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No well-meaning husband plots how to hurt his wife; everyone gets married anticipating happy, sunny days ahead. However, as time passes, most couples find themselves struggling with discontentment and healing heartaches. If a husband commits to learning his wife, he’ll learn her love language and avoid hurting her. Still, if he couldn’t be bothered to learn what excites her, he risks inhibiting her spirits. Here are some ways a husband can unknowingly hurt his wife.

Denying affection.

Most wives enjoy affection from their husbands and can never get enough of it. In his book His Needs, Her Needs, author Willard F. Harley, Jr. says that affection is the top need for most wives, and they see it as the glue of their marriage. Without affection, they feel disconnected from their husbands. He goes on to say that giving your wife a healthy amount of affection makes her feel protected, secure, approved and comforted. On the other hand, withholding affection from your wife is a way to break her heart and make her feel rejected.

Unfortunately, many men don’t prioritize affection because they generally don’t need it and mostly resort to being affectionate to prepare for intimacy, which tends to be very repulsive to their wives, who crave non-sexual affection with no strings attached. Wives need a constant flow of affection throughout the day as it makes them feel connected to their husbands.

However, a wife who gets a healthy dose of appreciation will be more than eager to get intimate with her husband. If you’re unsure of how to show your wife affection, start by finding out what makes her happy. That being said, most women will appreciate being kissed, hugged, receiving texts/calls, having doors opened for them, having her hand held, and hearing ‘I love you,’ among other warm gestures.

Keeping your wife in the dark.

Your wife should know that you can be trusted. Therefore, she needs honest and transparent communication from her husband. It’ll hurt her to the core if she discovers stuff you haven’t disclosed. Openness and honesty are the foundation of trust in a marriage. There shouldn’t be any gray areas or well-guarded secrets. After all, when you two got married, you stopped being two people and became one flesh, as described in Matthew 19:6.

Give your wife accurate information about yourself and let her be privy to your daily schedule. Tell her that she can get you on the phone whenever she needs to and divulge your feelings and thoughts to her as well. Let her know that she has full access to your life because you two are one. This will solidify her commitment to you and make her feel safe in our marriage.

Being too busy for the family.

What’s the order of your priorities? Do you sneak home in the late hours with no time to spend with your wife and kids? Do you go to everything else and give your family the leftover crumbs of your time and energy? Are you constantly tired while interacting with your family because you spent all of your energy out there? It deeply hurts your wife if she senses that your family isn’t among our top priorities. Besides, she wants you to be the leader of the home, a task you can’t perform if you’re not around.

Raising kids is demanding, and leaving the bulk of the work to your wife isn’t fair. She longs to have you as an equal parenting partner. Besides, your children need the moral guidance of a father. If your children are young, you have a short time to influence them. If you ruin that chance, you can’t get it back when they’re out of the nest. Children don’t only need quality time; they need quantity time. As a husband, analyze your priorities and see if they align with God’s will for your life. If you’re a believer, your relationship with God should be at the top of your priority list. After that comes your spouse, kids, work, studies, hobbies, and other things. You might have to say no to extra work projects or a promotion to preserve time with your family.

Being mean to her.

First Peter 3:7 says that husbands give honor to their wives as the weaker vessel and dwell with them with understanding as you two are heirs together of the grace of life. Imagine going through a challenging time with a sick child. Your wife may be an emotional wreck, but you braved the situation and encouraged her. Your wife couldn’t fathom how you could hold yourself together amid the storms you were sailing in. Women want tender care and protection from their husbands. As a result, being mean toward your wife is another dreadful way of hurting her feelings.

Peter encouraged husbands to dwell with their wives with understanding so their prayers wouldn’t be hindered. God makes a big deal out of how you treat your wife, so Paul also urged husbands to love their wives and not be mean to them, as detailed in Colossians 3:19. Husbands should use their masculinity to comfort, protect, and care for their wives. If you’re unsure of how to be gentle with your wife, try loving her as prescribed in the Bible. First Corinthians 13:4-8 reminds us that love is kind, suffers long, doesn’t envy, doesn’t parade itself, doesn’t behave rudely, isn’t puffed up, and bears all things.

Ignoring boundaries with other women.

Your wife should know that she’s the only one in your life, and she shouldn’t have to second-guess your commitment to her. It hurts your wife if she sees you interacting inappropriately with other women. It would be best to uphold healthy boundaries to safeguard the sanctity of your marriage. Unhealthy interactions with women can lead to emotional cheating and, eventually, full-blown infidelity. If your wife shares concerns about your interaction with a particular woman, don’t dismiss her fears.

Instead, work toward reassuring her of your commitment to her, tightening the boundaries around the friendship in question, and, if necessary, ending it. Remember that if you can’t do or say something to another woman in the presence of your wife, then you’re probably crossing the line. At work, make it a point to talk positively about your wife. Put a picture of her on your desk and leave no room for people to second guess your commitment to her.

Your wife should know that you’re in her corner. Sometimes, wives have to wade through a sea of hostility from family members and friends. In these instances, you should stand up for her and let people know they have to go through you to get to her. Don’t let anyone belittle or harass her. Be loyal to her and take her side unless she’s being unreasonable.

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