Your wife says she isn’t happy, and hasn’t been for years. How do you increase the intimacy and love in your marriage? Here are six ways to help your unhappy wife and boost her spirits.

my wife isn't happyThe most important thing you can do is tell your wife you love her, support her, and will do everything you can to help her be happy again. I’m not a big fan of giving people stuff to make them happy, but it is important to show your wife how much you care.

An “I Love You To The Moon and Back” Pendant Necklace such as the one pictured might be a solid step towards helping your wife find happiness. It’s a symbol of your love and support, and your desire to do what you can to help her be happy. A trinket won’t be the long-term answer to to making your wife happy, but it can start bridging the gap between you and her.

Here’s what Ben says about knowing if your marriage is over: “My wife came home from a trip two months ago and told me that she was not happy, and had not been for several years. I was floored, but after thinking about it, I completely understood. She has been gone so much over the last four years. I became depressed, and not a very good support system for her. I realize that she always loved me, but she was gone so often that and for so long that she says we lost our connection and never got it back.

Since she told me she was unhappy, I did a lot of soul searching and made a lot of changes. But, she says she doesn’t know what she wants anymore. She assured me there is nobody else, just that life is too short to be unhappy and she doesn’t know what to do to be happy again.” – from How to be a Good Husband to Your Wife.

First, Ben deserves kudos for reaching out for help and advice – and for going for marriage counseling! I didn’t include his whole comment here, but in his original comment he says he’s in counseling even though his wife is working overseas. Not many husbands search the internet for what to do when their wives aren’t happy, much less share their stories and ask for help. So if you’re a husband who wants to increase intimacy and love in your marriage, I tip my hat to you. You want your wife to be happy, and you’re learning how to be a better man.

When Your Wife Isn’t Happy

The following tips will help you understand your wife better, and hopefully even rebuild your marriage.

Validate her feelings

That’s a fancy way of saying listen and try to understand where your wife is coming from. One of the best things you can do for your wife is listen closely without dismissing her needs and feelings, or defending your own actions.

But don’t listen silently! I hate when my husband doesn’t respond when I share my feelings and thoughts. It makes me wonder if he’s asleep, bored, or thinking about his zodiac. Now, he’s learned to say, “I don’t know what to say. I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t know how to respond.” That makes me feel much better than if he just listened silently.

So, husbands, if your wife isn’t happy, don’t try to convince her of anything. Just listen and repeat back what she says to you. Try to understand where she’s coming from.

Try to understand why your wife isn’t happy

Ben understands why his wife isn’t happy: she was working away from home a lot, he became depressed and controlling, and they lost the intimacy and love in their marriage. He seems to be clear on why she’s unhappy, which is great.

If you aren’t sure why your wife is unhappy – or even if you think you know why she’s unhappy – I encourage you to talk to her about it. Put her unhappiness in your own words. Ask her to listen while you verbalize why you thinks she’s not happy, and ask her for confirmation or further explanation. This is part of validating her feelings, because it’s you trying to understand her. That in itself will increase the intimacy and love in your marriage; it shows her that you care.

If you think there’s no hope of increasing intimacy and love, read Marriage Crisis – Surviving When You Have Nothing Left.

If your wife won’t tell you why she’s unhappy…

Sociologist Linda Nilson recommends asking your wife’s friends and family why she isn’t happy with your marriage. “Ask her close friends,” she writes in How to Keep Your Woman — And Keep Her the Way You Love Her. “Ask her mother or sister if you’re on speaking terms with them. Take notes. Be completely open to all you hear.  Just take it in. Don’t argue or otherwise defend yourself.”

Try to see your marriage – and your own behavior – from your wife’s point of view. The more you understand where she’s coming from, the greater your chances of increasing intimacy and love in your marriage.

Send your wife flowers

my wife isn't happySending your wife flowers is a cliche for a reason – because few women can resist roses such as a 22 Long Stem Rose Bouquet delivered when they least expect it! If your wife isn’t happy, a bouquet of flowers won’t magically change everything…but it’s a fine way to break through the barrier and start learning what your wife needs to be happy again.

Give her time and space

“Don’t chase her – you’ll just chase her further away,” writes Nilson in How to Keep Your Woman. “The more desperately you want to get her back, the less you should let her know it. Act like you believe her decision to leave was a good one, at least for her. Your showing her this kind of respect might be just what she was missing from you before.”

My friend’s  husband recently left her, saying he hasn’t been happy for years. She has no idea how they lost the intimacy and love in their marriage – or how to increase it. She says she didn’t even know he was unhappy.  Her husband has moved out, and she can’t stop texting, emailing, and calling him. I think this is the exact wrong thing to do, because it makes him even less happy! It doesn’t make him want to be with her.

Sometimes, to increase intimacy and love in your marriage when your wife isn’t happy, you need to let go.

To learn if getting back together is possible, read 9 Signs You Can Fix Your Marriage.

Improve your mental, emotional, and physical health

In most of my articles, I encourage women to learn how to love and respect themselves. After all, if they don’t love and respect themselves, how can they expect a man to love or respect them?

wife isn't happyYou need to get as healthy as possible, for your own sake. The added benefit is that wives are happy with and attracted to their healthy, happy, strong husbands! When your wife isn’t happy, you might need to become aware of and start working on whatever issues you have.

Remember that you aren’t responsible for your wife’s happiness

You can be the best husband in the world, but you can’t make your wife happy. I’m a very happy woman – but my husband isn’t the sole source of my happiness. When I’m unhappy, it’s because of me…not him.

You can set the stage for a happy marriage – and you can increase intimacy and love in your relationship – but you can’t make your wife a happy woman. That is, if she’s unhappy with her life, there may be nothing you can do to change it. You can’t change how she feels – you can only change how you respond to her and your marriage.

For more tips, read How to Survive an Unhappy Marriage.

I welcome your thoughts on what to do when your wife isn’t happy below. I can’t offer marriage advice or counseling, but it may help you to share your experience.


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16 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Wife Isn’t Happy”

  1. Women’s brains have twice the size of brain matter to deal with communication. That puts men at a huge disadvantage. It’s comical that a blog site ran by a woman helps men to work harder at listening and affirming their wives. If your wife is not happy then care about yourself to show her you are confident enough to live without her and you ought be surprised that she’s suddenly into you. If nit then know your are most certainly better off without her.
    Happily married to my high school sweetheart and We are now senior citizens.

    1. I think this is a real problem now a days! Men really are not self sufficient at all. Well a lot not all I suppose. I find that the “I can’t” phrase is used far too often out of the mouths of men. More men I know “can’t” do much of anything! The true reason a woman is attracted to a man is because he is capable, strong in some way, she feels secure and safe with him. When she no longer feels safe, has a feeling of lost security (whether its monetary or physical etc doesnt matter) also yes boredom is a thing in all fronts. If a man makes a woman stay doing what he says she will become dead inside. If a man cannot over come his “can’t” attitude or “wont” she will withdraw.

  2. Why is it always the husband that has to fix things? I get weary reading that “My Wife is Miserable because of me” I think some women enjoy being miserable!

    1. It is our job as husbands to be patient. “Live with your wife in an understanding way” 1 Peter 3:7. This passage is very significant. It acknowledges that women are the weaker vessel. And we are to live with them in understanding. That says it all to me. Being married a long time I’ve only recently come to embrace this passage as a way to understand and validate my wife’s feelings. I’m sorry to say but that is what God has called us as men to do. It’s extremely hard. I screwed it up for 20 years. I’m just now starting to understand my wife’s heart. I’ve got a long way to go.

  3. My wife recently uprooted her career, and life, from one state to another. We were in heaven bliss, until, the foundation in which she was attempting to build for her career, did not have the same outcome, as the previous state in which she lived. This is taking a toll on her (and me), and all I hear, is complaining, and ups and downs. I do my best to support, and tell her nothing will last forever, keep truckin’, but it seems not to work. I do so much, to try and make her happy, but recently realized, this is the cycle, in which i will continue to vacate, until something gives. I am so lost and clueless on what to do.

  4. Please suggest me, how to make my wife happy…nowadays she is very stressful. I know she is not happy with me but she also loves me. We have been married for just 1 year. And lot of stress she is going through.

  5. Hi everyone. I can’t tell you how much it helps to see that there are other men going through this as well. I’ve been with my wife for 13 years, married for 12. We have had our fair shares of ups and downs, and there have been bad ones, but we have always been able to get through them and I thought we strengthened our marriage each time. A few days ago we had a fight, my wife had sent my daughter to a friends after work but did not tell me, and I panicked when I couldn’t find her. I eventually found out where she was, and I lost my temper and called my wife out on it. I was upset that she could have taken 5 seconds to send me a text message, but it seems like she is always too busy to take any notice of me lately. We have been going through a rough patch and this was the final straw for her. She recently started a new job, and due to our schedules we’ve barely seen each other for the past few months. Anyways, she came home and said she wasn’t happy and hadn’t been for a while. When she has been willing to talk about it, she says that she thought it was her old job that made her unhappy, but once she got a new job she realized it was either me or our life, she hasn’t been clear. I am torn apart inside. I know it’s not healthy to think like this, but I have given my all to our marriage, I have supported her in everything while striving to be the best husband and father I can be. There are men out there that give their all for their families, I know that I am one of them. At this point I’ve slept 5 hours in the past 5 days, I can’t eat. I will be seeing a doctor as soon as I can to try to get on anti anxiety medicine or anti depressants. I don’t want to have to take pills to take the numbness I feel away but at this point I can’t function at all. I’ve told her that I will do whatever I can to support her. She is willing to seek independent counseling, which is a good step. I would like to go to marriage counseling with her, but she hasn’t been very interested in that. I laid everything out for her, that I truly believe she is the one I’m meant to be with, that I believe in our marriage and our family. But with all that because she means so much to me and she is truly my best friend above all else I want her to be happy. I pray to God every minute of every day that she finds that happiness with our family. It haunts me to think about the damage it would do to myself and my children if we had to get a divorce. I really try not to think this, but how can it be fair for someone to ask you to consider their happiness at the expense of 4 others? I want her to be happy, but I don’t want to have everything I love ripped away. It’s selfish but I can’t help that. Anyways, I think I’m going to start sleeping on the futon in an attempt to give her some extra space. I’m hoping things turn out like the did for Ben, that she will miss me and ask me to come back to our bed. I’m going to bookmark this page and revisit every once in a while, to see how everyone else is doing. I hope that everyone here is able to come to a resolution that works not only for their wives, but for themselves and for their marriages.

    1. I can not believe what I’m reading 👀. You have written everything that is happening in my marriage almost to the letter. This just started for me 4 days ago.

  6. My wife is unhappy about everything. She is everyones saving grace when there’s trouble in the family. She is the one to spend hours and days watching over someone in the hospital or just needs help. She is temporarily wearing a shoulder brace after surgery. So she has alot on her plate. Been married 46 years. Been through most everything, gave up drinking, smoking, and going to the bars. At 66 years old she has suddenly become a hate monster. Likes nothing I do. Even if common sense say’s how it should be done a certain way she will make an excuse as to why it won’t work and I can’t do it right. Never a thank you, or an atta boy for anything. I have tried alot of things and they have all failed. There are alot of troubles in the family that causes tension but bottom line I am responsible for everything that goes wrong. I admit when I make a mistake. At times it sounds like she is talking thru me and not to me. Yea, alot of this sugar coating might work in wonderland but not for everybody.

  7. My wife and I have been married for 25 wonderful years and now she says that she want adivorce! I am floored. But NOW I relaize that I have not given her the respect that she deserves. SHe says that I must pay the consequences. She has been so loving and unselfush all these years and I neglected this. Must leran to accept this and pray for serinity to accept what I cannot change

  8. Most of the ideas I read were lame! I’ve been married for 25 years and the last 3 years were hell-didn’t know if i would reach 25. The last thing you want to do or be is a yes man or an understanding man. Women aren’t attracted to those guys so if you want to lose her, act like a wimp like this site tells you to do, Women don’t want some guy they can control, some yes dear, whatever you say dear, that is boring. they want a challenge, not a pussy.

  9. Hi Laurie, First of all I’d like to say that like Ben I decided to reach out for some help. I admire Ben for this because we don’t take marriage lightly. I love my wife dearly and we’ll be married 29 years in May. However, the last 6 years have been stressful and trying. Just a short background. I had a very stressful position with a pharmaceutical company. My job was mostly office work and some warehouse work. I had gained weight over the years, my son was in a roller-coaster relationship that strained us all. My wife is an only child and her mother died unexpectedly 4 days after Christmas 2011. My son lost his job Feb of 2012 and as much as he looked was unemployed for a year. I was told that my services were no longer needed 7 days before Christmas of 2012. In Jan of 2013 I became ill and was in the hospital for 14 days and almost met my maker. Now I’m on disability which makes me feel worthless to begin with. Our marriage seems great in every aspect but the romantic side. I should mention that I’m a hopeless romantic. lol. Just this past Aug her Dad passed away. We’ve had the tiring task of getting everything out of the 2 story farm house of theirs and it has been VERY STRESSFUL. I was on a high dose of prednisone for quite some time which again increased my weight. My pain levels are such that it is very difficult for me to get much exercise and I know I need to get this weight off. I do as much as I can for her at the house. I do dishes, laundry, clean etc. I send her flowers at work and at home with very thoughtful cards. Somehow I just don’t feel loved and appreciated. I’m frustrated and hurt and angry all at the same time. She’s not one to talk about things as much as I’ve tried. I’m thinking at this point that maybe it’s mostly my fault. I’m not the man she married. She sees our friends with their husbands that are fit and healthy and I think deep down inside she feels cheated. I’m so glad I found this website because it’s given me more of an incentive to push through the pain and work harder on me. Thank you so much for this article and yes the prayers will help because I’m also pulled in half a dozen different directions at church also.

  10. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for being here, Ben, and sharing what you did when your wife wasn’t happy in your marriage. I really appreciate the courage it takes to be honest about your life, and help other husbands who are in the same situation.


  11. Things are improving now. I moved to our third bedroom last thursday after she asked if I thought a separation would help us get along better. Two days later she asked me to come back to OUR room, said she didn’t like me not sleeping with her and it didn’t feel right. So after we discussed and a couple more nights of me sleeping down the hall, i moved back to OUR bedroom. She initiated physical intimacy twice this past weekend and showed signs of emotional intimacy as well. She complimented me for the first time in years the other day, and I didn’t even recognize it until hours later when I finally realized it had happened. I guess I need to be cautiously optimistic over the next few weeks/months to see how things go from here. Your articles helped me tremendously to be able to get myself together while supporting her and her wishes at the same time. I think the key so far has been to let her make her own decisions, to not crowd her and give her some space, and to take care of myself while letting her know how i still feel on occasion. I’m still hopeful that things will continue to improve and she’ll go talk to a counselor and realize that she could be throwing away a family that cares for her greatly. Maybe she already realized that. Thanks again!

  12. Thanks for the article. I have been doing these things, and I still haven’t gotten a response in return, but she did invite me last night to go on a family vacation to her favorite place. We planned it together or we both made some of the arrangements, but it felt like she wanted to spend time with me for a change. She’s home now, but still no emotional or physical intimacy at all. I have a million thought going through my head, and some are to just let go of her entirely so she has to take some form of action to make herself happy again. Says she’s unhappy with everything, and wants to go talk to a counselor to get her head straight. Says she doesn’t want me to run, but to give her some time to figure out what she wants or needs to be happy again. I try to help her with the things that have her soo stressed out (work, school, being gone) but still feel underappreciated. I guess from the time she first told me she didn’t have the same feelings for me, and got to the point where she didn’t care about me anymore, I went throught the hurt stage and am now in the OK stage. I love her with all my heart, but just want her to find happiness, and get some help before it’s too late. She keeps putting it off for work, and I understand she doesn’t have a lot of choice in that sometimes, but sometimes she does. I just feel really unimportant right now, but she doesn’t want to let go of me entirely. What to do I’ll never fully understand! Thanks for the advice above. It is what it is, it’s not what it’s not, don’t make it what it isn’t!