Here’s an important question from a husband who neglected his wife for years: how do we reconnect and save our marriage? He wants to be happy with her again, but is worried that it’s too late.
“I realized that I have neglected her a lot in our relationship,” says Tony on Is It Too Late to Repair Your Relationship?. “I have blown off things I thought were no big deal…when she tried to tell me I hurt her, I didn’t hear what she was saying. She said I’ve treated her like a mother, not a wife, and that she doesn’t feel cared for, wanted or desired. I haven’t made her a priority in my life. She says she doesn’t know where our lives are going. That terrifies me. I don’t know how to start showing her that I DO want her, think of her, and desire her. I know that this point in our marriage is mostly my fault because of the way I’ve treated her, unintentionally or not. I want to save our relationship, and I want to make her, and us, happy again. I just don’t know where to start.”
My first tip is to learn what it means to really connect with your wife and have a happy marriage. The Secrets of Happily Married Men: 8 Ways to Win Your Wife’s Heart Forever by marriage counselor Scott Haltzman – it’s a guidebook that helps men give their wives exactly what they want, and helps husbands receive what they hoped for the day they got married.
And here are a few more thoughts on reviving your relationship after neglecting your wife…
Reconnecting With Your Wife After Years of Neglect
The best way to get marriage help is from someone who knows the intricacies of you and your wife’s personalities, interactions, experiences, and even your childhoods. These thoughts and tips are general – they’re not meant to be specific advice for specific couples.
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I don’t know for sure if these tips will help you reconnect with your wife after being distant for years – but I do know that they’ll give you something to chew on.
Give her time and space – but don’t neglect her!
It’s important to find the balance between giving her time and space to breathe, and reassuring her that you do want to revive your love. You don’t want to suffocate her or make her run in the opposite direction, especially since your new perspective of wanting to reconnect and save your relationship isn’t entirely trustworthy yet. That is, how does she know this will last? What if you’re just apologizing for years of neglect, but it’s only “for show”?
Tell her how important reconnection is to you, and how sorry you are for neglecting her. And remember that talk is cheap.
Take action: marriage counseling, marriage books for husbands
How can you show your wife you’re serious about reconnecting and rebuilding your marriage? By taking action. You don’t have to drag her to marriage counseling (unless she wants to – I’d love it if my husband suggested counseling! No marriage is perfect, and I think it’s important to look under the hood and give things a tune up once in awhile).
If you’re not into marriage counseling, then read books like The Secrets of Happily Married Men or The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage by Laura Schlessinger.
Ask her what she wants, how she can reconnect with you
The worst answer you can get is, “I don’t know. I don’t think there’s anything we can do to rebuild our marriage.” But at least then you’ll know! If she is totally uninterested in saving your marriage, then what can you do? I don’t know. It’s a terribly helpless, powerless feeling – one that men are definitely not comfortable with. But you can’t force your wife to want to stay married, or to love you again.
All you can do is be sincere and honest about your desire to rebuild your marriage. Reach out, and keep reaching out to her. Show her in words and action that you regret neglecting her, and you want to move forward to a new stage of life.
If you don’t know how your wife gives and receives love, read Examples of the Five Love Languages.
Remember that you can’t fix your marriage problems alone
It can be so difficult to reconnect with your wife after years of marriage – this is where the whole “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” cliché comes in! Sometimes, wives or husbands let things go for years and years. They ignore problems, and those problems get worse and worse. When they finally face them – which is what Tony and his wife are doing now – they’re simply too big, exhausting, and complicated to fix.
It’s easier to just walk away from the marriage than try to fix years of neglect. That’s partly why the divorce rate is so high, because couples just give up.
If it’s any consolation (and it’s probably not), you are not the only husband who has neglected his wife and wants to rebuild his marriage! I wrote How to Revive a Stale Marriage for Jason, who was in the same boat.
If you have any tips for reconnecting with your wife after years of neglect, please comment below.