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Top 12 Things Women Do to Destroy Their Marriage

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.

Wives bear as much responsibility as husbands. We have the power to make a home, or break it.

Wives bear as much responsibility as husbands. We have the power to make a home, or break it.

How Women Hurt Their Husbands

While both husband and wife should take responsibility for their part in a marriage, below are twelve mistakes common to women, which can completely destroy a marriage. When women exercise the following behaviors, it can create a hostile environment, where no one feels safe or comfortable.

There are also plenty of ways that men destroy their marriages. If you are a man, looking for ways to improve your marriage, try reading the article, Top 10 Ways Men Destroy Their Marriage.

It is important to remember that the main goal of marriage can be a peaceful and joyful partnership. If life is stressful, then work on changing your perception and start making positive changes in your life. You can't change your husband, but you can change yourself.

You can see peace instead of stress. You are only one thought away from a peaceful life. If you feel unhappy, seek the things that will fulfill you in life. Choose to be happy and remember, the only person you can change is yourself.

Don't Do These Things

12 things that women do to destroy their marriage:

  1. Using harsh words
  2. Having unrealistic expectations
  3. Using sarcastic and critical language
  4. Criticizing him in front of your family and friends
  5. Withholding affection and physical intimacy
  6. Disrespecting his opinions
  7. Undermining his authority, but demanding he takes full responsibility
  8. Never being happy
  9. Demoralizing him and crushing his spirit
  10. Picking the wrong man
  11. Focusing on work over the marriage
  12. Cheating

1. Using Words to Hurt, Maim, and Destroy Your Marriage

Women are adept at brandishing the sharpest words in order to shame, demean, and belittle their man. On average, a woman speaks about 20,000 words each day, compared to only 7,000 spoken by a man. Women are gifted communicators and know exactly to use their words as poison to destroy or as a balm to heal.

Words are like toothpaste, once they are out, there is no getting them back in. Regardless of how sorry you are afterward, the damage has been done. All the sorries in the world will never take back the sting of your angry words.

Once you unleash an angry barrage on your hapless husband, you begin to destroy his heart and soul. Over the years, this type of constant verbal abuse can wear on your husband and make him unresponsive and less communicative.

Rather than use your words as a weapon to destroy, use them as a healing balm to comfort, encourage and uplift your husband. As grandma always used to say, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all."

2. Having Unrealistic Expectations

Seeking fulfillment from your spouse and then projecting your unhappiness onto him when he doesn't measure up will quickly destroy your marriage. If you feel unhappy, first examine reality. Expecting your spouse to make you happy is unrealistic. You can only make yourself happy.

Imagine if you could only have one friend for your entire life. Would that work for you? Most women have several friends, who fill several roles. We have a friend with whom we like to go shopping. One friend likes to work out with us. One friend leads a bible study. One friend loves to have coffee on Wednesday mornings.

Each person in your life fulfills a different and important role. None is more important; they are just different. If you expect your husband to complete you and bring you eternal happiness, not only are you setting him up for failure, but you are also setting yourself up for disappointment.

Rather than look to one person to fulfill your every need, try expanding your circle of influence, to include a variety of people, who fill your life with different blessings. Find the value and benefit of every friendship to different areas of your life.

Most of all, look to yourself. Find ways to feel complete and happy with who you are as a person. Seek to find your own happiness, within yourself. Then, rather than look to someone else to complete you, find ways to complement each other's lives.

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You will both feel more complete and fulfilled when you enjoy a variety of friends and relationships.

3. Using Sarcastic and Critical Statements, Gestures, and Facial Expressions

This is a quick and easy way to show your husband that you don't respect him or his opinion. Men can become overwhelmed by the barrage of criticism coming at them. The result is they shut down, withdraw, and seek kindness and approval elsewhere.

Have you ever experienced someone discounting what you have to say, without actually listening to you? When you are critical or sarcastic with your husband, he feels attacked and unvalued. Instead of listening, you dismiss him and make him feel like a child.

Listen to him, without adding your two-cents worth. If you'd like to ask questions, wait until he stops talking. Don't interrupt with a story about how the dog threw-up on the carpet. Let him have a few minutes to be the center of your attention. And if you absolutely must get dinner made, invite him to join you in the kitchen. Tell him that you would like to hear about the rest of his day, and mean it. Listen and nod, without correcting or dismissing him.

Another way women show disrespect is to roll the eyes or make sarcastic facial expressions. These are just as irritating for your husband, as they are for you when your teenaged daughter does it. There is no need to be rude, even if you've been married forever. It is more important to give him your attention, to look at him and to listen than it is to roll your eyes or shake your head in exasperation. You are trying to build a bond, not destroy the man you love.

Instead of ignoring him, rolling your eyes and making exasperated faces, try listening to your husband as you would a friend. Without commenting, look at him, nod and pay attention. It only takes a moment and will build his confidence in your relationship.

4. Criticizing, Belittling, and Making Fun of Him to Your Friends and Family

When you criticize and belittle your husband, you not only diminish your husband in your own eyes, but you also poison those closest to you. You force them to take sides, and of course, they choose your side, because they want to be loyal to you. Your friends and family don't live at your house. They don't see what goes on day after day. They don't see the good things your husband does. The only view they have of your husband is the one that you present to them. If you are constantly badmouthing and belittling him, then they will view him as a bad partner for you.

After you speak badly about him, your friends and family will never look at your husband the same way again. Even when you get over your tirade, and everything is great at home, they will still be mad at him. Your friends and family members want to protect you from danger and harm. If you are constantly referring to your husband in a negative light, then they will want to protect you and your children from this monster you married, even if he isn't really a monster.

When you speak poorly of your spouse, your close friendships and relationships will remain irreparably altered against your husband. In time, this can destroy your marriage. He will never understand why your friends don't like him, and why your mother is mean to him.

Rather than trying to make excuses, don't start down that path. When you speak of your husband, use uplifting, encouraging words. If he is acting like a jerk, you don't need to gush about it to everyone you know. Your constant complaints against him will create a wall between your husband and your friends, which he can never overcome.

If things are hard at home for a season, you don't have to share it with everyone you know. You also don't need to tell the entire family about every argument, every misstep and every single thing he's ever done wrong. Try and speak well of your husband and your relationship. Look for the positive and accentuate the things that are working for you.

5. Withholding Affection and Sex

When you withhold physical intimacy and affection from your husband, you create a huge rift in your marriage, whether you realize it or not. Men are wired differently than women. Your husband needs physical release through sexual intimacy. It is not just something he is demanding of you; it is something he needs, physiologically speaking.

When you refuse to meet his need for physical release, you are making a much deeper statement; you do not care about or respect his needs. This is not about whether you like or dislike sex. It is much more important than that. Your spouse needs to connect with you on a physical level, whether you are in the mood or not.

As much as you need emotional release and closeness, he is wired to need physical release and closeness. Neither is wrong. You are just different. While you want your emotional needs met, it is important not to lose sight of his needs.

Think of it this way; what if he stopped talking to you for three days? How about a week? What if he didn't talk to you for an entire month? Unconscionable, right? Likewise, it is unfair for you to cut him off from what he needs. You are in a relationship with a man you love, and you expect your needs to be met. In the same way, you need to meet his needs, regardless of whether you share the same needs and desires.

Tips to Save Your Marriage

6. Disrespecting His Insight, Opinions, and Advice

Men and women are different on many levels. Men are fixers. By nature, if you present a problem, he will come up with concrete steps to solve the problem. When you are dismissive, it sends the message that you do not value him. When you come to your husband with a problem or a concern, be ready for him to create an action plan to resolve your conflict. It may not be exactly what you would do, but he is offering a solution. The least you can do is listen to his suggestion, and thank him for his input. Before you reject his idea out of hand, take some time to consider what his opinion is. Think about what he said. You don't have to do everything he suggests, but listen and think about it.

If you just want to bitch and complain, call a girlfriend. Girlfriends are great listeners. They will not try to fix you. Women like to talk things out, without being fixed. Sometimes you just need an ear to listen, not a solution. When that is the case, perhaps your husband isn't the person to approach.

If you must whine at your husband, tell him upfront that you don't require a solution, just an ear to hear. He will still offer suggestions, but if you tell him, before you begin your rant, that you don't need an answer, just to vent, then he won't be offended when you don't take his advice. And sometimes, you could surprise him and actually follow his advice. It might just work.

7. Undermining His Authority, but Demanding He Take Full Responsibility

In any organization, there must be a leader, someone in charge. The head over the whole organization, who says, "The buck stops here." Typically, the person who carries the responsibility ought to be the one who has the final say. Families and relationships are much like any other organization. There must be someone in charge, someone who will take full responsibility when things go wrong, and someone that everyone can turn to at the end of the day.

You, of course, are welcome to take that role, if you are willing to be fully responsible when the chips are down. It is easy to be critical of the person in charge, and it is easy to think that you could do a better job. The hard part comes when it is time to take responsibility.

Rather than making decisions without regard for your husband's input, and then blaming him when things don't work out, try instead to work together. You can decide together how things should be done, and you can offer him the final say when decisions need to be made.

Don't become so focused on your own feelings and fears (i.e. I'm afraid he'll make a bad decision. I feel like I make better decisions) to override his feelings and fears (i.e. I am responsible to take care of the family. I'm afraid no one in the family respects me.) Be gracious in light of his decision making. You can respectfully disagree with a decision without attacking his ability to lead.

Someone has to be in charge. This doesn't mean the other person matters less or is of lesser value. It means that at the end of the day, someone is responsible for the decisions made in a marriage. It is safe to trust that your husband has a good heart and wants to do what is best for the family. Together you make a solid, dependable team.

8. Never Being Happy

One of the quickest ways to destroy your marriage is to spend all your time acting miserable and unhappy. The goal of marriage should be a peaceful and joyful partnership. It is to this end that you have an obligation to be happy. If the goal is to be happily married, it is up to you to exercise self-control. Only you can make yourself happy. If you believe that your happiness comes from other people or having things or external circumstances, then you will never be happy.

You are in charge of your happiness. It is a decision. You can choose to be a miserable, unhappy grouch, or you can suck it up, pull your boots on, and show up in your marriage as the person you'd like to be.

There is no need to express every angry, bitter or resentful thought. Everybody gets pissed off, frustrated, and irritated. There isn't anyone to blame. You are choosing to respond to your circumstances with that attitude. You can choose a different path. By owning your own problems, you can take responsibility for your own happiness. Each day, work on bringing your best self into the relationship. Regardless of what happens, you are only one thought away from peace.

Remind yourself every day; I can see peace instead of this. And then, work to see the peace that is available to you.

9. Demoralizing Him and Crushing His Spirit

If asked, most men believe their wives to be more moral and spiritual than themselves. Often, the wife agrees. She does not see herself as sinful or wrong. She feels her greatest "sins" lie in being deeply disappointed by her husband's failures and her children's shortcomings. Beyond this, wives typically admit to bad behavior and attitudes but attribute it to hormones, chemical imbalances, and a dysfunctional childhood.

Woe to the husband who dares suggest his lovely bride could use improvement in some aspect of her life. Labeled a heartless, uncaring, unrighteous lout, he is silenced by an angered, wounded wife, cloaked in self-righteous indignation. She then feels perfectly justified in attacking every flaw, magnifying every misstep, and pointing out every failure, until he feels ashamed for living.

You are not your husbands Holy Spirit. Stop trying to correct every little flaw you perceive in his character and set about removing the blinding plank from your own eye. It is not your job to point out everything he has ever done, said or thought that was wrong. He is well aware of his failures and when you point them out, the weaknesses become even greater in his mind. He feels like he has failed you.

Of course, everyone makes mistakes. You can build him up or tear him down. The choice belongs entirely to you. Rather than ride him for his wrongs, you can choose to lift him up and encourage him. Focus on the things he does well and support him in his desire to improve his life. You can make or break your husband, based entirely on your own attitude.

10. Picking the Wrong Man

You repeat the pattern again, and again. You meet a man, you like him, you start dating. Then you begin to notice the tiny flaws, the chinks in his armor. He yells, just like your Dad did. He drinks and becomes abusive. He is mean to your kids. "It's o.k.," you tell yourself, "I'll fix him after we get married."

Stop right there. There is no fixing it! The bad boy will always be a bad boy. The alcoholic will always be an alcoholic. The cheat, the liar, the abuser. They will not change, no matter how much you love him or how hard you work to make everything perfect. You cannot love someone enough to change them. You can only love people where they are.

The man you date will be the same man after you are married. Inherently kind? He'll still be kind. Addicted to pornography? He'll still be addicted. You cannot change the basic nature of other people. You cannot love them into changing. You cannot nag, or pout, or complain them into changing. If the relationship feels unhealthy during dating, getting married will not fix it. He will not magically become more responsible, more reliable, or more loving after you marry him. If you want a good husband, find a good man, date him, and marry him.

11. Focusing on Work Over the Marriage

It can be easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time at work and not enough time at home. This neglect can have a negative impact on a marriage. This focus on success at work is a hazard for both men and women, but it seems more acceptable behavior from husbands. When a wife neglects her family in favor of her job, it throws the marriage out of balance.

While it is hard to find that proper balance between work and home life, focusing on your marriage is still important. Your husband wants to spend time with you, and depriving him of that time so you can focus on your work will cause some friction and resentment. He begins to feel like you don't value his contribution or time spent with him. He might also fear that you don't want to be married.

If you don't give the time of day to your husband and the two of you never see each other due to work commitments, your marriage will be on the rocks very quickly. Many women fall into this trap because they want to focus on bettering their careers. It can be hard to make the time to be with your husband when you are working a full-time job, but if you are serious about maintaining your marriage, you'll have to find a way to make it work.

Try to spend time in the evening focusing on connecting to your husband. Listen to him, look at him and ask questions about his day. Make a point, even after a long day at work, of creating a physical connection between the two of you. A long hug, a sincere kiss, or a playful pat will help restore the marriage for both of you.

12. Cheating

I think this goes without saying, but if you cheat on your husband, you will ruin your marriage. There are some lines that cannot be crossed, and that is one of them: infidelity is a big deal-breaker, and your husband will not be able to forgive you for such an act.

This behavior is unacceptable for either party. If you feel drawn to another person, examine your own motives. What are you searching for, that you don't think you can find? Rather than cheat on your partner, examine what you feel lacking and seek to heal that divide.

How Menopause Can Ruin a Marriage

As a woman enters menopause, it can make her less intimate with her husband. Due to her changing hormones, she can become less affectionate towards her spouse. The menopause transition can be a difficult time, and it's a matter of biology so it cannot be avoided. Rather than use this as an excuse to grow distant, try and understand what is happening to your body.

If necessary, hormone supplements, exercise and herbs can ease this transition. You don't need to face these changes alone. Be open and honest with your husband about the way your body is changing and how you feel. Ask for his support and patience as you transition to the next phase.

Both sides have to be understanding of each other and work together to deal with the changes brought on by menopause. This is not an excuse to be terrible to your husband though, you still have to be aware of the things you say to him and your overall relationship. Using menopause as an excuse to treat him poorly ignores the truth of biology. Be open and honest. Be kind to your body and to your husband.

5 Ways Women Can Save Their Marriage

We've seen how women can destroy their marriage. Here are some ways that women can help save their marriage. Keep in mind that both sides have to be open to saving the marriage. If one side has done something major (like cheating), it would be very difficult for the marriage to be saved. Here are five things you can do to help save your marriage.

Ways to save a marriage

  1. Marriage counseling
  2. Working to repair the relationship
  3. Rekindling the romance
  4. Fixing the issues that can be fixed
  5. Listening to each other

1. Marriage Counseling

Going to a certified marriage and family therapist and getting counseling is a great way to start the process of working on your marriage. The therapist will help you and your husband work through your issues and develop strategies for working through your issues.

While there are many people out there who do not like the idea of going to counseling, if you and your husband are serious about saving your marriage, going to a therapist is a helpful step.

A counselor will offer an objective look at both parties and suggest ways that you can both improve your marriage.

2. Working to Repair the Relationship

Both sides have to agree to work on repairing the damage that has been caused. Even if most of the damage was caused by one person, you still have to decide to work together in restoring the marriage. Setting ground rules for communication and identifying areas of the marriage that need the most work are two important things to do first.

It's important that you communicate openly and honestly, then agree on a simple first step. What is one concrete action you can both take to heal your broken marriage? Decide on one action item, and agree to try it together.

3. Rekindling the Romance

If you have both decided to work on fixing your marriage, reestablishing the intimate aspect of your relationship is a must. You must rebuild trust to rekindle romance, and this might take some time.

Start by going out on dates again and do other things that you enjoyed at the beginning of the relationship. Spend time together and try to laugh with each other. Have fun.

Take it slowly, just like you did when you first started dating each other. Reigniting that spark of romance in your marriage will help immensely. Flirt and play, not only in the bedroom, but also in the rest of your life. Romance begins early in the day. Text each other, leave notes for each other and try to remember to have fun.

4. Fixing the Issues That Can Be Fixed

As a couple, the two of you need to figure out what problems can be fixed. According to marriage expert Dr. John Gottman, about 70% of problems in relationships are, by nature, perpetual and unresolvable (e.g., you want kids but he is infertile). This means figuring out the other 30% that can be fixed and accepting that the other problems will never be fixed.

Work on the things that can be changed and learn to accept those things that are unresolvable. It is also important for each of you to take responsibility for your own part of the conflict and work to change yourself, rather than the other person.

5. Listening to and Supporting Each Other

This point may seem obvious, but if you want to save your marriage, you have to work on supporting each other and listening to each other. Listen to your husband's needs and try to understand where he is coming from. Create a warm home environment where the two of you can continue to work through your issues and get them resolved. Also, understand that these marital issues will not disappear overnight and it may take some time to resolve them.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Whenever my wife serves me, she is rude. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, she starts with words that mentally disturb me. She never laughs, and she's always tense. We don't have sex anymore. Sometimes I think I should die or commit suicide, but I stop and think of my three-year-old daughter. What should I do?

Answer: Do you ever do anything nice for your wife? Maybe when she is serving you in a manner you do not like, it is because she feels unappreciated, unnoticed, and unloved. Try asking her how she feels. Do something nice for her. When you begin showing her kindness and love, she will return with respect and intimacy. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start being kind to your wife and daughter.

Question: What if the husband continues being insensitive, irresponsible? Has an affair? Why should the wife keep doing this? Should it not happen from both sides?

Answer: Yes, it should happen from both sides. If the husband is having an affair, is insensitive and irresponsible, then the wife needs to look after her own well being. I'd start with counseling and move forward from there.

Question: I have one question, I was working last year but now I don't and I am realizing that my girlfriend's behavior towards me is becoming worse. She is unhappy anymore she doesn't respect me anymore, do you think she was happy because of money?

Answer: It is difficult on a relationship when one of the partners doesn't work. She may not be unhappy because of money only. What do you do all day, if you aren't working? If you are supportive and helpful, in spite of the fact that you aren't working, then she might still be okay. Do you keep the house and yard clean? Do you do nice things for her? Do you make dinner when she gets home from work? Women don't necessarily need financial support, but also emotional support. If she is the only one working, maybe she needs you to step up and do more for the relationship. It might not have anything to do with money.

Question: If I’d known that marriage meant taking on indentured sexual servitude and not caring about whether or not I liked sex, felt loved during sex or wanted to have sex with my husband, would I have stayed single?

Answer: You are most certainly not an indentured sexual servant. Sharing physical intimacy with your partner is about growing closer. If you don't like sex and don't want to have sex with your husband, then don't.

Question: What is the writer of this article's counseling background and education?

Answer: I am a certified life coach. Most of what I write comes from personal experience and is my personal opinion only. I do not suggest that I am a counselor or a therapist, nor do I think that I am "correct". This is what I think. People are always welcome to disagree with what I think. I don't expect everyone to think I am "correct." I am offering suggestions that could make your relationship better. If you don't think it would help your situation, then, by all means, seek other input.

Question: My husband believes that he isn't good in bed and someone in my past was "it".. this is my fault from my secrets and exaggerations. Now our sex life is next to nothing. We are only 46 and I love this man more than anything. I've taken a lie detector test to prove to him but that didn't work. How do I fix this?

Answer: Well, the first thing you can do is help him feel better about himself as a lover. Be passionate about him. Teach him what you like. Tell him how much he pleases you. Exaggerate a little, if you need to. It would also probably be helpful if you initiate sexual activity with him. Tell him how much you want him, that you think about him, and that you can't keep your hands off him. Besides saying it, do it. Get aggressive in the bedroom and out. Be playful. Grab his butt. Give him a kiss unexpectedly. Pretend you have the love life that you fantasize about, and you make it happen. The responsibility and the pleasure will be all yours if you start making him feel like an attractive man and a great lover.

Question: Are people marrying for love or just for temporary conveniences? Peace and contentment are found in serving and not getting all of the time.

Answer: I absolutely agree that we are fulfilled through service. Not everyone lives that way, unfortunately. Many people marry for selfish reasons that have nothing to do with love.

Question: I am 8 months married, sometimes I used to get so angry and recently 3 days before I fought with him just for not giving me time but I feel I was forcing him my mistake I accepted but he is not happy he says he got bored of me and irritated because of me and stopped talking to me; I am out of my country I feel so lonely... I am all alone, now I have decided to leave this silence and go to my country what shall I do help me?

Answer: You can only control yourself. To be a good partner, you must first take care of yourself. Don't give all your power to him. Instead, see if you can communicate openly and honestly. Ask him how he feels. Tell him how you feel. If you want your marriage to work, running away won't help. I wish you the best.

Question: The article talks about a man's physical need for sex. Well, this is true for a lot of women, including myself. What are women, who have a real the real need for physical intimacy, and our husband is the one withholding any sexual favors? We have two kids in college, have been married for 24 years, and together for 27 years. My husband is a recently recovering alcoholic, after 35 plus years of heavy drinking.

Answer: I can feel your pain. I was married to an alcoholic who withheld all forms of physical affection to punish me. It was unbearable.

You are right; this is a problem for some women. The article is more about what "most" women do. Not all women have a high libido, and more men than women typically struggle with not feeling that their needs are being met.

It is painful when your partner withholds physical affection, whether you are a man or a woman. I don't have an answer. I took all I could, and then I left. I could not live in a marriage that was cold and distant.

Each relationship is different, and only you can determine what you can endure.

Question: Both partners should have their needs met in a marriage. If you feel the need to please your husband because he requires release and you're not in the mood, why would you do it? What message are you sending here?

Answer: Yes, both partners should have their needs met. The message I am sending is to think of the other person in the marriage. We tend to get self-centered and think only about our own needs. The point of the article, as well as the article about the ten things men do to mess up their relationships, is to have people look at their own behavior and see what they are doing to cause problems in a relationship.

Everyone is responsible for what they bring into a relationship. If you are withholding sex to make a point, it is not fair to your partner, and unlikely to get your point across.

The message I am sending here is that your relationship should be more important to you than your petty grievances.

Question: When my wife brings up former and better lovers right after a poor performance and the feelings of emasculation become all too real, should I just forget about sex and do those others things that make her happy?

Answer: Wow. That is really cruel. Why is your wife so mean to you? Is she an angry person? It is unfair and unkind to compare, especially after being intimate.

Rather than try to make her happy, perhaps you should have an open and honest conversation with her, when you are both calm. Tell her how you feel. Let her know that it hurts your feelings when she brings up other lovers. It is completely inappropriate to bring past relationships into your current relationship.

I am sorry you have to go through this.

I wish you all the best.

Question: Why do you think only women destroy their marriage? I've been married for the last seven years, but I've never felt love, affection, or respect from my husband. He never wants to take any responsibility for our son; he doesn't want me to have contact with my family and friends. He's never there for me whenever I need him. I do everything for him. He told me he thinks that I am his maid, not a housewife. Should I continue with this kind of relationship?

Answer: First of all, I do not think that only women destroy a marriage. I have another article about what men do to destroy their relationships as well. It sounds like you are in a terrible, unkind, and unloving marriage. I think you should examine why you are there. What do you get from the relationship? I'd suggest seeking professional counseling to help you determine the best route to take for your own well being.

Question: Thank you for taking time to write this important article. It describes my wife! Enough said! 6 years and all I can do is to be strong! But what else is left to be done apart from taking different paths and the damage it shall cause to our only child?

Answer: The only thing you can do is be a good parent to your child, and be a good person to yourself. Have you tried sharing your concerns with your wife? Have you asked her what she needs in order to be happy? The only person you can change is yourself. You can stay in a difficult and unhappy marriage (I did, for nearly 20 years). The key is to be happy in spite of your circumstances. Be joyful, loving and kind even in the face of her behavior. I wish you all the best.

Question: How do you make yourself happy when your spouse never tries to meet your emotional needs?

Answer: It is important to create your happiness, in spite of your relationship, and I know how difficult that can be. Find other friendships and things to occupy your time, and other people to support you emotionally.

Question: My wife has become rude and talks without limit. What might be causing this?

Answer: Maybe your wife is feeling hurt and ignored. Have you asked her what's wrong? Maybe she's upset about something. Try asking her.

Question: I am 24, but my parents are forcing me to get married. I'm not ready to get married right now. My parents are trying hard to find a suitable groom for me, but I want to be single. What can I do?

Answer: If you want a life for yourself, then create one. I am not always familiar with social and cultural norms, but it might be easier to be independent if you move away from your parents.

If you truly want your independence, then be independent. No one should get married against their will. It will not be a healthy relationship.

Question: My husband never spends time with me, badmouths me to his mom and friends, and never stands up for me. I'm staying with him for the kids, but I feel lonely and depressed. Do you have any advice?

Answer: First, I'd suggest speaking up for yourself, to him and his mom. Let them know how destructive they are, not only to you but the relationship in general. Second, I'd suggest finding things outside the house and away from them to do with your kids, like field trips, outings to the library or local recreation center. Start building a support network among people who have similar interests to you. Churches and volunteer groups are great places to meet people, and you won't feel so isolated.


I've been married for five years, and my wife and I have been in a relationship for ten. She has told me she wants a divorce. I believe the problems come from our inability to communicate what our wants and desires are. It's been six months since this happend, and she still refuses to talk about us. One month ago, she began dating another man with no type of legle proceedings in place to end or separate. Do I continue to wait, or should I take charge?

Answer: You can wait your life away if you want. Or, you can take charge of the situation. You have no control over what your wife does. She is responsible for her actions and behavior. It sounds like she is trying to push you into action. Rather than react out of an emotional response, try to step back and think about what you want your life to look like. If you want her in your life, see if those lines of communication can be opened. Without that, it is difficult to have any kind of relationship. It is essential that you respond to circumstances mindfully and remain aware of what your ultimate goal is. I wish you all the best.

Question: I am in a relationship with this woman. We are not married yet. She says harsh things, and talks out of respect at times. Our sex life is very poor as well. I tried to correct her about these things, but there are no changes at all. She has been asking me about marriage. Something keeps telling me that I will be making a big mistake if I get married to her. What should I do?

Answer: The best thing you can do is listen to your gut. It is easier to walk away from a bad relationship than it is to destroy a marriage, especially after you've had children.

Stand up for yourself, and tell her she is not the one. You cannot change her. You cannot control her. You can only control yourself. Don't start out getting married to the wrong person. There is nothing wrong with realizing that she is not the one.

Stop now, before you get in deeper.

Question: Wow, thank you for writing this column. I can honestly say that I have seen all of these tactics put to use, sometimes more than two in one day. Except for #10, my wife has shown me the effectiveness of her verbal proficiency; most consistently on #5, which may demand an article of it's own! ;) WHY?

Answer: Thank you for your question. I'm not sure what, exactly, you are asking "why" about. If you mean specifically number 5, the answer is kind of simple. She doesn't feel connected to you. For whatever reason, your wife feels disconnected emotionally, and for most women, when they feel disconnected, then they cut off sex to get your attention. It's a catch-22 because both parties are hurting and feel neglected. The best marital advice I learned said that the more mature person acts first. So, if you want to be the more mature person in this situation, you forgive her first. You move first to rebuild the relationship. You move things forward. Women want to feel loved, appreciated and acknowledged. Reconnect with her to rebuild your physical intimacy. Talk and listen. Gently hug and kiss her, without a demand for more. Unfortunately, someone has to act first. Best of luck to you.


Question: I had an affair. My husband tried to work things out with me. It has been six years, but now he's bringing it up again. What can I do to soften his heart?

Answer: I imagine your husband is hurting and feels emasculated. If he is willing to work things out, and you want to work things out, then the best thing you can do is be a good wife. Don't cheat on him again. Demonstrate your love, your devotion and your regret over your mistake. You don't have to beat a dead horse, but it is important for you to tell him that what you chose to do was about you, not him. And you need to help him feel secure. Be honest. Be open. Communicate. Do what you say you will do. It only takes a moment to destroy trust, but it takes a very long time to rebuild. Be patient, kind and forgiving. Forgive yourself, and forgive whatever you perceive to be his shortcomings. Come from a place of restoration and love.

Question: My wife swears and calls me all sorts of names; the very worst name callings on the planet. She will never apologize for her bad mouth. Sometimes she calls me "useless," "pathetic," "no brains" and other times she will do to hurt me intentionally. I work hard and bought her new car for $9000, I pay $700 fortnightly for rent, contribute toward the groceries. I feel like I have been disrespected, ridiculed and other times, I feel like I'm not worth it. What shall I do?

Answer: I"m sorry you are living in an abusive relationship. My suggestion would be for you to seek professional counseling, to help rebuild what little bit of self-esteem and self-respect you have. You will never be able to change your wife or make her happy. Only she can do that. The only thing you can do is take care of your own mental health.

Having lived in an abusive marriage for twenty years, I can tell you that it will never get better. It will never stop. Only you can decide your best course of action. You will be healthier and happier when you don't have someone calling you mean names and belittling you constantly.

Question: How do I build my husband’s confidence after I have belittled and tear him down?

Answer: It will take time and patience for you to rebuild what has been destroyed. Try telling him, sincerely, what you like about him. Leave him notes, in his car or in his lunch, or wherever he might find them, telling him how much you appreciate all he does for you. Be specific about what you appreciate. Tell him to his face, looking into his eyes, that you respect him. Thank him for protecting and providing for your family. Speak his language, respect. I'd strongly recommend you watch the Love and Respect videos on YouTube or read the book by Emmerson and Sarah Eggrichs. They clearly explain the difference between what women want (to be loved) and what men want (to be respected) and how to give your partner what he really needs.

I wish you all the best.

Question: I have been put on hormone medications for a tumor in my uterus; the meds made me so emotionally unstable and angry. So I stopped them, but my husband wants to divorce me because of it even though my hysterectomy is scheduled and I will never be on those meds again! What happened to for sickness and in health?

Answer: What a frustrating and confusing situation you are facing. I'd suggest your first and most important order of business is your own health. Whether he stays or goes, you need to take care of your own health. No one else will take care of you better than you take care of yourself.

If he says he's leaving because of the meds, he's probably covering for something else. Or he is cold, callous and uncaring. Either way, you're probably better off without him.

Question: How can you put sense into a relationship that both sides should be able to compromise on some issues at least some of the time?

Answer: You are absolutely correct. If a relationship is to work, then both partners must be willing to give a little. You can't be completely rigid. Perhaps begin looking for small, easy things that you and your partner can practice compromising and working on together. Do something easy, before you tackle the big issues.

Question: How can I save my marriage? I have been married for 18 years and she’s been having online affairs. She says it’s my fault since I have erection issues after my colon surgery 6 years ago.

Answer: First of all, someone else having an affair is never your fault. People are entirely to blame for their own behavior. She is responsible for what she does. Completely. You are only in control of you. You are not in control of her or her behavior.

You can do your part to be a good husband, but saving your marriage requires commitment from both of you. You can't do it alone. Erection issues aside, because intimacy is not only about sex. Intimacy involves being closely connected and sharing your lives on a number of levels.

I'd suggest professional counseling for both of you. If she isn't willing to go, at least a professional could help you with your own issues.

Question: My partner does all those things. I am crushed. She has AS (problem with closeness), Anorexia (hears most things as accusations). Mostly I get accused of things, yelled at and reprimanded. What do I do?

Answer: It sounds like you both want to feel loved and appreciated, but you don't feel heard. Communication is essential in relationships. Start at the beginning. You love her. She loves you. Once you establish that common ground, then you can move forward. What do the two of you want to achieve together? Sit, without judgment, and just talk about what you really want to see in your marriage. Open and honest communication is the beginning. Remember, you can't control her, and she can't control you. You can only control yourself. A partnership is not about managing the other person. It is about working together to create something greater than the two of you. I wish you the best.

Question: My wife is too much trouble. I am tired of the marriage. What should I do?

Answer: It sounds as though you are very unhappy. I'd first suggest talking with your wife about your concerns, to see if you can heal your relationship. Then, moving forward, only you can determine your own best course of action. I wish you all the best.

Question: I take a while in the bathroom because sometimes I am constipated. She said to me, ”Oh my God when you get in that bathroom you are worse than a little woman.” I was highly offended and felt totally disrespected. Was I wrong to feel this way about my wife's comment?

Answer: I'm not sure if that is being totally disrespected. It sounds like she was teasing you. If she brings it up continually, even when it is an irrelevant topic, then I'd consider that disrespectful. People these days take offense to every little thing. Maybe she was just joking around. I'm sorry she hurt your feelings, and perhaps you can tell her that it hurts your feelings when she makes fun of you. Your feelings are valid and you deserve to be heard. Don't shout. Just simply say, "It hurts my feelings when you make fun of me." Leave it at that. Most people don't want to hurt the people they love.

Question: My husband is addicted to porn. I am not able to accept the fact, and because of this we hardly talk to each of other. I am depressed, and unsure whom to discuss this issue with. What should I do?

Answer: There is nothing you can do to stop or change a pornography addiction. If your husband decides it has become a problem, then he will deal with it. Until then, you cannot change him. You can only change yourself. If you are depressed, and out of touch with each other, it is important to find yourself again. Perhaps it would be helpful to seek counseling. Then you can get a clear idea of what you want in your relationship, and what you want in life. Your happiness and contentment can only come from inside. A professional counselor can help you get past whatever feelings his addiction brings up for you. I wish you all the best.

Question: What if your man is the one beating and embracing you in public?

Answer: If anyone ever beats you, publicly or privately, then I would get out immediately. No one should ever hit you, for any reason whatsoever. And I would never tolerate being embarrassed or harassed, not publicly or privately. There is no excuse for abusive behavior. I would leave that situation immediately.

Question: My husband dun celebrates his birthday with me. Is he ignoring me? He doesnt want the marriage anymore

Answer: If he doesn't want the marriage anymore, then he probably is ignoring you. What do you want? You can only change yourself. Get clear on what you want in your life, then do the things that reflect that. Speak openly and honestly with your husband about your relationship, and decide how you both want to move forward.

Question: What appears to get spices for the recipe?: “Your spouse needs to connect with you on a physical level, whether you are in the mood or not.” What if the need for intimacy is the only way a man gets to remember he’s got to treat his wife well. “For example, think of your wife as a crockpot.” She might feel that’s the only thing her husband sees good in her as a result isn’t it a form of dissatisfaction?

Answer: Your question is interesting and multi-faceted. A man ought to know, without being threatened, cajoled or otherwise manipulated, that he should treat his wife well. It's common sense, and just a good idea in general. Just like a wife should inherently know that she should treat her husband well. Sometimes women withhold sex as a form of punishment. It punishes and poisons the entire marriage, not just the husband. I think sometimes wives need to look beyond their manipulative behavior and do that thing that would be best for the marriage. It's called sacrifice. In a healthy relationship, both parties will sometimes sacrifice their own will for the good of the marriage.

Question: My partner doesn't believe anything I say anymore, and uses my struggles against me, such as my problem with short-term memory. Am I crazy for wanting this to work out and get back to the enjoyable marriage we once had together?

Answer: Only you can decide what you will tolerate. Have you tried speaking to her about your struggles? Have you told her that you want things to work out between you? Have you explained how you feel and that you aren't enjoying the way she treats you? First, you need to make her aware of the problem. Then present some possible solutions. If you love her, you aren't crazy. But don't forget that you can't make anyone change. She's gotten used to this pattern of behavior. It will take work from both of you to bring this ship around.

Question: Most of these things describes my wife perfectly to the tee. Except she packed up her things and our baby’s things and ran out of state. Now what?

Answer: Now what? Well, it seems like she's given a pretty clear indication that she doesn't want to be together. I guess you need to decide if you want to look for her and convince her to come back, or if you are ready to move forward with your life.

Question: In your other article you wrote: "Her ability to verbally hurt you is her strongest weapon, and she uses it out of fear in an effort to try to get your attention." and here you wrote: “ Over the years, this type of constant verbal abuse can wear on your husband and make him very unresponsive to you and care less about you.” what to you suggest women should do instead?

Answer: My suggestion would be to speak in a kind manner, not just to your husband, but in life in general. In the first referenced article, I am explaining to men why women might behave the way they do. In the second article, I am explaining to women why this type of communication is ineffective, damaging and usually useless.

In my experience, not only in marriage, but also with my children, my clients, and with people in general, speaking kindly, listening, and not shouting are much more effective than nagging, yelling and saying mean hurtful things.

Question: Is it a problem when your wife does not prepare food? Rarely does she serve dinner for her husband, but when her mother or father visits or her sister husband comes in, she prepares for them, and use a proper trail for them.

Answer: Maybe you could ask her if she would make dinner. If it is a problem for you that she doesn't make dinner, then the answer is yes, it is a problem. Tell her how much it would mean to you and how much you would appreciate it if she would give you the same kind of attention she gives her family. Tell her how it would make you feel if she would give you that same kind of treatment. Tell her how it makes you feel when she doesn't take care of you. Be honest.

Question: How do I convince my wife to go see Gynecologist? She had cancer which caused over the cliff menopause at earlier age 48 and drastic change in mood.

Answer: You can't control anyone but yourself. Maybe your wife is afraid to go and find out that there is more wrong with her. Maybe she's afraid that you won't stay with her if she gets sick again. Be open and honest with her. Let her know that you are concerned about her health and that you want to help her through whatever might come up. Share your heart, and find out what her fears are. Reassure her that you are her rock.

In the end, only she can make herself go to the doctor. But perhaps you can offer to go with her, to help her face whatever might come up.

Question: If I discover that my husband is addicted to pornography, what should I do?

Answer: There is nothing you can do. You need to decide, for yourself, whether this is something you can live with.

Pornography is just like any other addiction. It is not about you. It is about your husband and his choices.

The only thing you can do is decide whether this is something you can deal with, or if it is a deal-breaker. You can throw it all away. He'll buy more. You can put blocks on the internet, or even cancel the internet in your home. He'll go to the library. He'll masturbate whether you've just had sex, or whether you've cut him off for a month. You cannot control his behavior. You can only control yourself.

Question: My man shows me love with flowers and helping me clean. But he's not affectionate. I get he's not as affectionate as me but our sex life is not great. He does not consider me or pay attention to me. Rejects me regularly. I try things like lingerie or massages, but if he wants to have sex it's quick and has no intimacy, I feel disconnected from him. There's no intimacy at all. It's making me not want to sleep with him anymore as I feel rejected and unwanted if we do. How can I establish intimacy in my relationship?

Answer: It sounds like your husband is trying. That is a good sign. Have you tried cuddling while you watch TV? Maybe going for a walk after dinner and holding hands? Intimacy takes time, throughout the day. Spending time together, gently touching. And you may need to ask for what you need. I sometimes must remind my husband that I need a hug, or I ask him to hold me when I feel lonely. Sometimes they just don't know what we need. Try asking him to kiss you slowly. Make it last and make it sexy. Ask for what you need and see how he responds. I wouldn't give up, he sounds like he's trying.

© 2010 Deborah Demander

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