Many men neglect and abuse their wives emotionally, and it leads to thousands of new divorces every day.
Husbands do this totally unaware and accidentally, and sometimes wives think it’s a cop-out to say so, but it doesn’t make it less true. Their husbands don’t know, even though their wives have told them once or a thousand times.
There are more than 3,000 daily divorces in the United States, two out of three which are initiated by wives. It’s too depressing to figure out how many children that affects, so I’m not going to. Too many.
But, guys? IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Sure, some guys are the worst kind of human beings imaginable. Disgusting. Violent. Physically and verbally and sexually abusive. Criminally irresponsible. Dishonest and unreliable. Remorselessly unfaithful. I’m still trying to figure out how women end up marrying men like this, but regardless, these marriages usually end badly, and it’s generally safe to point fingers at the guy in such situations. Your fault, dick.
But that’s not who most of us are. Most of us are—flawed and imperfect though we may be—decent people with aspirations of being “good.” Most of us are good men. Good men who are also bad husbands. Being good at marriage is like being good at your job, or being good at woodworking, or being good at motorcycle repair.
Being a good husband is a skill. And the reason it’s not your fault you’re shitty at it is because no one told you that you were shitty at it until your wife did. The person you gave up your previous identity for and promised to faithfully love and share resources with forever. The person you tell “I love you.” The person you help provide for. The person you trust with your life and the lives of your children.
She’s the first one to break the news, and it doesn’t go down easy: “You are a shitty husband who makes me feel bad and unloved.”
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. It wasn’t my fault, either.
My great-grandfather didn’t teach my grandfather who didn’t teach my father who didn’t teach me. Maybe it’s my great-great grandfather’s fault. Or maybe his dad’s. I don’t know.
I just know that I got married when I was 25, and no one had ever said anything until my wife did around the age of 30. I had the same reaction as the rest of you guys.
Really!? My fault? Why is it ALWAYS the guy’s fault!? The ones who don’t gossip, who stay out of drama, who rarely complain, who never have fights with others, who never start fights at home, who forgive and forget? What a crock of shit.
I’d get really pissed and defensive just like you. Because it wasn’t my fault. And it’s not your fault, either. Maybe other people are blaming you, but I’m not.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
But your wife’s wellbeing? The state of your marriage? The stability of your family?
It’s your responsibility.
Come With Me If You Want To Live
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Spoiler Alert: An artificial-intelligence computer called Skynet developed for military applications becomes self-aware, takes control of U.S. military weapons systems, and launches a global nuclear attack to wipe out humanity. Judgment Day.
The computer processor which would evolve into Skynet was invented by a cybernetics scientist named Miles Dyson. He was a decent guy. Married with a young son. He was Director of Special Projects at Cyberdyne Systems Corp. Just a guy doing his job, developing advanced technology. He probably believed he was doing something valuable for the world.
But his greatest achievement led to global destruction.
As most of you know, this was an accidental side effect of Dyson’s work. OF COURSE he wouldn’t have developed those technologies if he knew humanity would face global extinction as a result.
The end of the world WAS NOT HIS FAULT.
But it was his responsibility, which is why he helped the protagonists blow up his lab and destroy all of the research, losing his life in the process.
The Secret to Making Your Wife Happy and Your Marriage Awesome
Men are looking for the cypher to crack the code. A solution to the problem. They want someone to say: “Here’s what’s wrong! And if you do X, Y, and Z everything will magically get better!”
Bad news, guys. There is no actual secret code.
There’s no shortcut. There’s only the long, slow way, like saving for retirement or building a successful business:
We love hard. We listen to our partners and believe them when they tell us things. We devote the same energy we devote to learning how to be good at our jobs, or how to succeed in our competitive endeavors and hobbies to learning the intricacies of our spouse.
We don’t stop flirting with them and courting them and learning about their hopes and dreams just because we don’t feel all young and lusty like we did when we were dating.
We give a little bit more to them than we take for ourselves. (And of course they should do the same — so no one ever vampire-sucks the life out of the relationship.)
And then we all show our kids how to do it, so future generations won’t have all this broken shittiness.
It’s not just that our parents and grandparents and ancestors didn’t pass down any secret knowledge about how to not ruin our relationships. No one else talked to us about it either. Not in school. Not in some secret How To Be Married Club. Not even some random older married-couple mentors to talk to you about what this is all supposed to look and feel like. But please don’t blame them. It’s not their fault. Because no one bothered to tell them either.
Someday, we will need to start having these talks before we get married. But no one is motivated to figure this stuff out until their marriages fall apart and it feels like the sky is falling. When we’re young and care-free and ignorant, we don’t know enough to even ask the right questions.
The reason no one can figure it out is because it’s not just one thing. And there isn’t an 80-20 rule either where there’s one big thing to concentrate on that might help.
It’s a million teeny-tiny, imperceptible moments.
And simply by being ourselves, combined with our lack of awareness that being ourselves causes emotional damage to our partners, we fail these little moments over and over again without realizing it.
And it’s fine when we’re dating. And it’s fine in the first couple years. And it might even be fine after the first baby.
But after a couple of kids, and several years, and work and financial stresses, and one of your parents dying unexpectedly?
It’s finished. And you didn’t see it coming because you didn’t know you were supposed to be looking for it.
The vast majority of men have absolutely no idea what it looks and feels like to meet a woman’s emotional needs, and no one has EVER talked about it with him before in his 20-30 years of life prior to engagement and marriage.
These aren’t just foreign concepts. They’re entirely absent.
No one is talking about these things with young men. These kids just think they’re supposed to be well-mannered. Respectful. Polite. Kind. To help protect. To help provide.
You can do almost all of those things through the prism of the male experience and neglect your partner emotionally completely by accident.
Which is what usually happens. Then the emotionally neglected wife is often unable to communicate the emotional neglect in a way that A. Makes sense to him, and B. Doesn’t come off like an ungrateful attack on his faithful husbandry.
Then they both slowly push one another away, one angry disagreement at a time, but with the husband often never considering divorce. Because of that list of things he’s been raised to believe about what he must do for his wife.
Being responsible for her “feelings”!? That seems like an incredibly unfair burden to a man who wasn’t educated on the intricacies of human emotional response and psychology.
He never asks his wife to be responsible for his feelings, but he’ll tell her all about it when she “attacks” him. He’ll fire back about the times he was upset about something she did, but that he never “stooped so low” as to try to make a fight out of it, or suggested marriage might have been a mistake, or tried to make it out like she was an inadequate spouse simply because she hurt him.
It’s unfair to her because he doesn’t give her what she needs, and when she tells him, he simply denies it, or rejects the idea that he owes more.
It’s unfair to him because she doesn’t give him the same courtesy he gives her: He doesn’t EVER threaten the marriage because of disagreements that seem minor and petty compared to his promise to love her and remain faithful forever.
This is where almost everyone waits for the other person to finally “see the light” and agree how right the other is. Then almost everyone ends up divorced because no one ever “sees the light.”
And IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
We husbands do a million little things to destroy our marriages. But until we understand how and why, it’s not our fault that it’s happening.
But is it our responsibility? You’re damn right, it is. And now it’s our responsibility to change it.