By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Over the years I’ve found that marriage takes more than our “good intentions;” marriage takes consistent, clear, and copious amounts of communication!
So many time arguments, disconnection, and marital strife is not due to a lack of well-intended efforts on each party. These issues more often happen because we stop being able to clearly articulate our feelings and needs.
Sometimes we stop communicating well because we are busy, distracted, or too overwhelmed to press pause and say what is on our minds. Sometimes we are afraid to express ourselves with our husbands because we don’t want to be the source of strife in our relationships.
Often times we don’t want to be the “needy” or “high maintenance” one in our marriages. Nonetheless, if we neglect to tell our husbands the ways we aren’t feeling loved for too long, holes start to form in your relationship.
Resentment starts to build and miscommunication runs wild. It’s important we are honest with each other when we start to feel like we are missing each other.
It can be hard to express your needs or consideration but it’s so much better to be honest about our needs then let a gulf of separation grow between you.
Approach your spouse with kindness and humility to let them know you feel overlooked in one area or another. Everyone has their own specific areas where they have to work extra hard to stay on the same page.
Here are 5 ways that husbands commonly can miscommunicate to their wives that they are unloved. I hope they will offer a good starting point for you to begin a conversation that will lead to healing in these areas of your relationship.
1. Neglecting to Pause and Check in When You Meet Again at the End of the Day
Depending on your phase of “married life” this may look a little different.
If you are young and without kiddos, this could be your hubby heading straight to his next task as soon as he makes it home after work without first checking in with you.
For those with kids this can be jumping straight into playing and talking with the kids without first asking you how your day was.
If you are an empty-nester it could be skipping talking throughout the day because somehow over the years you’ve fell out of the habit of communicating regularly.
No matter what your circumstances, having “check in” points where you stop everything and talk to each other is essential to avoid feeling unloved and unseen. These moments don’t have to be long, they just have to be consistent.
It can be as quick as a brief kiss, hug, and a “How are you?” when you get home. This could look like dedicating to having 5 minutes of uninterrupted “couch time” together where you catch up on each other’s day before moving onto dinner, taking care of the kids, and whatever else is on that to-do list.
Find something that works for you and commit to stopping to take time to see each other throughout the day.
2. Scheduling Conflicts
I can’t even tell you how many times my husband and I have fought over truly stupid miscommunications about scheduling conflicts. So many times he has forgotten about an event he has to attend, a commitment he made, or just didn’t realize that something he scheduled was happening right when I needed to work or be elsewhere.
I know that he does not mean to harm me when things get mixed up--but for me it’s hard not to feel like I don’t matter to him if I’m not considered as he makes these kinds of commitments.
When you are married, everything you say yes to effects the both of you. You can be saying yes to wonderful things like volunteering at church, connecting with friends, or even making extra cash but all your commitments should take your spouse into consideration.
This could look like a quick text confirming a date is open, a call expressing apologies and appreciation if it’s something you have to do but know it isn’t going to be convenient for your spouse, or maybe it’s creating a family or shared Google calendar that you both consult.
Once you add kids and their needs into the mix, this becomes an even greater necessity and potential point of contention in a marriage.
Time is sacred in our fast-paced culture. If we aren’t mindful of how we are spending it, somehow magically all our free time just seems to evaporate.
Making sure you are on the same page on how you are spending your time is essential to you both feeling loved and valued in your marriage.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Christian Fregnan
3. Neglecting to Show Empathy for Each Other’s Unique Struggles
Let’s be honest, most men and women have very different things that burden them.
Generally speaking, my husband’s concerns and struggles are very different than my own. Partly that is due to gender but also because we have such wildly different personalities which causes us to process our worlds so very differently.
Different can be hard to understand. For many husbands, understanding a woman’s fears, concerns, struggles, and anxieties is not easy. Cultivating empathy even and maybe especially for the parts of each other that we don’t really get is huge in communicating love to one another.
During my pregnancies and for months after having our kids, I battled severe anxiety. My husband is probably one of the least anxious people on the planet. His brain just doesn’t go to worst case scenarios.
A huge hurdle we had to overcome as a couple was me being able to kindly (which may have been the hardest part) share how overwhelmed I was in my own head, and him finding empathy to understand that the fear I was dealing with was real and powerful.
Truth be told, men and women, especially once we become parents, face very different issues. It can be so easy to take the others struggles for granted.
We may want to write our spouse off as entitled, weak, lazy, or even crazy. Galatians 6:2 encourages us to “carry each other's burdens.”
When we fail to be there in the midst of each other’s struggles we really miss our greatest opportunity as a spouse to truly show up and show great love for one another.
4. Neglecting to Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is HUGE in affirming love for your spouse.
Even when we think we have expressed thanks for the tasks, gifts, and love our spouse offers to our homes; we probably need to even say it more. The general formula is that we need to hear five positive statements for every negative one we hear from one another.
Truly, saying five nice things in a row can be really hard to accomplish when life is rolling full speed ahead!
Pause to take in the details of your home and how it all works together. What seemingly small tasks have you been overlooking that your wife does on a daily basis? Start thanking her and she will shine with love.
Not always but in many relationships the wife is the one that spends her time in the nitty-gritty details of a home. Keeping it clean, planning meals, managing the kids schedules, buying everyone clothes, picking up birthday gifts, and making dinner.
While many of us love taking care of our families in these ways--it can be hard not to grow weary in it all.
These are the places that literally no one else other than your husband will appreciate or even see. Failing to see her and her work in these spaces can leave an opening for resentment and hurt feelings in a marriage.
Thank each other, praise one another for a job well done, and commend each other for your special skills as often as you can! Let each other know how grateful you are for being a part of the team that keeps your family going.
5. Neglecting to Share Their Feelings
There is a widely believed myth out there in the world of men that feelings equal weakness. Feelings have nothing to do with being weak but everything to do with being human.
No matter how much we try to ignore them or stuff them, they are still there.
Intimacy requires openness.
Our ability to build intimacy in our marriages hinges on our ability to openly and honestly share our thoughts, feelings, needs, concerns, struggles, and more. When our husbands withhold from us what they are dealing with internally, it is easy to feel disconnected to one another.
In my marriage, my husband often expresses that he doesn’t want to share his struggles because he doesn’t want to burden me. His intentions are noble--but in the end when he holds back from sharing freely, tension grows between us, which ends up being a burden of its own.
You know your spouse so well, it’s impossible to hide your pain, frustration, or anger. You spouse can see right through any effort you put into hiding your emotions.
It’s better that you just come clean and let your spouse be the one who helps your work through whatever you are dealing with at the moment.
If we want to stay on the same team as couples, we have to cultivate a culture of honest and open communication in our home.
It’s not always easy but it’s worth the work to avoid accidentally leaving our spouses feeling unloved and abandoned. Even our “best intentions” fall flat if they don’t consider the perspective of your wife.
So start talking, telling each other what you need and kindly sharing the ways you may be missing each other and not even known it.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Henri Pham
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.