Is Your Man’s Happiness MIA? Try These 4 Things Today.
If your husband says he loves you but is unhappy, you may be dealing with a case of Miserable Husband Syndrome.
Do you wish he’d help out around the house but, no matter how nicely you ask, he’s too busy watching yet another episode of Breaking Bad?
Have you begged him to spend time with the kids but he’s still more interested in his phone than his own children?
Or asked him to have sex–or just spend time with you, period–but he’d rather work all hours than be with you?
Maybe you’ve expressed how you feel, cried even, and he’s actually gotten angry and walked out. Talk about feeling abandoned.
His lack of interest, consideration, and responsibility is so lonely–and infuriating!
They’re also among the top unhappy marriage signs.
If you’re going through any of this, it’s natural to wonder if you’d be better off without him. But then you remember that you’d really rather keep your family together. Or maybe just that you still love him and don’t want to be another divorce statistic.
Whatever your reason, the good news is: There is hope.
Here are 4 tips to try today so you can bring back the cheerful man you fell in love with.
1) Expect the Best Outcome
It’s natural to want to figure out exactly what’s wrong so you can fix it.
Maybe you’ve noticed a pattern of specific triggers like him getting into a mood when you bring up certain topics. Great–now you can brainstorm ideas to help him work past it…
Well, on second thought, I bet you’ve already tried gently suggesting, say, that he get checked out or get professional help or at least try some supplements. But your helpful suggestions have about the same impact as an umbrella in a hurricane.
That’s because “helpful” in wife language translates to “controlling” in husband language.
Not only was I clueless on that point, I just couldn’t help myself because I was convinced I knew better than my husband.
As good as it feels being right, there’s something very unsexy about being a know-it-all. I felt more like his mom (and men do not want to have sex with their moms, which leads to even more disconnect in the marriage).
If you’re ready to change the “helpful” dance so he starts taking some initiative, what if you…stopped?
What if you instead gave him the space to figure it out on his own?
When you’re wanting things to change–preferably yesterday–just giving him space probably sounds scary, if not a bad idea.
But space is a powerful thing because it conveys the message that you expect the best outcome.
When you expect the best, people have a way of rising to the occasion.
Speaking of space, when he gets home is he used to being greeted with a list of to-do’s or an agenda of scheduling questions?
That’s natural when you’ve been waiting to see him all day and want to have the floor before he switches on the TV or hides out in his man cave.
Try greeting him with a smile and saying you’re happy to see him. You might even hear the sigh of relief.
If you do feel the urge to question him, criticize what he’s been doing, or get into fix-it mode, here are three little words you can say instead that will totally switch things up…
“I hear you.”
That’s it. Just listening, without agreeing or disagreeing, is a big way to create emotional safety in a hurry.
2) Relinquish Control of the Outcome
When Rachel’s husband simply checked out as a husband and father, he claimed he was having a midlife crisis, but she was afraid she had married an alcoholic.
When it was time for dinner, the kids’ bath and bedtime, he’d hightail it out the door to the bar.
Or, if he was home, he couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger (except to click the TV remote, cigarette lighter, or his fiercely guarded phone).
Being a single mom while her husband lived the single life was not what Rachel had signed up for. She told him she needed help. He agreed–then came home too drunk to follow through.
When his only remedies were to follow his friends’ suggestions to smoke pot for anxiety or take hallucinogenic mushrooms for a “reset,” Rachel was scared. She didn’t know how things would ever get better.
She did know one thing: she had no control over this man.
She had tried to manage his drinking, and it had only gotten worse, to the point of his blacking out in the arms of other women.
Determined to keep her family intact, Rachel decided to try a new approach. She completely relinquished control of his lifestyle choices.
Fear underlies control. So Rachel made a conscious decision to choose faith over fear.
Getting out of the way had a profound impact. There was a lot more room for him to take the initiative to solve his own problem.
The “midlife crisis” (or whatever it was) is long gone.
These days, he’s more interested in being her hero, even skipping his own plans to golf or go out with friends so he can spend more time with the fam.
3) Catch Him Doing Something Good
When Rachel was too scared to be able to see that outcome, it was very tempting to stay focused on the problem.
But pointing out that he drank too much had not helped. At all.
On the contrary, the problem had only increased. (This probably sounds familiar if your husband drinks too much.)
So Rachel decided to try something new. She shifted her focus from him having a problem (and her own problems as a result) to looking for opportunities to catch her husband doing something good.
Every time he did anything to help out, whether spending five minutes with the kids or carrying a single dish to the sink, she expressed her gratitude. She let him know how much it meant that he was putting her first.
She made a list of everything she was grateful for about him and added to it daily to keep her gratitude mindset present for herself. The volume dial of her fears and complaints went way down.
Not only did she feel the shift within herself, she saw something shift in her husband.
He quit coming home drunk. Instead of going out, he chose to stay home to help out with bedtime and watch a movie together.
How would the atmosphere change at your house if you were vocal about how much you appreciate your man’s efforts? His strengths?
Is he a great handyman? Does he send your grandma flowers on her birthday? For an instant (gr)attitude adjustment, try making a list of everything you’re thankful to him for, big and small.
Shifting the dialogue to the positives does double-duty: It refocuses your view and influences his perception of himself too. He’ll be quick to want to please you even more.
4) Find Your Own Happiness
If only you could be the cure for his unhappiness. If only…
But I’m sure you already know that the only person who can make your husband happy is him.
His unhappiness is not personal, and it’s not your fault.
While you can’t control it, you do have enormous power as his wife. That’s because you are the keeper of the relationship.
When he’s glum, it can be pretty hard to show up cheerful yourself. The problem is that, when two people mirror each other, the cycle perpetuates.
Ready to switch up that vicious cycle?
What if you started showing up happy yourself? Distracted yourself with a coffee date with a girlfriend or found a hobby that takes your mind off your husband’s unhappiness?
Becoming the happiest version of YOU is contagious!
Since having a dark cloud hovering under your own roof can make anyone crazy, social self-care is an especially potent antidote.
How could you find a release? Whether you speak with a supportive friend or join a free online support group, it always helps to talk to like-minded women you can trust.
Now that you know all four ways to bring back the man you fell in love with, which will you try first?
Hi! I’m Laura.
I was the perfect wife–until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.
I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.