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Husbands Can't Wait

Husbands Can't Wait

Your children are not the only ones who need your attention.


There is something new afoot in the world of marital counseling these days. It's on television, on radio, in books and online. Everyone seems to be talking about it. What's this big news? (Drum roll please). It seems that men (read husbands) have needs too.

A lot of men are starting to speak out. Not in anger, but in pain. Men who feel that whatever they do, it's not enough. Men who feel constantly attacked and criticized. Men who feel neglected and taken for granted.

This troubling issue has many causes and manifestations. One significant factor in men's diminished satisfaction seems to be the birth of children.

What exactly am I saying? Certainly not that fathers aren't equally overjoyed and enamored of their offspring. Certainly not that they love them any less (sometimes more) and wouldn't lay down their lives for them.

In fact it's not the children themselves that are the exact issue but the behaviors of their mothers.

From pregnancy onward, women turn inward. They may be nauseated, they are definitely exhausted, and they are distracted by the miracles taking place within their growing and now unfamiliar body. These symptoms lead to a certain pulling back from their husbands and a decreased focus on their needs.

This situation, if not checked, can only worsen after childbirth. Not only is there more exhaustion (and more and more), not only are there more physical demands and sometimes discomfort, there are other emotional demands as well. And after all, don't the demands of an infant, toddler, young child, teenager...come before that of an adult? Our husbands can wait.

But the truth is they can't. And neither can our marriages. While some of our children's needs are obviously immediate (a crying infant comes to mind), others are not. I'm all for holding babies but it doesn't have to occur 24/7. Husbands need holding -- literal and figurative -- as well.

All relationships need nourishment. Husbands and wives need private time away from their children even if it's just 15 minutes locked in the bedroom! They need time to connect, to talk, to just be alone together.

The gift of a strong marriage is a greater gift to your children than driving them to one more piano lesson.

Not only can't your husband wait until the kids are grown to resume your relationship (and he probably won't!) but you can't either. You will have more to give to your children if you feel your husband's love and support behind you.

The gift of a strong marriage is a greater gift to your children than reading them one more book or driving them to one more piano lesson.

In addition, it's healthier for our children (at the right age) to learn delayed gratification, to recognize that all their needs can't be attended to immediately and that people outside themselves (like their parents!) have needs also. It's better for them not to feel like everything and everyone revolves around their wishes and desires.

Sure men make mistakes in marriage too (that's for another article), but this seems to be a uniquely female error. The mother-child bond can be so intense as to foster the illusion that no other relationship is necessary. But that not only destroys a marriage, it damages the child as well. That suffocating love is not a healthy environment for the full actualization of individual potential and the achievement of successful adulthood. And whatever naive hopes you retain about the possibility of this relationship satisfying your emotional needs will quickly be shattered by the advent of adolescence if not sooner.

It's a real shame that we've become so focused on being super parents that we've forgotten to be super spouses. Because that's really our first and last priority. Husbands are starting to speak up now. I just hope their wives will listen.

May 2, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 54

(54) Anonymous, January 24, 2018 11:37 AM

Change perspective

This is obviously a very loaded topic, with strong opinions either way. In my 16 years of marriage, and after a few children, I've learned that: it is crucial to the functional marriage that the couple is united and feels that way. It can only be about US, and should never be about him vs. her. Do whatever it takes to achieve that feeling in your marriage, whether through date nights or constant re-connection, or whatever else works for you as a couple. It is also very important for each spouse to prioritize their own individual needs, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, without depending on their spouse to fulfill those needs. When that unified feeling is present, you will each he able to give so much more to each other as well as to your children, because you will be secure in the feeling that you are in this together, and a burden shared is a burden halved. In fact, in this case, you will see that your "burden" of raising a family will become a sack of diamonds!

(53) Stuart Kaplowitz, December 29, 2013 4:22 AM

So True!

And wouldn't it be wonderful if we guys did a better job of expressing our needs. Stuart A. Kaplowitz, MFT

(52) Anonymous, June 3, 2013 5:17 PM

I'm Living This

This is one of the greatest articles on topic that is out there. I'm living through this very scenario now and it looks like, unfortunately, that it will end in divorce. Like the author said, everything changed once our oldest was born. It seemed that her mother had a switch that flipped from wife to mother and that was the end of that. Because we got married later in life we decided to have a second child and what attention there was that was paid to a marriage quickly became less than nothing. Repeated requests for a date night, or even just a walk outside were rebuked. She was either too tired, didn't trust a babysitter, didn't feel like it, etc. I even told her that I didn't feel that she still loved me. I had seen many of my friend's wives (several who had more kids than us) writing long paragraphs on social media about how great their husbands were and how much they loved them. I had asked her for an occasion text just to say "I love you" or "I miss you". Her response was that she was too busy. It got to the point that I told her how much pain I was in and she said "you can't be in that much pain, you're still here". That did it for me. We are now legally separated but I hold out hope that she will "see the light".

(51) Anonymous, February 21, 2012 7:50 PM

You make good points....

Yet, and this would have to be a much larger article, but sometimes in less than perfect world, we are given a huge, huge ill child. That is what we lived through. I TRIED all I could to do it all...tho' I was not working away from home (that was not possible with an ill child) but when he came home, he was not available to help hardly at all. So that meant that yes, he had less of me too. If a husband will "step up to the plate", tho' it was not something one wishes for in life, nor asks for, I think the wife will have a bit more to give to him too. We need to sleep ocassionally as well. We, unfortunately did not live near kin, or much of any reliable person to help out. We made it, but barely. HaShem was my only help most of the time. And now, as an old grandma? I have many health problems. I do wonder if I could have slept more, would I now be healthier? Guess I will never know an answer to that.

(50) Anonymous, February 20, 2012 12:54 AM

What if your husband does it

My husband insists on putting the toddler to sleep every night and I am alone.

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