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My Husband Is Miserable in Our Marriage

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

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…

Right?

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

letting husband make decisions

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

being positive in marriage

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

the power of a transformed wife

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?


9 thoughts on “My Husband Is Miserable in Our Marriage”

  1. I have a question: Is there ever a time to say you’re feeling disappointed or frustrated?
    My husband often doesn’t respond when I ask a question / make a comment. It’s often enough that I hesitate to talk lately to avoid rejection. We’ve talked about it several times in the past week. He’s either unable or unwilling to see how hurtful it is, and keeps doing it.
    Did I do the wrong thing bringing it up, and how he’s just resistant? How do I bring it up? I feel stuck, between being cold and quiet, or verbal and upset.

    Reply
    • Allison, I can see why you’re feeling stuck! It’s no fun when the choices are to stay hurt and mute or say something that costs you the intimacy you want. Good for you for asking this question. I remember how frustrating it was when I didn’t know how to communicate in a way my husband could hear. That’s why my coaches and I have helped thousands of women fix their relationships, including learning to express their hurt in a way that actually increases the intimacy.

      We can help you too! Get a coach so you can stop wasting time feeling disappointed, upset and rejected and start feeling desired, taken care of and special! Join the waitlist for The Ridiculously Happy Wife coaching program here:
      lauradoyle.org/rhw-waitlist

      Reply
  2. This is my life right now. I got caught up in depression. I accused him of cheating for the last two years which he has denied over and over and over. I constantly feel the need to check his phone which he keeps glued to his hand. He feels suffocated and that I don’t love him. He keeps telling me he’s not going anywhere but then makes comments like he doesn’t know how long he can keep putting up with being accused. We were so open for the first 10 years of our marriage and dating before that. I feel completely closed off. I miss my best friend. That man would have walked on fire and climbed Everest for me. I just want it back I feel like I have already lost him. I have been trying so hard to respect his boundaries while still practicing the 6 skills. I feel like I have already lost him. While also dealing with him not taking any responsibility for the reasons I started having the feelings to begin with. We are stuck in this unhappy cycle and I don’t want to be. Do you have any advice?

    Reply
    • Jessica, it sounds scary to feel the need to check his phone, so lonely to have lost your best friend. You shouldn’t have to be stuck in this unhappy cycle or alone in taking responsibility! You’re not the only one who struggles to create the new habits you want to have. It’s so painful to know what to do and then….not do it! That’s why my coaches and I have helped so many women fix their relationships and gain the habits that give them superpowers to have an amazing relationship. Get a coach so you can stop feeling depressed and closed off, and start feeling desired, taken care of and special! Join the waitlist for The Ridiculously Happy Wife coaching program here:
      lauradoyle.org/rhw-waitlist

      Reply
  3. This is my life right now, today is our sons third birthday and he’s been busy on his phone working and now disappeared upstairs
    My anxiety is killing me
    I want to check what he’s doing if he’s on the net looking for a house as he said two weeks ago he wants out.
    We have been better for a few days as I’ve started the six skills and working on me but today I feel very scared and vulnerable
    I’ve looked at couching but can’t find the money
    I feel so helpless that he is going to leave me

    Reply
    • Nicky, it’s amazing you’ve seen results from your practice of the 6 Intimacy Skills in just a few days! I can see why you’re feeling vulnerable and anxious right now. It sounds heart-wrenching to feel so scared he’ll leave. You should not have to hear that from your man. Good for you for getting in touch with your desire for coaching support. I’m glad to see you in the free Adored Wife Facebook group so you are not alone. I am standing for you!

      Reply
      • Thanks Laura yes I’m in the group and am reading all I can to learn how to fix things
        It’s just so hard right now
        My fears are killing my soul slowly and from reading your books I can see so many mistakes on my part I’ve tried to apologise but he just says tell me something I don’t know when I say how sorry I am for messing up

        Reply
  4. I found out my husband had an emotional affair. And also cheated otherwise.
    I wrote him a long letter.
    We set aside time to talk yesterday (about my letter). While he was getting ready to talk, I got on his phone. He had been talking to someone on tinder Sunday.
    He told me he had deleted that app.
    Anyway, he said he’s Pretty much he’s been miserable our entire marriage. He said I’ve always ignored him, I’ve never given him affection or attention, etc. He said he’s talking to these women out of desperation for attention.
    I don’t know what to do. He said he has no faith that anything will ever change. I can’t fix this alone. I can’t work on myself and our marriage when he has no faith in it and while he’s still talking to other women.
    He is legitimately broken and suicidal and won’t get help.
    He’s lonely and lost his self esteem.
    Like he said.. We’ve ruined each other, but we love each other. So now what?
    I seriously don’t know what to do. Nothing will ever be good enough and even if I fix my end, he won’t see it. He’s blinded by spite now.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear you’re going through all of that. This is devastating and I imagine how hopeless it must feel. I know you just want to be a happy wife, but first, you have to fix your relationship and it feels like it’s falling apart. As the wife, you have enormous power to save your relationship, in my experience. I hate to see you suffer one more day. I invite you to apply for a free Relationship Assessment to explore how private coaching would fit for you and empower you to fix your marriage. You can apply at lauradoyle.org/marriage-relationship-coaching. You deserve to be desired, taken care of, and special!

      Reply

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