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My Husband Says He’s Not Happy – Tips and Advice That May Help
There are few more terrible phrases in marriage than “I’m not happy” husband. This is a loaded phrase. You wonder if the problem is you, or him, or the entire marriage. And, it’s normal to wonder if he’s letting other stresses in his own life come into our relationship, like his boss’s problems, his family, money problems, or other things. It’s depressing to think that things over which you have no choice or control can taint everything you’ve worked to create.
The other day, I got an email from a wife who said “My husband came home today out of the blue and announced that he’s just unhappy. How can I respond to that?” I asked her if she knew what he was trying to convey because I wanted to see that she didn’t blame or beat herself up. Does that mean he was not happy in his marriage? Or was he miserable at his job? Or was he disappointed about where he was or what he had done with his life? Or isn’t everything flaring up for him right now? The wife could not pinpoint a specific problem and said he was just saying in general that he was miserable. I will tell you how I asked her to respond in the next article.
You are not responsible for your husband’s happiness, but you should deeply care about him: I want to get one thing out. One person cannot control how another person feels or experiences life. If your husband tends toward self-criticism or pessimism, or if the glass seems half empty, it is not your responsibility to shoulder it. You cannot change this for him. Trying to do so is a losing game. Because once you do this, then suddenly everything that goes wrong is your fault and he starts looking at you as something or someone that frustrates him and he starts looking at you as a problem rather than a solution.
Having said that, it’s best that your husband sees you and your marriage as a safe haven against life’s difficulties, and frankly, he doesn’t see things like that right now. The good news is that he is still communicating. I can’t tell you how many wives write to me after their husband has already announced that he is moving out or wants a divorce. You’re ahead of the game here because he’s got this head on you and he’s trying to communicate. By being honest and telling you that he’s not happy, he’s basically asking you to help him fix things before they get worse. And, you should do the same.
How you should respond when your husband declares that he is unhappy:The real question is what you do and how you respond to this information. First of all, you should try your best to stay calm. Your overreaction or making a big deal out of it will only add to the problem between the two of you. I know this is weighing on you, but you don’t need to constantly harp on it to make it bigger than it already is. If you can’t respond calmly, compassionately, and rationally, wait until you can. Because the message you leave with him is very important.
You want him to know that he is the most important person in your life. Because you love him deeply, of course you want him to be as happy as possible. Explain that it would help if he could share details about what’s bothering you. Tell him that there are some things that only he can control. For example, you may not be able to repair his relationship with his boss, but you are more willing to listen and lean in and provide unwavering support. If it’s your marriage that he’s unhappy with, you’re willing to work with him until you get to a place where you’re both satisfied with the results. Your basic message is that his well-being is yours too, that you are completely in his corner and on his side, and that you are going to control whatever you can – your attitude, the way you communicate, improving your marriage – that you can control. While providing support on things that are not.
Follow through on what you said:It is very important that you deliver on what you promise. You cannot say all these beautiful words, wait for the storm to pass, and then go back to the wrong way you are operating. Take a look at your marriage, identify where it can improve, and get to work.
That being said, the last thing you want to do is make your husband read the process in a negative way. He doesn’t want to just roll up his sleeves and “work on your marriage,” especially when he’s struggling. You want to give him something he will be excited about. Instead of having a hard and awkward discussion about what is wrong, focus on what is right. Think about the fun you used to have together and recreate those experiences by focusing on what you both enjoy today. Unplug your responsibilities for a while and prefer to reconnect without all the pressure. Don’t try too hard. Don’t constantly ask him where he is in the process. Just focus on creating pleasant experiences that will put a smile on both of your faces.
His telling you he’s not happy is usually a passive aggressive way to get more attention and demand more fun and excitement in both of your lives. Make sure this is the message you hear. Don’t take it as criticism and don’t get defensive. Use this as an opportunity to create a life you both enjoy.
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