Wives who are at the end of their marital ropes often reach out to me. It’s sometimes very clear that they are at a point in their marriage where their husband isn’t making them the priority in his life. Often, the wife believes that the husband sees their marriage almost as an afterthought. I heard from a wife who said: “we’ve been married for about five years. For the first three years of our marriage, things were wonderful. My husband would come right home from work and we were always together. We were both very invested in our marriage and it showed. We were very much in love and we very happy. But a couple of years ago, everything changed. He stopped coming right home from work and started going out with his friends. He took up golf. So now he’s gone on weekends too. I’m so lonely in my marriage right now. I told my husband that I just do not want to live like this anymore. I told him he had to make a decision about prioritizing our marriage and choosing me over all his hobbies and friends. He listened to what I had to say, but he told me that I was being too sensitive. And then he didn’t make any changes at all. I’m at the end of my rope. How can I get him to choose me and our marriage? Because if he doesn’t, I’m afraid that our marriage is going to be over.” I’ll address this below.
Make Sure Your Request Doesn’t Sound Like Nagging So That He’s Tempted To Avoid You: I understand how the wives feel. Once my husband stopped prioritizing our marriage, I retreated and did the same. Eventually, we separated. So I completely get your wanting him to take notice and listen. But, there’s a real danger in your asking for this so often that he sees it as nagging and he begins to tune you out. I so often hear from husbands in this situation on my blog and they will often offer comments like: “all my wife does it tell me how I’m not meeting her needs. She focuses right in or what I’m doing wrong. It seems like every conversation is focused on her asking more of me. If she were to have her way, I wouldn’t have any friends except for her. I love my wife, but she asks so much of me. So I just tune her out.”
I’m not telling you this to discourage you. I just want for you to see why your husband may be tuning you out and why, if this is the case, continuing on with the same plan is probably going to continue to get the same results that you are currently unhappy with. That’s why it can really help to try to use positive reinforcement, which I will discuss right now.
Try To Catch Him In Situations Where He Chooses You And Make It Worth His While To Do The Same Thing Once More: Above, I described a situation where your husband avoids spending time with you because he knows that when he does, you are likely to make demands of him. So, you need to change this dynamic. You want to set it up to where when your husband does come home or chooses you in some way, you make a big deal about it in a positive way. Instead, of saying things like “well it’s about time,” or “was no one available to play golf so now you’re stuck with me,” you want to tell him what a nice surprise his presence is for you and how much you want to cherish this time. Then, make good on those statements by making it a night that your husband will want to repeat.
The wife in the above scenario had been married to her husband for five years. She likely knew very well the types of things that would be memorable and pleasurable for her husband. The whole idea is that if you give him some positive reinforcement, he is much more likely to choose you once again very soon. And every time he does, you want to make sure you both enjoy your time together so that this eventually becomes a habit. The idea is that you reach the point where you no longer have to praise him or make a huge deal out of it because it has become a habit for both of you.
So, if you are caught in a cycle of you nagging him and him not changing his lifestyle one bit, consider trying to back off a little and to focus on catch him doing something right and then rewarding him. It is only human nature to want to choose your wife and to come home as often as you can when she gives you a compelling reason to do so. And once this happens, then both people feel happy and valued without anyone needing to feel as if they have lost the argument or have given in.