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.


We strongly recommend that you read the following linked article, written by Gary Thomas. Gary brings up some issues, related to this one, that you may never have thought of previously. Please read:


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Filed under: Childrens Effect on Marriage For Married Women

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

  1. So, we know that responsibilities for families and caretaking rest heavily on women’s shoulders and its disheartening to hear women being bashed and given yet another task list to see to the needs of their husband. It really does have to be a partnership.

    1. Yes; that’s God’s plan. And when one of us is out of sync with His plan, the marriage can never be as good as God planned it to be.

    2. I’m confused Maria. How is it a task for you to have to look after the emotional needs of the man you married? Would you not expect him to look after your emotional needs? Should any man become a second class citizen or placed on the back burner in the family that both of you decided to have?

      I don’t recall that women made a vow to marry their children in front of God. Christ is first, then marriage and then children. Your partnership to each other comes first, before the children for the most part and certainly before most everything else. If anyone abandons their spouse emotionally or otherwise, how is that in any way supported biblically?

      1. Thanks Shon, I completely agree. Thanks for sharing this. It helps to hear from others than just us. We appreciate you!

  2. My issue is not so much children, but my wife’s sisters. My wife feels like she has to fix all their problems, and they place all their issues on my wife’s shoulders. But she visits their houses all the time, then she comes home spending countless hours thinking, looking on the internet for resolutions. I need to find a good hobby.

    1. So sorry Bob. I pray that someday she wakes up to join you to work on your marriage, rather than everyone else’s problems, which causes problems in her own marriage.

  3. I’m worried about my brother-in-law. His wife cheated on him a few years ago and I don’t see her really giving him the love and attention that he needs. I feel that she is so caught up in the world and things she leaves him out. He doesn’t look real happy. I think she takes advantage of him all the time; she just wants with no plan of return of thanks. He’s a good man and a good provider but she needs to open her eyes before it’s to late and make up for what she did to him.

  4. Guys, it happens to the best of us, if not with children, it will be with grandchildren. My wife has always been consumed with our son, not necessarily our daughter. Our son has a daughter & my wife goes all-out toward our granddaughter. Looks at her constantly, we only live a few miles apart. What leftover affection she has goes toward our son. The remaining crumbs of affection goes toward our daughter & her child. I feel more like a servant to my wife. She does not seem to care.

    Yes, I spend time with children & grands, the more I talk about the granddaughter, the happier wife is. But to me, there is more to my marriage than grandchildren, but not to my wife. Talking about this is very destructive for me, so I don’t fight it. Again, she does not seem to care. I know she does not love me, she has basically told me this. But when all telephone conversations are done, pictures looked at, she will occasionally sit next to me on the couch. That lets me know I am at the bottom of the food chain. Painful to accept, causes a lot of anxiety. Lonely nights, I need to practice what I preach, I need a hobby, learn to play guitar, looking at joining a gym,