Sonya asked me, “What do you do when your husband takes you for granted?” She felt unappreciated. Overworked. Like she couldn’t please him to save her life. She was working hard to be the best homemaker in their empty nest, just as she had always done. Trying to anticipate what he needed and wanted from her. But she was missing an important ingredient in her formula for a great marriage.
In truth, her husband just needs to know that she …
- likes who he is,
- wants to be with him, and
- isn’t taking him for granted.
If she could find a way to communicate that to him, she could solve 95% of her challenge.
And he would make her feel so much more appreciated.
Here is just one example for your consideration.
What to do when your husband takes you for granted.
I recorded my answer during a live Q&A on Zoom. Here’s the transcript. The video is posted below.
I’m here to help, so let’s continue the dialogue. Feel free to post in the comments box below. If you have a more personal question & would like my response, contact me.
You know, I think actually women are more likely to take men for granted than the other way around. I actually do. Men just kind of figure out,
“This is the way it’s going to be.”
And they give up. So what may look like he’s taking his wife for granted is he’s just trying not to rock the boat. So he doesn’t ask for anything.
Well, you know we talked about that before. About how men don’t like to bring up something that they’re not happy about. Because it could either
- hurt his wife’s feelings or
- it could make her angry.
- One or both of those things.
So he keeps it inside of him, and he just really learns to settle. If makes sense …
and because he’s not complaining, and because he shows up every day, and he’s doing all the things that a woman wants him to. You know, except maybe helping around the house a little bit more, feeling more connected. And he really doesn’t know what that means.
He doesn’t know what being “more connected” is.
But he just learns to settle. He just comes home and does his thing. And the common conversations among men are
- Just try not to get in trouble with the wife.
- You know that saying: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So you try to keep mama happy.
- Which oftentimes means that you don’t ask for anything. You see her flittering to do all of these things, and she seems to be filled with all kinds of anxiety about kids and the house and getting everything done.
And there’s really no room for the husband to even mention his needs.
Who’s taking whom for granted?
I watched a video yesterday the title of it was Self-Made and it was on Amazon. [Correction: It was on Netflix.] I’m not sure if you’ve seen that, but Octavia Spencer did a really good job of portraying the first female self-made millionaire in the United States. She’s African American, so you have all of these cultural issues that are part of the video. … I think it starts in 1908, so we’re talking more than a hundred years ago. A long time ago.
She’s married to an abusive man in the beginning, and her self-esteem is just in the pits. She takes in laundry … all these things are going on. And then she ends up marrying this really nice guy.
She finds out … I don’t want to spoil the whole story for you … but she she finds this haircare product for African American women, and she wants to sell it. But the woman doesn’t want anything to do with her, so she develops it on her own. And it takes off.
The reason why this comes to my mind is that at one point this really loving husband that she had … makes suggestions for her … about how to get the rich men to invest in the factory she wants to open.
But she dismisses him. She totally pushes him [her husband] aside, and she says,
“No, this is my company.”
She just keeps referring to it as “my company.” And she ended up pushing this perfectly loving man to the side … basically tell him, “I don’t need you. I don’t need your input.”
Well, she does find a way. … Obviously the story is that she’s a self-made millionaire. She does find a way to get the backing, and she goes through the women.
But in the process, she totally disrespects her husband. He even says,
“What good am I?”
She’s got him doing women’s hair, and the things that he’s capable of doing. … I believe it was advertising, that he had a specialty in advertising. And she wouldn’t even listen to his input. He ends up having an affair, and they divorce.
They both still love each other, but they didn’t handle that very well.
I don’t think that women should submit to all men. I am right up there with: “We’ve got rights. We’ve got brains. We should do things.”
But if we’ve got a partner, we need to learn how to work together. Nothing in the marriage is ever mine and yours. It’s ours. Something we do together.
That’s part of where I think the the whole shift – and I know I’m going on a different topic than you originally asked, but it’s on my mind. This whole shift from the way that men, in their vulnerability, used to suppress women to help themselves feel better. Now we flipped it around.
Instead of making things better where we cooperate more, we’ve actually made it worse. Because now, in finding our voice, we’ve told men to “shut up.”
So across the board – unless a man wants to be a real jerk and do some of the things that you know have come up recently – you know about men taking advantage of women, which that’s a whole other topic.
But women really take advantage of men and just run over them. I don’t think that’s what we’re supposed to be doing with gaining our rights.
So that’s kind of a sidebar in in your question. But I think it’s really important.
So men just learned to settle.
It’s just the way it’s gonna be. They’ve lost their voice, and everything revolves around the woman now.
I think it’s a product of us being really really misinformed about what the marital relationship is supposed to look like.