We as men want to please our wives. Most of us want to be our wife's hero, whether we act like it or not. As young boys, we wanted to please our mom. As grown men, we want to please our wives. When that doesn't happen, in either case, it is devastating to our masculinity and confidence.Sadly, to deal with these feelings, we often do things to make matters worse, rather than get help and healing.
Though Amy and I reconnected in MANY ways after my betrayal came out, she still had days where she needed to vent and get out her angry, hurt feelings. From day one, I didn't want to be defensive. I wanted her to be free to process her emotions, even the tough ones to hear.
I will assure you, we have had some rough days that felt like the end. She has never enjoyed "spewing" or feeling bitter, but this is painful stuff. My response to her was (and is) a big determination of how long it would last. Her walk with Christ and rest in Him played an even bigger role.
Feeling rejected by your spouse is one of the hardest things to face. If (or when) you feel your wife's rejection, I want to encourage you to resist the urge to reject her back. Don't lash out in anger, defensiveness and other hurtful words and actions. Stay WITH her and don't turn your back on her. To me, her "nagging" or "rejection" can be a form of PLEADING. Pleading for you to love her, protect her and be there - for her and with her. However, her words and actions may contradict this. Read between the lines.
Practical steps to take when you feel like your wife is rejecting you
- Make sure you’re not rejecting her: Relationships
are, by definition, interactive. Men and women often mirror each other,
even if only in terms of perception. So make sure you become a model of
openness and acceptance that is unconditional.
Avoid becoming defensive: Hey! What do you
mean by that! Seriously, one of the least effective interventions in a
relationship is defensiveness. Arms folded, foot tapping, “You’re
wrong/I’m right”, “You are the problem”. It doesn’t matter what the
facts are… in relationships, truth is typically arrived at via humility
and an open heart.
Remember what it was (about you) that attracted her in the first place – then be that guy:
It’s too easy for men and women both to stop trying after the first
flush of excitement wears off the marriage. Maybe your boring,
no-effort, “Make-me-dinner-woman-I’m-home”, take-her-for-granted act
needs some timely rejection – or at least re-direction. Dial it up a
little bit, why don’t you?
Get back into the dating habit: Related to
# 3, above. When did you last ask your wife out on a romantic date?
Demonstrate how much you care, go anywhere other than a sports bar, and
have some great “conversation-starters” in your back pocket ready for
Start listening: Aside from those conversation
starters, get in the habit of really listening – that’s “active
listening.” One of the most attractive, passionate and endearing things a
man can do is be a good listener around his wife.
Remember you can only change yourself: “How can I
make her change?” is a guaranteed useless question. Newsflash – you
can’t. It is remarkable, however, how positive change on one side of the
relationship can lead to positive change on the other (and – don’t you
already know it - vice-versa…).
Make her a cup of tea (we’re serious!):
Prepare a hot drink, serve it to her, sit down and enjoy it together.
It’s an act of service that says, “I want to spend some deliberate time,
knee to knee, listening and connecting.” Such an act of service reaches
out and invites.
Look for more ways to serve her: Many
relationships become one-sided. Too often it’s the guy who gets catered
to, served, indulged and taken care of. But don’t worry about over-doing
it. If you succeed in out-serving her, and the balance tips the other
way, there’s a good chance rejection might not be an issue so much
Try the “Fireproof” love challenge: In the movie
“Fireproof”, a man is challenged by his father to reach out to his wife
via a series of “unilateral” self-giving efforts over a number of weeks.
There’s a book available that outlines the process.
Do not give up: If you’re doing everything right
and she’s still rejecting you… at least you’re doing everything right!
There’s no need to quit doing the right thing because everything doesn’t
suddenly go your way. Be patient, and pray.