Many wives are struggling to deal with disappointed husbands. Often, the husband has alluded to the fact (or he has come right out and said) that he's disappointed in the marriage because it isn't what he was expecting or hoping for. It's nearly impossible to hear these types of discussions about your marriage and to not respond with worry or concern.

A wife might say: "we've only been married for a couple of years. Last night, my husband told me that he's disappointed in our marriage because it hasn't been what he thought that it was going to be. He said this in the saddest, defeated tone, almost as if there was nothing that we could do to change it. I asked him why he was telling me this and what he was going to do about it. He wouldn't give me a straight answer. And that's why I'm terrified that he is going to leave me. He says that he feels tied down, unhappy, and older than his years. What does this mean for me? And is there anything that I can do about this?"

There's certainly plenty that you can do. I know that hearing these types of words is extremely hard and upsetting. But if there's any bright side, it's this. He's almost giving you a warning while you still have time to turn things around. Many wives don't have this advantage. The only time they are told that the marriage isn't working for the husband is after the husband leaves or files for divorce.

I realize this wife wasn't sure how her husband was going to proceed. But at the present time, he hadn't yet made any efforts to look for a new place to live or to leave. So, for the time being, she still had some time to make some lasting and meaningful changes which would hopefully ensure that her marriage improved to the point where her husband was no longer disappointed in it. Next, I'll offer some tips on how to handle this.

Listen Very Carefully To His Words And Examine Them For Clues: In order to successfully address what is wrong, you need to understand which things are contributing to your husband's disappointment. Sometimes, your conversations will give you very distinct clues about this. And other times, you may need to observe his reactions and behaviors. In this case, the husband had told his wife that their marriage was making him feel "tied down" and "old." When a man uses these kinds of phrases to discuss his marriage, he's all but telling you that he craves more excitement, spontaneity, and variety. You can take a look at both of your personalities and preferences in order to come up with some activities that would please you both.

It is up to you whether you choose to tell him what you are doing or whether to outline any plan that you might have to improve your marriage. (And you will often need to consider how resistant he may be to this.)  Many wives don't go into a long or drawn out discussion about any plan that they might have. They just begin to incorporate the new behaviors or actions into their marriage, watch for their husband's reactions, and tweak things accordingly.

This Is Not The Time To Allow Fear To Take Over Or To Debate Where He's Wrong; It's very normal to feel defensive when you hear your husband saying that something about you or the marriage isn't making him happy. There's a real inclination to tell him that he expects too much or to point out his own shortcomings as a defense mechanism.

While you may be somewhat justified in this, you aren't doing anything to solve your issues and you may well make things worse. Resist any urge to debate his perceptions or to point out exactly where he is wrong. It typically won't get you anywhere and he may feel compelled to defend his position. To that end, you are almost encouraging him to take inventory of where you are falling short, which is the last thing that you should want.

Try To Make This A Gradual Process That Is Going To Stick: Carefully examine any changes you are considering making in order to make sure that they are sustainable. For example, the wife in the above scenario could vow to take up skydiving to add excitement into their lives, but if she were horribly afraid of heights, there are probably better choices. Choose something that is going to work for both of you and that doesn't put you so outside of your comfort zone that you are going to come to dread or resent it or won't be able to follow through with it.

Also, you want for the changes to be noticeable but somewhat gradual because you don't want for your husband to think that you're only acting because you know that if you don't, your marriage is in trouble. You want for him to believe that you are behaving genuinely so that he trusts that he can truly believe in any changes.(This is one place where I went wrong during my own separation. You can read about that by clicking here.)

I know that's it's upsetting and hurtful to hear your husband say that the marriage isn't what expected. But now is the time to have an open conversation about exactly what he was hoping for and then to make the changes that are going to make your marriage more fulfilling for both of you.

I wish I had listened more intently to my husband when he began to complain about our marriage. I basically tuned him out and hoped that things would get better on their own.  This almost cost me my marriage.  It wasn't until I took a swift and sustainable action that I was able to save my marriage.  If it helps, you can read that whole story on my blog at

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