Assume Love (TM): How to have a happier marriage without waiting for your spouse to change (daisy logo)

« On Staying in Love (Assume Love's 10th Anniversary post) | Main | Agreement or Impasse? »

Husbands' Gripes

The Huffington Post lists the big 6 complaints shared by men in marriage counseling. They are worth looking at -- not as a self-improvement checklist for wives, but as a big help when you want to Assume Love, Expect Love, and Find Third Alternatives, whether you're the husband or the wife.

1. My wife expects me to be a mind reader.
2. The late night arguments are getting out of hand.
3. She doesn't appreciate me.
4. She doesn't back me up when I discipline the kids.
5. She's not interested in sex.
6. Our marriage is no longer a priority for her.

What signs of love are you expecting that your husband has no idea you want?

How many of the things your husband does that upset you are actually ways to avoid another late night argument? And if you're looking for a Third Alternative if your husband disagrees with whatever you're proposing, is after the kids are in bed really a good time to mention it?

How many of the things your husband does that upset you are actually ways to bring your attention to the things he does for you and the things about him he thought you valued?

Is the reason you seem to be getting more and more of the child-rearing responsibilities, even though you also have a job, because your husband is trying to avoid that unpleasant situation where you don't back him up?

What Third Alternative would make sex as much of a priority for you as for your husband?

What love are you missing out on when you respond to not getting what you expect by busying yourself with something else?


My husband and I set a regular time to discuss any issues. This includes regularly checking in-- is there anything I am doing that is suboptimal for you? After 18 yrs of marriage we are both still shocked by the answers- often very small things we could easily fix, we had no idea were annoying to the other person. For ex, my husband likes to treat every uncluttered piece of furniture as his personal closet, making our bedroom air filter unusable because his keys, wallet, etc clog up the vent shaft. He had no idea this bothered me and easily stopped doing that.

Ditto I had no idea my cleaning up was actually ruining his messy organization in his workshop.

In regards to sex: I feel every couple should have a massage table. Even if one isn't in the mood for sex, if you love your spouse, you can give a sensual massage- which often feels as good or better than sex and might get either of you in the mood, too.

At the core if we feel really appreciated, that our spouse is giving 100%, we are more inclined to give unselfishly too. My husband has been working on our master bath for over a year. It has been out of commission that entire time. I know he intends to finish it- but has been either busy with work or not feeling well on weekends, battling a chronic minor ailment. I recently asked how he would feel about us paying for some help? He is delighted that I am looking to offload him and welcomes the companionship (very social guy who dreaded a weekend alone doing hard labor rather than socializing).

We have it very very smooth now that we make 'not eating each other's heart out' our #1 priority.

Wonderful tips, Susan! Thank you.

If there is a long-running unsolved problem that often gets argued about at night (or any other time) just bringing it up probably triggers your spouse, before there is even a chance to discuss it or look for a third alternative. A triggered spouse will get defensive or withdraw, and at that point it's impossible to have a productive discussion.

I would suggest taking a break from the issue for a while. Wait a couple of weeks. (I know, it's hard, because it bothers you so much, but arguing hasn't solved it, so you might as well not argue.) Then see if you can break the pattern by (1) choosing a different context in which to discuss it (pick a different room and a different time of day) and (2) reframing the way you introduce the subject. Try starting a sentence with "How can I help you...." or "What would make it easier to...." This way you share the responsibility instead of assigning blame.

Great advice, Rosemary. Thanks!

A man ever desire that his wife give appreciation, sex but he rarely think about her wishes. A married life would get success while both of them pore their contribution in married life.

Post a comment

Your comment will appear only after Patty confirms it's not spam. Thanks for your patience, and bah humbug to those who submit all that junk for making good folks like you wait.

The Author

Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

Follow Us

Enjoy Being Married

The Best Marriage Bloggers
2011 Hot Marriage Blog Award - Liufu Yu |
Grow Your Marriage Award 2011 from The Generous Wife
Top Ten Marriage Blogs of 2011
Top Ten Marriage Blogs of 2010


Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
TM Assume Love is trademark of Patricia L. Newbold