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Appreciating Your Spouse

Appreciating Your Spouse

Why does my husband keep telling me all the things he does for me?


Dear Gary,

My husband is always telling me the wonderful things he’s doing to make me happy. If he makes the bed, makes calls on my behalf, works hard at work, I hear about it. The other day he had to take care of a health insurance issue and he made sure to tell me that it took over two hours and three phone calls in case I thought it went smoothly. I don’t constantly tally up what I do for him and I find it childish for him to do this. My friends told me her husband doesn’t do this so why is mine?

Either he has low self-value or you’re not appreciating him enough… or both. Telling him to stop obviously hasn’t worked. Have an honest conversation about what he’s looking to gain from these comments. If you want it to diminish, the best thing you can do is send more appreciation his way. Appreciation is crucial. My research reported that unhappily married men said the number one thing they wanted in their marriages is more appreciation.

Unhappily married men said the number one thing they wanted in their marriages is more appreciation.

Whenever I ask a couple to list the things they appreciate about each other, they always come up with a very short list. When I mention the obvious missing points like being a good parent, working hard to make money, the person always tells me, “But he/she is supposed to do that.”

Most spouses make the mistake of believing that appreciation is only given when someone has gone well beyond the call of duty. Yet every one of us wants to be noticed and loved for our hard work regardless of whether or not it is our responsibility. Appreciation can be as easy as a simply hug, thank you, loving gesture (her favorite flower, his favorite magazine). It’s more about a focus and a culture that encourages appreciation than tireless energy.

Related Article: 5 Ways to Stay in Love Forever

Whether or not he should be telling you about the “wonderful things he does” is the subject of the Talmud written approximately 2,000 years ago. It sums up that one should tell that he is the giver of the gift if the recipient will not figure it out on his own. However, if will be be clear to the recipient that you gave the gift, you should not mention it.

When a spouse is giving a gift, he or she should tell the spouse of the time, effort, and approximate cost, if it will in no way be clear. This is not tooting your own horn but rather elaborating that you love your spouse and are willing to go the extra mile to make your spouse happy and continue to create a loving relationship. If the receiving spouse will know of the gift and the energy and/or money it took, then it’s unnecessary to mention it. Under those circumstances, telling the recipient could be a way of bragging, trying to make the person feel guilty, or getting something in return. That person may have an excessive need to call attention to his actions so that he can be praised. If you feel this is the case, have a frank, loving conversation about it while listening carefully with a willingness to confront yourself and evaluate if you can be more appreciative as well.

When a gift is given from a spouse, it becomes the recipient’s job to be properly appreciative so that the gift does indeed create a warmer, more loving moment between spouses. Don’t wait for the big gifts. Appreciate the little things as well.

May 14, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 20

(15) mitch, November 12, 2013 12:36 AM


Man and woman are equal. I used to love my husband since I really love him deeply. I do help him in many ways. Help on finding money not the same money as he got. Tried to help him with many efforts. I feel love why not from him and appreciation for the past years but when I am just home and take care of my kids without contributing much financially he started complaining of expenses. I don't like listing details of my expenses. I know how to be thrift but when it comes to education of my children I don't like them to study on public schools like in the barrio so I let them study on private school. Years past as he couldn't able to save. He always blame me now on our expenses. I am tired of those words now. That I made his life miserable. Years of separate life sending money to us and giving him love and concern through messages on net calling isn't. Just seldom coz he doesn't like even telling I missed him coz the answer is it is fault. The worst thing for me last time he went home is he isn't interested on making love at me anymore coz it's not tight after giving birth with my last baby. While my obygene said no it's tight. How would I show my deep love to him now? I miss him tirribly but the thing is I guess I really need to work to help him find money for him to love me. i actually hated my life now.I love my kids and him. I am confused. I appreciated everything in him. Does he appreciate what I'm doing? No...coz he thinks I only spend. Anyway, God knows how I love him.

(14) Richard, January 27, 2013 8:33 PM

One Man's Opinion

On my third marriage and into 20 years with a wonderful woman. (#1 passed away; # 2 divorced after 5 years). I'm in my early 80's. We go everywhere together; help each other continually. As I'm a better cook, I do most of the kitchen work. She pays the bills, keep the checkbook. We both keep the place clean and orderly. Neither of us "throws up" all the great acts we have performed in the other's behalf. At the end of the day, such talk would be totally needless. Thank G-d, we truly love each other, stlll hold hands while walking together, and kiss each other good night every night of our lives.

(13) Sarah K., December 29, 2011 11:56 AM

Man article

I think the question was absolutely different from the answer of an author. I am sure she does appreciate what her husband does but sometimes men can be really annoying and keep saying what they've been doing and how hard they work while they don't even listen when a woman complains about her job at home cleaning and cooking all the time. We all need an appreciation and there's nothing special about this or that gender. Take it easy.

(12) alias casper, September 19, 2011 11:38 PM

I wonder if she ever told or tells him thank you. Men need to know they are appreciated. Why assume and presume when you can communicate. I say pray for him, and ask Father God to help you see your own weakness, instead of pointing your finger at your husband. Not to offend you girl, but have you ever told God,"thank you for your husband"!! A marriage is a investment with 2 people working together. Alot of us woman are solo, and sometimes you wives,( not all) (no offense intended) are just down right too critical!! Blessings and Shalom!! Happy Rosh Hashana!!

(11) lisa, May 22, 2011 4:28 AM

(M. Gary Nueman....You were fantastic on Oprah!!! )

Get over it.......if this is all you have to be upset about....then thank G-d!!! It's just his way......when he tells you what he did for you.....just smile (or not) & say thanks!!! And then MOVE ON!!!!

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