Watch How Your Wife Treats Her Favorite People

You've been looking at your wife through the wrong lens.

Man watching wife through a different lense puttpaii, Valeria Ushakova | Canva

Many men deeply try to understand their wives, but can’t fully do so because they don’t use the correct lens to view her. For all issues about love, effort, touch, and selflessness, you need to look at how your wife acts with and feels about the children, rather than comparing her to a honeymoon stage and years younger version of herself. Here’s why and how.

This podcast is all about how your wife’s full potential for love is reflected by how she treats the kids, especially her favorite. From both of those, you can see that I deeply believe, from observing hundreds of clients over many years of practice, as well as my relationships with kids and partners, that women are evolutionarily primed to give themselves to their kids as fully as possible, and kids get the best of them. Often, the primary motivation a mother has to work on her marriage is that doing so gives her kids a better chance at happiness.


There is no world in which most women will love their husbands as much as their kids, as evidenced by the fact that women would generally give their lives for their kids, but not for their partners … because they would still need to be alive to care for their kids (and later, though it may surprise her husband how focused on them she is, their grandkids). 

Mom hugging her daughter fizkes / Shutterstock


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

This is generally fine with the majority of men in long-term relationships; in individual therapy, the number one positive thing that men tell me about their wives is that they are committed and loving mothers. When women are perceived to be selfish or cold mothers, this is usually worse in the man’s eyes than anything else she does, including how she treats him. This is evolutionary, as men are attracted to women who will have their babies and then who will be devoted enough to them to raise them safely into adulthood.

When men try to understand what their wife is capable of, it is most helpful to think about how she is with the kids. Here are ways to frame your wife that are not useful:

  • She is on her phone because she doesn’t love me
  • She only doesn’t want touch because she thinks I’m ugly
  • If I were more attractive to her, she would want to be emotionally closer and talk more
  • I can figure out a way to make her love me more in the ways I value
  • She isn’t interested in my hobbies because she hates me

Here are ways to use kid analogies to have a more objective, accurate, and empathic view of your wife:

  • She loves the kids the most, but quite honestly is addicted to her phone even when the kids are around
  • She adores the kids but often says she is touched out and asks them to move off of her
  • She seems to have a finite capacity for emotional closeness with the kids too, and often seems uncomfortable talking about their feelings, despite loving them deeply
  • Even if she loved me as much as our oldest, her secret favorite, this would still not be what I want, as she mostly shows this with acts of service, which are not meaningful to me
  • She isn’t that interested in the kids’ hobbies either; she watches baseball but she’s not obsessed with it like some of the other moms

RELATED: Why I Always Put My Husband Before My Child

Here is a personal example. I love my kids very much, but no matter how much I love them, I need to put them to bed on the earlier side and go to sleep in my bed, because I am a Highly Sensitive Person and function very poorly without my sleep

If my husband decided that a barometer of how much I love him is whether I will stay up late with him, then he would be setting himself up to fail. He would not be observing that even with my children, I act the same way and am not flexible about, say, sharing a bed with one of them on vacation (which would have been considered fun to them when younger, but which I did not do after the baby years).

If you want your wife to change her entire personality, this is not possible. Try to think deeply about whether you would be happy if she tried to be as flexible and loving as she could be to you within the constraints of her current personality, which is usually exemplified by how she acts with the children. If so, then you can work on your marriage and yourself, to the point that your effort and open-mindedness touch her and motivate her to push the boundaries of how she acts, like she does on the margins for the sake of the kids.


RELATED: 7 Honest Ways Wives Should Love Their Husbands Better

Acceptance is a key aspect of any healthy marriage. Certainly, there is a point at which you have accepted so much that you lose an essential part of yourself, and at this point, divorce is an option. However, before that happens, there are many inflection points and compromise points, both internally and for the couple as a unit. 

Introspect deeply about the objective and true outlines of your wife’s personality and character in her most generous area, motherhood. Then think about what you might be willing and happy to compromise on if you laid to rest unhelpful illusions about her potential to change for you in areas where she cannot and does not change even for the kids. 


RELATED: Why Your Spouse Should Be Your First Priority (Even If You Don't Feel Like Theirs)

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.