As I’ve interacted with thousands of married couples in person and online, I’ve noticed some bad habits many husbands are doing to sabotage their marriages. There are obviously many unhealthy behaviors many wives are doing too, but I’m going to focus this particular post on some of the most common and destructive habits of married men. This is NOT intended to bash my bros out there. I struggle with things on this list too. This is intended to be a call to action for all of us to step and make some radical readjustments for the sake of our marriages and families.
This is not a comprehensive list, but these are some of the most common bad habits of many married men. If these are a factor in your marriage, please take immediate action to correct these issues. If you’re a wife reading this, I’d also encourage you to read my popular post on 9 things your husband is always thinking about to better understand the male thought process and to improve communication in your marriage.
In no particular order…
1. Getting more excited about Fantasy Football than you get about your wife and kids.
As I’m writing this, it’s football season and I’m a fan, but I’m blown away at the amount of time, effort, energy, money and enthusiasm so many guys invest into Fantasy Football. Guys, “Fantasy” is in the name, so it’s not even real. It’s okay to be fans, but let’s not live vicariously through pro athletes all football season long at the expense of our loved ones. Let’s be more excited about our real lives than our Fantasy stats.
2. Looking at porn.
This one is going to step on a lot of toes, because millions of people (a majority of them men) look at porn regularly and see nothing at all wrong with it. I address this in much more detail in my popular post on the Truth about Porn, but in a nutshell, porn desensitizes us from real intimacy. It’s a form of virtual infidelity, and it’s a “gateway drug” towards other marriage-destroying behaviors. Marriage requires monogamy, and monogamy should be mental as well as physical. Instead of living in the fantasy world of porn, work to build stronger sexual intimacy in your own marriage. Check out our new video course on sex and intimacy in marriage for some healthy (and porn-free) ways to spice things up.
3. Zoning out when your wife is talking to you.
Men and women process communication in different ways, but both spouses need to make conscious efforts to connect with the other. Men, we can have a tendency to “zone out” during conversations, but our wives need and deserve our full, undivided attention. Let’s not approach conversations like zombies on autopilot. Let’s be fully present. Remember, your wife’s need for meaningful communication is every bit as strong as your need for sex. That should put it into perspective.
4. Getting mad at your kids for stuff you do too.
I catch myself in this one all the time. We can easily get into the “Do as I say” instead of “Do as I do” mentality, but our kids need our example much more than our instruction. We can’t tell them not to cuss when we’re cussing in front of them. We can’t tell them to control their temper when we venting our anger all the time. We’ve got to practice what we preach if we’re going to have any long-term credibility.
5. Checking out other women.
This one has a lot of similarities with #2 (looking at porn), but it creates some separate issues as well. When we check out other women in public, we’re publicly disrespecting our wives and publicly objectifying other women all at once. Watch where your eyes go. Don’t swing your head around at every woman wearing yoga pants. Have more respect for your wife.
6. Not wearing a wedding ring.
This one is controversial, but I’m a big believer in wearing a wedding ring. I talk about this in more detail in my post on 3 Reasons to Wear Your Wedding Ring. Whether or not your wear a ring is one of the first things women will notice about you, and they will make assumptions about your “availability” and even your commitment to your marriage based on the presence or absence of a ring. Wear it as often as you can.
7. Giving your career and hobbies your best and giving your wife your leftovers.
We’ve all been guilty (at times) of giving our best efforts to other people and pursuits and then giving our leftovers to the ones who should matter most. Let’s make every effort to give our very best energies to our families.
8. Staring at your phone more than you make eye contact with your family.
I don’t want my kids’ primary memories of me to be the top of my head while I stared at my phone or laptop. This is a struggle for many men (including me), because we feel the pressure to be constantly connected to the world, and sometimes, it even feels like a necessity in working to provide for our families. Still, we need to create clear boundaries to have the electronics shut off as often as possible so we can be fully present and engaged at home.
9. Expecting your wife to do everything around the house.
Stats show that even in homes where both the husband and wife work full-time outside the home, the wife is still doing the vast majority of domestic duties around the house. Guys, we need to step up here (I’m talking to myself too). Your wife is not your maid. Give her the respect and support she deserves by helping around the house (and in all other areas too).
Men, whether or not these particular issues apply to you, let’s resolve together to be the husbands and fathers our families deserve. Let’s love, protect, provide and serve them to the best of our abilities. Let’s make sure our actions and our words communicate our undying love and commitments. They need and deserve our very best!
By Dave Willis
For more tools to build a rock-solid marriage, check out my new book “The 7 Laws of Love: Essential Principles to Build Stronger Relationships”
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About the Author: Dave Willis is a pastor, husband and dad of four boys. With his wife, Ashley, Dave founded StrongerMarriages.org and the “Marriage” app as a way to encourage couples to build stronger marriages. You can connect with him on Twitter and follow his blog at Patheos.