"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Husbands Leave, Part 2: Love

I've recently been exploring a list of reasons men leave their wives.  Today I will delve into the topic of love; specifically men who do not feel loved by their wives.

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Love is an emotional topic, but one that can also be approached for a no-nonsense, logical angle.  When we feel loved, we feel content.  The person who makes us feel loved becomes an important focus in our daily thought lives as well as (usually) our daily physical lives. When that person doesn't make us feel loved it can have a devastating effect on a husband.

What kind of effect?
When husbands feel unloved by their wives, they will either (a.) adjust or (b.) leave.  Simple as that.  Which one he chooses depends largely on how unloved he actually feels.

If the marriage isn't quite what he thought it would be, but it isn't horrible, he will probably adjust to a "good enough" relationship and he'll eventually fill in the gaps without her.  This could mean a mistress, a friend, pornography, or just a bunch of hobbies that take him away from the bad feelings and place him in a situation where he feels loved and comfortable again. Yes, he'll adjust, but he won't be happy and neither will his wife. 

On the other extreme there is the husband who has let his resentment fester until there is downright contempt toward his wife.  This is the husband who will leave the marriage.  He isn't feeling good about himself when he is near his wife, and he packs his bags.  He will probably end up searching for a new relationship with someone who gives him the love he needs.

What is love?
According to the Merriam - Webster dictionary, love is:

(1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties 
(2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers

These are the basic ingredients we need to feel loved.  When a wife shows her husband love he will feel secure and happy being married to her.

How should a wife show love to her husband?

1. Realize that love is a choice.  A wife can choose to love her husband or choose to not love him.  It is an act of the will.  It requires one to deny oneself to meet another's needs and desires.  If a wife is willing to do that, then her husband will feel her affection toward him and it will have a ripple affect throughout their marriage.  If she is unwilling to meet his needs and desires, then her choice will have consequences.  She might lose her husband to another love.

2. Understand that each person speaks a different love language.  Husbands and wives feel love in different ways.  They have to learn how to speak their spouses' love language (not only speak it, but become fluent in it).  When a wife learns to speak her husband's love language, he feels blissfully happy.

*Have you ever noticed what happens when one day you decide to surprise your husband and do something for him that fulfills one of his deep desires?  Does he treat you differently?  Better?  More loving?  It isn't a coincidence.  You have finally spoken his love language and he feels more secure in your arms and in your marriage. Real love isn't based on your preferences, but on your spouse's preferences.
3. Communicate.  Saying "I love you" has not and will not go out of style. Also, the expression "actions speak louder than words" applies to this situation.  Do something for him that shows you are paying attention to his needs.

Just remember that whatever you do out of love must (MUST) be done with a loving attitude (Romans 12:9).  Don't try to show him love by doing something begrudgingly (Deuteronomy 15:10).  What an insult!  Most husbands would rather not have your love at all than to feel like an ass because you are obviously just going through the motions out of duty.  

4. Be there for him.  When he needs to cuddle (and believe it or not, men do need to cuddle), make sure you give him the time he needs.  If he is going through a crisis, make sure you are there, going through the crisis with him.  Make sure you experience him.  The REAL him.  Let him be vulnerable without judging (Romans 15:7).  He needs that kind of unconditional love (the kind he can always get from his friends- hint, hint).

5. Pray for your husband and for yourself.  Pray for an understanding and loving heart, and pray that your husband will feel the love you are expressing in a way that speaks directly to his heart. 

Husbands need to feel loved.  Wives are the number one person who can make or break a husband in this area.

What say you?  As always I would love to know your thoughts on this topic.


The rest of the series:


  1. Great topic for sure! Id like to read a topic on husbands leading their wives though.. I feel husbands make or break their home and ultimately is the husband encouraging the wife to be the important role she is? Is he leading his wife in the direction she needs to go in order to care for his needs? In my life mine left because he was unhappy but because he wanted to sometimes (slip on pornography) he didn't watch pornography out of unhappiness of me.. He watched it because it was his instant gratification when I wasn't home. We had a great sex life and it was a daily one! Don't justify a mans behavior for placing himself in a dark place!! Husbands NEED to start leading in a gentle, humble, understanding Christ like way in order for their wives to submit her love in a way he truly needs and longs for.. If he fails himself and his wive he fails his whole family. The absence of relationship will lead to the absence of comfort..

    1. It seems to me your husband was unfaithful not through any fault of your own. Pornography is like mental adultery and cannot be justified just because one's wife is on a trip or something. I think it is about temptation and the flesh which we all have to fight on some level or other. Our paramount relationship is with the Lord and surely out of this will come the wisdom and strength on how to love our wives in the right way.

  2. I find that this is a old nature answer. A man leaves a wife because he rejects Christ and then his wife. Your article says husbands love ur wifes and goes on about how she is to love him. Both are before the Lord and being right with God. The Lord leads how to love and respect and there is no blameshifting that the husband leaves because he feels unloved. He is in sin. And to not call it sin is to not bring him closer to the Lords heart for his bride; the church etc..

    1. I agree - thank you for saying this!! If the husband chooses to leave or to find solace in the arms of another - he is in sin. Blaming the wife is like saying the rape victim was 'asking for it' - its a lie. Instead - be a man - and try to work it out with your wife - talk to her - tell her your needs - go to counseling - and work at it. Honor your vows and do your best to keep the family together. If after you do this it still isnt working -talk to your priest/pastor - try everything first - then maybe consider calling it quits. Running away into the arms of another is not the answer - you can't run from yourself!

  3. this is sort of like blaming the rape victim - like saying she was 'asking for it' - bottom line - the person who leaves refuses to try to work on the marriage -and actively chooses to run away and not try to deal with the problems and issues. The grass is always greener - until you get there. In most cases - the person who leaves will be filled with regret and guilt for years as they are the person who destroyed the family - and the lives of many through their choices - not God's.

  4. I guess the same goes true for the wife then, if she refuses her husband, according to the bible, she is then in "sin". I get sick and tired about having to tip toe around how the "wife" feels. It's always the husbands fault. What men have to do to get what they biologically desire and need is always put in a negative connotation. To bring "rape" into this conversation is absurd. Men don't want to leave their wives. I would guess, based on the authors statistics, 75% are pushed away.

  5. Living in a sexless marriage is a big temptation to an affair or whatever leading to an eventual seperation. We are told to come together so that we are not tempted by the enemy. Love will not allow us to use our wives in the wrong way. Nobody is asking for that, but a refusing wife is putting her husband in jeopardy and can contribute to the break up of her marriage.