Marriage is hard work.
Saying “I do” is the easy part. It’s what comes next that takes dedication, commitment, and a desire to make it work.
It’s only natural to fall off track along the way. It happens to almost every couple for a number of different reasons.
So, what happens when your husband doesn’t prioritize you anymore?
Whether he’s at work, on the computer, or out with mates, somewhere along the line you went from number one to number two plus.
Should you leave the relationship?
All relationships have their ups and downs, so don’t give up just yet.
The first thing you need to do is work out what areas of life he is prioritizing over you. Once you recognize the signs, it’s easier to make a plan moving forward to help get the relationship back on track.
Here are 7 signs you’re not a priority to your husband
1) He makes decisions without you
If you ever did counseling before getting married, you’ll know that marriage is first and foremost a partnership. The big decisions that affect your life are ones that should be made together.
The moment he stops asking for your input, it’s safe to say you’re not a priority in his life.
Not sure if this is you? Think back to recent life changes you’ve had:
- Did he change jobs without discussing the impact this would have on your family life (for example, longer hours, less pay, etc)?
- Did he make the decision to move interstate or overseas without asking how you feel about it and whether or not you want to?
- Does he head out with friends without first checking with you to see if you want to come or if you had any plans yourself?
The scenarios are endless, but they all mean the same thing.
This is a guy who isn’t putting you and your needs first. He’s putting himself first and telling you that you simply have to deal with it.
2) You feel alone
Alone time is an important aspect of any relationship. But alone time is very different from feeling alone.
When you start feeling alone while you’re in a relationship, it’s a big red flag that your other half isn’t putting you first.
Your husband doesn’t need to be out with mates or off playing sport to make you feel this way. He could be home every night but there’s no communication between the two of you.
It’s almost like you’re living parallel lives while being married to each other.
You never know, he might be feeling the exact same and just not realized it yet.
3) He puts certain people above you
Let’s get stereotypical here and jump straight to the Mother In Law. It may not be the case for your marriage, but it certainly can be for many.
Does your husband jump every time your MIL calls?
Does he rush over to her house to help her anytime she asks?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this — even if it does annoy you just a little. It’s when he puts her needs above your own.
For example, you’re sick at home and need help with the kids but your MIL needs a light changed. Who does he choose?
The answer should, of course, be you, your needs are greater in that moment. If he opts for the MIL, you know you have a problem.
Of course, you could sub out the MIL for a good friend, another family member, or just about anyone.
Think about your own situation and consider whether there’s someone in your life who fits this bill.
3) He’s always out or busy
Going out is healthy for both of you. It allows you both to experience a little alone time away from the other, while also pursuing your own interests.
But, if your husband is out or busy all the time, that’s a whole other story.
Whether he’s out with mates or sitting home on the computer, if there’s no time for you in his schedule then there’s an issue.
Guys always make time for things they care about and if you aren’t in his calendar, then it’s time to talk to him about it.
It’s an even bigger problem if his hobbies and/or friends are getting in the way of important occasions.
Does he forget dates or anniversaries because he’s too preoccupied?
If he can’t remember things that are important to you, then things need to change to save the marriage.
5) He never makes plans
Are you always the one trying to get him to lock in plans with you?
Whether it’s a simple date night at home or a trip to the movies, does the ball always fall in your court?
A relationship should never be one-sided. He should want to spend time with you as much as you want to spend time with him. If this isn’t the case, try and work out why.
Perhaps the dates you’re planning aren’t his interests.
Hand it over to him and make it his responsibility to organize your next date.
If you don’t hear back about it again, then you can be sure that you don’t factor high on that priority list of his.
6) He doesn’t mind disappointing you
Accidents happen — that’s just life.
We can’t help but let people down from time to time. While it’s not ideal, it’s how we handle the situation that matters.
If your husband is constantly letting you down, consider how he acts about it.
Does he seem to care that he keeps disappointing you and hurting your feelings?
It’s important to be open and honest with him each time he lets you down, so he knows exactly how it makes you feel.
If he still doesn’t seem to care, knowing how you feel, then you’re not a priority in his life.
In fact, he’s going to keep disappointing you over and over again unless something changes.
7) You don’t fight
This might sound like a good thing but in a healthy relationship, a little bit of fighting is actually a good sign.
Fighting is one way we get our feelings out into the open and then work towards a compromise as a couple.
If your husband can’t even be bothered to resolve disagreements you two have together, it’s because he doesn’t consider you a priority.
It takes energy to fight. It’s energy that he’s not willing to waste on you.
So, while it might be nice that you have no confrontation in your relationship, it’s time to question what type of relationship you even have at this point in time.
Think about any disagreements you’ve had recently — did any of them get resolved? Or did they get swept under the rug and ignored?
This is a good indication of where you currently stand in your relationship.
How to make yourself a priority in your husband’s life
No one should have to settle for second best in their own marriage.
If you’ve noticed one or a few of the signs above, then it’s time to take action and get yourself back on top.
1) Recognise your feelings
The first step is to acknowledge and recognize the way you’re feeling.
It’s all too easy to sweep our feelings under the rug and make excuses for our partner:
- He’s always out with his mates because he has a stressful job.
- He didn’t ask me about moving overseas because he knew it was best for us.
These are all excuses that allow him to keep putting himself and his interests ahead of you. Read over the signs above and tick all the ones that apply to you.
It can help to list out some specific examples under each point.
For example, when did he make decisions without asking you?
The more specific you can be, the more you can own your feelings associated with it. By getting it all out in the open and clear in your head, it makes it much easier to make some changes.
You now know what you’re dealing with and how that makes you feel.
2) Make sure your own needs are met
When you’re in a committed marriage, you can sometimes become reliant on the other person. While your husband might not be putting you first, the next question to ask is, are you?
You have to take some ownership and responsibility for those feelings you expressed above.
- Are you only upset your husband goes out so much because you don’t?
- Do you dislike your husband’s newfound hobby because you don’t have one?
It might be worthwhile making some changes in your own life before trying to make changes in your marriage. Once you’re happy within yourself, you can then begin working on the marriage.
In this instance, you need to come first.
3) Confront him
No, we don’t mean you should corner him in the room and start blasting him for all the times he’s hurt you. Simply open up the conversation and make him aware of your feelings.
Sometimes, it’s completely accidental. Your husband may not even be aware of what he has done and how it has affected you.
Relationships tend to head off track slowly and then this becomes the new norm. It’s a slippery downhill slope, but once he’s aware, he might be willing to get it back on course straight away.
When you have this conversation, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Use “I statements to show him how you feel.
Instead of saying, “you’re never around and never put me first”, change it to, “I miss spending time with you”.
This method is a lot less confrontational, yet just as effective at sharing your feelings.
- Seek reassurance if you need it.
Before even thinking about getting your relationship back on track, you might need to hear from him that this is what he wants. Now’s the time to ask.
It can be as simple as, “I don’t feel like a priority in your life right now, and I just want to know if you still love me”.
- Ask if he’s willing to work on it.
Change will only happen if both of you are willing.
Your husband doesn’t have to agree with you — you’re allowed to see things differently. But he does need to acknowledge your feelings and be willing to work on things to make you happy.
4) Set limits
Now that the problem is out in the open, it’s time to find a solution.
Don’t fly into this one and demand he changes his behavior overnight. Instead, you want to set achievable limits you’re both happy with.
- If your husband is out three nights a week with mates, ask him to jump back to just one.
- If your husband isn’t including you in decision-making, then ask him to set aside talking time with you.
- If your husband is spending too much time on a hobby, then ask him to cut it down reasonably.
It’s all about putting boundaries in place that you’re both happy with. You might ideally like him to cut down further but this is something you can work on down the track.
For the moment, the most important thing is to have limits in place that you can work with.
5) Plan time together
One of the best ways to get a marriage back on track is to rekindle the romance between the two of you.
It’s important for you to take the reigns on this one to show your husband you’re willing to put the effort in to save your marriage. All you ask is that he shows up and puts you first.
Whether it’s a weekend away for just the two of you, or a fun date, such as bowling. The goal is to spend some time together outside of the home and to reconnect.
One of the best tips is to think back to your dating days before marriage.
Was there a place you two liked to meet up?
Head there! It will help to bring all those old feelings to the surface, so you both can remember what brought you together in the first place.
6) Improve communication
If your husband has been making big decisions without you, then communication is a big issue for the two of you.
It’s important to set aside one hour each week for talking. Try avoid it at night time, as both of you are likely tired from a long day and more ready to snap at each other.
Pick an hour each weekend morning and stick to it. Head out of the house and go for a walk together. The conversation will naturally start to flow as you walk.
You can encourage your husband to open up about any big decisions he has on his mind. It’s the perfect opportunity for him to include you and let you know you’re a priority in his life.
7) Don’t expect instant change
It probably took a good few months or years for your relationship to get off track. It tends to happen gradually without you even noticing until it’s too late.
Don’t expect to get it back on track overnight. You need to put the time and effort into it to get it right.
Many of the ways your husband makes you feel second best in his life are now ingrained in him. Give him time to make changes and adjust to these changes to find a happy medium, you both love.
Avoid fighting as much as possible.
If he makes a big decision without you again, stick to your “I” statements and let him know how that makes you feel.
If he goes out with the mates without telling you, wait for him to come home and address it with him the next morning when you’re both well-rested and calm.
He’s going to have slip-ups. He’s going to have moments where he makes you feel less of a priority.
Change takes time. As long as you can see he’s trying, then you’re on the right track.
8) Consider Counselling
Sometimes it takes the help of a third party to get your relationship back on track. There’s nothing wrong with this.
Whether your communication has broken down or you simply are struggling to get back on track, a trained counselor can help.
They will talk you through conflict, improve the bond the two of you share and give you tips to open up those lines of communication.
Many couples go through counseling. And if you both want the same thing, then you’ll come out the other side of it much stronger together.
Here are some of the main benefits that come from couple’s counseling:
- Improve communication and the way you talk to each other.
- Gain a renewed intimacy.
- Renegotiate your commitments to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Getting your relationship back on track
No relationship is perfect — even if it can look that way.
It’s normal for people to change and for relationships to change with them. Let’s face it, depending on how long you’ve been married, you might be an entirely different person.
Don’t be scared if your relationship isn’t perfect. And don’t feel the urge to run when you notice the flaws. Instead, be prepared to fight for it.
As long as you both want it, you can make it work. It just takes time and commitment.
But after all, that’s exactly what marriage is all about.
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