Marriage Advice Men: 6 Common Marriage Mistakes Men Make

Last week we covered the 6 common marriage mistakes women make. This week it’s the men’s turn… Of course, we all make mistakes but some are more avoidable than others. In fact, sometimes we don’t even know we’re making a mistake until someone points it out. In the spirit of letting you know what you might be doing wrong, here are six common mistakes men often make in marriage:

1. Power Hunger

Some men see their relationship as a power struggle, and will make attempts to dominate decision-making and conversation to maintain a misguided sense of a power position. This is a sure fire way to alienate your wife, who is much more likely to see your marriage as a partnership. A relationship built on seizing power from one another is the very opposite of what you should be after: an environment of compassion and cooperation, of caring and compromise. You are both in power – work together to combine your strengths for mutual benefit.

Couple arguing
Many men view sharing their emotions as a sign of weakness.

2. Financial Frivolity

Reckless spending is the basis for many complaints about husbands, second only to infidelity among common “deal breakers” that tear marriages apart. Making a big purchase without consulting your wife says a few important things to her: that you don’t value her input and that you’ve assumed a self-appointed leadership role. In marriage, though, where the entire household depends on your combined finances, large purchases should be made as a joint decision. This keeps everyone in the loop, and can help some unpleasant surprises when the credit card bill shows up.

Also, reckless spending can threaten your wife’s perception of your family’s financial stability – if you make one outlandish purchase, you might make another – and this can make her feel like her home, family, and lifestyle may be in jeopardy. It’s always best to make these kinds of decisions together.

3. Listening With a “Fix It” Attitude

This is problem in our hardwiring – a simple problem of mismatched communication styles. Men tend to be problem-solvers, and this means looking for solutions, remedies, or ways to repair a situation. For many women, though, they aren’t looking for immediate fixes to the problems they are telling you about, they just want to be heard, understood, and empathized with. When you are constantly offering solutions, you are not internalizing your wife’s need for support and understanding. She isn’t looking for you to solve her problems, just to lovingly knowledge that she is experiencing them.

4. Lack of Empathy

This goes hand in hand with #3, but can have to do with more general communication than just “when she needs to talk to you.” That “Fix It” attitude can come out in a variety of situations, and in many of them, your wife just wants you to behave with a little feeling. Focus more on the emotional aspects of a given scenario, and less on the stone-cold facts. Understand the way people feel (everyone, not just your wife) will help you to be more communicative, help you understand the motivation of the people around you, and show your wife that you are capable of understanding and empathizing, not just searching for a way to repair the damage.

5. Closing the Emotional Gates

Men are notorious for not sharing their feelings. Just as your wife wants you to understand and empathize with her, she wants to do the same for you. For some reason, though, many men view sharing their emotions as a sign of weakness, and this prevents them from opening up to their wives and building a strong, emotional connection. To admit your fears or shortcomings takes great courage – it takes great bravery to trust someone enough to let them in.

6. Sexual Selfishness

Men and women have vastly different needs when it comes to sex, and part of the male sex drive makes him ready and raring to go at a moment’s notice. This is simply not the case for most women, who, generally speaking, need to feel connected before they want to have sex. Even if the connection is strong, many men make the mistake of thinking her “turn-on” process is as direct as his. If you’re not sure what you can do to meet your wife’s needs, ASK HER. It could be more foreplay, finding ways to let go of the stress of the day, or simply more time spent together. Show her that you want to satisfy her, and she will reciprocate.

Have you found ways to overcome these common mistakes or change your old habits for the better? Let us know marriage advice men can use in the comments!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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6 comments

Ben 10 years ago

I have done all of these and pretty sure it's all but over. Was a good 8 years.

Pastor Coon 10 years ago

On number 4, I would add that body language is as important as emotionally being there. I concur with all of what was said, but the tone of voice and the body language says more sometimes than does our words. King Solomon once said, "A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger." So even the words, how they are said and the loudness spoken makes a difference. These six tips were good!

Victor agisa 10 years ago

Hi Dana, this is very true,this is what we do men. What common mistakes do women also do ? I will add you one- not want sex .....

Denise 10 years ago

I want to committ on number 3, 5, 6. What do you do when your husband have no desire to fix any situation, never have any solutions, always says I dont know or dont answer at all. When I go back for an answer like a week later im always told im nagging, this leads to aruguements, if I dont go back and ask I will never get an answer 95% of the time I dont. My husband is private person he tells me what he wants me to know and keep other things to himself. If he has problem or need to make a decision then he considers us as one, so that I can make the decision for him, if were're not one at all times then we cant be one only when it benefits him. He is not sexually active at all, im a few years older then him, im a very attractive woman we have sex 2-3 times a month. We been married for 9 years, this has always been an issue. I'm tired of dealing with his issues that he keep sweeping under the rug 80% of me wants my name back

Shawn 10 years ago

Hi Dr.D. I have been married for 13 years and my wife is all but left the building. We have two wonderful,smart,loving children a boy and girl. In my past I have done her some wrong and I still make mistakes she tells my she's done with the marriage and wants to see other men. I once found a motel key in her pocketbook and ask about it and got no answer. Then I seen a email from another married man say how much he loved her she said they are yes friends.I have tried everything listed above and but my ego aside a love my wife and still want to love her but can't do I buy my self.

Ruth 10 years ago

I want to respond to Victor. I am no dr. Dana but I too am working on this program. I was a wife who didn't really want sex with my husband either. Thought I was getting older, hormones weren't the same. Well turns out our marriage was in worse shape than I thought, we were both checked out, what woman wants sex with someone they aren't connected to? Not many I guess. Well we are both checked back in thanks to this program and I feel In love again, so no surprise, I want sex with my husband as I feel connected to him and it is wonderful again!!! Victor maybe you need to look at the big picture, not just the sex, connect with her first and things might change. Good luck. Marriage is worth saving,