Sometimes you hear wives who complain that their middle aged husband is still acting like a young, single man. At first, this type of behavior might seem annoying but harmless. However, over time, it can start to become much more worrisome and it can make you wonder if there is something driving him to act this way or if it means anything for your marriage.
Some spouses who say: “my husband still acts like he’s a college student . We have two small kids and He still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. He still needs to go out to bars with the boys. He apparently still needs to flirt with other women. And he thinks he’s entitled to a golf day every Sunday. The other day, we were at a restaurant with our kids and my husband ran into someone he knew. He went over to the other table and never even bothered to introduce me and the kids, almost as if he didn’t have a family. Why does he act this way? Is he ashamed of us? Is he not really committed to me? Why would a married man want to act as if he’s single? And what can I do about this?”
There are some negative reasons that married men will try to give off the impression that they are single. Sometimes, they are looking to attract and see other women. Or, they want to give off the impression that they are more young, carefree, and unencumbered than they actually are. And, some men have checked out of their marriage and therefore they want to distance themselves from their wife or downplay their marriage as much as they possibly can.
There are some men who have low levels of maturity and who are reluctant to grow up. This may not be indicative of their commitment to their family or their love to their wife, but they may have negative connotations of a boring, trapped married man and they don’t want these descriptions to apply to them. So even if they really are committed to their family, they may not want to give off that image because they are still invested as coming off as young, hip, and free. Typically, you would have seen this issue early on in your marriage, long before you had kids.
If you suspect that your husband is appearing unmarried in order to be unfaithful, then your approach is going to be different than if he’s acting unmarried because of his own immaturity or an unwillingness to grow up. Nonetheless, a suggested script might be something like: “sometimes, it seems to me that the perception you give off is one of a single guy. I don’t want you to feel as if you’re tied down and you don’t have any opportunities to have fun with your friends. I want for you to be happy and to feel excited about your life, but I would like for you to feel excited and proud about being part of our family. I would like for you to include us in your life more than you do. Because sometimes when you don’t, it makes me worry that you’re not really happy and committed to being part of our family. And when this happens, I worry about our marriage. I want a husband who is so proud to be married to me that he doesn’t mind everyone knowing that he’s already spoken for. I want a father for my children who wants to show them off rather than hiding them from every one. We are adults now. There is nothing wrong with being proud to be part of a family. I love you. I’m proud that you’re my husband and I want to show you off to every one that I know. When you don’t do the same, it hurts me and it makes me question you’re commitment to me. Are you willing to do better to give me more security? Because if you’re not, I’m really worried about our marriage. I’m not sure how you can have a healthy and secure marriage if one of the spouse’s refuses to acknowledge that he’s married. And it’s not giving our kids the father that they deserve. Will you commit to making this a priority?”
Even though this is common in men, these days women in marriages have also started displaying these symptoms and the same approach can be used.
Being a follower of Jesus Christ changes a person. It changes the believer’s priorities and focus, it changes the way in which the believer relates to others, it changes everything about how the believer lives. Therefore, the believing husband should have distinct characteristics evident in his marriage, characteristics that come from his relationship with Jesus. I certainly do not claim to be an expert on marriage, just ask my wife, but by following God’s guiding, any man can be a better husband.
The husband should be very careful to be faithful to his wife in his thought life also. Too many husbands think that, as long as they are faithful in their external relationship, they can entertain a less-than-faithful internal thought life. However, Jesus tells us that it is possible to be an adulterer in our hearts, even if the sin is never acted out, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28 ).
A Christian husband should love his wife with the love of Jesus Christ; his marriage relationship should be the most important relationship he has, except for his relationship with Jesus. He must give himself to his wife in a self-sacrificing way and strive to love her as Christ loves the church. He should guard his heart and mind, so that he is able to resist temptations that are sure to come at him in our culture.
Husbands should remember these wise words from King Lemuel, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10
Wilbert Frank Chaniwa – @wilbertfc