My Husband Treats Me like I Don’t Matter

The 4-Step Formula for Transforming Your Cold Marriage into a Hot Romance

If you’re wondering what the signs are that your husband doesn’t love you, then you’ve probably already been seeing them.  He’s distant and cold, more interested in his phone or the TV than spending time with you.

Or your husband disrespects you, speaking harshly and criticizing your parenting or housekeeping.

Either way, it’s so angering and hurtful.  You’re probably wondering if there’s any hope for having the kind of relationship you deserve or if you just married the wrong man.

Here are four tips to inspire love so you can get your husband’s attention and fix your marriage for good.

Step 1: Get the Right Communication Tools

When you’re feeling hurt, it’s easy to say things like “You treat me like I don’t exist!” or “You never call because you don’t care about me” or “You don’t even make an effort to change.”

You’re just calling it like it is, doing your best to express your feelings and needs.  When all else has failed, how else are you supposed to wake him up?  The problem is that such constructive criticism is, well, critical.

If you’ve tried this approach, then you already know all too well that it doesn’t get you very far in restoring the connection you want.  On the contrary, criticizing him is disrespectful.

For men, respect is like oxygen, so there’s no surer way to suck the oxygen out of your relationship than to criticize or control, dismiss or demean him.  (And kill your sex life in the process since the biggest aphrodisiac for men is–you guessed it–respect!)

Conventional wisdom dictates using “I” statements like “I get anxious when I don’t hear from you” or “I would really appreciate it if you could spend some time with the kids for two hours every evening so that I could have some time to myself” or “I feel sad when we don’t communicate.”

But is that really better?  Using the word “you” and even “we” is venturing onto his side of the street.  Even if you manage to avoid conveying the implicit criticism You’re not communicating with me, hanging out on his side of the street puts you in control-land, which is another form of disrespect.

Once your eyes are open to how sneaky disrespect can be, what are you supposed to do instead?

If you’re lonely for his time, attention, or affection, try these three magic words: “I miss you.”

My student Charlene was stressed about her husband sleeping on the sofa.  She couldn’t sleep with the tension in the air, so she went out there and started to point out the error of his ways.  Then she caught herself.  She knew that disrespect wasn’t very attractive, so she used another magic phrase to clean it up: “I apologize for being disrespectful when I…” and filled in the blank with how she’s criticized him.

Now that her side of the street was clean, she vulnerably showed her softer side by saying what she really meant, which was simply “I miss you.”

He got in bed with her ten minutes later.  True story.

Step 2: Step into Your Power

Your man’s shortcomings, his part in the breakdown of your marriage, and the changes he needs to make are probably crystal clear.

It’s so frustrating and discouraging when you’re trying to get him to change and he just won’t.  It’s not very empowering either.

That’s because you cannot change anyone but yourself.  With no control over him making any changes, you become the victim.

But you’re no victim.

In fact, you hold all the power.  As a woman, you are the keeper of your relationship.

You have the power to change the culture of your marriage single handedly, without his conscious knowledge or effort.

It takes a lot of courage to let the change originate in you.  It means looking at your part in those very areas where he’s falling short even though they seem like all his fault.

If you’re feeling disrespected, how are you doing when it comes to showing respect?  If you’re feeling unappreciated, how are you doing when it comes to expressing appreciation?

And what does your husband see when he looks into his wife mirror?  If a painful self-image is reflected back to him in your eyes, he’ll stop looking.  What I see all too often is that he starts looking elsewhere to get the reflection he once got from you, back when you saw the best in him.

Try embarking on a smile campaign.  When he walks into the room, light up.  Instead of the typical “How was your day?” or “What do you want for dinner?” (“you” questions back on his side of the street), how about saying how happy you are to see him?

Chances are, he’ll want to spend more time with such a shiny wife mirror!

And he’ll want to share more with you too.  Haven’t you always wanted him to open up to you?  The more you just listen without contradicting or advising, the more he’ll want to.

Step 3: Work On the Right Things

I know, I know.  It’s kinda hard to light up when you’re exhausted or overwhelmed working, shuttling kids around, getting dinner on the table, dreading the mountain of dirty laundry, and worrying about your marriage on top of it all.

You might think I’m asking you to become a Stepford Wife.

Absolutely not!  I’m inviting you to be 100% authentic.

Here are two key questions for honoring yourself: How do you feel and what do you want?

The answer may be as simple as “I feel tired.  I want a nap.”

But it’s amazing how things can turn around after a thirty-minute lie down.  After some sorely needed “Me Time”, all may look right with the world again.  Your husband isn’t so annoying anymore.  Maybe he has even cleaned up while you got out of the way.

Self-care is like pixie dust, and it’s the indispensable first step to intimacy.

What would you do if only you had the time?  What did you used to do for fun back when you attracted him?

The more frivolous, the better.  Take a cooking class, kick your feet up and read instead of doing those dishes, go on that wine tasting day trip with your friends.

If you feel guilty, do it anyway!

If not for yourself, do it for your relationship.  Filling your self-care tank increases your magnetism and makes you an irresistible Goddess of Fun and Light.

And there’s no surer way to rekindle the spark.

Step 4: Turn Up the Gender Contrast

Here’s one more piece of conventional “wisdom” to ignore: date night!

Does adding that to the list of chores, right between scrubbing the toilets and cleaning the garage, really inspire romance?

If you really want to get the romance back, try dialing up the gender contrast instead.  One way to increase your femininity (and his masculinity) is becoming more receptive.  If he does the dishes, it may be tempting to say “Now how about wiping the counters?” (like I used to).

Instead, receive graciously.  Even if he loaded the dishwasher wrong.  Even if he did only a few.

Want the magic phrase for receiving?

“Thank you.”  That’s it!

When you focus on receiving, all sorts of things will start coming your way–to the point that you might feel guilty receiving them all.  If your husband has already taken care of the kids’ bath time and bedtime, gives you a massage while watching a movie with you, then offers to get up early so you can sleep in (yes, this is a real-life example), it might be too much to take.

I invite you to receive graciously anyway.  As he sees you being so pleasable, he’ll want to do even more to make you happy.  As you express your gratitude so freely, he’ll express more appreciation for you.

Here’s to having the power to change the culture in your marriage!

How will you use it?


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4 thoughts on “My Husband Treats Me like I Don’t Matter”

  1. My husband left me three years ago and lives somewhere else. He is withdrawn and going through what I believe is a midlife crisis and has been for some time Hes 64; married 36 years. He doesn’t like being old, thinks he doesn’t have enough for retirement, not where he should be in life etc., and to make matters worse he blames it on marrying me. I want my husband home; I want my marriage. We talk every day, but he won’t come home. Some days he says he doesn’t love me and is never coming back; other days he says he doesn’t know what he wants. Am I delusional to believe we still have a chance and that he will come home? Or should I just see the lawyer and be done? We had so many plans for retirement and life and I’m just so devastated and sad. I need to know your honest thoughts please. I have done all the wrong things, begging, crying, etc. It has not worked. 🙁

    Reply
  2. Hi Laura, I have followed your lessons and what’s been said above. The problem I have now is, there are no date nights nor intimacy( by that I mean, touch and sex). We have been interacting well for about 1.5 weeks, I am getting impatient.

    He is very fearful to bond again as he is fearful that we might get back to that toxic cycle, one that once led to a DV episode.

    I am aiming to flip it around and just have positive interaction. I am unable to bring up the date night and intimacy topic because it is his fear really. Whenever he thinks of it, it is a headache. So I can’t instigate flirt at all.

    Other then that, the housework, parenting side we sync well. Just don’t have that part. Please help!

    Reply
  3. This has nothing to do with the blog but oh my GOD ! I just started reading the surrendered wife and I’m on the part where it asked make a lists of all the things your husband does that you are grateful for and I swear I had the hardest time but after I really sat back oh my God ! i was like my husband really isn’t a bad gay

    Reply

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