It would be wonderful if we were always on the same page with our marriage.  It would be nice if we would automatically know what our spouse needs and then be able to magically provide it, but this rarely happens.

One reason for this is that people don't always indicate what they need or they resist any help when we offer it.  Also, most of us assume that our spouse can take care of himself and speak up if there is something that he needs help with.

So our spouse may be struggling in some way, but we don't know the depth of it and so we take no action.  Times goes by and our spouse begins to think that we don't show that we care, if we care at all.  In the meantime, we are completely unaware that anything is amiss.  Until one day, very hurt and frustrated, our spouse lashes out that we don't care at all about them.  We assure them that we absolutely do care and they tell us that we never show it.

This can feel kind of like an attack or an ambush. Just how much hand-holding should a grown adult need?  Someone might verbalize it this way: "my husband was passed over for a promotion.  I want to make it clear that he did not lose his job.  He simply did not get a promotion that he wanted.  He acts as if this is the end of the world.  As soon as he found out, he seemed to look at life totally differently.  He stopped working out.  He stopped going to church.  I figured that it would pass.  I told him that I was there for him and asked if there was anything that I could do.  He said that there was really nothing that anyone could do and that he knew that he just had to get over it.  So I carried on with life, as anyone would do.  Now, my husband is telling me that I never show that I care about him because I did not go out of my way for him when he was passed over for the promotion. He feels that I'm more concerned about the kids than about him. Well, maybe so.  Because the kids are CHILDREN, who need emotional support.  He is an ADULT who is acting like a baby.  I basically reminded him that I asked what I could do for him and he told me nothing.  He said that regardless, I should have shown my support by doing extra special things for him.  Now he's saying he doesn't know if he wants to stay married because he feels that I am uncaring.  Honestly, I don't want to separate or divorce, but I find all of this to be a bit ridiculous.  What in the world are you supposed to do for an adult who has just had his pride hurt a little? I want to tell him to grow up and be a man.  But I don't want to end my marriage over something so stupid."

I do understand your frustration.  But I think that you have to look at this on two levels - on the level of an individual and on the level of your marriage.  The individual might want to rebel and do nothing, but the marriage probably needs you to do something. I understand why you are frustrated as an individual.  You don't understand why this one event seems to have knocked your husband off his own two feet.  But I can tell you that sometimes, especially in mid-life, events like this do tend to be the first in a series of changes that can change the course of your life or your marriage.  Your husband's words might sound like complaining to you (and I can understand why,) but it helps greatly as you can see them as a plea for help.  Because that is what I believe that they are.

A Plea For Help And A Request To Pick Him Up When He's Fallen Down: What he really wants is for you to build him up because he's feeling bad about himself.  And men who have this state of mind are ripe for a midlife crisis - which is certainly not what you want because you'd see even more of this type of behavior.

I think that your best bet is to make an effort to just generally try to build him up and show him a little extra affection.  It is one thing to ask after the job and to tell him that you are there for him.  But it is another thing to SHOW him that you are there for him and to make him believe that the job doesn't matter to you and it shouldn't to him because the two of you can have each other, your family, your marriage, and a great life without it.

He likely wants to know that you are behind him and that you are not disappointed in him.  Yes, it may mean that you have to make a bit of an extra effort when it seems silly to do so.  But he seems to need it right now. And isn't that what one spouse is supposed to do for another? Just to be there and to love them, even if you don't fully understand why they need it?

Pretend That He Asked For What He Truly Wants: Yes, your husband made a poor choice of words when he said that you don't show that you care because it sounds a bit like an accusation.  He SHOULD have said, "I'm feeling really bad right now and I need you." If it helps, simply pretend that this is what he said and act accordingly.

I believe that although you may almost be justified in ignoring what seems like an immature request, you should respond anyway.  I ignored little complaints like this from my own husband, thinking that he was being petty.  But this led to our separation.  I would have given anything to turn back the clock and to have paid attention, but of course, it was too late for that.  I did eventually get my husband back, but things would have been so much easier if I had just listened and responded.  You can read more at

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