It's tough being a man these days. Modern men are expected to be sensitive, caring and in tune with their feelings; while at the same time they're still expected to be strong, protectors and able to fix anything that breaks. Men can't be too sensitive or they're not being good enough protectors. On the other hand, they can't be too protective or else they're not being sensitive enough.
As men, we try to navigate this balance between being caring and being strong. And because it can be such a fine line, there are a lot of times we fail. And there are things we do that are hurting our wives and killing our marriages. Here are five:
1. Not providing the basics for the family
As a man, it is your responsibility to provide for your family, regardless of whether or not your wife works. Sometimes this means working a few overtime shifts so your kids can sign up for that baseball league. And sometimes this means biting your lip when your boss is being a jerk because you need the stability for your family. But it makes it all worth it when you come home at night and see the smiles on everyone's face.
Ever since you were a kid, you were taught to, "Man up," and, "Don't cry," just to accept the fact that bad things just happen in life. While this is good advice sometimes, your wife also needs you to be an optimist. Your relationship will need to rally from all kinds of challenges, failures, hurt feelings and health problems. Your wife doesn't need someone to tell her to stop crying, she needs a shoulder to cry on.
3. Withholding physical affection
Yes, men do this, too. Physical affection is more than just sex. It includes giving her hugs before you leave for work, holding her hand in the aisle at the grocery store and pulling her close to you when you're watching a movie on the couch together. If you're withholding these things from her, you're withholding physical affection that she thrives on. The affection you try to show inside the bedroom will never make up for the physical affection you show her outside the bedroom.
Of the hundreds of girls you knew and dozens that you dated, your wife was the one you picked to spend the rest of your life with. She needs to know that you still pick her. Every time you check your smartphone when you're out together or every time you come home late from work without calling you're sending her a message that she's not important to you. Consequently, she wonders if you still care about her as much as when you first got married.
Your work is important, but don't forget what you're working for. Remember that there's nothing on your phone that's more important than what's going on right around you.
5. Not speaking her language
Women need to know they are loved and that you are grateful for her. You think you're showing love by going to work every day and bringing home a paycheck, so most of the time you don't do much more than that (except maybe on Valentine's Day).
But, she needs more than that to see your love and she needs you to show her that you're doing it all for her. So take a little extra time and do something special. Send her a couple texts during the day or bring her home some flowers from the grocery store. You might be surprised at the reaction you get.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.