Question:

I too am a wife who feels unloved.  My question is, why do men, who give so much loving attention to a woman when they are courting her, stop loving her in the same way as the years go on?  We have many children, and the youngest has severe cerebral palsy. 

When she was born, my husband had just started his own business.  I felt that my life totally changed that year.  I felt like I lost my husband to his new business venture, and at the same time became caretaker to a child who would never have a normal life, which meant that neither would I.  I am her primary caregiver and a stay-at-home mother.  Our other children have grown up, gone to college, gotten married and had children.  I have few friends, everyone else works.  

I used to feel like I was the number one thing in my husband's life, even after having so many children. I've stayed slim and attractive, and he is still attentive in that area.  He just doesn't touch me or talk to me outside of the bedroom.  But when he started the business (which I understand is his way of loving us, through providing for us), his caring for me and caring about what is going on (or not going on) in my life stopped.  I know he doesn't know how to fix this, and that's what men like to do.  He can't make her whole, in order to make my life better.  But pulling away from us just hurts. 

I'm struggling to lift my daughter, she is almost as big as I am.  And even though my husband keeps promising that we will make the house and specifically her bedroom and a bathroom wheelchair accessible and with a built-in hydraulic lift, it has not happened.  I have been to the doctors for many pulled muscles and ailments from lifting her.  But in the meantime, over the last half dozen years, he has built onto his business, including more office space, a warehouse, and more area in the plant itself.  I think he will wait until I am permanently disabled myself or need back surgery before he does anything.  I am starting to realize that he cares very little for me, and I've never felt so sad or hopeless in my life.

I sit home alone all day, and I can't get two words out of him at night.  I'm so lonely, and feel so unloved and cared for.  I know what you are trying to say in the article, that women sometimes miss the signs of how a husband cares for his wife and family.  I get that.  But I don't think he is holding up his end of loving me like he loves and cares for his own body as the Bible commands. 

And please tell me why it is always the woman who must make all of the attempts at communication and fixing anything that is wrong with the relationship.  It gets old after awhile, always being the one who is trying while the other person could care less.  He used to pick out gifts for me for my birthday and for Christmas and was excited about it, but now at the very last minute he gets upset because he has nothing for me and acts like its my fault, like I should shop for myself so he doesn't have to. 

Which is exactly what I did this Christmas.  My clothes dryer died and my washer wasn't working so well either, so I went and checked out washers and dryers, then called my husband to see what he thought, he said great, get it.  They were delivered two days before Christmas.  I was so excited, (I know its weird that I got excited about a new washer and dryer, but the old appliances made my job, well a job).  They were so shiny and new and beautiful.  I cleaned the entire laundry room to show off my new washer and dryer.  I told my husband over and over again how much I loved my gift.  I didn't even care this time that I shopped for myself, because I truly needed what I got. 

The ductwork coming out of the dryer needed to be updated to aluminum in stead of the plastic we currently had, so my husband fixed it.  But when I went downstairs to my new 4 day old washer and dryer, I realized that the whole top of the dryer was all scratched up with fine scratches to the point that the gray undercoat was showing through.  I knew immediately what had happened.  My husband had laid all of his tools and the aluminum tubing on top of my new dryer to work on it.  It was the final straw, in his disrespect and lack of caring about me or anything that mattered to me.  My husband has things that are very important to him.  He has always had a small sports car since the day I met him. I have never once said one thing about this indulgence, in fact I have taught our children to be very careful around dad's car.  Our children respect their father very much, and I think that is because I have always respected him and taught this to our children.  However, my son, talks to me anyway he wishes, and does so in front of his father, and my husband says nothing.  My daughter tried to stick up for her father, when she caught me crying and wanted to know what was wrong, and I told her about the dryer.  She said, "He's a man, he just doesn't know any better".  I told her, "I'm not buying that anymore, would he clean up the garage or work on the car and use the hood of his sports car as his work bench?"  The dryer is just symbolic of his lack of love and respect for me. 

I've been crying a lot this past week, and we really haven't spoken over the last 3 days, since I discovered the top of the dryer.  When he got in bed that night, I asked him if he saw the top of my new dryer, and he said "No, why?"  I said the whole top is all scratched up from your tools and the aluminum tubing.  He immediately tried to turn it around, and say "Well I fixed your dryer hose or didn't you notice".  I just rolled over, and we haven't spoken since.  My husband does not apologize for anything, ever. Even if he accuses people of taking something of his and later finds it right where he left it, he will never apologize.  I just want the old husband back.  The one who cared for me. 

I observed my daughter and her husband as they were sitting on our couch while visiting over the holidays.  They are expecting their first child in the spring.   They sit so close together and the whole time that he was talking to me or anyone else in the room, he was rubbing her legs that she had thrown over his lap.  I miss this type of loving so much.  I can't remember the last time I was touched in that way.  Woman have needs too.  Men's needs seem to be food and sex.  Women need non-sexual touching too and communication.  I wouldn't withhold from him his needs, why is it so easy for him to withhold from me, those things that I need in order to feel whole and loved?  I am a Christian woman, and would never stray.  I take my marriage vows very seriously, and love my husband very much.  But am I doomed to live a loveless life for however long the Lord allows me to live here?


Answer:

I guess it depends on how much love you are willing to give. Since you are the one writing, I'm going to restrict my remarks to the things you can do to improve your life. Telling you what your husband should do isn't going to change anything because you can't make him do what he should do.

There is an interesting observation in Proverbs: "There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself" (Proverbs 11:24-25). This passage applies to more than just money. If you want friends, you first need to be friendly -- you need to give your friendship out first before you will receive it back. If you want love, you first need to be loving -- you need to give your love out first before you will receive it back.

I'm sure in your mind you are thinking of all the loving things that you do, but frankly what you have shown to me is all the complaints and gripes you have about your husband. I'm not surprise he hides out in the office if just about all he gets to hear from you is complaints about your day and his inadequacies. He had a point that you completely missed. He fixed your dryer and you never even said "Thank you." What you did thank him for was something he had no hand in. I'm sure that made him feel great.

Communications is a two-way street. People talk to people they like hearing. Few people like to hear misery, complaints, bitterness, etc. with little relief.

"Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman" (Proverbs 21:9).

"Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman" (Proverbs 21:19).

"It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman" (Proverbs 25:24).

A contentious person is someone who is never pleased. There is always another complaint. Things are never good enough. In face of that most men withdraw to "the wilderness" of hobbies and business because they can't fix the problem. "A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike; whoever restrains her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand" (Proverbs 27:15-16).

You should have thanked your husband profusely for taking time to fix the dryer. If the scratches bother you so much, first ask your husband if he knows of a way to remove them without accusing him of anything. If not, you should get the phone book out and look up one of those repair men who fix things after a move. And next time, spread out a towel for you husband before he begins a similar repair job and tell him, "Here you go dear; this should help keep the top from being scratched."

In the same way, instead of nagging your husband about getting the bathroom and bedroom remodeled, go get some bids on the remodeling. Tell your husband you know he is really busy with the business, so you got some bids and then talk with him about how you two can save up enough to finance the project. It might get him moving or he might be relieved that another burden is removed from his shoulders.

It is not much different than other things in life. People appreciate a person who brings solutions and avoid the person who brings problems.

If you miss his touch, start giving him a shoulder massage once in a while. When he asks why, just say that you miss his touch. He'll get the hint.

Wow, not sure how you ever became a minister. You obviously have no love in you. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am the most loving and giving person. I have raised many children on my own, and I give and give and give. But I don't get back from him. Obviously you could never know how a woman feels, or you would have never been so mean to me. You only see that a man fixed a dryer, and his wife didn't thank him. And that is all you got from what I wrote about over 25 years of loving a man? What you do not know about me is that I have never been a complainer in all of these years, ever! But just recently, I have felt abandoned by him, even though it has been going on for a very long time. Things I would have never said anything about before, hurt more now. I have always been the type of wife to never complain and to always praise until I stopped feeling loved. And as for your comment about my husband hiding out at the office. That was just cruel. I am a God fearing, God loving woman, but my God would never agree with the way you have handled this. I feel so sorry for you, and I hope you are not married. At least not yet until you realize that a woman has feelings and needs too. Don't bother responding, I will just report you has spam. I'll pray for you.

Sadly, she confirms her part in the problem. I'm sure her husband has his faults, we all do, but this woman isn't interested in a solution. She wants to be a victim and to complain how all others are so terrible to her. She has become a classic contentious woman and I really feel sorry for her family.