You can practically see the stress written all over your wife’s face. Struggling to figure out what’s really bothering her?
Below, couples therapists share the most common issues wives say they’re frustrated about in their marriages.
1. She’s tired from doing it all.
You lovingly call her superwoman but even superheroes have a breaking point. Far too many women with full-time careers and kids are married to spouses who fail to fully recognize how exhausting that balancing act can be, said Ryan Howes, a psychologist in Pasadena, California
“The conflict and stressors from these competing roles are evident on a daily basis and it usually appears in a pair of arguments: Either a mother works hard and feels guilty for not spending more time with her children or she doesn’t work and suffers the scrutiny of her peers for not doing enough. In either case, there is stress and plenty of it.”
In other words, there’s a 100 percent chance that your wife could use your sympathy and support ― even if it just means finishing off a bottle of wine and listening to her rant about her coworkers or the catty clique on the playground.
2. She needs time to herself.
“Me time” becomes non-existent once you have kids. That’s why you both have to carve out time for yourselves. The kids will benefit from well-rested, emotionally and physically restored parents.
“Making time to take care of ourselves is extremely important,” said Talia Wagner, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. “Because there is so much on most modern women’s plates, many chose to forgo this time, not realizing how essential it is to their well being and that of their family.”
3. You aren’t doing your share of the childcare.
Who does the lion share of childcare in your house? Who picks the kids up from soccer practice? Who makes sure A Wrinkle In Time is read and reported on by the deadline? If the answer is “my wife,” it’s high time you stepped up, said Laurel Steinberg, a New York-based relationship therapist and adjunct professor of psychology at Columbia University
“Consider what you can do to help make her life easier, whether it’s helping to coordinate carpools, bulk-cooking on Sunday evenings or proactively caring for her and the kids on the weekends,” she said. “Take an active interest in what they are learning in school. Anything helps.”
4. The thrill is gone.
Don’t think that just because you’re married you can short shrift romance. If you’ve put date night on the back burner, your wife has no doubt noticed, Wagner said.
“When women remember the courting phase of their relationship and how different their S.O. was then, it usually brings about disappointment and longing,” she said. “Many feel like their mate has stopped investing in this very important part of their intimacy.”
That’s your cue to call a babysitter and tell your wife about the super exciting plans you arranged for Friday night.
5. She wants you to practice work-life balance.
You both are concerned with your work-life balance ― but there’s a high chance your wife wishes you’d put more thought into the life part of that equation, Howes said.
“The men in my practice talk a lot about work, but their focus is typically on the deals, the strategy and the financial benefits ― not how it affects their relationships,” he told us. “The women tend to focus on the relational dynamics of their job and home life.”
To put it simply, “men need to understand that work choices aren’t just about the outcome, it’s about how it impacts relationships at home,” Howes explained.
6. She feels like a project manager.
Your home is a well-oiled machine and chances are, it’s due to your wife’s efforts. It may look perfect from the outside, but take a closer look and you’ll find a wife who’s fed up with being the unofficial project manager of her home, Wagner said.
“The wife is frequently the one handing out instructions regarding the many moving parts of their joint life together: She knows where to find missing clothing, remembers the bills due today, and that next Wednesday it is pajama day at school,” Wagner explained. “Essentially, she is managing and troubleshooting the internal workings of their lives. Unsurprisingly, many wives feel burdened by this massive responsibility and wish their husbands would take some responsibility.”
7. Communication is lacking.
Sorry, but “what do you want for dinner?” and “did you pick up Avery from gymnastics?” does not qualify as quality communication. Technology makes it easier to connect, but a few hastily sent texts throughout the day can’t stand in for quality conversation at the end of the night, Howes said.
“Women are generally more collaborative and verbal than men, and texts don’t do a good enough job of allowing a woman to vent and feel heard while she problem solves,” he said. “Technology is good in a pinch, but it doesn’t take the place (yet) of face to face conversation, especially with your spouse!”
There you have it: Put down your smartphone and be a better spouse. Your de-stressed wife will thank you.