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

  1. I’ve been married almost 4 years. I have 3 step children and I had one child with my wife. Most of my marriage my wife has taken sides with her children. The children lacked a lot of discipline when I came on the scene. I was trying to help make raising them easier by applying a mixture of punishment and love to help mature them. She told me once, that she felt like I was picking on her son. Her son had a very smart mouth, and would always throw in his opinion while the adults were talking (when he should have stayed in his place as a child), and my wife would never object to his disrespectfulness.

    The kids didn’t want to clean up after themselves, nor did they want to do their homework and class assignments, so I had to work really hard to apply consequences for their behavior. The two oldest kids pretty much gave up on class and started failing really bad. My wife would always seem to try to rescue them from my method of punishment. If I told the kids that they couldn’t have their game tablets for a week my wife would say no just take it away for a day. As a result the children grew to take advantage of her and she couldn’t see it.

    My son walked in our bedroom one day and told me “dad, step out I need to talk to mom about something.” I told my wife that he wanted something and he knew that he could negotiate with her if I wasn’t in the room. I told her that he knows he can work on her and change her mind. She didn’t believe me. As a result it continued to be hard to raise the children. She told me she doesn’t want the kids to not want to be around her when they get older. All of this has taken a toll on our marriage. It’s hard being a stepfather when your wife takes her kids side and tries to come to their rescue when they are just as wrong as two left shoes. It feels like I’m wasting my time… It’s not going to work if her thinking doesn’t change…..

    1. Dear Anonymous, You have reason for concern. This situation could very well destroy your marriage. The number 1 reason for divorce among couples where step children are brought into the marriage is because of disagreements over step parenting issues. You’ve GOT to get help so you can find a way to get on the same page and make this a workable situation where you are both satisfied. You both have valid points, but you need to find ways to bridge those points so you work together, rather than oppose each other. Children (young or old, and particularly step children) are very masterful at dividing spouses when it comes to raising them. You and your wife are falling into this trap. The kids are immature, but you both need to be mature and get the help you need so you can unite and not send mixed messages. Please don’t say you can’t afford to get the help. You can’t afford NOT to get the help. This WILL divide you permanently, I can assure you. We see it over and over and over and over again. Divorce is MUCH more costly (in many ways) than getting help.

      If you don’t know of a MARRIAGE FRIENDLY counselor who specializes in these types of issues, I have a few recommendations. First, make sure it IS a marriage-friendly counselor. If you don’t know what that is, then go to You will want a counselor who is marriage friendly, AND is competent in counseling those who are in step parenting situations. The purpose is to get you and your wife on the same page, so you can stand together in the parenting of these children. This would be good for your marriage, and good for those kids. Mixed messages confuses them and does harm, as well. If you don’t know where to go, please consider asking the ministry of Focus on the Family at to guide you to one in your area. Also, you may find articles to help you in the Remarriage topic of this web site, as well as ministry links that could guide you to someone to help you. Please do this ASAP. It’s important to the health of your marriage, and your family life.

  2. I can agree much here with this article. I have married my wife twice, currently we are separated again and possibly going to divorce again. My wife is married to her children; She has 2 from her first husband and a third from a former boyfriend. I love my wife and respect her. I love her children as my own blood. I am not appreciated for all the cooking, cleaning, house maintenance that I do. I cook daily for her children and then cook a separate meal for my wife (and serve her that meal in bed) so she can come home to relax.

    I watch how she she puts her children before me, and our dog. I am not on the list; I am the 5th wheel, the outsider. I am quite lonely and when I try to talk to her about it, I am at fault. So far I am made to believe that I am controlling (a nazi) because I want to teach her narcissistic, entitled children responsibility. I am not a man, I am not happy and a miserable person, I am also told I have mental issues and am paranoid. I am not allowed to reprimand because my wife will undermine me, she will constantly point my faults out to her children and when there is an argument make sure they are on her side and ostracize me. You would think that in our first marriage that I would have learned, that everything is my fault and I am to blame for all their heartaches and problems. She wants to work things out but it is me who needs to change and not them.

    I am a God fearing and Bible believing man that believes in the structure of marriage according to His word. My wife “claims” to be saved but I must admit I do not see it. I know it will be sin for me to divorce her. I am living separately from her and am lonely. I will say that I was lonelier living in that house. I felt like a slave to them. I work hard and come home and work harder and clean up after her kids while they are allowed to do nothing. I am tired and I feel as though she wants a slave to her children and her house. But like she says, my thinking is all messed up and her love for me is different than her love for her children. She is always too busy for me, always has something to do around the house, but she seems to never get anything done. Actions speak louder than words as I live by. Please forgive me Lord for always failing you.

    1. Jeff, time for a time consuming hobby, gold or a big motorcycle. Play guitar in a band. It’s something you can do with other guys who have been dissed by their wives.