You never thought you’d get to this place. Your bride, your best friend, the woman you fell in love with, has become someone you despise. Does this sound like you? If you hate your wife and are unsure of what to do about it, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll be talking you through some of the emotions you’re probably feeling and giving you three things to do to help you process what to do next in your marriage.
If You Hate Your Wife, Take A Step Back
If you find yourself hating your wife, the first thing to do is take a step back and wait. Yes, you read correctly. Wait. I can already hear you saying, “You can’t be serious. I came to this video looking for action steps. I’m here because I’m desperate. And you want me to wait?” Yes. And here’s why.
Many times, clients come to me in emotional distress. His wife is cheating on him with a coworker. Her husband hid thousands and thousands of dollars in credit card debt from his gambling addiction. Her husband just gave her his ring back and told her he was moving out. You get the idea.
There’s a good chance that if you’re watching this article, you are also in some form of emotional distress. After all, feeling hatred towards your wife is much more frightening than hatred towards the New England Patriots or Justin Bieber. The reason why it’s so important to wait before you make any decision is because hate is a powerful emotion.
And believe it or not, as tempered and as logical as you may be, emotions almost always trump logic. If you hate your wife, there’s a good chance your emotions are clouding your judgment. If you make a decision now, when emotions are high, you may regret the consequences of that decision later when your feelings have changed. Emotions are constantly changing. A general principle in all aspects of life is not making major, life-altering decisions when you’re highly emotional.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying emotions are a bad thing. On the contrary, they’re the body’s way of communicating that something is wrong. And that’s very important. However, emotions tend to change. So make sure that you don’t make a decision too hastily.
You say, “Well, how long should I wait?” Typically, I recommend waiting at least 48 hours before making any major decision. Sometimes your emotions are running high for a week, depending on how hot your head is at the moment. The truth is, it’s not an issue of time, but emotion. Wait until you’re in a good place emotionally. You may be asking, “So you’re telling me that just waiting can cause my emotions to change?” Actually, it can. But time isn’t the only thing you can do to help you process your hate.
Focus On Yourself
Many of you would probably be throwing something at me right now. “First, he tells me to wait. And now he’s telling me to focus on myself. How is focusing on myself going to change my wife? I don’t hate her because of my behavior, but because of hers.” Let me first say that I hear you; honestly, I do. I have no doubt your wife has hurt you, potentially in very severe ways.
I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of some pretty crappy behavior from a spouse. But can I let you in on a little secret? The only person you can change in any human relationship is you. I can’t tell you how often I’ve coached clients to focus on themselves, only to have them return week after week after week with zero progress in their relationship. Want to know why? They weren’t focusing on themselves, but on their spouse. When you focus your problems on anyone or anything outside your control, you steal away whatever power you have to change the situation.
Please hear me. I’m not saying that you’re the reason you hate your wife. Marriage is much more complicated than that. But focusing on the things we can’t control leaves us feeling even more hopeless, desperate, and hateful.
What does focusing on yourself look like? At Marriage Helper, we like to say that you’ve got to work your PIES. PIES is an acronym that we use to help our clients become the best versions of themselves physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. We have many resources to help you with your pies, so I won’t spend much time explaining how to put them into practice. Instead, I want to reiterate how important it is for your focus to be on you, not your wife.
If you find yourself hating her, remember all those clients whose situations never changed because they only focused on their spouse. The reverse is also true. Those clients who didn’t fall into the trap of focusing solely on their spouse, those who got to work on becoming better physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, showed tremendous progress in subsequent calls. And you know what’s crazy? Their emotions began to change, even though their spouse’s behavior did not. Do you want to deal with your hate? Focus on yourself. And that brings us to step three.
Examine Your Stories
If you find yourself hating your wife, examine your stories. The hate we feel comes from the stories we tell. You say, “What do you mean?” Right now, you have a series of stories in your mind about your wife. I mean, stop and think about it. What do you say to your buddies, parents, children, and yourself about your wife? “Well, she’s lazy, she’s too uptight, she’s boring, and she’s unattractive.”
These stories about your wife often become the interpretive lens through which you’ll view your wife’s behavior. And what’s unfortunate is that those lenses, which come from our stories, can prevent us from seeing the good in our wives.
Okay, here’s a quick illustration. Let’s pretend that tomorrow you come home to find a note on the door from your wife that reads, “Had to run to the store last minute to grab a few things for dinner. Be back soon.” If some of the stories you have about your wife, such as lazy, disorganized, and forgetful, the note will further solidify those stories. You will interpret the note through that lens. “Gah, there she goes. Always forgetting stuff. If there were an award for laziness, my wife would probably send someone else to pick it up for her.”
But if some of the stories you have about your wife are that she’s hospitable, considerate, and detail-oriented, then the note will further solidify those stories and interpret them through that lens. “Man, what an amazing woman. She puts her whole heart into the meal she prepares. I appreciate her dedication to our family and her good communication.”
Some of you may be saying, “Okay, I get your point. But I didn’t just make up these stories about my wife. They’re in my head because of her behavior.” And to a large degree, you’re right. I certainly don’t want to communicate that you’re lying to yourself or pulling these stories out of thin air. However, if you’re trying to figure out what to do about the hate you feel, you need to stop and examine the stories you tell about your wife to make sure that you’re not focusing primarily on the details that fit your current narrative. You need to be sure that you’re not overlooking essential experiences that contradict your current narrative. If you want to stop hating your wife, examine your stories about her.
So, you hate your wife, and you don’t know what to do. Step one, wait. Step two, focus on yourself. Finally, examine your stories. If you do these three things, I have no doubt the hatred you feel towards your spouse will begin to change. We have a few resources here at Marriage Helper that we’d like to share. The first is a free quiz for you to take to help discover the compatibility between you and your wife. You can also contact us here to learn more about what we recommend for your situation.
The other is our course called, “Why Does My Spouse Hate Me?” It’s a toolkit taught by our founder, Dr. Joe Beam, explicitly designed for people like you in mind. Some of you may be curious about what we tell wives who hate their husbands. Check out this video with our CEO, Kimberly Holmes, as she discusses the hatred wives may feel towards their husbands. Marriage Helper exists to support, strengthen, and save marriages to last a lifetime. I hope this helps you in your journey.