That is a good question, one that I always seem to inventory myself with. I do think that it can be a pretty harsh question to ask yourself. I asked this question of a friend of mine, Billy, and his answer seemed to have a pretty common theme. “I have always been faithful, always maintained a good technical, administrative type job.”
“I am always at work or at home. I don’t really have any friends so I don’t go and hang out with the boys.” “I don’t go fishing, I don’t go to the bars, I don’t drink at all anymore unless it’s a glass of wine or a mixed drink on special occasions and even then I usually won’t unless my wife does also.”
“I constantly try to be thoughtful, paying my wife compliments, telling her she’s pretty and beautiful. I always tell her that I love her, I tell her that i love her so often that I think it doesn’t really mean that much to even say it now.” “I agree to do some things only because I know that my wife enjoys or wants to do them.”
“I have smoked cigarettes for about 20 years, I told her that I would quit but never have. She has smoked on and off throughout our marriage and has quit for several months a few different times (probably started back because I didn’t quit).”
“Now she has been quit for almost a year and I am very proud of her, she and my daughter constantly give me the guilt trip for still smoking (for health and money reasons). I feel like a dirty dog. I might slip out behind the woodshed and smoke a little green every now and then.”
“Nobody else knows other than her. I really don’t think it is that bad, of course I wouldn’t want my kids to know. These few things that I have mentioned have caused her to change the way she feels about me.” “She says I am irresponsible and I am not willing to sacrifice anything.”
“I know that I need to change some if not all of these things but it’s hard for me to understand how these few things can cause her to lose certain feelings for me.” “I can tell by the way that she acts that she doesn’t look up to me and she doesn’t seem proud of me. I am an emotional guy and it breaks my heart.” “It seems as though she doesn’t feel the same kind of love for me that she once did. So what do you all think? Am I a bad guy?”
I know a lot of guys can relate to some of these areas. Even the best of husbands can have a few faults but what constitutes a bad husband. Is being a good husband left to the opinion of his wife? I think that question holds some truth and I think as a husband there is probably always room for improvement.
In one conversation I heard that somebody said that a dominant man isn’t controlling of his spouse but that a dominant man is someone in control of himself. If your wife sees you as weaker than your addiction or life situation, then she loses respect for you. I am not sure how much weight that point of view carries, I’ll just let you be the judge of that.
One thing I have learned is to always be emotionally available to your wife. You don’t have to always have the answers as a good husband; shoot sometimes you don’t even have to have an answer at all. That, fellow husbands, is where I think we drop the ball.
Try just having a shoulder for her, an open mind and most importantly an open ear. My wife and I just celebrated 12 good years and promise it was not due to me barking orders and just fixing things.