sad husband

I was talking to a man the other day. He’s injured. Not severely; he’ll survive. Hopefully. The wounds aren’t deep right now. But, he is injured.

It’s an emotional injury. Sometimes those are the worst kind of hurts.

The person doing the injuring: his wife. And she most likely doesn’t even know she’s doing it.


I’m not. It happens all the time. She’s probably injured too. And, he doesn’t even know he’s doing it to her. Marriages are made of two very different, imperfect people. Plus, we often injure most those we love the most.

My friend is newly married. Over the course of the last few months, he’s realized how many things his wife says and does that cause him to pull away. He even recognizes his reaction as a defense mechanism. Rather than start a fight, he withdraws. And, he’s withdrawn to the point that he was willing to admit his hurt . . . which is difficult for any man to do. I was proud of him for being humble enough to ask if this was normal in a marriage.

It didn’t take long before I realized, however, this marriage is headed for disaster if they don’t address their issues soon. There’s a great chance she has questions about the relationship also. Thankfully, they’re in a great season to ask hard questions, learn valuable lessons, and strengthen the marriage.

Here are seven ways a wife injures her husband (without even knowing it):

1. Put him down in front of other people. Most men won’t counter this type of humiliation in public . . . if ever. They simply take it–and hurt. If they do eventually address it, it will be out of stored up resentment, maybe anger–and it won’t be pretty.

2. Go behind him when he tries to do something at home. When you always show him how much better you can do things than he can do them, his ego is injured. When he fixes the bed, for example, and you follow behind him showing him the “correct way” immediately after he finishes, you remind him he doesn’t measure up to your standards.

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3. Constantly badger him. He doesn’t do what you want him to do and you remind him. Again. And, again. This never accomplishes what you think it will. In fact, it injures him with the opposite result.

4. Use the “you always” phrase excessively.  Because . . . he “always” does. Not really, but when you accuse him that he always does, sadly, it only helps build him into a man that always will.

5. Hold him responsible for your emotional well-being. Acting as if he’s the reason you feel bad today–and every other day you feel bad–puts undue pressure on him. And, you don’t have to tell him. Subtly, just be in a bad mood towards him without releasing him from guilt. He’ll take the hint . . . and own the responsibility. He’ll think it’s his fault even if it’s not. And, he caries that pain.

6. Complain about what you don’t have or get to do. He has a desire to fix things. He wants to be a provider. Every man does. Some attempt to live it out and some don’t. But when he’s trying to do the best he can yet feels he isn’t measuring up, he’s crushed. When you’re always commenting on what other women have that you don’t, he carries the blame . . . even if you’re not intending it to be his.

7. Don’t appreciate his efforts. Want to injure a man? Refuse to appreciate the things he feels he does well. It could be work, a hobby, or a trait, but he feels part of his identity in the things he does. When you don’t find them as “valuable” as he does, his ego is bruised.

The reality is a man’s ego. . . self-confidence . . . sense of worth . . . is greatly tied to his wife. Just as a woman’s is to her husband. We can be fragile people. Some more than others. And, some seasons more than others. Understanding these issues and addressing them–with a third party if necessary–build healthier, stronger, and happier people . . . and marriages.

• Also see  7 Ways a Husband Wounds a Wife

Used by permission of Ron Edmondson. Visit his site for more blog posts like this at