How we hurt our husbands
Creating a hostile environment can make everyone uncomfortable and destroy your marriage.
While both husband and wife should take responsibility for their part in a marriage, below are ten mistakes common to women, which can completely destroy a marriage. When women exercise the following behaviors, it can create a hostile environment, where no one feels safe or comfortable.
It is important to remember that the main goal of marriage should be peace and happiness. So, while this list below may seen daunting, always remember that. If life is stressful, then work on changing your perception. You can see peace instead of stress. You are only one thought away from a peaceful life. If you feel unhappy, seek the things that will fulfill you in life. Just be happy. The simplest route to something is to just be. The only person you can change is yourself.
1. Using words to hurt, maim and destroy your marriage
Although men are stronger physically, women have the advantage when it comes to verbal acumen. On average, women speak nearly three times more than men. The average female ends her day having spoken nearly 20,000 words, while her husband, boss, friend or partner has had his say with about 7,000. Women are talkers and have learned how to use words for the most effectiveness.
Women are adept at brandishing the sharpest words in order to shame, demean and belittle their man. Words are like toothpaste. Once they are out, there is no getting them back in. Regardless of how sorry you are afterward, the damage has been done. All the sorries in the world will never take back the sting of your angry words, once you have unleashed them on your hapless husband.
Rather than use your words as a weapon, use them as a healing balm to comfort, encourage and uplift your husband. And as grandma always used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
2. Having unrealistic expectations
Seeking fulfillment from one person, and projecting your unhappiness onto him when he doesn’t measure up will quickly destroy your marriage. If you feel unhappy, first examine reality. You will be happier if you shape your expectations to fit the reality of your situation. Expecting your spouse or children to make you happy is unrealistic. Make yourself happy.
Imagine if you could only have one friend for your entire life. Would that work for you? Most women have several friends, who fill several roles. We have a friend with whom we like to go shopping. One friend likes to work out with us. One friend leads a bible study. One friend loves to have coffee on Wednesday mornings.
Each person in your life fulfills a different and important role. None is more important, they are just different. If you expect your husband to complete you and bring you eternal happiness, not only are you setting him up for failure, but you are also setting yourself up for disappointment.
Rather than look to one person to fulfill your every need, try expanding your circle of influence, to include a variety of people, who fill your life with different blessings. And most of all, look to yourself. Find ways to feel complete and happy with who you are as a person. First, seek to find you own happiness, within yourself. And then, rather than look to someone else to complete you, find ways to complement each other’s lives.
3. Using sarcastic and critical statements, gestures, and facial expressions
This is a quick and easy way to show your husband that you don’t respect him or his opinion. Men can become overwhelmed by the barrage of criticism coming at them. The result is they shut down, withdraw, and seek kindness and approval elsewhere.
Have you ever experienced someone discounting what you have to say, without actually listening to you? When you are critical or sarcastic with your husband, he feels attacked and unvalued. Listen to him, without adding your two cents worth. If you’d like to ask questions, wait until he stops talking. Don’t interrupt with a story about how the dog threw-up on the carpet. Let him have a few minutes to be the center of your attention. And if you absolutely must get dinner made, invite him to join you in the kitchen. Tell him that you would like to hear about the rest of his day, and mean it.
Another way to show disrespect is to roll your eyes or make sarcastic facial expressions. These are just as irritating for your husband, as they are for you when your teen-aged daughter does it. There is no need to be rude, even if you’ve been married forever. It is more important to give him your attention, to look at him and to listen, than it is to roll your eyes or shake your head in exasperation. You are trying to build a bond, not destroy the man you love.
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4. Criticize him, make fun of him and belittle him to your friends and family
When you criticize and belittle your husband, you not only diminish your husband in your eyes, but you also poison those closest to you. You force them to take sides, and of course they choose your side, because they want to be loyal to you. Your friends and family don’t live at your house. They don’t see what goes on day after day. They don’t see the good things your husband does. The only view they have of your husband is the one that you present to them. If you are constantly badmouthing and belittling him, then they will view him as a bad partner for you.
After you speak badly about him, they will never look at your husband the same. Even when you get over your tirade, and everything is great at home, they will still be mad at him. Your friends and family members want to protect you from danger and harm. If you are constantly referring to your husband in a negative light, then they will want to protect you and your children from this monster you married, even if he isn’t really a monster.
When you speak poorly of your spouse, your close friendships and relationships will remain irreparably altered against your husband, in time, this can destroy your marriage. He will never understand why your friends don’t like him, and why your mother is mean to him.
Rather than trying to make excuses, don’t start down that path. When you speak of your husband, use uplifting, encouraging words. If he is acting like a jerk, you don’t need to gush about it to everyone you know. Your constant complaints against him will create a wall between your husband and your friends, that he can never overcome.
5. Withhold affection and sex
This can cause a huge rift in your marriage, whether you realize it or not. Men are wired differently than women. Your husband needs physical release through sexual intimacy. It is not just something he is demanding of you, it is something he needs, physiologically speaking.
When you refuse to meet his need for physical release, you are making a much deeper statement; you do not care about or respect his needs. This is not about whether you like or dislike sex. It is much more important than that. Your spouse needs to connect with you on a physical level, whether you are in the mood or not.
As much as you need emotional release and closeness, he is wired to need physical release and closeness. Neither is wrong. You are just different. While you want your emotional needs met, it is important not to lose sight of his needs. Think of it this way; what if he stopped talking to you for three days? How about a week? What if he didn’t talk to you for an entire month? Unconscionable, right? Likewise, it is unfair for you to cut him off from what he needs. You are in a relationship with a man you love, and you expect your needs to be met. In the same way, you need to meet his needs, regardless of whether you share the same needs and desires.
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6. Disrespecting his insight, opinions and advice
Men and women are different on many levels. Men are fixers. By nature, if you present a problem, he will come up with concrete steps to solve the problem. When you are dismissive, it sends the message that you do not value him. When you come to your husband with a problem or a concern, be ready for him to create an action plan to resolve your conflict. It may not be exactly what you would do, but he is offering a solution. The least you can do is listen to his suggestion, and thank him for his input. Before you reject his idea out of hand, take some time to consider what his opinion. Think about what he said. You don’t have to do everything he suggests, but listen and think about it.
If you just want to bitch and complain, call a girlfriend. Girlfriends are great listeners. They will not try to fix you. Women like to talk things out, without being fixed. Sometimes you just need an ear to listen, not a solution. When that is the case, perhaps your husband isn’t the person to approach.
If you must whine at your husband, tell him upfront that you don’t require a solution, just an ear to hear. He will still offer suggestions, but if you tell him, before you begin your rant, that you don’t need an answer, just to vent, then he won’t be offended when you don’t take his advice. And sometimes, you could surprise him and actually follow his advice. It might just work.
7. Undermining his authority, but demanding he take full responsibility
In any organization, there must be a leader, someone in charge. The head over the whole organization, who says, “The buck stops here.” Typically, the person who carries the responsibility ought to be the one who has the final say. Families and relationships are much like any other organization. There must be someone in charge, someone who will take full responsibility when things go wrong, and someone that everyone can turn to.
You, of course, are welcome to take that role, if you are willing to be fully responsible when the chips are down. It is easy to be critical of the person in charge, and it is easy to think that you could do a better job. The hard part comes when it is time to take responsibility. Rather than making decisions without regard for your husband’s input, and then blaming him when things don’t work out, try instead to work together. You can decide together how things should be done, and you can offer him the final say when decisions need to be made.
Don’t become so focused on your own feelings and fears (i.e. I’m afraid he’ll make a bad decision. I feel like I make better decisions) to override his feelings and fears (i.e. I am responsible to take care of the family. I’m afraid no one in the family respects me.) Be gracious in light of his decision making. You can respectfully disagree with a decision without attacking his ability to lead.
8. Never being happy
One of the quickest ways to destroy your marriage is to spend all your time acting miserable and unhappy. The goal of marriage should be peace and happiness. It is to this end that you have an obligation to be happy. If the goal is to be happily married, it is up to you to exercise self control. Only you can make yourself happy. If you believe that your happiness comes from other people or having things or external circumstances, then you will never be happy. You are in charge of your happiness. It is a decision. You can choose to be a miserable, unhappy grouch, or you can suck it up, pull your boots on and show up in your marriage as the person you’d like to be.
There is no need to express every angry, bitter or resentful thought. Everybody gets pissed off, frustrated and irritated. There isn’t anyone to blame. You are choosing to respond to your circumstances with that attitude. You can choose a different path. By owning your own problems, you can take responsibility for your own happiness. Each day, work on bringing your best self into the relationship. Regardless of what happens, you are only one thought away from peace.
Remind yourself every day, I can see peace instead of this. And then, work to see the peace that is available to you.
9. Demoralizing him and crushing his spirit
If asked, most men believe their wives to be more moral and spiritual than themselves. Often, the wife agrees. She does not see herself as sinful or wrong. She feels her greatest “sins” lie in being deeply disappointed by her husband’s failures and her children’s shortcomings. Beyond this, wives typically admit to bad behavior and attitudes, but attribute it to hormones, chemical imbalances and a dysfunctional childhood.
Woe to the husband who dares suggest his lovely bride could use improvement in some aspect of her life. Labeled a heartless, uncaring, unrighteous lout, he is silenced by an angered, wounded wife, cloaked in self-righteous indignation. She then feels perfectly justified in attacking every flaw, magnifying every misstep and pointing out every failure, until he feels ashamed for living. You are not your husbands Holy Spirit. Stop trying to correct every little flaw you perceive in his character and set about removing the blinding plank from your own eye.
Of course, everyone makes mistakes. You can build him up or tear him down. The choice belongs entirely to you.
10. Picking the wrong man
You repeat the pattern again. And again. You meet a man. You like him. You start dating. Then you begin to notice the tiny flaws. The chinks in his armor. He yells, just like your dad did. He drinks and becomes abusive. He is mean to your kids. “It’s o.k., ” you tell yourself, “I’ll fix him after we get married.”
Stop right there. There is no fixing it. The man you date will be the same man after you are married. Inherently kind? He’ll still be kind. Addicted to pornography? He’ll still be addicted. You cannot change the basic nature of other people. You cannot love them into changing. You cannot nag or pout or complain them into changing. If the relationship feels unhealthy during dating, getting married will not fix it. He will not magically become more responsible, more reliable, or more loving after you marry him. So if you want a good husband, find a good man, date him, and marry him.
While this list may seem daunting, it is important to remember that the main goal of marriage should be peace and happiness. If life is stressful, work on changing your perception. You can see peace instead of stress. You are only one thought away from a peaceful life. If you feel unhappy, seek those thing that will fulfill you in life. Just be happy. The simplest route to something is to just be. The only person you can change is yourself.
This material is copyrighted by Deborah Demander and may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.