Men Need To Love Their Wives As Much As Women Love Their Kids

Especially if you want a happy marriage once the kids leave the house.

Men need to love their wives as much as women love their kids LOOK | Canva

In my ongoing quest to give you a non-PC straightforward look into couples dynamics, today we are going to explore another type of relationship that I have seen be successful. I have previously said that men should listen to the emotion, not the content when their wives talk. This is what most parents do with their kids; for example, when a child is very upset, you first comfort the child and then address whatever they are asking out or complaining about. 


Relatedly, many women in couples counseling complain that their husbands treat the kids better than they treat them, with more unconditional love, support, and attention. This has led me to observe that in the best marriages, the love that the man feels for his wife needs to be analogous to the overpowering love that the woman feels for their kids.

In my recent podcast episode about the importance of physical touch, I say that if the house was on fire, most women would go back to rescue their kids, but most men would go back to rescue their kids and their wives. Most women, on the other hand, would stay safe with their kids outside to ensure that their kids wouldn’t be left motherless in addition to fatherless if the husband was not rescued. This is likely because evolutionarily, men are the physical protectors of their families, and to them, their family includes their wife at the same level as their kids. If the man prioritizes his kids over the emotional needs of his wife, the marriage is much less happy than if a woman does the same.


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This is not to say that women should prioritize the kids over everything their husband needs or wants. I am a huge advocate of making your marriage couple-centered instead of child-centered. A healthy sex life is good for your marriage and therefore for your kids. 

@shawnmcbridespeaks74 If you don’t prioritize your relationship when your children are young, it will be hard to revive your relationship when your children grow up and leave.Prioritizing your relationship completely liberates your children to be less focused and less dependenton you as parents and more on their own life especially when they become teenagers/young. adults.No! I’m absolutely not suggesting that you neglect your kids, but I am saying there has to be a specific order and priority. Your relationship should be the priority.Focusing on your relationship is a long term investment in your own happiness as couple. Make your relationship your priority NOT your children.#CouplesCounselingCenter ♬ original sound - Shawn McBride Speaks

However, there seem to be different priorities that each gender has for kids vs spouse, and when the wife is more invested in the kids than in her husband, this usually works better for the marriage than when a man is more invested in his kids than in his wife.


What are some examples of how this different prioritization can look in a happy marriage?

Jack is a man who loves his wife and kids. The kids want to eat at McDonald’s but Jane, his wife, wants to eat sushi. Jack says, “Kids, we are going out for sushi and you better act right because your mom loves sushi. Later, we can play outside together.” Jane says, “Oh Jack, it’s OK, we can go to McDonald's,” but is happy when he insists on sushi. Later, when the kids are watching TV, Jane cuddles up to Jack, thanks him for being a good husband, and says she likes the sushi.

Note the following key points in my happy little scenario:

  • The husband tries his best to make his wife happy every day and tries to be a happy and loving father as well. However, at the moment, the wife’s wants trump the kids’ wants.
  • The wife, for her part, doesn’t usually let her wants to trump the kids’ wants anyway, so she is a natural check on the husband overfocusing on her to the detriment of the kids. (Jane usually goes to McDonalds.)
  • The wife focuses on the husband’s wants (here, physical touch and affirmation) and prioritizes him at a slightly lower level than the kids, which he assumes is natural and makes her a good mom.

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Now you might say that if he wants sushi then she should do the same, and certainly that would be nice. But I know few men that care super much about sushi vs McDonalds. In all honesty, women seem to have many more explicit day-to-day preferences than men in the couples I see. This is why women are in a best-case scenario and marriages go best when women marry men who are deeply in love with them (often related to finding them very hot).

When I was young I heard advice to marry a man who loves you more than you love him. This may be true, but not in the way it was meant by women of previous generations who were more pragmatic in that they were dependent on men for financial survival in an era where women had much less independence. 


Always marry that person that loves you that little more then you love them!…

♬ original sound - Hanging For More

In today’s era when women do not need a man for financial support and survival, this can be tweaked to mean the following: Before kids, it is best for both to love one another equally — or what seems equal (nothing can be completely equal). But after kids, I think it seems to work out best when the man prioritizes the woman above the kids, whereas she prioritizes the kids more (obviously within reason; she must still love him).


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When the woman feels that for the duration of the kids’ childhoods, the man facilitated her ability to be the best mom she could be, this usually means she will be more committed to him when the kids leave the house. Because she felt loved and secure for the entirety of the marriage, she now has the bandwidth to be very devoted to him again.  

This means that she does not feel that while the kids were little, the man was sabotaging her ability to be fully present for the kids by constantly needling her to prioritize him and acting in ways she finds immature and selfish — e.g. keeping her up at night with long drawn out conversations or arguments when she needs to be up in the morning with the kids (this is a big preoccupied attachment move), asking for a lot of sex during the time she is nursing or has a new baby, and so forth.


Note that if this post feels very foreign to you because you feel like men don’t ever take care of you, and you cannot imagine a man loving you more than you love him, this is a common issue. If you address your deep-seated self-esteem issues and resolve your family-of-origin insecurities, you are better positioned to find and accept into your heart a man who loves you in the way you deserve to be loved. 

RELATED: When You Think Of Yourself As A Good Wife ... Do You Mean A Good Mother?

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.