When a woman says “I hate my husband” it’s usually because there’s a lack of emotional intimacy in their marriage and she feels resentful about it. Therefore, this post will cover practical steps to increase emotional intimacy in your relationship. To begin with, what is emotional intimacy? It can be a mysterious thing, especially for those who don't desire it. By definition, emotional intimacy is knowing your partner’s inner thoughts and feelings. The more both partners are privy to what the other is thinking and feeling the more emotional intimacy they have. You may be asking why care about emotional intimacy? Why is it even important? First, emotional intimacy tends to be a top need for most females. I would say 95% of all couples I work with the woman says emotional intimacy is her top need in the relationship. Most females need emotional closeness like they need air, it’s essential. Second, emotional intimacy cultivates a best friendship in marriage. Feeling like best friends with our partner is ideal for all of us. Third, emotional intimacy is important in marriage because it usually leads to better sex. Most women can't be physically bare until they are emotionally bare first. Another way to put it is if you touch a woman’s heart, she’ll probably let you touch her body. Men are you paying attention? This is vital information!
John Gottman talks about the concept of a love map as a way to think about emotional intimacy. Think about the city where you live and a map of that city a hundred years ago, 50 years ago, and today. As you can imagine, the map has changed drastically over time. New buildings have gone up, new highways have been built, and new bridges have been created. Just like the map of cities are continually changing, so are we. What is stressful to me now is different than it was a month ago or three months ago or a year ago. I'm constantly changing and so are you. If we don't have a method that continually updates us on our partner’s inner map, we’ll get outdated. You may think you know your partner, but you actually don’t. When we feel like our partner doesn’t really know us, we usually withdrawal. So, it's critical for couples to have a method to cultivate emotional intimacy on a regular basis, to keep their love map updated!
I Hate My Husband | 4 Possible Solutions
1-Develop A Head/Heart Check Routine
If you are feeling like you hate your husband and it’s from a lack of emotional intimacy, the first step is to have a daily Head/Heart Check. Ask your partner what is on their head and heart at least once a day. The head is the agenda items, which is what most couples have to talk about to coordinate their schedules. The agenda includes everything you did during the day. The heart is mad, sad, glad, or fear and why. Those are the four main emotional categories so anything you feel will probably fall underneath one of those four. Your emotions may be connected to your agenda items from the day or they may have nothing to do with what you did. If you don’t know what you’ve been feeling and why, don’t make stuff up! Instead, spend a few minutes reflecting on if you felt mad, sad, glad, or fear from the day and the possible reasons. Getting in touch with our feelings is a muscle. The more you intentionally practice it, the stronger you’ll be at it. It’s important to identify what your possible feelings from the day were and why because emotional intimacy is not just listening to your partner’s head and heart but it’s being able to share yours too. See the sample below.
2-Don’t Criticize Your Partner
To keep the Head/Heart Check constructive, it’s important to not share any negative feelings towards your partner, use proper conflict resolution in marriage methods for that like the Reunite Tool. Therefore, you’ll be discussing negative feelings you have outside of your marriage. This could include negative feelings you may have towards your family, friends, and coworkers or it could be more topical such as negative feelings about your career, finances, or health. If you share negative feelings towards your partner during the Head/Heart Check, they will start to avoid it because it will turn into daily time to get criticized.
3-Don’t Give Advice
An important rule to follow during the Head/Heart Check is don’t offer any advice unless asked. Offering unsolicited advice is a big no, no yet we do it all the time. Our partner will vent about something distressing to them and we immediately start fixing by offering solutions. That's not what they want. If they wanted solutions, they would ask for them. When your partner vents, they want your emotional support to feel closer to you. If you provide solutions it will make them feel more antagonistic and distant with you.
4-Give Empathy Every Time
Empathy is the best way to respond to your partner venting during the Head/Heart Check to promote emotional intimacy in marriage. Empathy is not if you agree with what your partner is feeling. If it were you would rarely be able to provide it because you are a different person from your partner and probably wouldn’t feel similarly. Instead, empathy is when you put yourself in your spouse's shoes and try to see the situation from their vantage point. That can only happen if you’re mindful of all the variables that make your partner who they are. The top variables include their childhood emotional wounds, their childhood values, their adulthood insecurities, their adulthood values, their top stressors, their top marital needs, and their temperament. If you don’t know the answers to these topics about your partner, set aside time to ask them about each category. Write down their responses. Then meditate on their responses regularly, especially before your Head/Heart Check. Doing so will help you understand what makes your partner tick, which will help you see why they are feeling certain things in life. For example, my wife was isolated often during her upbringing because she lived with a single parent who traveled a lot. Therefore, one of her childhood wounds is feeling alone. This has made her hungry for extra close friendships in adulthood. During our Head/Heart Check she’ll often share how upset she is that certain friends aren’t making enough time for her. I personally wouldn’t feel similarly if I were in her shoes because I don’t have the same emotional wound in my background. However, when I consider her emotional wound of feeling alone growing up, I can see how she would feel hurt when her friends don’t make enough time for her. That’s how I can empathize with her feelings even if I personally wouldn’t feel the same way. Is it my job to highlight her childhood wound is probably getting activated, no! It’s my job to empathize to make her feel supported.
Some ideal empathy statements include “I can see why you would feel …… because of……” or “that makes sense you would feel ….. because of …..” Some shorter empathy statements can include “that sucks” or “no wonder you feel that way” or “that sounds really stressful.” With the example above of my wife venting about her friends not spending enough time with her I could empathize with “I can see how you would feel sad and frustrated that your friends aren’t making enough time for you. It makes sense that would upset you.” In the beginning, providing empathy may feel artificial because you probably aren’t used to responding that way. But like any new skill, you first have to learn how to do it until eventually it becomes more authentic and natural. Therefore, wives have grace while your husband is learning how to become more empathetic.
So, if you have been thinking "I hate my husband" and the cause is from a lack of emotional intimacy, be sure to read this article together and follow the four steps!
Here are some articles for further reading.
Leave a comment below on what else could help if you start thinking "I hate my husband."