort into bringing that out, and maybe things can come out a bit better in the future, for everyone. I truly hope things get better for you and for your kids and for your husband –your family and marriage, as a whole. I pray for you.

    • Jeff from United States says:

      You’re a typical women, you always bring it back to the man. Most men understand that a wife must put the children first to some degree. However, a wife should not expect a man to show her attention when he’s put dead last on her list. If my wife would just surprise me a few times a month by doing something just for me, I would bend over backwards to meet her needs. However, if she consistently puts the kids first and me last, why should I bother? Another issue is the bedroom. Women will do all sorts of things while dating and even the first few months of marriage, but they stop those things once they have kids. It’s true, most men want a classy woman outside of the bedroom, but they want their woman to be a little slutty in the bedroom. If your man tells you this isn’t true, he’s lying.

      If a woman will show her man attention occasionally and give him what he wants in the bedroom, 99.99% of men will treat their wife like she’s a queen. You get what your put into it.

  6. Joey from South Africa says:

    Good day, I think it’s truly sad how the devil has convinced married people to see each other as enemies instead of one. When I read this article I looked at what I’m doing in my marriage. There was a time where I also believed that my kids, parents and everyone else should come first in my life before my husband. But I thank God that the more I grow up and read His word I realise that my kids need a stable home more than a mother and father who are bitter and angry at the world.

    While reading some of the comments I realise that what some of these men are requesting is not unreasonable; they’re just asking for quality time with their spouse. And as much as we love our kids one day they will leave and have their own lives, then that is where we start having issues of mother in laws who don’t want to let go.

    Since I have decided to put my marriage first, as God willed it, my boys are so happy and stable. My 7 year old son already talks about how one day he will get married and he will look after his wife just like daddy looks after me. I thank God that he continues teaching us new lessons and through websites like this I’m learning a lot. May God heal those who are hurting and restore families back to each other.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      SO WELL SAID, Joey. Thank you for expressing this point made from your heart and from your experience, so clearly. Hopefully, others will pay attention to the hard lessons we’ve learned and will make changes in attitudes and deeds, working on their marriages NOW before more damage is done (or the husband gives up and declares it’s “too late”). Not only is this important for us, but for our children who are watching how we treat each other. We’re teaching them life lessons on how to interact in marriage, be it healthy and loving, or unhealthy and dysfunctional.

      I love the point you make about the mother in laws too. That’s SO true. We can’t set ourselves up to be in a place where we’re devastated when our children grow up and move on, as they’re created to do. That’s just not good for us or for them (especially in the future). Our children need to eventually make an adult place for themselves in this world, apart from us being their central focus of attention. It’s part of the “leaving and cleaving” principle put forth in the scriptures –leaving our parents, cleaving to each other “as one.”

      We’re setting our children up for failure (or dysfunction) if we cling to them too tightly, and can cause problems in their marriages, if they ever do make that vow. We made a vow to our spouse and to our God to “love, honor, and cherish” …and so we need to make a point of honoring that promise, which in turn can potentially help them to do so if they some day commit to marry. Yes, children have needs… and those needs have to be tended to, but they should not continually overrun the marriage. That just isn’t good for anyone. Thanks for making such important points on this issue.

      It’s also good for our children to know that they are not the center of this universe. That’s a lopsided relationship –out of balance. They need to learn to share and sometimes take a backseat to others, when it’s appropriate. The husband needs to stand beside his wife as a marital team and a parenting team in loving words and deed.

  7. Jonathan from United States says:

    Women want children more than they want a husband. Many single moms out there are happy. Pretty screwed up. Thank God I’m not married.

  8. Steve from United Kingdom says:

    This is exactly how I feel. I’m pretty sure that if my wife could find another way to replace the money I earn, I’d be “no longer required” as she has our daughter for her chosen company.

  9. NN from South Africa says:

    It is sad just to read most comments about how most men are not getting attention from their wives. My motto is that before the children it was “us.” The children will grow and leave the home and what will happen? I have 2 children and I love them dearly, however my husband will always come first. Most women we love the idea of being “married” yet once we say I do, we treat the spouse like a stranger. I will never be the perfect wife and neither will my husband be the perfect husband, however I will make most of the time that God has given us here on earth, so that tomorrow I will not say “I wish I could have.”

  10. Shawn from United States says:

    I came here looking for direction on what I can do. In February of this year my wife gave birth to our 2nd child and 3rd child (twin girls). They are truly a joy as well as our 3 year old daughter. I love my wife and my daughters very much… but things feel like they are falling apart in our marriage. I work 2 jobs to support my family so my wife can stay home with our girls. I usually get 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day. Last week I worked 87 hours between both jobs, yet I still managed to make time to mow the grass and attend our daughters preschool trip to a local farm.

    I understand that my wife’s life is very busy and hectic right now with 7-month old twins and I certainly don’t expect her to be super woman and cater to me every moment, but I feel very unappreciated right now. I can’t tell you the last time my wife made me dinner. She is constantly taking herself and the kids through the fast food drive-thru even though I encourage her to eat healthy and feed our children health food. I usually have to find something out of the fridge when I get home… usually a can of soup or a sandwich.

    I’m currently doing the laundry for the family. I usually put a load in the washer when I get home from work and transfer it to the dryer when I get up to go back to work. Our house is a perpetual mess 24/7 and the kitchen counter is usually covered in some kind of food from the day before. I haven’t slept in my bed in 7 months as it’s usually occupied by my wife and children. My back is starting to feel the results of sleeping on the living-room couch every night and I’m only 27 years old!

    Unlike most other men commenting here, my wife and I have sex quite often… My wife thinks that “performing her duty” with me in the form of a quicky before I go to work will keep me satisfied, but honestly it just sucks. I can tell it’s not heartfelt or loving. I’ve tried talking to my wife about these things but she just gets angry and starts “one-upping” me telling me how hard her life is and how I don’t help enough. I try to help her and hold the twins when they are crying or upset.

    I honestly don’t expect my wife to be perfect. I don’t expect the house to be spotless or a 4-course meal waiting for me when I come home from work. I know my wife is very busy with the kids and I appreciate all the time and effort she puts into taking care of them… but my wife gets more sleep than I do even though she nurses two babies. Whenever I do get a day off I notice that she is always taking a nap when the babies are asleep. She gets a lot of help from her mother (who I’m pretty sure hates me because I’m not wealthy) with the babies every day and yet she can’t do 1 load of laundry a day or make dinner.

    I feel rejected by my wife. She tells me that she loves me but I don’t feel like she does. I’m burnt out and tired when I’m at home but I feel like I’m expected to do more. I just don’t know what else to do. If I tell her how I feel she just tells me I’m disrespectful for expecting her to do what I ask…

    • Mpk3 from United States says:

      He[ck] yeah she’s napping when those babies are. I guarantee you that she is NOT getting ‘more’ sleep than you. Quit being a selfish pig and man up!

  11. Tom from United States says:

    I have to admit I do feel like I’m fourth or fifth on my wife’s list. And I’ve told her that. She’s told me I’m being stupid. If her mom was still here, I’d be lower on the list. My point is that if she felt that way, and she has, it would be reality. But if I believe I’m second or lower on her list, I’m being stupid. Do women really believe this? And why is what they believe more credible? Help me (us men) understand.

  12. Marge from United States says:

    My husband does this to me with our daughter. I actually hate him most of the time. The suggestions you list sound silly for a man to do. Do you honestly think a man even thinks about my quirks and desires to cater to them? Puh-leaze!

  13. Erin from says:

    I think children should come first for both parents. To love your child more than anything on earth is natural for both husband and wife. Learned too late that appreciating the little things a husband does (or wife) is the most important thing there is. Maybe it’s not always done perfectly. That doesn’t matter. Anytime a person makes an effort to help you, you need to show appreciation and acknowledge their effort.

  14. Mpk3 from United States says:

    Since when, do fathers/husbands, have to compete with their children for affection from their wives???? You IDIOTS!!!!! Children NEED to be taken care of. You can take care of YOURSELF. You and your wife should be a united front, tending to the children’s needs together. Then, when they are all tucked into bed, if either of you have an ounce of energy left, collapse into each other’s arms. But, men, stop expecting wives to have as much sex as they did when it was just the two of you. The fact that men expect their wives to be just as sexual as they were before babies came along, makes me sick. Let me tell you this….once your children are grown, look them in the eye, and tell them how mad you were while they were growing up, that their mom ‘paid more attention to them than you.’ You see how stupid you sound????? GROW UP.

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