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5 Reasons Your Wife Isn't Happy

5 Reasons Your Wife Isn't Happy

When was the last time you and your wife laughed together? Hopefully the answer is today or yesterday, but if it’s been awhile, don’t lose hope. You may be frustrated because your wife hasn’t been very happy lately. Maybe she’s stressed out about the kids or work. Or maybe she seems happy with her friends, but with you, she’s cold and distant. You get the feeling she’s displeased with your marriage and you’re not sure what to do.  

One of my friends was upset because her husband always wanted to go out with his friends over the weekend, leaving her behind and having fun without her. Another friend was disappointed because her husband was spending hours playing video games after work to unwind. She felt alone.  

You may be puzzled about the source of your wife’s unhappiness, so the first thing you can do is pray, “Lord, help me to love my wife as You loved the church. Help me to give my life for her, to present her holy to You, to nurture her as I would my own body.” According to Ephesians 4:25-32, you know that is God’s will for you as a husband.  

Even though it may feel like your wife rules the home emotionally, you have God-given authority to lead your family. If you see your wife struggling in your marriage, you can do something to spark positive change. Think back to your dating days. Your wife was over-the-top happy because she was marrying you. These are five things that made her happy:  

She was marrying strength. You gave her security and protection physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually.  

She was filled with hope. Her yearning for love had finally been filled. 

She was encouraged. You told her she was enough and that she was beautiful.

She was romanced. You flirted with her and made her feel alive.  

She laughed. Every time she saw you, you would find something to laugh about together.    

Most likely your wife is unhappy because these things aren’t happening anymore in your relationship, or they exist to a lesser degree.  The five reasons your wife may not be happy are: 

Reason Number 1: The marriage lacks leadership. Your wife wants to look to you for strength and confidence. If you’re not sure what to do with your difficult teen or your mounting debt, don’t wait for your wife to do something. Take initiative to solve the problems facing your family. Read books. Take courses. Ask others for advice. Let household responsibilities fall squarely on your shoulders. Don’t pass the buck. Show your wife strength.  

Reason Number 2: Your wife feels hopeless. She wants the closeness and intimacy that you once had, but she doesn’t feel like anything will change. She doesn’t have hope that your marriage will improve or get sweeter. She is skeptical about making any efforts to improve the marriage because she’s afraid of disappointment. No matter what she does, nothing seems to work. Why not surprise her this week by an unexpected act of kindness that will fan hope in her life? Pick up a marriage book that you can read together to grow together in hope. Read Scripture about gladness and hope, and pray together.  

Reason Number 3: Your wife is demoralized. Your wife may be comparing her marriage to the picture perfect Pinterest marriage next door (which doesn’t exist). She feels discouraged, exhausted, ugly, and probably fat. Sometimes your words (or lack or words) bring her down. Check the tone you use with your wife. Are you yelling, scolding, being overly sarcastic, or cold? Your messages will be much better received if they are given gently and calmly. Bring back the compliments and encouraging words that characterized your dating days. Tell your wife she is beautiful today. When she shares something with you, don’t rush to get away. Listen patiently and give her eye contact. Women connect emotionally with words. She’ll be happier when she feels heard, understood, and valued.   

Reason Number 4: The romance is over. You used to bring your wife flowers or take her to nice restaurants or cozy picnics. You’d surprise her sometimes by whisking her away from work at lunchtime. You held hands, locked eyes, kissed tenderly, and whispered to each other. Now years later it’s more like a business relationship than a bond of two lovers. Bring back the flirting by noticing her across the room (even if it’s just the kitchen!). Catch eyes and smile and hold her again. Create romantic moments that don’t always end in sex (of course, some of them will). Plan a weekend getaway. Take her out on a date to a place she really likes. Write a short love note and put it in her car.  

Reason Number 5: The house isn’t filled with laughter anymore. When you are comfortable with someone, you laugh easily together. On the flip side, when you’re not sure about the other person (I’m thinking door-to-door salesman right now), you are more guarded and not as prone to laugh. When you and your wife were falling in love, you liked each other a lot and you laughed together as a confirmation of mutual affection. Just look at any couple falling in love. They are constantly smiling, giggling, and laughing. When the laughter starts to fade in your home, take it as a warning sign. When you don’t laugh as much together, it signals that you aren’t spending enough time together (because eventually something funny will happen or come up). Studies actually show that couples who laugh together are more likely to stay married. And doesn’t that make sense because laughing together keeps you close.  

So the question to ask yourself is, “How have I changed since we got married?” What are the behaviors that characterized your dating relationship? What worked when you were dating? Whether it’s noticing your wife’s pretty hair or opening the door for her, return to the way you treated her when you were winning her over. Even if she doesn’t respond right way, keep doing the right thing by loving her in spite of herself. As you are faithful and valiant, it will help your wife find her happy place once again.  

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Family Life Today, The 700 Club and Turning Point with David Jeremiah. Arlene and her husband James live in San Diego with their three children. Visit Arlene’s website at

Publication date: September 1, 2016