When Husbands Suck Despite Having Great Wives

I received an email the other day from a woman who said her husband falls short of being a good husband despite her being a great wife.

My emailer insists she follows my advice (as well as the advice of other like-minded authors); but her husband, she says, is using my work to his advantage by, for example, pointing to where I write that wives should always say yes to sex. She writes that she has never said no but that she’s unhappy with him for what sounds to me like very good reasons.

For one thing, her husband is gone a lot—not just for work but for play—and he doesn’t do his part on the home front when he is home. Nevertheless, his idea of a great sex life includes “three blow jobs a week” from his wife and intercourse about twice per month—just so she “feels like she got something too.” Oh, and if she doesn’t have an orgasm “after 3 minutes of aggressive pummeling” he thinks there’s something wrong with her.

Now I don’t know this couple’s story, and I haven’t heard from the husband. So there’s probably more there than meets the eye. But there are two possibilities for what’s happening with this couple. Perhaps both are at play.

It’s possible my emailer is too soft and conciliatory. Too much of a doormat. I’ve never suggested that wives be a doormat to their husbands, or to anyone for that matter—although I can see how reading The Alpha Female’s Guide might lead a woman who’s already prone to being overly accommodating to that conclusion. Keep in mind The Alpha Female’s Guide was written for women with strong personalities, not women who are already soft by nature.

I stand by my argument that men don’t want a wife who argues with him all the time. But I’m not certainly suggesting they want a wife who has no opinions of her own or who never speaks her mind and just agrees with everything her husband says. That’s a problem of a different sort, and it’s possible my emailer falls in this category. Her husband’s actions, as offensive as they are, could very well be a reaction to her docile ways.

The other possibility is that her husband is just a cad (an old-fashioned term, I know; but I try not to write words like dick—which is essentially what a cad is). In The Alpha Female’s Guide, I was careful to write that my advice only applies to women who are married to good men. Good men do not behave in the way this emailer’s husband behaves. The average good guy will respond very positively to having a great wife: he’ll be appreciative and more loving and attentive—not less loving and more of a jerk.

But there are always exceptions to any rule. So on the chance that’s the case with my emailer’s husband, here’s a quick word for him and others like him:

Dear Crappy Husbands:

A good marriage is not your wife’s responsibility. It is both a husband’s and wife’s responsibility. Here’s what your part looks like:

  1. The home and the children are half yours. That means they’re half your responsibility when you’re home. If you’re rarely home, that’s a problem. Change your priorities so you are home. And when you’re there, be proactive and engaged. If you didn’t want any responsibilities outside of earning a living, you shouldn’t have gotten married.
  2. Women need romance and foreplay to get the most benefit from sex. They can do a “wham bam thank you ma’am” on occasion, but it isn’t enough. It’s your job to woo her—the same way you did when you were dating her.
  3. I don’t know if you’ve read 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson, but one of his rules is this: Never treat your wife like a maid. That’s a great rule.

If you, as a man, happen to be part of the minority of husbands whose response to having a great wife is to be selfish and to treat her like a slave , don’t look to my work to defend yourself.

Look inward. That’s where the problem lies.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Good one, ma’am.

    There’s been a few influential women who put all the burden on women.

    What ? Narcissistic husband? He can change…if only you do this and that first.
    Verbally abusive husband? Nahh, you’re being too controlling, that’s why.
    Porn addict? It’s okay. You’re being too sensitive and dramatic. Let it go. Men being men.

    I had one who was narcissist, porn addict and had verbal abused me (and had too hit me)… I wasn’t perfect too but i improved myself through reading lots of communication and self-improvement books (yours included), but after three children, my heart has no more blood to bleed…and the love for him died.

    the truth is,

    it takes two to have a loving, respectful and lasting relationship.

    Thank you for writing this post, Madam Suzanne.

  2. Good post, I wondered about men like this who might be reading your blog. I can say I am not that guy, nor is my wife that women. My wife is strong, confident, and smart. Things that attracted me to her before I actually had the opportunity to meet and get to know her. I’m passion about music (my Major and profession for a good potion of my life but now I’m a marketing Executive) and my wife is a fantastic vocalist who was a professional jazz dancer but works as a data analyst now.

    Smart, talented, loves some of the things I love, confident (which is totally sexy) and knows what she wants. If anything I’m the opposite of most guys; I could not care less about sports, I don’t hang out at bars with friends, I’m an excellent cook, my wife is a better baker, I consider my wife my best friend and after 35 years of marriage its still her I want to spend my free time with.

    However, I’m also the dreamer, the artist, the compassionate one, the most empathetic and most in-tune with others feelings, emotions and I’m without question the better communicator. She likes football , she’s got a business degree and takes work very seriously, and tends to be far less playful or relaxed than me. She has a temper, and is quick to take out work or personal problems on me while she treats everyone else respectfully. And without question I am the last thing on her list of priorities. I come last in her life and that includes sex which she either does not and never has enjoyed or just not interested in it with me. We are more roommates in that regard than a couple in love. This has held true even form the beginning of our marriage, somewhat interested before kids but never wanting to be very creative or exploratory the way young couples are.

    To be fair, she takes care of me in many other ways, she’s just not interested in sex, sometimes going years between interest in intercoarse but will masterbate me about once every 3-4 months. There is no oral sex on her part although she enjoys receiving it. And to be more candid I have always made sure when we did have sex that she came first and as often as she wanted before we satisfied me.

    To be clear I’m not a doormat in any other part of our lives. I’m successful, a leader with lots of employees, I’m sought out as a public speaker, mentor, consultant and key note. I have many followers in professional social media and I’ve been ranked in my career as among the top 5 experts in the world on a few key areas of my work. She is proud of my accomplishments and complimentary about them. She supports me in my career and takes pride in my success. So I’m not the underpaid, wimpy husband. I’m handy, can fix anything, outdoorsy and in many other ways a normal guy. I like to play sports just not watch them on TV. Going to a game is something we do both enjoy together.

    However, I’m the one who gets walked on in our relationship without question. Everyone and every thing else has always come first and my needs, particularly in a physical sense comes dead last. otherwise I’m happy and she professes to be in most parts of her life as well. She will say I’m her best friend and makes no effort to have a social life away from me although I always let her know I’d support any personal interests and friendships she wants to have. I’ll add that our adult kids are our best friends and she does spend time with them.

    So what’s the point. Life not perfect. Most people observing us from the outside routinely compliment us and indicate they wish they had a marriage like ours. Our kids refer to us as the example couple they are trying to be and younger couples often seek us out for advice at church. I love my wife. But I’m truly unhappy about our sex life and have been our whole marriage. I’ve never cheated but have been tempted to do so in the past. Nearly everything in our marriage is good, our friendship, our respect for each other, but she does take advantage of me carrying the emotional weight for us and the family, and I carry the responsibility to be the main provider (she is inclined to stop work every few years to take a break or spend more time with our adult kids). Something guys are never socially or professional free to do.

    Am I supposed to be satisfied since most things are good, even though something important to me is not at all to her? Since it seems we get so many things right but miss big time on a sex life and a few minor things am I being a jerk for wanting more? Emotionally its been really hard as I do want sex, I want it with her, not someone else. I need it but it seems I’m the one craving the emotional connection and she acting like some guys in the sense that my physical and personal connection/emotional needs don’t matter to her at all.

    • I find this kind of relationship you’ve described fascinating. Not sure what to say except that the sex part is def a problem and her not dealing with it is not okay. In my never to be humble opinion. 🙂

      • You might be a leader of people (men?) in the workplace — but you’re clearly not the head of your marriage and home; as intended by God. It is possible for a man to be an amazing alpha leader at work; yet not in possession of the attributes of the leader at home.

        You mentioned church, so I’ll assume your relationship is ‘Christian’ (egalitarian), which is actually the worldly feminist design … just with a different jacket. It’s not biblical to have the female as the head. It’s also not biblical to not be having lots of sex.

  3. There is a background rule to good relationship books. The information is for YOU, to grow yourself and the relationship. Unless it is a couples book, it is not generally wise to share the book with your significant other because it is not written to him or for him. In the game of love, men and women both can “keep their cards close to their vest” if their intentions are honest and unselfish. This is because there are two kinds of behavior in a relationship. 1) The kind we secretly and selfishly wish for, and 2) the kind we actually respond positively to. The wife in this scenario is providing the husband with behavior of the first kind, rather than the right kind, where he will respond with love and care. A little mystery is ok here, and yields a better result when he finds he must “win” the things he desires from her.

  4. This guy is clearly an asshat. However, I’m curious about how many red flags he was showing before they got married. It always astounds me, how little thought so many people put into what is really the most important decision of their lives.

  5. I’ve been holding off on responding to this post. Now here’s my $0.02 worth.

    Okay, the guy’s a dick. She’s still putting out for him. My therapist would NOT approve of me using the word dick and the term putting out, but there you have it.

    I have a few comments and questions for this woman. First off, why should I feel sorry for you? You’re NOT a VIC-TIM. Even my therapist, who’s an older lady would tell you that and inform you that you CHOSE him. So, what does this say about you? Secondly, how many decent, marriageable guys did you pass up? How many along your way to this prize catch got the old, “You’re a great guy, BUT…”, and then got friend zoned? So you married a bad boy and now you’re surprised that he does bad boy things. That’s like being surprised that a rattle snake will bite you if you mess with it. Sorry, no sympathy. I know, you are woman, hear you roar until you don’t.

    Psychopaths/sociopaths are not created over night and this didn’t happen in a vacuum. Having been through a lot of therapy and 12 step work, I know that the red flags were there and you chose to ignore them like I and my ex did with each other.

    It’s because of this that many, decent, marriageable men are going MGTOW. We’re tired of this foolishness and we don’t want the bad boys’ sloppy seconds.

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