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My Husband Doesn’t Appreciate Me

My Husband Doesn’t Appreciate Me

3 Ways to Get More Love and Recognition for All You Do

When your husband is on the couch watching TV or staring at his phone while you’re doing the zillionth load of laundry, shuttling your kids around for the fifth time that day or putting in long work hours, it can rub you the wrong way.

Especially if he doesn’t even seem to know how clean underwear magically appear in his drawer.

It would go a long way to know that he sees how hard you work and that he values it.

But it appears he has no idea. He’s not even aware of all it takes to keep your household running smoothly, which makes you feel lonely and taken for granted.

You could tell him, but what would that accomplish? He’d only nod and listen as long as he thought he had to before he could get back to the TV or phone.

Then you’d feel even lonelier and less appreciated.

At least that’s how it went around here back in the bad old days.

Fortunately, there is a much better way to get some recognition from your husband, which all humans need at times.

Here are 3 ways to get more appreciation for all you do: Click To Tweet

1. Create a Culture of Gratitude

Before I learned the 6 Intimacy Skills, I was pretty stingy with appreciating my husband.

I was afraid that if I thanked him for what he was doing, he would think he was doing enough. I didn’t want to send the wrong message.

I also worried that if I thanked him for taking out the trash he would think it was optional and stop doing it, then I’d have to add that to my already too long to-do list.

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So I withheld gratitude. I told myself he already knew that I appreciated him anyway.

Of course he worked hard and did a lot of things to lighten my load, but I was busy focusing on what he wasn’t doing that I thought he should be doing, so I didn’t see why I should be grateful.

I now know I can’t be grateful and resentful at the same time.

Choosing gratitude meant I had to give up my resentment, which somehow felt as hard as parting with a precious family heirloom because I was so used to having it.

It wasn’t until I made it a point to find at least three things a day to appreciate about him that I realized I had been completely wrong–about everything.

First, I learned that my husband didn’t know I appreciated him until I started telling him.

I know that sounds obvious when I say it like that, but I couldn’t believe how fast I got a better response when I said I was so happy the trash was emptied or that the kitchen looked so much tidier after he cleaned it or how much I liked the way the yard looked after he trimmed the bushes.

Once I expressed my appreciation, he actually looked for ways to delight me further by putting gas in my car, bringing me a cup of tea or fixing the broken sprinkler.

One husband described this happening at their house also after his wife had been so grateful to him for fixing a broken cabinet. He thought to himself, “What else can I break around here so I can fix that too?”

Seeing my husband put all that effort into making my day sure made me feel like he valued me after all.

But there was more.

The more I appreciated my husband for everyday tasks, the more he started to respond in kind by appreciating me for making dinner and putting away laundry. The result was that we now have a culture of gratitude in our home where we’re always thanking each other.

Talk about feeling valued!

I’m guessing your husband works hard and does a lot too. He may also be longing for some acknowledgment. Again, that’s just human.

Saying things like, “I appreciate you working so hard to support the family,” “Thanks for always taking care of the cars,” or “You’re such a great dad” can go a long way toward creating a culture of gratitude where you both feel appreciated.

If you find yourself feeling resistance to giving appreciation to get appreciation, I totally get it. I felt the same way.

But ultimately I decided that I wanted to be a grateful wife, not a bitter, resentful one. So it was really about me. As a fringe benefit, I got more recognition too.

Win-win!

 

2. Find Your “I Can’t”

Another block that stood between me and feeling appreciated was this weird habit I had of giving myself responsibilities that no one said I had to do and that I didn’t want to do but I made myself do anyway.

I’d volunteer for all kinds of chores and favors then be stressed out and exhausted afterward.

Then the world looked wrong because I was so depleted. And my husband, who just happened to be there because he lives with me, seemed especially intolerable.

There was no amount of appreciation that could fill my tank in those moments, and I had lots of those depleted times in the bad old days.

I was operating from a cavernous deficit that no bouquets or other sweet gestures could fill.

These days I’m slow to volunteer, am quick to leave dishes in the sink for however long and rarely get into that painful state of self-betrayal.

If someone else asks me to do a task that’s more than I can handle, I use these magical words to decline: “I can’t.”

That phrase has saved me so much grief and so many hostility hangovers that I’m very fond of it.

If I don’t overdraw my energy, I don’t turn into a fire-breathing dragon. It’s that simple.

I’m not perfect though. One time my husband needed a ride to the airport very early on a busy workday. I forgot to say “I can’t.”

Instead, I got overtired and grumpy. It wasn’t pretty.

I shrilly asked him why he had to go so early and pointed out that he wasn’t considerate of my schedule at all. Then I glared at him and fumed in stony silence while he nervously waited for the storm to pass.

I’m sure he wished I had said “I can’t” too.

Using that phrase has meant that I can feel my husband’s appreciation and delight, instead of angrily wondering why I have to be the kitchen elf while he gets to have a good time.

If you haven’t tried saying “I can’t” yet, I highly recommend it.

3. Look for Evidence that Your Husband Appreciates You

Another thing I did that doesn’t work very well is gather evidence that my husband doesn’t appreciate me because he wasn’t showing appreciation the way I thought he should–by telling me so and offering to take on more responsibility.

I don’t recommend that.

What I focus on increases, so if I focus on how he’s not giving me the appreciation that I want, I’ll never get it.

If, however, I decide to focus on whatever small things he is doing to show his gratitude, even if it’s not quite what I had in mind, I immediately feel more seen and recognized.

Therefore, I recommend getting out your magnifying glass and searching for all the evidence you can that he appreciates and loves you.

Maybe he didn’t tell you directly that he appreciated you, but he did tell his brother on the phone that you were working hard. That shows he notices.

It could be something more subtle, like a knowing smile, a simple hug or a momentary backrub.

When I’m keenly focused on how he is appreciating me, even if it’s just him saying thanks when I tell him where his shoes are, I start to feel more appreciated.

How do you know your husband appreciates you?

 


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17 thoughts on “My Husband Doesn’t Appreciate Me”

  1. Seriously, Laura, this post really hit home for me. I am the queen of thinking my husband is out to get me by not appreciating me and by taking for granted everything I do. He is that guy who sits in the recliner and watches his iPad and lets me do all the work. At least that is what I thought until I started to really consider all that he does. He works two jobs. He works 56 hours a week so I can stay home with our kids. How is that lazy?? I’m quite new at all of these things you are teaching but one of the first things I realized is that he DOES respond in kind. If I can start the chain reaction of loving and respectful behavior he returns it just as you said he would. Thank you so much for what you do. I truly believe our marriage is going to be much better and our household much more joyful by following your advice! Oh, another thing that you kind of touched on is that I’m finding it’s really important to know my husband’s love language. Mine is not the same as his and I have been missing his huge displays of love for me simply because they are not the same way that I express love. He put new brakes on my van so I would be safe. How could I have missed that? Yep, he loves me. And he’s not out to get me.

    Reply
    • Becky Kay, I love your awareness and your gratitude! Thank you for sharing your inspiring experience. I’m so happy that the 6 Intimacy Skills are turning things around for you!

      If you like what you’ve read so far, you’ll love my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

      Reply
  2. This is one of the “biggest” things I struggle with in my marriage. My husband just sits back while I run around doing everything and never get a thank you. I love this article I keep re reading it trying to let it sink in. Thank you xxx

    Reply
    • Julie, that sounds so tough to have to do everything while he’s sitting around and to not even get a thank you. I remember how exhausting it was doing everything myself. The 6 Intimacy Skills made my husband step up to take initiative, especially with chores and finances, and to express his gratitude for what I do.

      I love your commitment to trying a new approach and can’t wait for you to feel cherished, desired and adored too! For more ideas to get you there, check out my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

      Reply
  3. I totally get what you are saying Laura…..but, if your husband separated from you and you don’t really have any interaction except through texting how can you do this? I don’t think my husband is interested anymore in me. He is only interested in the OW. His focus is on divorce, splitting our assets and going his own way.

    Reply
    • Tina, it is heartbreaking that your husband seems interested only in divorce when you are so committed to saving your marriage. I admire your vulnerability in reaching out for support on this.

      One client was afraid the Intimacy Skills wouldn’t work for her because her husband had already moved out and was determined to get a divorce. Texts turned into a coffee date, which turned into dinner, and before she knew it he was giving her gifts and taking the initiative to stay in contact with her. Another client decided to keep practicing the Intimacy Skills for herself after giving up on getting her husband back from the other woman. He came back to his wife and told her he missed her, he was sorry and he wanted to move back home. A wife with the Intimacy Skills trumps a mistress any day of the week and twice on Sundays!

      I’d love to see what those texts turn into as you practice the 6 Intimacy Skills for yourself. I invite you to try the 5-Day Get Cherished Challenge at http://getcherished.com

      Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing this, Laura, but I wonder if that’s an exhaustive list. If I say I can’t do something, my husband simply says “Okay, don’t do it.” But messes don’t proceed to clean themselves up, they keep growing, and growing, and the husband says he’s not bothered by it. It’s *my* problem, he says. I get that asking, begging, or thanking – yes! – doesn’t work in my case. Then what does?

    Reply
    • Nastia, it sounds frustrating that you’re trying these techniques and not seeing the results you want yet. I would feel overwhelmed and resentful if my husband responded that way. I love your commitment to trying a new approach!

      In my experience, women see results within two weeks of learning the 6 Intimacy Skills. For me, that didn’t mean that my husband stood at attention right away. I was changing the steps to a decades’ old dance, and it took him a while to catch up. Fortunately, I stayed the course, even when he didn’t respond to my new dance steps like I hoped, and he soon came around.

      For a more exhaustive list of how to get the support you deserve, check out my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

      Reply
  5. that is a very sore topic. My DH is so blind to all the things I bring into the marriage and all the things I do to show him my love, respect and gratitude. I am taken for granted. and this will stop. I will not do it anymore. He will be in for a rude awakening but it is necessary. So our boys will learn to do it.

    Reply
    • Tearing Apart, it sounds painful that your husband refuses to see all that you contribute to your marriage. I can see why you’re not willing to do it anymore!

      I remember how much it hurt when I felt that my husband took me for granted. With the 6 Intimacy Skills, we now have a culture of mutual gratitude in our home.

      I know you can have that too and would love to support you. I invite you to apply for a free discovery call with a certified coach at https://lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching.

      Reply
  6. Appreciation is the magic word against feminism. feminism is the result of women being unappreciated and taken for granted by men, church and society. I raise my boys to show their deep respect and appreciation to the women who make them great.

    Reply
  7. As a general rule I try to make sure that I thank him for all his efforts whether it’s a smaller thing like making a nice family dinner or something bigger like not losing it in a situation where he’d typically be short tempered but he usually responds by saying he doesn’t need to be thanked. Or sometimes he doesn’t even acknowledge my thanks. How do u even work with that?

    Reply
    • B, I love your commitment to expressing gratitude! It sounds discouraging that your man doesn’t receive your thanks the way you’d like.

      Especially when we’re new to the 6 Intimacy Skills, husbands don’t always respond the way we’d hope. One husband objected that his wife didn’t need to keep apologizing for being disrespectful. She said she did need to do it–for herself. When I stayed the course of showing gratitude, regardless of my husband’s reaction, we soon had a culture of mutual gratitude.

      I know you can get the acknowledgment you deserve. I’ll show you how in my upcoming Introductory Course on the 6 Intimacy Skills. You can register for free at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

      Reply
  8. How about coming home from a 15 hour night shift, to a sink full of dishes, a garbage can overflowing, animals not fed, while hubby sleeps through the day and watches t.v. or computer til dinner. When I voice that I’m upset, he throws the remote at the wall and yells to not tell him what to do, and he leaves. I clean up the mess, make dinner and run around to get ready for my next night shift, only to find no one comes home for dinner. My teenager text me that I’m closed minded and not to speak to him badly, when he walks out of the house without telling me where he is going, talks to his friends instead of me when we are on the phone, and is blind to the fact that there I am in his life and made dinner, as usual.

    Reply
  9. Hi Laura,
    I get what you are saying however my husband never appreciates anything,always puts me down even in public,never does anything special even on my birthday.He does pay the rent and pay the bills and puts food on the table however i did that on my own when i worked.now he wont let me work.

    Reply
  10. I tried thanking him for three things everyday and complimenting him for different things. He just says, “ That’s what I do.” or “ I know”. I know I’m not supposed to be showing appreciation to get appreciation, but it’s frustrating to never be thanked for anything I do to raise 8 kids or anything I do for him.

    Reply

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