How Do I Get My Wife to Love Me Again?

couple in distress

The title is deceiving. I admit that. You can’t “get” anyone to love you. How that occurs is a mystery. (And, we’ll end this post in mystery.)

But, I wanted you to find and read the post if you need the help.

I wrote this post almost 5 years ago now and titled it “Winning Back the Heart of My Wife“. It continues to be a heavily searched post. I think it’s because so many men are asking the same question. They’ve lost their wife’s heart and don’t know how to get her back. They want to know how to “get my wife to love me again.”

I decided to repost this, with a few alterations, because apparently there is a huge need. And so yes, if you stumbled here looking for answers-that’s my intent, but please know this is not a perfect post. It won’t apply to everyone. It won’t be an “end all” to your situation. It is simply designed to gear your heart in a healthier direction, so you can better concentrate on repairing your marriage.

As I refresh this post, it’s early one Saturday morning and I have just had this same conversation with another man. He doesn’t know me. He found me online, but he is desperate. Through some bad decisions, he has injured his wife and she isn’t sure she wants the marriage to work anymore so he went searching for answers.

I told him as I’ve said so many times before, this type of help is hard to give over the Internet. Generalized posts can only help so much. His wife is unique; unlike any other woman.

I have learned, however, that there are some commonalities in these situations. In working with marriages in distress, I’ve discovered that most men have injured their wife emotionally at some level and many times don’t even know it.

A man seldom understands (this man included) how different a woman is from a man. Of course, we understand some of the physical differences, but women are usually more in tune with their emotions than men are. When life happens to them, typically their initial and dominant reaction is to respond emotionally. When someone hurts a woman’s feelings, for example, even though the information they receive may be false, they have a harder time working through the feelings associated with the emotional injury.

The heart, speaking in terms of the seat of our emotions, was created much like other parts of the body. When a finger is broken the body is designed to instantly start to heal and protect itself from further injury. The same is true of the heart. When a person’s heart is injured, it goes into a self-protective mode to keep it from further injury. Over time, after years of injury, the heart becomes almost calloused, refusing to allow anyone to injure the heart again. A woman who has had years of emotional injury doesn’t have much heart left to give, but especially to the one who has done the most injury.

When a sudden dangerous blow to the woman’s heart is delivered, such as when she finds out the man had an affair, the already injured heart breaks — and completely closes off from being hurt anymore.

Most men enjoy trying to “fix” problems, but men cannot fix their wife’s heart. And that’s the advice most men want me to give when they contact me. Emotions are not repaired as easily as one could fix a leaking faucet or program a computer. There’s no program. No system. No script. There’s not an “app” for that.

So what is a man to do if he feels his wife’s heart is injured? How do you heal a broken heart?

Of course, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He can come in, erase all the pain and make the heart brand new. Most of the time however, at least in my experience, He lets us wrestle with life’s heartache while we learn to better love one another.

In the former post I list these as “steps”. That was probably a poor choice of words. A better word might be suggestions. They are written simply as suggestions if a man wants to encourage the healing of his wife’s heart. These are good suggestions even if the man simply wants to improve his marriage relationship.

Here are my suggestions:

Seek God – I added this one to the previous post. It should have been in the first one, but honestly, I saw it as almost an unspoken understanding. It’s certainly what most men tell me they are doing at this point. Like the man mentioned above told me, he had never been much of a “church guy”, but now he desperately wants God to heal his marriage. Whatever draws you closer to God is a good thing — and will make you a better man, regardless of what happens with your marriage. Use this time to develop and strengthen your relationship with God. It starts, as all relationships with God begin, through a recognition of who Christ is and your belief in Him. Start there and grow.

Practice Patience – The first thing men need to do is to recognize that restoring a broken heart will not happen overnight. Emotions heal very slowly. Steps should begin to restore an injured heart or to rebuild the marriage, but men should not expect too much too soon.

Love Her – This is by far their greatest need. Most wives have their love need unmet. The standard for our love is perfection, since a man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5), so a man will actually never love his wife enough, without the help of Christ. The wife knows, however, when the husband’s attention is somewhere else. Most men sacrifice their marriage for their careers or other interests. A wife’s love need is there every day. A wife needs to know that she is second only to God in her husband’s affections. I have found that for my love for Cheryl to grow-I need Christ’s help. I pray for this often.

Romance Her – A woman has a need for romance. Most wives had a fairy tale idea of marriage when they were growing up. They realize early in marriage this isn’t reality, but their need for occasional romance remains. Men rarely know how to do this. A man should be genuine, but should recognize and value the uniqueness of his wife and find ways to give her romance. I gave my wife a “romantic” trip to New York City for Christmas one year. We were going to dance, walk through Central Park and just enjoy each other. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned it, but I earned huge points in the romance category with my wife.

Value Words – When a man comes home and says “This house is a mess”, being a mostly factual being, that’s probably all he meant. He looked around, made a physical observation and stated a factual conclusion. The wife, however, probably did not receive the information that way. The wife most likely hears lots of negative information, such as, “You have done nothing all day”, or maybe even, “I don’t like you.” That sounds impossible to most guy’s rational minds, but with emotions receiving information anything could be heard, whether that was the intended response or not. Men need to learn how to be gentle with their wives and the words they use. One question I ask men, “Would you let another man talk to your wife the way you talk to her?”

Communicate on Her Terms – Women communicate best heart to heart…not head to head. A man should allow his wife to see his true heart. This is difficult for a man to do, but he should be willing to be vulnerable with her. Men may need to ask their wives to help them learn how to say things to her. Men cannot talk to their wives as they would their guy friends. It’s rare for men to get very “deep” in their conversations with other men, especially when it involves emotions. Women require understanding, compassion, openness and honesty in communication.

Give Consistent Assurance – Trust is an important need for a woman in relationships. The wife needs to know that her husband is going to be faithful. Men should not take offense, for example, when their wife asks details about their schedule or the activities of their day. The wife desires to be a partner in her husband’s life and these details help her provide trust and security in the relationship. A man should also tell his wife frequently that he loves her. She needs this consistent assurance. As long as nothing major happens, most men can live with a “we said it once and meant it” attitude. This is not enough for the wiring of most women.

Encourage Truth – Ultimately life cannot be lived strictly by emotions. We need truth. Emotions are often unreliable. A woman who feels unloved may be very much loved by her family, but she fails to feel that truth because of years of emotional abuse or just because she’s emotionally having a bad day. Men should gently, but consistently speak truth in love, reminding his wife of her worth, her beauty, and her place in his life. Husbands have this ability better than anyone in the heart of their wife. Over time — truth, when given with love, can play a part in healing damaged emotions.

Be Consistent – The heart is damaged over years and years of injury. Sadly many women have deep and tragic heart wounds, but much of this injury will have been unintentionally delivered and small in terms of the magnitude of the incident. Years of emotional injury builds up in the heart until the heart becomes closed. The erasing of the pain will happen just as it was developed…a little bit at a time. The husband cannot try this for a week and then stop. Protecting a woman’s heart must become a lifestyle.

I remember once talking with a man whose wife was experiencing deep depression. As I talked with this man it became apparent that, though probably unknowingly, he had been damaging his wife’s heart for years. He couldn’t seem to understand why his wife was so emotional; “Everything seems to upset her”, he said. The man told me he had tried to help her through her problems and that everything they had going against them he could “fix” if she would let him. I am not sure I could have ever convinced this man that his attempts at “repair” were probably one of the chief causes of his wife’s broken heart.

Most men tell me they don’t know how to be who their wife needs them to be or wants them to be. And, most men don’t, anymore than our wives know how to be the wife we need. I believe if we want to grow strong marriages we will both, husbands and wives, have to keep learning. It’s never too late to begin! Ephesians 5 calls it a mystery, but the best marriages work through the hard work, to get to the greater gain. Great marriages are worth it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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18 thoughts on “How Do I Get My Wife to Love Me Again?

  1. I have been married 11 years and I have neglected my wife. I never knew this until she told me 5 months ago that she does not love me any more. We have both made mistakes. She bottles up emotions like anger. we never really fight. There has never been any domestic violence or infidelity although my jealousy and controlling behaviour is a problem. I am working very hard on that now that I know that it is a problem. Now after getting over the shock she says that she feels trapped and wants to leave. I am begging her to stay and work on the marriage while I am making many changes. She is 100% sure that her feelings will not come back. She is sleeping in another room and does not want any affection of any kind. I am struggling with the rejection but I am not giving up on this marriage. I am sleeping at my brother's place two nights a week to give her space. I am reading this post over and over and every time I find a little peace and strength in the first two points. Find God and be patient. The rest, I am working on. Romancing is difficult as she suspects everything has an angle. I tell her that I love her every day. I asked if she believes that I love her. At first she avoided the questions. Now she says that she believes it but I think she only says that she believes me to shut me up. I am not giving up on this marriage. She is the best women I could ever have asked for.She is a great mother and she is truly beautiful inside and out. She is very hard towards me right now. I pray to God soften her heart and open up to me. I am very very unsure of where this is going. I am only hanging on to my faith and hope. Please pray for my wife and my marriage and my family.
    Thanks
    Frankbyname

  2. So me and my wife have been together for 6 yrs total with 2 being married. I read all through this and I lost it all. I am selfish bottom line. Every time I "injure" her heart I think I can fix it. But in all reality I can't. I say I'll do this I say I'll do that. But never do I put it off. Over the years I have done nothing but hurt her and then this last time I really crossed the line, made her leave me status she wants a divorce she has no faith that I will change. I'm jus so depressed and lost. I'm seeking GOD and he helps me through this depression. I jus don't know what to do to make her believe I'm going to change this time around because I can't live without her and mg son…its my anger that drove her away, .my temper outburst. But I really do want to change for the better… but she wants nothing to do with me…she says maybe over the years if she sees change…I told her all I need is a piece of thread from her…jus talking to me and I'll be able to build from that…is it jus going to take time? If she still allows herself to talk wit me does that mean she has jus a little bit of faith? I'm so confused weather she does love me enough to work it out jus in her terms or she really is done and really will divorce me…

  3. Okay, I read your updated suggestions to making your wife love you again. Some of the things you listed couldn’t be more accurate. Especially the damaged closed heart after a long period of hurt. My situation is a little more complicated, and like you mentioned when speaking about the guy and his unique wife, well I have a more complicated fiance of almost 6 years. My situation isn’t me cheating or anything like that. For years, we have dealt with many issues from my ex wife and my son with her, trust issues, my fiances children, but most of all, we both thought we were right, no communication, and we didn’t like how we were with each other’s children. We are a blended family of 9, 7 boys in all.. I’ll cut to the chase, after years of troubled conflict, and her constantly complaining about issues, and me aswell, I finally submitted to my pride and denial and realized something when she needed to getaway and took off for a night with a friend who she had been hanging around with quite frequently and not coming home till late at night, even early mornings. Her intention was to get a break and work on things with a clearer mind, to see if she missed me, us, the kids. And when she left, I was pissed, and when she returned, even more anger. Most of the kids were at their other parents house with the exception of our 2 boys we have together. I laid in bed with our 2yr old and couldn’t sleep that night. We had never been away like that in that way. I couldn’t eat the next day, just wondered who she was really with, what she was doing.. when she returned, I wasn’t happy and a day went by and I had been thinking what I was gonna do, how would I respond. And from that point, I made some huge changes in myself, how I was with her kids, what I did around the house, how I treated her. But since then. It seems we have gotten further, why? I mean at times there’s small flashes of improving but then she says she’s not attracted, no interest, that she’s content with where she is and just wants to b together for the kids, to not put them thru another break up. But thru all of this.. i have learned so much about appreciating her, loving her, things what and what not to do, understanding her better, becoming a better step parent, bettering myself physically, and helping out more without her asking, basically developing good habbits. My story is so much more detailed but I can get into that more later. It’s hard to hold onto hope and not to give up because I feel like I’m getting rejected, everything is so hard and hurtful, I just wanna give up but then I know she’s been crying out to me for a couple of years so I guess 3 months is nothing but I guess I’m confussed and hurt because although she had been treating me like crap those past years, I never said I wasn’t attracted to her or that I wasn’t connected.. that’s what I get right now.. bottom line is I know it takes time, it’s a hard process, I still do the little things now, try to take her out, surprise her, leave little things to show I love, but it all seems pointless.. but I’m still hoping, thinking she’s testing me, but I truley understand so much more now than I did before, I want to show her and prove to her but she thinks it’s fake.. what do I do? Help save our family! Any advice would b great. Thx jason

    • Jason
      I wish there was some advice I could give you but I have been in a similar situation for 4 months now. Nobody seems to be able to help. I have been to counselling and that did not work. At the moment we are trying to take one day at a time and I am showing her as mcuh love as she will appreciate. (she does not want any affection) The rejection hurts like a fire in my chest.

      All I can say is hang in there brother. It is worth the pain. You know she is worth the hassle.

      God Bless
      FrankByName

  4. Amazing! I am feeling great after reading it. This is right that women are more emotional compared to men and that a men should understand. Express your your if you want her back. Thanks for explaining everything. Please keep writing such blogs…

  5. Well, almost a month has past since my wife has asked me to leave. There have been no changes that are positive. As we have talked a few times, texted a bit and met in person on three ocassions, it has become obvious to me that she is no longer in love with me. She has said some things that I just don’t understand. My previous posts indicated the reasons she has given me for the divorce, but since that time she has given me reasons that I really don’t understand. She has acted out of character for the woman I thought I knew. I am trying to stay positive. Trying to correct my life with Christ and have a better understanding of this relationship. It looks to me like all hope of our marriage is lost. I still continue to pray for a miracle. All I know is that I feel so very alone. Please pray for me and my family. Even if it is just to heal our hearts from this pain that divorce causes everyone involved. Thank you.

      • Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for the information you have put togther and the forum for open conversation. May God continue to bless you.

    • I was married for two yrs in all my wife came to me and told me she was goin to leave I really didn’t know at that time if it was my fault but I did learn later on that my wife left me for a dirty nasty piece of trash of a man but that’s life if she wants a old saggy balls for a lover that’s her business lol but it takes work to keep a marriage women can lose interest quick if you don’t keep them happy

  6. My left about a month ago. I truly had no idea that she felt no love for me anymore. I love her dearly. We have been married for 25 years. I am devastated. We have always been God fearing people but within the last year we have fallen away. Not to say into sin but just not attending church like we should. I have been speaking God’s word hoping to find the answer. Thank you for this information. God bless you.

  7. I posted the previous comment. I have corrections to make. I have been neglectful. I have created distance for worldly "things". I thought being a provider was my only real responsibility. In short, I am responsible for hardening my wife's heart and driving her away from me. She has said my journey has been like that of Job. The difference being that I needed to lose everything in order to find the one true thing. I am owning all of these things. I am praying for an opportunity to be the man God has desired for her to have. I need advice and prayer on how to soften her heart. She has told me she has already forgiven me and wants to move on and that it is too late for counseling and or any more chances. I want to fight for her. Do you have any idea how to proceed?

  8. My wife asked me for a divorce yesterday and has asked me to leave home. This because I have not been the spiritual leader of our family. I will be the first to admit that I do not walk in Christ as I should have. I have always believed and talked to God. I have not had affairs, been abusive or been neglectful. I have been injured to the point that I can no loger work. We have lost our home and have had to move in with her parents. I have told her I would do anything for us to remain together. We have been together for 23 years and have two kiddos, 18 and 16. I don’t know what else to do.

  9. I have been fighting with my wife for a few months now over what can I do to make us work out she has cheated two times that I know about but she tells me that she loves and want to be with me I don’t know what to do about ever thing all she does is sleep till the kids get home then as soon as they go to bed she goes to sleep she has no time for me or the want to make time for me what can I do just need so input

  10. I'm in a period of rebuilding a broken marriage. I'm about 3 months in after hitting rock bottom where my wife basically told me she feels nothing for me sexually. To sum things up, I drastically neglected my wife's emotions for many years. We are doing much better, and I'm doing the things listed in the post. We have young kids, and she doesn't want a divorce. She has however told me she doesn't think she'll ever feel romantic love towards me. She's never been very interested in sex (even when the marriage was great), which is what caused the downward spiral. I'll admit, I had a very selfish outlook on sex prior to doing some major soul searching and reading several books on what a healthy marriage involves. She does acknowledge the positive change in me, we regularly attend church, and are active in the church community. She is willing to have sex with me now, but tells me she will because she knows "that's what wives do." Each day our relationship improves. Here's my question: Do I have sex with my wife even though I know she's doing it because she knows I can't live a sexless marriage. I don't want to push her away, and want my marriage to continue to improve. If I resist, when do I pursue sex if I know she'll do it whenever I want it. I want her to want to do it, but I seriously wonder if her sex drive is so low, she'll never want it.

    • The question I'd ask is Is she willing? If so, she can be doing it only to serve you. The wanting will hopefully come with time. Be thankful she's willing to serve in this way and look for ways to do likewise for her. 

  11. This is so fascinating to me to read, as I’ve written a great deal about emotional healing from the point of view of a wife whose response to emotional hurt was sexual refusal. A husband can’t make his wife feel differently, but he can work to remove some of the barriers that interfere with her growth in that direction.

    I share some suggestions for wives about healing and about nurturing an environment that provides space for a husband’s growth ( http://forgivenwife.com/2014/02/20/climate-change…. Ideally, both spouses will work on themselves while they encourage the other’s growth.

    I am glad to read your suggestion for patience. I hear from many heart-broken husbands who want to know how long change will take, but there is no timetable for growth. Slow progess is still progress, and a wife who needs to relearn her husband’s emotional trustworthiness cannot do so overnight. She needs consistency over time.