It's not uncommon for me to hear from people who have discovered that their marriage hasn't turned out how they thought that it would. Many see this as a negative thing because they perceive that their spouse is falling short in some way. And many feel as if their spouse isn't meeting his or her end of the marital bargain.

An example of a comment that you'd hear in this situation is something like: "when my husband and I got married, we both said the traditional wedding vows. We promised to love, honor, and cherish one another. I feel like I have done exactly that. But my husband hasn't. I don't doubt his love for me. I know that he loves me. We have been together for a long time and we have gone through some very dark times together. If he didn't want to be with me, then he wouldn't be. But he certainly doesn't honor and cherish me. He treats his friends and coworkers better than he treats me. He often forgets promises that he made to me or he will fall just short of fulfilling them. It's almost as if he doesn't want me to have any real expectations of him. He never compliments me or notices me. I have asked him to be more loving toward me, but he acts as if I am a nuisance for even asking such a thing. One of my best friends is going through an awful illness. And her husband has cared for her so wonderfully. I know that if I got sick, my husband would not do the same. He's happy to let me care for him. But he would never care for me. My father treated my mother like a queen for their entire marriage. I guess I expected something similar, but my husband treats me like someone who he is stuck with but doesn't particularly like. How can I make him see that he made a commitment to this marriage and that he is not meeting it, but that he should?"

I can really sympathize with this because I believe that everyone has felt this way at some point in their marriage. People often do not realize that just the small effort of making your spouse feel heard, noticed, and valued can completely transform your marriage. These are such small things to ask, but they can yield such huge benefits.

Why He Likely Isn't Being Malicious Or Intentionally Unloving: So why don't we all just naturally do this if it so very beneficial? Unfortunately, it is human nature to take those we love for granted. And this is even more likely with husbands since men just aren't very naturally demonstrative when it comes to showing their love. Many times, men assume that if they provide for us and are in a long term marriage with us, then we should know that they love us and are committed to us, at least in their mind anyway.

They may even think that they are doing a good job at their marriage, so when we tell them that we need more, they see this as a criticism or they think that we are asking too much. That's why you need to understand that trying to shame or force him into treating you better isn't likely to work. What works best is when you inspire him to want to do better and then allow him to think that this is his own idea.

How To Approach This In An Underhanded, But Effective, Way: Instead of complaining that he hasn't lived up to your expectations or focusing on where he is falling short, wait for him to do something right and then pounce. And by pounce, I mean to praise. Positive feedback can work almost like magic. Many wives tell me that in this situation, they would be waiting forever for positive behaviors because at this point, they are never going to catch their husbands doing something good. If that is the case, you may have to borrow something from your past.

For example, you might say something like: "remember when you surprised me with that wooden carving that you made me on our second anniversary? That touched me so much because although we didn't have any money at that point in our marriage, you still took your time and your effort to show me how much our marriage and our anniversary meant to you. I miss those days. Sometimes, I think it's so easy to take one another for granted. Maybe we could both do a little better when it comes to showing each other honor and appreciation."

If he's still not taking the hint, then show him the kindness that you would like to see. I know that this might seem unfair, but often if you lead the way, then he will follow. And when he does, you want to let him know that you notice it. You want to keep up with that positive feedback while he keeps right on showing you the behavior that you want to see.

I know that you feel as if he hasn't lived up to his commitment. But quite frankly, men and women can see the definition of 'commitment' as very different. I think it was possible that this husband truly doesn't completely understand how unhappy and frustrated his wife was. But if she comes right out and says things like "you've let me down. You prefer your friends over me. You haven't lived up to our marriage vows," then he may well feel attacked and you may get even less of the behavior that you are looking for.

But if you can inspire him to meet his commitments, even just a little, and then praise him for doing this, he is going to be much more likely that he wants to repeat this.

It is important that you handle this carefully.  You deserve better.  But if he feels attacked, then things could actually seem worse.  Try to handle this in as positively as you can.  I learned the hard way that a husband who feels attacked or criticized may take negative action.  If it helps,  you can read more on my blog at

Author's Bio: 

There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at