Evan called to tell us, “My wife makes everyone else more important than me. All I get is the left overs.”
Evan was calling to schedule a Marriage Intensive. He had found someone at work who was making time for him, making him feel special, and reciprocating his compliments toward her. Thankfully his wife discovered text messages before it moved into a physical relationship.
Evan is like many spouses we have seen over the years: wives and husbands who feel alone in their own marriage. They are committed to the marriage and giving to their spouses, but their good “spousing” (word we made up years ago) was not being reciprocated in any way.
What Makes Your Spouse Feel Last
Most of the time, the things that make your spouse feel last are good things. Sometimes they are just a season in life. Here are a few common things that we have seen over the years that seem to be more important than the marriage and their spouse.
- Friends (“Ladies Night Out”, “Guys Night Out”)
- Sports (marathons, hunting, etc.)
- Hobbies (scrapbooking, gaming)
- Shopping/Deal Making
- Extended Family
- Chores (always cleaning, working on projects)
- Church Activities
Outside of your relationship with God, there should be nothing more important in your life than your marriage relationship.
What To Do When You Feel Last
Feeling last sucks. When your spouse is your world, it usually means that you belive you are last and don’t deserve better, leading to depression and loneliness. Spouses who feel last and are committed to their marriage often wonder what they can do about it. Here are some tips based upon our experience.
- Pray – Spending time with God in prayer about your spouse, your marriage, and your heart will help guide you on your path.
- Courageous Conversation – Have a courageous conversation with your spouse about it. In order to say it in a way that your spouse can hear it, practice the conversation on paper first.
- Time – Be intentional about scheduling purposeful and meaningful time with your spouse. They are not getting it so you need to be the one to ask for time together. Schedule a date, trip and daily Check In time.
- Love In Their Language – Make sure what you are doing to send love to them is something that they are receiving as love. Love them in their love language.
- Take Care Of Yourself – Within the bounds of your marriage covenant, take care of your heart. It may mean starting counseling, coaching or attending a gender specific small group at church.
Making Your Spouse Feel Like They Are #1 Again
If your spouse tells you that they feel like you are paying more attention to everything and everyone else than you, it is a “check engine light” and warning bell for you. You may feel like they are “needy” or you may think that all you are doing for them should be enough. Whatever your situation, here are some tips we have found helpful.
- Listen – Find out what you are doing specifically that is contributing to their feelings of aloneness and being last. Give full body attention and seek to understand, without rebuttal.
- Reprioritize – If you think your children are more important than your marriage, imagine what would happen to them if you lost your marriage. If you think your job is more important than your marriage, think about how impairing and distracting it would be to go through a divorce while trying to excel at work.
- Refocus Your Attention – Become intentional and purposeful about meeting your spouse’s needs. Love them in their love language, spend time with them and make sure that you are giving your marriage everything that it needs.
- Get Help – Continue to work on being the best spouse you can be. Be the best person you can be so that you can be the best spouse you can be. If that means growth and self help, visiting with a counselor or coach, being involved in a group or taking advantage of the life changing couples weekends like ours, do it!
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Have you ever felt like you were not number one in your spouse’s life? Have you ever felt like your spouse is too “needy”? What has worked for you in these situations? What other advice do you have? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.