My Husband Isn’t Being Romantic Enough

I was asked to respond to a woman’s anonymous comment on the site Biblical Gender Roles.  The full post is here, and below is the woman’s situation in her own words in italics, along with my responses in normal text.

The Undated Wife

“I have read many of the posts on your site and I agree with some things you say. I agree that women should not deny sex to their husbands and I do not deny sex to my husband, although there are many times I don’t feel like having sex with him.

But I think you miss the fact that women have an equal right to be dated by their husbands. Why do men think that dating is just before marriage? Why do men stop dating their wives after they get married?

While it is very nice and definitely helps to keep the romance alive in the relationship to continue going out on “dates” while married, there is absolutely no where in the Bible where women are guaranteed that kind of romantic situation.  Even throughout history, married couples needed to focus more on working well together, each carrying their own load, rather than on romance in the marriage.  I’m not trying to be overly harsh, but this reeks of a selfish attitude saying that women have “an equal right to be dated by their husbands.”  I’ve never seen or heard that line before, it is not biblical like the partners’ right to sex is.  The Bible clearly states that neither partner should deny sex to the other, unless it is mutually decided on (consensual) and for only a short period of time; however, no where will you find the Bible outlining that couples should not deny each other romance or regular dates.

So this statement you believe is true, that women have some kind of right to be taken out on dates that is equal to the right of having sex in a marriage is biblically false and has no foundation.  It is great if your husband would date you once a week, take you out several times a year on couples’ get-aways, or being able to finance family vacations once or twice a year.  These are privileges that are based on your husband’s being able to afford them financially and time-wise, though, not considered rights that you can use to berate him with.

Let me give you a little bit of background to my situation. I married my husband about 8 years ago, we were both divorced. I had no children from my previous marriage (I am unable to have children). He had three kids from a previous marriage that he has joint custody of. Now they are all teenagers. I love his kids and they love me.

We’ve been married 8 years as well, so I like that I can at least relate to having spent the same time in our marriages.  To give you a little background about me, my husband and I got married very young – I was 20, about to turn 21, and he was 22.  We were not your standard early 20 year olds, however, we (especially he) were a little bit more mature.  I’m so glad that you have been able to create the kind of relationship with his kids so that they love you!  With blended families where there are stepchildren, that is so crucial to a happy home life.

I am a stay at home wife.

Me, too, for now.

My husband says he loves me. He is a good provider. He is a good father to our children. But he works all the time. Even when he comes home from the office, he takes his laptop out many times and continues to read and answer emails all evening long. The only time he seems to carve out anytime is when his kids come to our house. Then he spends time with them. In fact sometimes I feel like the minute his kids arrive I am not even there.

Try not to go into victim mode/victim mentality here and give in to the selfish attitude of throwing yourself a pity party.  Let’s count your blessings so that we can stay in perspective: you have a husband who sounds like a good, decent man when many other women in this world are lonely.  I actually know many women right now in my own sphere that are single and would kill to be in your position with a husband to love and do life with, and children to bless and to mother.  Another blessing is that your husband is a “good provider,” what a praise to have this in a world of men who are rejecting women and marriage altogether!  You have a man that is willing to bust his ass for you, who is driven and motivated!  We as women tend to feel sorry for ourselves whenever anything big or small tends to throw off our plans or expectations of how things should go.  Think of the women of the past, they truly had it tough, and they were never guaranteed going out once a week on romantic dates – that would have been entirely foreign to them and they would think of us as wimps!  They would never have complained or nagged or whined about feeling neglected because their husbands didn’t take them out for dates.

The women of the past, however, didn’t have our modern day female sense of entitlement.  When they entered a marriage, they entered it understanding that they were going to have to work within it – both physically but also emotionally in order to keep a good healthy marriage.  They had the mentality of “what am I willing to do and what do I bring to a marriage,” whereas we all too often have the attitude of, “what’s in it for me?” and “What will I get out of this arrangement?”  The women of the past that made happy marriages were keen on keeping things in perspective.  If they had a good man for a husband, children to love (even if they were his from another marriage), a roof over their heads, and food on their table, they were content.  I remember reading and studying old letters and article clippings of the Victorian age where wives wrote in to describe their individual marriages.  The happy wives didn’t put all the romance responsibility onto their husbands, but the unhappy ones wrote pieces like your comment to BiblicalGenderRoles, only focusing on how unhappy they were because he was lacking in some way.  Many had to get creative and romance their husbands indoors (romantic evenings by the fire, with a cup of tea, snuggled together, and always always the happy ones wrote about keeping their sex lives alive).  At least you can be comforted that even back then, a marriage’s happiness strongly correlated with the wife’s ability to be optimistic and make the most of things, or throw herself a pity party focusing on her husband’s flaws and how hard she has it.

A word about your husband spending all his time with his children:

If he doesn’t have full custody of his children, then it is crucial to spend all the time he can with them when he does have them.  They are “all teenagers” as you said, so their time out of the house is coming very soon, you will be able to have him all to yourself as empty nesters in about 5 years more than likely.  But yes, he created them before you, and they are his priority number one until they turn 18.  You are not.  I’m sorry if this is hard for you to hear, many step-moms don’t understand a father’s responsibility and duty to his kids and become resentful that he feels more obligated to them than to her.  It simply is the way it is, you chose a man who had children before you.

There are times when he realizes he has not been paying enough attention to me and purposefully does not take out his laptop. We just sit and talk or watch some TV together. But I have told him I feel he needs to make more of an effort to date me. He needs to take me out to dinner more, he needs to take me to the movies. He should be taking me on weekend getaways several times a year like he did many years ago. He has turned into a “homebody” – he is fine with just being home with me and the kids.

This is great that he is willing to admit that he’s not spending enough quality time with you, but instead of waiting for him to feel guilty (and you feeling neglected), why don’t you have a sit down talk at a convenient time where you let him know that instead of him having to feel guilty about it, and instead of you feel resentful or nagging him, that you both can instead work to create a schedule where time spent together alone is written in on a calendar or marked somewhere you two can remember.  This can be very simple – don’t overcomplicate it!  Just simply write in on the calendar twice a week where you two spend at least 1 hour together focusing on the relationship and on each other.  Simple. Easy. Done!

Dates for us have never had to be going out somewhere to do something, they can even be taking a walk together around the neighborhood, going for a run together (working out together is one of my favorite quality times with my hubby), watching a movie on the couch together, making a special dinner together, or just talking one on one about deep issues we’re interested in.

I said he is a good provider and good father. I don’t feel he is a good husband to me. I always feel like his kids and his job come first, and I am always last on his “to do list”. Sure when I say something to him about feeling neglected – he will try for a while to talk with me more, and he might even take me out once in a great while. But I want more! Don’t I deserve to be his number priority? Why do I always have to feel like I am second to his job or the kids?

A good husband cares about you and your needs, this man sounds like he cares and is willing to take your feelings into account.  Be grateful for this!  There are women who are actually married to bad husbands – men who truly don’t care about meeting their needs, don’t care about their feelings, etc.  Your husband, by your account of him, sounds very good to me.  Be careful about constantly giving him an F on his report card, when other women would look at your life and at him, and give him an A.  That is how good men go astray, when they’re honestly trying, honestly caring, and doing the best they know how, but their wife for some reason wants to focus on something minor (like date nights) and ruin the entire marriage over it by saying he’s a “bad husband” to her.

Goodness woman, he is a good husband.  Be thankful for him, be thankful for his being attune to your feelings and needs.  Just simply help him to meet them by doing what I stated before – scheduling in 2x per week some alone time and romance so that you can feel loved.  Do not be a martyr by trying to say he should be the one being romantic, remember and think on the women of the past and how they had to deal with a lot more – physically, mentally and emotionally stressful situations that don’t even compare to the frivolity that we enjoy now.

I got him to go to counseling with our Pastor whom he respects. Our pastor told him he needed to date me, he needed to take me out once a week. He need to take me on a weekend getaway at least twice a year. My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date. He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half. He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right? That means I come before everything – his kids, his job.

Oh my… bringing in the Pastor who he respects to tell him to “man up” and do something that’s not even biblically mandated is a bit much in my opinion.  And telling him he needs to take you on a weekend get-away at least 2x per year… this just reeks of self-entitlement.  Now let’s get into the part where you start complaining about what he hasn’t done for you:

My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date.

That’s like us… we would love to do it once a week, but we’ve never been able to plan it well enough with a babysitter to get that kind of experience.  Sometimes we’ve even gone months without a date night, in fact, our last date night (before our vacation last week) was in April or May!!!  I make sure that we spend enough alone time and have enough romance though, so that I don’t feel neglected. I don’t whine about not having a monthly date night (even though we mean to), I don’t make him feel like a bad husband for it, and I don’t put extra stress or pressure on him when I know I can get my relational and emotional needs met by simply making sure it happens instead of playing the martyr and expecting him to be perfect.

My husband has an incredibly stressful job – and yes, it is a job where he does not get to spend as much time with me as I would prefer, but as his wife, it is my duty and responsibility to make sure our home life runs well, that our children are doing great, that everything is going smoothly.  I’m also responsible for my own happiness.  He is not responsible for that, and he is not a bad husband even though he doesn’t have the time to make a date night every month or would never remember on his own, to schedule needed romantic time or alone time together.  That’s just being a man 🙂  sometimes men need help meeting their wife’s needs, there’s nothing wrong with you pleasantly and sweetly reminding him that you love spending time with him and being romantic – that you need this to feel secure in the marriage.

He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half.

I haven’t been on a weekend getaway with my hubby in 3 years now.  It was a beautiful experience, and yes, I’d love to be able to do it even once a year (let alone the twice you’re complaining your husband isn’t providing for you), but financially, we’ve never before been able to handle that.  You marriage and his quality as a husband should not depend on whether or not he is dating you regularly, or is able to take you on weekend get-aways twice a year.  Again, it is simply selfish entitlement.

He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right?

Aye, woman!  Can you hear yourself and how selfish you sound?  Again, think of the women of the past, how they understood that when they entered into a marriage, that they focused on what they could bring to it.  We have never been able to afford a family vacation in 8 years… this is our first one ever that we had a week ago, and it was truly wonderful.  But all these years, I never dared made my husband feel less than because of his not being able to afford one, I can’t imagine how that would have crushed his ego and self-esteem, making him feel like a failure.  My husband was busting his ass all these years ensuring we were staying afloat – we’ve both put each other through school or training – taking turns supporting each other and working for the benefit of the marriage.  Did it suck that we couldn’t afford weekend get-aways twice a year, or family vacations (ever)?  Yes, but we never complained to each other about it – if we ever did lament the fact, it was not in a way of blaming each other for it.

I hope you can see that this is a problem that you have, an underlying heart issue of not focusing on your blessings and not working to create the kind of marriage YOU desire (the romance).  You have a problem of being selfish here, even dragging your husband to a Pastor so that he can feel spiritually mandated to cater to your extreme self-entitlement issues.

Be joyful that your husband takes debt seriously!  Be joyful that he is working on a plan to get rid of any debt that ya’ll have!  Be joyful that you’ll be able to get out of it “in a couple of years!”  These are all things to praise God for and reallign your attitude about!

I read your post on how a man is to know his wife – I almost cried when I read it because I want that from my husband. I want to feel like his number one priority.

Then romance him.  Set aside time 2x per week to romance him purposefully, create the life you want, the romantic marriage you desire with him.  Don’t play the martyr, crying about how things aren’t meeting your expectations and falling into your lap.  Make the best of what you have, and be thankful for your blessings.

I just feel like all I am here for is to do his and his kids laundry, cook for them and drive them places, and of course have sex with him.

I feel more like a maid and a sex slave than his wife!

With all the news coming out about the Yazidi women, I think you seriously need to read and watch some of the videos about what it is truly like to be a real sex slave.  Again, this is playing the martyr, it’s not healthy for you, its not healthy for your marriage, it’s not helping your husband, and it’s not creating the kind of environment you want for your kids to be in.

Can you maybe write a post about husbands loving their wives before everything else? Can you write about how God wants men to date their wives? Isn’t that what loving your wife is? To date her, to make her feel like she is your number one priority?”

I hope this helped you to maybe think about your situation from a different perspective.  Again, it sounds like we are and have been, in much the same circumstance, and yet, I’ve chosen to respond completely opposite from how you have.

If you feel up to it, make a list of all the incredible blessings you have in your life, put it in a nice journal that you can keep on your nightstand.  Each night, I want you to open that journal and re-read your blessings, thanking God for giving you each and every one.  Each night, I want you to add 1 more blessing to your list, pray over your list every night.  Even (if you feel comfortable enough) ask your hubby to pray with you, let him listen to you thanking God for all that you’ve been given.

Blessings!

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40 thoughts on “My Husband Isn’t Being Romantic Enough

  1. Wow, what a whiney Q#$#$%
    She didn’t even contemplate what it takes for her husband to provide all that for her. How F2345435 ungrateful she sounds. I say he should throw her to the curb.

  2. She will be reading here My Atheist Life, :/ I know it sounds very ungrateful… but women sometimes fall into this kind of thinking. Hoping this helps her to see it in a new light, and have an uplifting conviction.

  3. I’m not worried that someone hears what I say. The balance between men and women in society is a delicate thing which many wish to disrupt, devalue, or alter. Most of them are selfish and not thinking of the greater good or what actually will work.

  4. This is a great post!

    I especially liked your point about the women in the past – it’s a very helpful perspective!

    I wonder if this husband is spending so much time working because he feels the constant pressure of not providing enough to satisfy his wife?

    To the wife (or any wife in that situation), I would also add two pieces of advice that can help you add intimacy to your marriage
    – Go to bed at the same time as your husband.
    – Sleep naked.
    We have some of our best times together before we fall asleep each night! We talk about our days, cuddle and sex comes very naturally in that environment.

    It’s so true what you said about making the effort to romance our husbands! I do most of the planning of dates in our marriage (and many of these are just at home after the kids go to bed), because my husband just does not have the time or mental space to do so at the moment. What do I care? We have lots of fun together, and he appreciates me making the effort.

    I hope this woman listens to you, Dragonfly – your advice could turn around her whole attitude and marriage if she applys it!

  5. Dragonfly,

    Wow – what a powerful response. It is wonderful that God has gifted women like you with such wisdom – I truly and sincerely mean that.

    There were so many areas in that post where I saw issues, but at the same time I think I wanted to wait to respond because I wanted to hear some perspectives from Christian women first.

    This comment from this women as a step mother really touched a nerve with me personally because in some ways it touches on some issues I have had in my own marriage. My wife is a step mom to my kids and we run into the issue from time to time of her comparing how much time I spend with my kids, what I do for them with what I do for her(I also share joint custody with my ex – like her husband). So for me when my children come that is precious time,and I also have teens and feel the time is slipping away.

    The phrase “you love them more than you love me” has come out of her mouth several times over the 5 years we have been married. And on more than one occasion I have heard her say “You are supposed to love me more than them”.

    I have always contemplated if that is a Biblical statement or not. My gut says it is not. I think we love our wives in a different way, than our children, but it is not a “more or less proposition” I will need to study this out and see where the Lord leads me.

    I also work in an office, and I also sometimes don’t close my laptop as often as I should when get home. I too have to remember she needs my time. I love your idea about carving out even just a couple hours that is just us time twice a week – what a great suggestion! And it gives you something to look forward to each week.

    And like this husband, I too have to make a concerted effort to date my wife – this is something that is very important to her and I will hear about us not getting out enough quite often. Don’t get me wrong – we do things when the kids are not with us. We do go to dinner, we do go shopping together, but I think she is looking for things to be more special, and specially planned(its still something I have to wrap my head around – sometimes I get it and other times I don’t)

    Many people wrongly assume that I have this wonderful and perfect marriage because I write on so much about Gender roles and marriage, but as I have revealed from time to time on my blog – my marriage is far from perfect. Don’t get me wrong – my wife and I have many good times together, but then we can both slip into our bad habits or thinking – I can work or blog too much, and she can become too “entitled” as you say and self centered at times.

    I guess you could say like so many couples – we are are work in progress. God is not finished with us yet.

    Thanks again for the great post, it was a blessing to me on a personal level.

  6. We know a man that owns his own business, that was trying to get his wife to cinch their spending, telling her he planned that they could be debt free in a year if she cooperated. She wouldn’t. And she complained all the time about him not spending money on her, doing excessive things, and allowing her to overspend.

    Then she did divorce him, she was cheating on him with someone richer. I couldn’t believe she threw away a 20+ year marriage, and being so close to being out of debt.

    It’s good for women to submit to their husbands… if she had respected that he wanted to lead them out of debt, and been excited that it could only take that short amount of time, imagine the blessing she would have been for her husband.

  7. Wow, there are many things that come to my mind right now to say. Since she will be reading here and it definitely sounds like she is earnest, I will be kind and try to be less critical. If you want some background on me, I have been married for almost 24 years. I was 19 (almost 20). We still have sex daily. We had sex just this morning before he went to work. We’re very “into” each other. People actually describe us by our relationship. “They are so cute!” “They act like they are on their honeymoon!” This is not a humble brag I assure you it is true, and I only bring it up for background info. I don’t know anyone else like us who has been married as long as we have.
    Funny thing is, women will assert that my husband puts me “on a pedastal” (their words) because of the way we interact together. We’re very close and pair-bonded, and value each other greatly. We’re very considerate toward each other. But per “pedastalism” (of me by him, the reverse is actually true, I do pedastalize him) NOTHING could be further from the truth. What they see is a natural reaction from him to my value FOR him. He in turn values me as well, but he doesn’t typically show it through ‘romance’. He shows it in a hundred other ways. So I’ll start with this bit:

    “I read your post on how a man is to know his wife – I almost cried when I read it because I want that from my husband. I want to feel like his number one priority.”

    I am not my husband’s number one priority. He values me and my opinion (more and more as we pass the years together…it’s almost a psychic connection now we each know what the other is thinking), but there are a LOT of things that take priority over me. And they should. I don’t want to be his number one. You need to drop this paradigm right now.

    Imagine your husband were a soldier going off to war, and he was needed desparately by but you begged him to stay. And then he turned around and said, “You know what, you’re more important than any of that…I’ll stay with you and forget about my responsibilities to everyone else!” You might be happy for a moment that he was staying, but subliminally you would feel let down and you’d respect him less. For women, love is very closely tied to respect and admiration.

    “He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half.”
    Back when dragonflygirl wrote about her vacation and how nice it will be since they hadn’t gone away on a trip together for (five I think?) years, I almost shared that after our first son was born we didn’t go on a getaway together, just the two of us, for thirteen years. We “vacationed” when the babies/toddlers/youngsters were napping or down for the night. Sometimes if we were stationed in an area long enough we would try to do a date night, but that was pretty rare because sitters are expensive and when you are constantly moving it’s very difficult to find one you can trust. Also, his job required that we attend mandatory events and we needed to use our babysitting money for that.

    I’ll stop there, and leave a few ideas you might want to try:
    Try writing little notes around the house and buying him or making him the occasional treat (his favorite candy bar, for instance, or dark chocolate if he’s watching what he eats). Keep in mind over-solicitiousness can be offputting too, there’s a line between consideration and giving him his space. It’s kind of an artform, learning to read your man and his moods and find out the behavior that is the perfect “fit”. Every individual is different, but men generally want the same things. And sexual enthusiasm is pretty key too…think of sex not as some biblical “duty” you have to perform, obtain happiness by making him happy, rather than feeling taken advantage of when you do nice things and he doesn’t reciprocate in the manner you would hope***This is a serious paradigm shift that will reap major, major rewards for both of you.

    ***(unless he is actually hostile toward you, but that is not the type of relationship nor man you describe here…it sounds more like he has little discretionary time and you by contrast have a great great deal of discretionary time…this might also be part of the problem, perhaps you could look in to volunteer work, or a part time job that wont’ interfere with your home life but might give you some sense of purpose and fulfillment)

  8. I like this comment, but will add my 2 bits:
    “To the wife (or any wife in that situation), I would also add two pieces of advice that can help you add intimacy to your marriage
    – Go to bed at the same time as your husband.
    – Sleep naked.”

    I can’t go to bed at the same time as my man. And if I slept naked, HE’D never get any rest, and I wouldn’t be able to stand. 😛
    I do try to be considerate though, since I have sleep issues I get up rather than staying in bed tossing and turning around. 🙂

  9. Just to add, after reading the thoughts above and considering more…if funds are tight (even if they aren’t, frugality always helps), it might be a good idea to invest your time and energy into some ideas for saving money. I did this a lot in our younger years (and still do it now when times are tight). It would be a great use of that discretionary time, saving ideas and saving endeavors can be a fulltime job in fact. There are many sources online that offer ideas for saving. A garden, too, is a fantastic idea…healthy as well as frugal.

  10. Love your comment Liz! So good! I was telling my hubby that I wish I could stick you to my blog… like a sticky note 😉 And make you stay here, forever! Thank you for your input and life experiences you share here, they are so very appreciated. I miss you when you’re gone 🙂

  11. Aw, thanks dragonflygirl! 🙂
    I love your site! Glad you find my input valuable.
    You and your man actually remind me a lot of us back in the day.
    😉

  12. I’ve thought a lot about your comment, particularly about the dynamics of a step mother trying to make a man choose between loving her or his kids more.

    According to my husband and I (our thoughts at least), this is why God hates divorce… in the past, when divorce was much less common, or when men were granted full custody of the children (like they usually always were in the past), this was not an issue. Usually a new wife, a stepmom, would only come into the picture when the former wife died (usually in childbirth, but also sometimes because of sickness). It happened very frequently… we take so much for granted in our lives now. The husband would then marry again, sometimes a younger wife, sometimes a widow as well, and life would move on with her trying to fill the absence of the former wife. If you or the OP man had full custody, my reply might have been different, her complaint may have held more water, but no… our guess is that you both only see your kids every other weekend and for some holidays. That means these women have no excuse to be pressuring you to spend less time with your children.

    This is one reason I don’t think people who are divorced should go into dating (or remarriage) lightly. I lean more to the stance that they should avoid dating or remarriage until the last of the children at out of the house (18). I totally understand though, that children need and get a lot out of having another parent in their life, not to mention, the husband is much happier with a good wife (key word: good) at his side. She inspires him to be a better father when she is doing her job right. When she’s doing her job wrong, she makes him feel like he’s failing or a failure. I was very glad to hear her say how much she loves their children (even referring to them as “our” in her comment), and that they love her back. That is no easy feat with step children! Very very proud of her for this!

    A word on joint custody… my husband was so angry when he read this woman’s comment, like seriously very very angry. He pointed out that you (and the man in the OP) only ONLY get to spend time with your children more than likely every other weekend. For ANY woman to say those words when you ONLY get that much time with YOUR own children, she is showing incredible selfishness. She gets you all those other days… she needs to stop pressuring her husband to spend less time with them, stop complaining, stop whining and acting like a spoiled child, and accept that she chose a man who has a BIBLICAL RESPONSIBILITY to PARENT his children. And since they came before her, since he created them and made promises and responsibilities to them before he made them to her, he has to honor his role as father BEFORE his role as husband to his new wife. Again, this is why God hates divorce, it messes up the originally planned roles of family members. In a first marriage, the wife and husband are supposed to put each other first, but their vows also came first. Bringing up “love” as in “you should love me more than them” is nasty, as you pointed it out, a husband has a different kind of “love” for his wife than for his children. And in these cases with step parents and blended families, you have MORE duty to your children here. They didn’t ask for the divorce, they didn’t ask for a new mother who would make you feel guilty for spending your very small allotted time with them. They are innocents that still NEED you. She is not. She took on a man that had obligations to his own children BEFORE she came into the picture.

    I was surprised at my husband’s harsh reaction because being a woman, I get it… I understand that women fall into these kinds of sins all the time, and to me, this is just another run-of-the-mill sin that a step mom would be more tempted to feel than I would, because of the unique position she’s in. It’s like me being tempted to eat too much chocolate or cake… or to manipulate my husband in a variety of ways that I’m personally tempted to through crying, meanness, etc. This is simply something step-moms feel tempted to do, that they should recognize, and nip in the bud! I’m not better than her, its more of the case that I was made aware (by my mom) the plight of men in these circumstances. It gets even uglier when the step mom has children of her own… I’ve heard of them actually pressuring the husbands to prefer her children more over his other ones 😦 I’ve written a post about this very situation here: https://girlwithadragonflytattoo.com/2014/02/26/the-blended-family/

  13. BTW, I only say “back in the day” because I figure you two wouldn’t want to be compared to a couple of old farts in their forties. 😛
    We started our family at about the same age, we look similar, have sons and so forth…
    But I can tell you there are a lot of trials and tribulations but in our case it just keeps getting better over the years, and I expect it will be the same for both of you too. 🙂

  14. Pingback: The Undated Wife  My husband isn’t being romantic… | Honor Dads

  15. “…love them more than me…” Would like to know how she grew up. My guess is with a father with whom she felt she had to compete for his attention. A young woman loved unconditionally is usually a confident adult.

    A few other thoughts on “Dating your Mate” here: http://t.co/5MJ8jQIE8O

  16. Dragonfly,

    Well my custody situation is better than most men’s. I get my kids 3 days a week(every Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and she has them Monday through Thursday. My ex does get them about 5 weekends a year, but otherwise they are with me on the weekends.

    On those 5 weekends we don’t have kids my wife and I try to make the best of them by going to other adult friends houses and playing cards, or when we have the money to go away. Sometimes we get to go a Christian concert which is always nice.

    But what happens is sometimes I might have a really busy week at work(or busy month) – and I have to bring some work home with me so that Monday through Thursday time we would normally have together gets dominated with work.

    Then when kids come on the weekend – that is my “relaxing time” and I try hard never to have to work on the weekend so I can spend it with the kids. But if I have not been able to spend as much time with my wife during the week – she gets extremely jealous of me spending as much time as I do with my kids. This is why I try to make a concerted effort to get some alone time in with her during the week when the kids are gone. It is a balancing act.

    Sometimes my job is 40 hours a week, and sometimes it is 60 hours a week. Some might say “well just give up your blogging and studying and devote all that time to your wife and that will fix the problem – and ours as well”…LOL.

    But the truth is that aside from commenting on things occasionally during the day as I get breaks from work, most of my writing and studying is done off normal hours. Sometimes I get inspired and wake up at 3 AM to write something down. But I also feel called of God to this ministry, and I see it as no different than when I used to teach in Church(and we still attend church regularly). It is a ministry that has literally touched the hearts of thousands of Christian men(and women) and I believe the Lord would have me to continue doing it.

    I don’t think God calls us as men to spend every waking moment with our wives – I think God wants us to work and have ministries and be busy about the things of life all while trying to give time and care to our wives and children at the same time. I think your idea about carving out just a couple hours a couple times a week is great and I am going to try and implement that.

    Thanks again for this ministry you have.

  17. ” don’t think God calls us as men to spend every waking moment with our wives –”

    Right! I totally agree with you! A woman or wife is not supposed to be what a man builds his life around. Women can find fulfillment in building a life around their husband and children, but men aren’t made that way, and thank God ya’ll aren’t!

  18. This is sort of a sad situation. I’m thinking it has to do with something else, not date nights.

    My husband and I have never been on a weekend getaway. We’re just glad to get the free time we have.

  19. I’m not supporting the ideas of the original woman, and I appreciate the emphasis you put on respecting and appreciating our husbands rather than being discontent, but the fact that the kids came before the step-mom means he needs to honor his committment to them more, i dont’ think is valid. Else parents would be honoring their role as a parent to older children more than younger children because they came first. I do believe that a husband (and wife while we’re at it) have committments to each other that are greater than committments to anyone else, so to that extent, I kinda agree with the original poster. But complaining and a lack of appreciation are definitely not the way to go about that.

  20. Try turning it around to see if you still feel the same way if it was a single divorced mom… and the husband (the step dad) was complaining that she needed to put him first above her children. I feel the same way, that the mom has a priority to her already created children more than to any man she dates or later marries, at least until the children turn 18.

  21. Thanks for your reply! I would feel the exact same way. If i had children, divorced, and then chose to re-marry, I would go into that knowing that I needed to prioritize my new husband as my highest earthly commitment, and second only to God (not sure i phrased that well so please read between the lines). I understand that that wouldn’t be easy and i know some people who have chosen to wait to re-marry until the kids are grown. However, if people choose not to, they need to accept the consequences of their decisions. My sister is in the middle of a divorce, has young kids, and is hoping to re-marry in the next 5ish years, and we’ve already had conversations about that.

    However, just because things might be difficult, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them (like if a woman having sex with her husband is difficult for her). I’m not saying it will be super easy to prioritize a new woman or man above one’s children, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. I still stand with my previous point that the chronological order has no impact on level of commitment.

  22. I still adamantly disagree. Your first priority should be those children, their well-being, and their need of you as their mother. Once the last is 18, then you can be selfish and invite someone foreign into their life, but before then, I think the parent’s focus should be on tending to their needs as children first.

  23. I understand and respect that you disagree. I do wonder why though. Because, in my opinion at least, Jesus commands us to prioritize marriage. So why would a second husband/wife be different? The chronological argument I don’t think makes sense because like i said, else parents would have a bigger responsibility towards their older children than their younger ones and I doubt that people would agree with that. I do however think that the parent has a responsibility to marry someone who will be a benefit and strengthen the family rather than tear it apart. Nobody has the right to bring the Cinderella step-mom into their young children’s lives.

    An interesting note is that this entire discussion is actually what happened with my sister. Her husband has a son from a previous relationship, and while she did her best to be a good step-mom to him, her husband always prioritized her son more. When they had their own children together, it was a hard habit to break and he was never able to prioritize them the way they were supposed to because he was always consumed with his son. He acted like all he wanted was his son, and that’s his situation now. Of course now he wants them back, but life doesn’t always come with second chances (or in his case, like 100th chances).

    I can completely understand why people would choose to wait until their children were grown to re-marry, but i don’t necessarily think it has to be selfish either way. I do think that children should have a definite say in that conversation, but I have absolutely no personal experience in this area so I can’t say what that should look like.

  24. Because, in my opinion at least, Jesus commands us to prioritize marriage. So why would a second husband/wife be different? The chronological argument I don’t think makes sense because like i said, else parents would have a bigger responsibility towards their older children than their younger ones and I doubt that people would agree with that.

    Jesus hates divorce. But even the Jews felt like parents had more duty to older children than to younger children (hence the oldest receiving the most inheritance, the greater blessing, better treatment, etc.). So having to honor prior committments above later commitments is biblical on a variety of topics not even related to children. In Leviticus, it is commanded that first wives be honored even when the husband would take a second wife – even if he loved the second wife MORE than the first, he still had to honor his prior commitments to her and her children BEFORE the second wife – that was the laws God laid down for polygamy. When they would remarry, have sons with another woman, the oldest from the first wife still received preferential treatment, even if he loved the sons of the second wife more, he was commanded by God to treat the other first sons with their rightful place (first). And this is how God designed it to work. I understand, it seems really harsh and unfair to the new wife or husband, and foreign to our modern lives.

    As far as remarriage… biblically, if a person is divorced for unbiblical reasons (probably almost all divorces cases) they actually are forbidden to remarry because it’d be considered adultery. I try not to be too legalistic about that and don’t judge people who do it at all, but if we’re talking about what Jesus says or what the Bible truly says about this topic, it is what it is. Probably most of the people who divorce biblically should not remarry, since they divorced more than likely under “irreconcilable differences” and had no biblical grounds for their divorce. So when they enter into the second marriage, they do so in sin. Its sad to me… but its just another reason why its best to do things God’s way, and do everything possible to make a first marriage work and last.

    There are so many issues with the real dad being unable to be a true father to his children when a new step dad comes into the picture… and yes, it does affect dads more than moms since the mother is usually always the one to gain custody of the kids. Because of this, its less bad to me, if the dad remarries again, as long as he puts his kids well-being and lives as a priority before his newly added wife. She is an accessory to his life, she is not the same as the first wife, she comes second to his kids – his duty to his first marriage kids come before his duty to her, and that’s the way I think it should be. If the new wife can’t deal with that, she should not have married a man who had obligations to his children before her. No one forced her to marry someone with prior obligations. She should have chosen a man without kids so that she could enter a first marriage with a clean slate and no prior obligations if she can’t handle him still having responsibilities to put them first in his life. Even the law says men have to honor prior children before their marriage – think of it this way, if a man fathered kids that were proven to be his, and then entered marriage with a first wife, by law he’d still be mandated to take care of those kids via child support. His money is no longer his, but is by law mandated to go to his formerly created children. He will never be rid of his huge financial duty or commitment to them until they are 18, and that duty will come before his wife (financially, otherwise he faces jail time). She won’t be able to spend as much as she wants to, their money won’t all go to their marriage, etc.

    There are just so many issues its hard to list them all. And yes, there are always exceptions where it works out, but just because sometimes it may work out doesn’t mean its right, biblical or good. Sometimes couples have sex before marriage, and it doesn’t harm their marriage later on. It still doesn’t mean that what they did was right or biblical, or that other single people should engage in pre-marital sex. Exceptions don’t disprove the rule of what’s right or wrong.

    As far as what could go wrong with remarrying after divorce:
    -Dads rarely get full custody of their children, therefore, even in the best cases, they have almost no say to how much they get to see their kids, other than every other weekend. Because of this serious lack of being able to parent their kids, they feel a horrible devastating disconnect, its practically like the mother has stolen his kids out from under him. A very very very very bad situation. If a mom brings in a “new dad” into the picture, the real father has even less control of his kids and what they will be seeing, doing, etc. because he has been replaced in a very real way. Read more of the manosphere accounts of men this has happened to if you really want to know more about what its really like to be a father (or a child) in that position of the mom remarrying.
    -If the mom decides she really wants a new partner, its putting her sexual/relational/financial opportunity needs above the well-being of her children. I know it sounds harsh, but it is (to me) the same as homosexuals deciding they want to parent a child together. They deprive that child of their REAL mother or father, and it is devastating for that child either then, or later when they realize how much of a father or mother wound they have deeply hidden. The homosexual couple puts their selfish desires (sexual sin) ahead of the well-being of a child. Its the same thing. Just different scenario.
    -Often times the new stepdad (or stepmom) drives a wedge between the kids and their parent, complaining that the parent is choosing the children over them, and maybe they really are. For a real dad who only gets to see them 2x per month, that is the only time he gets to see them, so it makes sense that he would want to spend as much time as possible with them in order to make up for the countless hours and days that he’s not there for them. A new wife cutting in to his time, or making him feel guilty, or competing with them for his attention is devastating to the children who still need him.

    I think in cases where there is death, as in the husband or wife dying, maybe it would be different – mostly because it wouldn’t be a sinful divorce. But once that first marriage is over (via divorce or death), the parents are no longer “single” in my mind, but instead are “parents” first and foremost. Bringing in another person into their kids’ lives (in my opinion) is selfish because while it is nice for that other spouse to finally have a sexual outlet again, it comes at the expense of the kid’s well-being. I think I remember reading a study that found that kids who have parents that remarry after divorce do less well than kids who’s divorced parents remain single. It could be a multitude of reasons, but one of the main ones could be just not getting along with the new step-parent, or that step-parent competing with them for the time of their real parent, driving a wedge between them. I could go on and on, there are just too many messes that can happen from adding in another person before your children are truly grown.

  25. A mom regretting her remarriage when her son was 16, and wishing she had spent those last few years more devoted to him. He got into drugs and alcohol, even getting a DUI. From the studies I’ve seen, kids from divorce and in stepfamilies tend to have more behavioral issues like these, though not all the time. But she admits she was too wrapped up with dating and the romance of a new man, rather than focusing on being her son’s parent.

    http://www.drlaura.com/b/Regretting-My-Remarriage/-664437014860242054.html

  26. Okay, first of all, i wasn’t saying that it was a great idea for people to re-marry when kids are young (i’ll let BGR handle that one since he’s actually done that unlike myself). I’ve seen it work out before and i’ve also seen it crash and burn. I will say however (from my area of no expertise!) that a re-marriage should only be done if the new spouse can add something to the family, rather than take the parent away from the children. The parent doesn’t always have to be caught in a tug-of-war between the new spouse and the children. A little wisdom goes a long way when choosing a spouse.

    And of course men were commanded to provide for their wives rather than dump them and move on to other younger ones. If men are not in a position to provide for their current family. then they have no business expanding it through marriage. To me that seems like a separate issue.

    On the chronological argument, that has nothing to do with the oldest child being more important of a commitment. It was that the oldest (or really the oldest son) became the next patriarch. So if, like my parents, the Jews were to have daughters first before their son, that wouldn’t change who inherited it. Again…not a chronological issue. More of a law on who inherits. However while we’re at it, the Jews were allowed to sell their children into slavery to pay off their debts. I don’t have children currently, but I’m guessing you’re pretty glad we’re not living in that culture anymore. 🙂

    It is good for children to grow up in a home with a solid Godly marriage…even if that marriage is not composed of both their biological parents (although of course that is the ideal). I am very glad that my mother raised me in love but never wondering whether her first commitment was to me or my dad. If I had grown up knowing she prioritized me above him, that would not have put me in a good position to start my own marriage.

    Anyway, Hubby is calling me. Thanks for the discussion. It has been enjoyable and educational.

  27. Okay, first of all, i wasn’t saying that it was a great idea for people to re-marry when kids are young

    You were in fact, saying that, and you even said that the new spouse needs to take PRIORITY over those children (you didn’t specify an age range, and I made it clear before that I was only talking about minors). That’s why I said that it was a selfish decision based on the parent’s wants (oh I’m soooo lonely!) rather than on their child’s needs (their full attention, resources, time investment).

    You also completely miss the biblical analogy of honoring prior commitments/responsibilities 😦 It wasn’t about the oldest son becoming the next patriarch, and Jewish slavery was not at all the kind of slavery exhibited today – it was more of servitude and they were freed afterwards. They were not treated as non-humans like the Islamic slave-trade did/does (or American historical slavery). The women and children were default sex slaves with no rights at all in Islam, and you still see that being perpetrated today (not only with ISIS, in other places as well). Jewish slavery was not at all like this, because it was sanctioned by God. Are you saying God was wrong or the Bible is wrong?

    It was very chronological… the first wife still receiving her honor of being first. Her sons being honored for being first. That is the definition of chronological.

    I am very glad that my mother raised me in love but never wondering whether her first commitment was to me or my dad. If I had grown up knowing she prioritized me above him, that would not have put me in a good position to start my own marriage.

    Like I said to Biblical Gender Roles, a first marriage is different, and is the way God designed and modeled marriage to be without sin interrupting it (a divorce with irreconcilable differences, bastard children or stepchildren entering the picture, etc). The husband and wife come together by themselves, put each other first, but they also made vows to each other first, made a commitment to each other first. The marriage is completely about them, and hopefully centered on God. Then kids come and they fall under the umbrella of those parents’ protection, but the parents should put each other above the kids. They also have those kids 100% of the time, not the same with remarriage when the kids only get divided attention. A divorce makes for a very wacked unmbrella over those kids. The dad and his kids are already bonded together, the umbrella becomes them, and they are his priority over anyone else entering the picture, including a new wife. A new wife entering that umbrella messes up the structure they had in place and that is hard and stressful on kids – adding more drama to their little lives that they just don’t need.

    When you look at the statistics of second marriages, they are even more likely to fall apart. All the more reason to NOT remarry until the kids are 18, to save them that added drama of going through another divorce, a divorce that is even more likely to happen that the first they went through.

    I could go on and on and on arguing all the negatives about remarrying when the kids are young (minors), the weird dynamic a step-parent adds, etc.

  28. I really wasn’t arguing it was a great idea to re-marry when there were younger kids involved. I’ve seen more failure than I have successes, but I do know that there have been successes (only when the step-parent is able to integrate into the family and become more than just an accessory). And in areas where it was successful, the children were better off for being raised in a 2-parent heterosexual household than by a single parent (the whole issues of raising children as a homosexual couple is an entirely different issue that i’d rather not get into here for the sake of staying on topic). I do hope that my sister can find a good husband who will be a good father to her daughters. Not to replace the role that their biological father has (as he is still alive), but to be a father figure when they are away from their real dad and to be an example of what a Godly man looks like. It is said that daughters marry a man like their dad and i’d hate for that man to be like their biological father (alcoholic, porn-addicted, can’t hold a job, etc.)

    [D: I know we disagree, but to me, wanting your sister to find a new husband and the way you talk about how you want him to be, its clear that he will be intended to take the place of the real dad, both because of how much more time he’ll spend with him, as well as how he’ll hopefully be a better role model. Most divorced men are not unemployable, alcoholics, or rampant porn addicts that have a willing sexual partner. I’m sorry she chose so badly.]

    I do however completely agree that some, and dare i say even most step-parent situations end up being disasters because the step-parent is never integrated into the family. I’d argue that making the new spouse a mere accessory as you argued earlier is only going to exacerbate the issue. That is when the new spouse is going to be competing for attention because both they and the children are only there for the parent, rather than being able to form a family unit. If one spouse says ‘honey, your kids are here’ and then disappears into a different area of the house………that’s not at all what i’m referring to or the kind of man i’d want my sister to marry. I would argue that a single parent has a huge responsibility in who they re-marry. They have no business bringing someone in to the family who only wants to take them away and drive a wedge between them and the children. And that is the majority of situations and i’m sure your husband has seen only too much of that.

    Its more a case of the new wife deciding to not integrate herself into their family unit… its something that she has to do that requires sacrifice – something that step-moms don’t seem to understand well. I have to sacrifice my alone time with my husband all the time for the sake of our sons! He works a horrible schedule because he’s an Officer, but I support our family unit by making it work, by making sure my relational needs are met. A good step mom would support the family unit, not create a dynamic where she makes the husband feel guilty about spending time with his kids. I sacrifice a lot of the time I could have with him because I understand how much my older son (and the baby too) really need his attention and time investment. They need it more than me because I’m an adult. I don’t manipulate him with using them as pawns to get more attention from him, I don’t whine that he loves me less or chooses them over me – real moms never do things like that, it is so selfish that a step mom would even utter those words to a dad who barely gets to see his kids. Because my own husband barely gets to see our sons, when he’s with them, spending time playing or talking to them, it gives me a sense of fulfillment because I know they’re getting what they need (his time and attention). I can find time with him early in the morning or late at night when I want to, but its a different attitude that a step mom has towards the kids who aren’t hers. She doesn’t view him spending time with them the same way as their real mom does, unless she mentally integrates herself into the family, she doesn’t feel a benefit from seeing him play with them or spend a lot of time with them. She doesn’t understand the sacrifice of her own time so that they can grow into healthy adults. If my husband and I somehow divorced (or I keeled over and died lol) and my hubby married again a woman who used our kids as pawns and complained he spent too much time and energy with them, whined that he loved them more than her, or refused to make the same sacrifices I have so that our kids could grow up healthy, I’d probably come back from the dead!]

    My point here isn’t that all single parents should remarry (although i hope my sister can). It was that if they do, i think the only way it can work out is if the new spouse is integrated into the family and treated and honored the same as the ex was.

    [Again, she controls her own integration here, by how much she spends with the husband with his kids… how much she’s willing to sacrifice or understand how much they need him in their life, how much she’s willing to adapt and get her needs met in other ways being creative, and how she deals with her marriage (aka – not undermining it by letting herself compare his allegiance, or drive a wedge between them by being manipulative. She undermines their marriage when telling him he loves them more than her – that is extremely manipulative and wrong. No real mother would ever do that, which just shows much more step moms don’t get it – don’t understand how to treat children who aren’t theirs. I had forgotten this before, but I actually knew a woman who was a step mom that admitted to me that she could never love her husband’s children like they were her own. Then when she had her own baby, she did struggle A LOT with putting it above the other older ones. She was a good Christian woman, a wonderful friend to me, but even she had issues with a divided house and divided love.]

    As far as chronological, I do think you need to honor prior commitments before adding new ones. A couple who can barely afford one child should probably not be trying for a second one. However, should a second one be born, they then have an equal responsibility to feed and clothe both children. Jewish culture had their own cultural practices but even then you would see instances where Abraham preferred Isaac to his first-born Ishmael. And same with Isaac passing on a blessing (albeit unknowingly but by God’s design) to his younger son and then Jacob preferring a younger son and a second wife. If a parent cannot strengthen the family by re-marrying than they have no business re-marrying. But if they can and can do it well, I think it can be a benefit to the children. Unfortunately it is often not done well.
    s
    I’ll be on a camping trip with my husband for the next couple days and won’t have internet and I don’t think either of us will change the other’s minds, so this will likely be my last comment. I do want to say that I appreciate your blog (I know i dont’ comment much but i read it fairly regularly) and have learned a lot from it as a new wife. It is obvious Jesus is using you in a mighty way!

    Thank you for reading! I’m always surprised anyone reads my blog, I don’t understand why… it boggles my mind as it just started out as a creative outlet thing. Thank you though very much, and sorry to argue so much with you!

  29. Dragonfly,

    I didn’t notice this response from you a while back just saw it today. I am so glad you understood what I was saying as many might have misunderstood my words.

    I once read a great Christian book on marriage years back that where the Pastor’s wife(speaking to women in the book) said something like this and it was very similar to what you just said. She said something like “While God designed a woman to find her purpose in her serving the needs of her husband, her children and her home – a man does not find his purpose here. A man is designed by God to be a conquer, an explorer, a builder, a solider…ect so his fulfillment will be found outside the home.”

  30. Yes, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it before, too, but not sure where. Old timey knowledge of how marriage is supposed to work.

    That’s fine you didn’t see my response, I’ve seen how busy your posts get and your blog, and found your facebook page – I shocked at the horrible comments from gay liberals! Completely shocked! Wow, they have no shame in crucifying Christians for just having their own opinions and beliefs. You’ve had your hands full.

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