Every now and again one of the women I work with will reach out to me and with great sadness and a sense of desperation tell me they feel they have made a huge mistake in their choice of husband.
Then they will ask me what they should do if they come to believe they married the wrong man.
It is an interesting question, isn’t it?
And I get these questions from women a lot. For example:
“Chris, is there a ‘Did I marry the wrong man quiz’? I really need some help figuring out where I go from here. Believe me when I tell you that I am living a nightmare marriage and I think I would fail that marriage quiz every time.”
“Can you help a lady in dire need! What are the signs you married the wrong man? I feel like the next time he threatens me with whatever, I am going to call his bluff and pack and leave. I have this love – hate relationship with my husband and I think I might be ready to pack it in. When do you know for sure you made a huge mistake?”
Chris, I really need your help. I married the wrong person and knew it the moment we said the vows. I know it sounds crazy, but I was wishy-washy about the whole marriage thing. My family thinks he is wonderful and I didn’t want to disappoint them, but now I am stuck with the wrong guy and all I can think about is how to get out of this huge mess I made for myself. My head is spinning with what do I say to him, his parents, and my parents. Do I give back all the wedding gifts? I don’t really love him. There is just no love and I don’t feel any connection. We just sorta did what others expected and now I feel stupid. Thank god I am not one of your ladies who married the wrong man and had a baby. I don’t want us to get to that stage. What can I do so that we don’t live a life of regret. I don’t want to be one of those unhappily married women who are afraid to act.”
These kind of stories are heartbreaking and I feel for wives that feel trapped.
It can feel like the whole world of marriage is closing in around you and if you don’t do something, you will go insane.
By the way, that reminds me of a post I wrote for women who are sure they married the wrong man and are trying to end things, but he won’t go. Take a look at my advice….
But for the one offering advice, I would caution you not to jump the gun unless you are quite certain.
What I mean by that is just because you feel you have married the wrong man, doesn’t make it so.
Feelings can come and go. They change all the time.
I also think we need to be careful with the language we are tossing around.
For example, what makes a husband, “the wrong guy”?
There are other questions we need to answer before proceeding with an action plan.
What is happening in the marriage such that one feels that need to deep six it and start over?
How can a woman be really sure they guy she is married to is not the right husband for her?
We know that it takes work to make a relationship really solid. Marriage is hard. In fact I wrote a post about this recently. Take a moment and check it out as I think it pertains to the topic at hand…
For that matter, what is the right man?
Does he exist?
Can we be sure that such a man, should he exist, be easily identifiable and attainable?
You see, once your start thinking in terms of what is right or wrong for you, the whole conversation can get a lot more complicated.
But I am going to try to make some sense of it for you, starting first with what is it that can make a woman think she has made the wrong choice.
It is true that some women end up marrying the wrong guy.
So let’s peel back what might be going on in a relationship that can cause a person to believe they go it all wrong when they agreed to marry their husband.
Why Is Your Man Not Husband Material?
As I alluded to earlier, we are treading on dangerous grounds if we are too quick to conclude that a man (or woman for that matter) is perfectly wrong for you and what you want from your marriage.
Now, I guess if I wanted to stir things up, I could question whether you might be falling prey to overreaction.
How is it that your husband is the wrong man for you?
You did marry him, right? You both agreed to give it a go and to love and cherish and all the rest.
So when do you really know that you married the wrong guy?
Well, lucky for you, I have developed an unofficial check list you can use to figure out if your man is just not long-term husband material.
Before I walk you through my list of things you should look out for, let me qualify this little list by telling you that it is not scientific in any way. You should never rely on one person’s view of what makes for good husband material.
In fact, when I read articles that try to tell me what are the five things that make for a terrible husband or try to sell me on a list of the 10 surefire signs of a loser of a husband…..I usually throw it in the garbage pile. Many times, such articles are far too general or opinionated, leaving open the possibility of a person relying to much on one viewpoint.
So why should you spend any time on my little checklist? Sure, you want to know why some men are awful choices? But what makes my opinion any better than anyone else?
Well, I have talked to scores of men and women about their marriage and relationship situations. We are talking literally thousands of people. I have seen the worst of what men and women can do and say to each. And I have seen how certain behaviors can lead to ruined marriages and broken relationships.
I have a very good idea of what works to make a couple succesful. And on the other side of the coin, I have seen plenty of recipes for marriage disaster.
So if you are wondering if you picked the wrong guy to marry and are trying to access if you should invest any more time and emotional energy in making the relationship work, my list of things to consider might just help you.
One more little warning before we get started.
I going to walk you through several things that your husband (or boyfriend) might be doing and saying (or not doing and saying) that is going to paint a picture.
When considering something as important as whether you married the right guy, you should take into account a complete picture and it should be over a broad period of time.
If your husband seems to fit the pattern for many of the things I mention, then just maybe your relationship is not going to get much better and probably will get worse.
But be reminded that it is not just the type of poor behavior that matters. It is not just how your husband seems to fit the picture I am about to paint. It also matters a whole lot just how long his undesirable behavior has been occurring.
So don’t throw in the towel just because the marriage skies have darkened and you have become sour to your husband’s ways. The storm of how poorly the two of you are getting along needs to have raged for a good spell before you can seriously entertain ending the marriage.
So let’s get rolling. If you see many of these behaviors and events occurring in your marriage, then read on about what you might want to do.
- Your husband says hateful and spiteful things far too often. He can’t seem to help himself, say he says. Sometimes, after some time has passed, he is full of apologies, though his uncouth ways can be triggered very easily in short order.
- Your husband is constantly threatening to end the marriage. He uses intimidation tactics to try to get his way far too frequently.
- You find yourself thinking far to often about leaving your husband because of a variety of problems for which you believe he is at fault.
- You feel very little enthusiasm or excitement about being around your husband or spending time with him on outings or even at routine events.
- The line of communication between you and your husband seem closed and your efforts to talk about the problems in the relationship often lead to arguments.
- You often don’t feel safe, relaxed, or secure around your husband.
- Your friends are often asking you why you married such a man and encourage you to head for the exit.
- You find yourself crying far too often and questioning whether you made a huge mistake when you married the man.
- You have been married for some time and often feel sad or depressed with your circumstance. It is like you are stuck in marriage quicksand and can’t get out.
- You and your husband have had several serious talks or have been to marriage counseling and yet things have not improved or he is making little genuine effort to change his ways.
- Your husband is not interested in spending any quality time with you and when you press him to commit to doing thing together, he balks and complains about not being able to do his “own thing”.
- Your marriage is a wreck. One or both of you have had affairs and whatever wrong can be done, has been done. Almost all the trust has drained out of the marriage and you feel miserable.
- You are feel rather certain that you no longer love your husband and find yourself avoiding him.
- You look back and realize that you rushed into a relationship with a guy you really hardly knew. The two of you may have fallen fast in love with each other only to discover later that neither of your are very compatible.
- You and your husband have talked often about the prospect of splitting up, but for one reason or another it gets put off and neither of you follow through with separating.
What Do You Do When You Are Sure You Married the Wrong Man?
First of all, don’t panic if you look at the list of bad signs and behaviors and realize your husband fits the bill for many.
As I discussed earlier, be careful about being too quick to judge. While the signs and past history may look bad for the likelihood of a happy, successful marriage going forward, I have seen plenty of married couples undergo serious problems, only to later work through them.
So my first piece of advice is don’t do anything rash.
Certainly, if you have not attempted to get some marriage counseling, then that is something you and your spouse should definitely explore.
If your husband balks at that notion or if you and your spouse underwent counseling, but things did not improve, you will need to examine another approach.
If all the evidence over time points to a worsening of the relationship and the prospects for improvement looks dim, then it may be useful to take some time away from each other.
The question is how do you accomplish this without further exasperating the problems you and your husband are already having?
If things are so bad that you are seriously questioning whether you wedded the right guy, then something transformational needs to occur to change the status quo.
When a couple gets into a rut and one problem after the next crops up over and over again, something needs to happen to upset the routine.
We are largely creatures of habit and practice many of the same behaviors. If your husband is coming up way short as being the guy you think will make you happy, then it is best to simply lead with the truth.
Tell your husband you are exceptionally unhappy and you are seriously questioning the foundation of the marriage. Explain that you are truly uncertain as to whether the two of your are compatible enough to make the marriage work.
Then advise your husband that you want to take some time for yourself. Perhaps a few weeks or even much longer may be appropriate. The time period largely depends on the nature of the problems that exist and the history of the relationship.
Living apart and being separated from each other gives both parties a chance to reexamine their assumptions about the marriage and what they want for their lives going forward.
Seldom will you find a silver bullet that will solve all your problems.
But things won’t get better by themselves. Action needs to be taken to change or transform the situation. So by putting distance between you and your husband will not just give you and your husband perspective to reevaluate your marriage, but it will give both parties incentive to come up with a solution.