It is hard for anyone to live without some appreciation now and then. But when the lack of recognition for all the investment in a relationship comes from someone as close as a husband, it becomes difficult to see why you should go on with such a marriage at all. The good news however is that the situation is not hopeless. So when your husband begins to take you for granted, here are a few ways to remind him of your worth.
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If you want your husband to show respect for your contribution to the marriage, start by doing so yourself. Think back on all the times you put the relationship first and compliment yourself on your selflessness and maturity. Establish definite roles and duties around the house and refuse to be emotionally blackmailed into doing things that your husband is supposed to do. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you do just a little more, your partner will finally notice your efforts and appreciate them. If your husband leaves his dirty clothes on the bedroom floor after taking a shower, let them continue to lie there. If he comes home, flops down before the TV and asks for dinner, all without a kiss or even a “How was your day?” innocently reply that you didn’t know you were supposed fix dinner for him. If you continue to pick up after him or attend to his wants without any acknowledgement on his part, nothing will change. Your husband will keep taking you for granted and you will continue to be miserable. Understanding your own worth is the first step in reclaiming your sense of worth in the marriage.
Have a chat
Once your husband realizes that you will no longer carry out the duties of a wife as a matter of course, he is either likely to question your non-compliance or start sulking like a child who can’t have his way. Take this opportunity to have a little talk on what is missing in your relationship. But instead of directly blaming him for the situation, focus on your own feelings of hurt and anger at being taken for granted. For all you know, he may have been more than a little inattentive due to troubles at work or other preoccupations and you may have been reading too much into his aloofness. On the other hand if your husband has actually been taking you for granted, the chat will make him aware of how bad it makes you feel and perhaps even propel him to make amends. Also don’t limit your discussion to a mere litany of your complaints. Rather let your husband know of the various little ways he can make you feel loved and cherished. Suggest that he give you a loving hug at least twice a day or go for a brief after-dinner walk with you so that two of you feel really close to one another after a long hard day.
Enrich your life
While in the early days of a relationship it is natural for partners to appreciate each other for every small reason, all this becomes difficult to sustain as a much-married couple. Your husband may not only be overwhelmed by the responsibilities at work and home but may no longer feel the need to compliment you regularly like when you were dating. In such a situation find something worthwhile to do with your own time. Join a course, learn a new language or pursue a hobby you always wanted to. When you have varied interests in your own life, you will be less dependent on your husband to validate your sense of self-worth. Moreover expanding your intellectual horizons will add a new dimension to your personality, one which your husband will find hard to miss and harder to resist.
Bring back the romance
Once you have taken the initiative to enrich your life and enhance your personality, also do something to rekindle the dimming embers of romance between you and your husband. There is no rule insisting that the male partner must always make the first move. Go beyond the movie-and-dinner routine to try out something fun like taking a hot air balloon ride together on a weekend or going to watch a football game playing hubby dear’s favorite team. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that it is something your partner likes. This will not only make him feel special but also help him realize what a wonderful woman he has in his life – whom he should appreciate more often.
Remember what the Good Book says about “doing unto others what you would have them do unto you”. So if you want your partner to stop taking your for granted, be ready to accord him the same degree of respect that you would like him to extend to you. This effectively means noticing and appreciating whatever small thing he does for you, the kids or the house. If he remembers to pick up the loaves of bread on his way back from work, give him a smile and a bright “thank you”. If he agrees to drop the kids to their soccer practice without grinding his teeth, thank him again. Continue with this for some time and no matter how sorely tempted don’t yet bring up the fact that you could do with some appreciation yourself. See if your positive attitude has brought about any changes in your husband. If it has, keep up the good work until he begins to give more to the relationship and is more appreciative of your love and support. However if you find that despite your best efforts, your partner refuses to treat you with respect and appreciation, perhaps it is time to examine deeper issues in your marriage with the help of a counselor.
To some extent it is normal for partners to take each for granted when they have been in a marriage for some length of time. However if this attitude undermines a person’s sense of self-worth and becomes a source of negative self-perception, it is time to remedy the situation before the partners drift away from each other forever.