5 Common Mistakes Men Make in Marriage

5 common mistakes men make in marriage_thumb


Guys, mistakes are, by definition, unintentional.  More often than not, we aren’t thoughtless, we just don’t think like our wives want or need us to think.

Here are 5 common mistakes men make in marriage and what can be done about it.

1. Don’t think of the needs of their wife.  You schedule a date night with your wife.  Good job!  However, you wait until you are walking out of the door to say, “What do you feel like doing?” Don’t do it.  Plan ahead.  Make a reservation at your wife’s favorite restaurant.  Call the babysitter yourself.  You will get an “A” for effort!

2. Don’t listen.  Don’t assume you know what your wife is going to say.  Don’t tune her out because you have heard it all before.  Just listen with your ears and your eyes. In other words, give her your full attention.

3. Don’t understand their wife.  Like many men, you try to “fix” problems rather than understand what your wife is feeling.  Sometimes, she just wants you to feel what she feels without giving advice and without trying to fix it. When I’m not sure, I’ll often say to my wife, “Do you want my advice on this or do you just want me to listen?”

4. Don’t know their wife.  Do you remember getting to know your wife when you were dating?  When was the last time you just spent time talking with her, not to her.  Ask what her dreams are; where she would like to go on vacation; what good book she has read lately.

5. Don’t confide in their wife.  Your wife wants to be included in your entire world.  Confide in her—your dreams; your work; your life.  Your marriage bond will only be strengthened.

What common mistakes do you make in your marriage?  Please share them with me.


Related Resource:

5 Common Mistakes Women Make in Marriage

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Guest

    I have been so blessed with a loving husband who does all these things.  We’ve both had previous marriages that ended not so well and we strive every day to ensure that our marriage is happy and healthy.  We both firmly believe, well we know, that God brought us together and it is our duty to strengthen our marriage and therefore strengthen each other. 

  • Kwolffette3

    And these are just a few “common” mistakes men make in a marriage.  Why do you think numerous entire books have been written, and are best sellers on this very issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kev

    Great list, but I think the first one needs to be expounded upon more.  Not only do we not think of the needs of our wives… we DON’T KNOW the needs of our wives.  We assume that our wife’s needs are the same as ours, especially in the area of physical intimacy.  If we think this, we’ve been watching Hollywood too much.  For her – intimacy is spelled T-A-L-K and for us, it is spelled S-E-X (From Gary and Linda Rosberg).  Men, we need to learn the love needs of our wives, among other things.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    Very encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    They are just a few…I’ve made more!

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    You are right, Kev. I was just speaking with Dr. Gary Chapman this weekend and am reminded that we all need to know our spouses “love language.”

  • Darkhorse2233

    Five more mistakes:

    1: They assume the entire responsibility for making the marriage work.

    2: They forsake all their needs in favor of their families needs.

    3: They do not require their wives to give an equal effort in family finances, children, etc.

    4: They support “girls night out” by taking care of the kids, but can not or will not socialize with just the guys.

    5: They buy the lie perpetrated by modern society that a real man is actually indistinguishable from a woman except for the physical characteristics

  • http://twitter.com/UBAwesome Dr Richard Norris

    Good stuff Mark. A commone mistake which underpins these is that we expect our wives to change and not us. God created us to help perfect one another NOT be perfect.

  • HHerges

    Good stuff, but I was struck by the picture you chose at the top of the article.  This picture is an unfortunate reinforcement of the image that many husbands already have of their wives … always looking over my shoulder for fault, nagging, “how could you be so dumb, insensitive, cruel, etc.”  Since men are usually very image-driven, I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one that picked up on this – either conscientiously or sub-conscientiously. Perhaps more thought could be put into a pic that would show two people less at odds with each other.  Just a thought.

  • HHerges

    Wow.  Your response speaks much to the primary malfunction in many marriages.  It’s not about carving out my list of five things that work for ME, it’s about submission; submission to the covenant we married couples made with God.  When we submit and serve this greater purpose, many other things seem to fall in line.

  • Gdunwoody

    I agree – many “wives” don’t give a hoot what the Bible says about being submissive to the marriage (and the man) – something they’ve been told or taught by other women. My X took GREAT delight in de-nutting this guy and “in her own words” kicking him to the curb, when she divorced him – guess she now wears the label of “Harlot” proudly – a “label” so clearly dictated in the Bible.

  • http://twitter.com/LeadingEveryday Juan Cruz Jr

    1. Guilty
    2. Guilty
    3. Guilty
    5. Guilty

    But I am getting better at all of the,

  • eyeken

    Well said.  I find Family First’s columns slanted toward women, reflecting the feelings of society (and the Family Court system).

  • Darkhorse2233

    You are correct H, after being happily married for 23 years, raising two great daughters, teaching fathering classes at church and volunteering with a local marriage builders group I’ve learned both the husband and wife submitting to God and caring for both the needs of the spouse AND themselves are key to the success of a marriage. But, while I agree with the 5 items the author put forth, the one sided approach the marriage experts take tears men down, trying to achieve the goals they set tears men down, making them continually sacrifice their needs to satisfy the needs of others breeds bitterness.

    The people who write articles that translate to “more dumb stuff guys do” need to rethink their approah if they want to help men and marriages.

  • Theingolds03

    I am the wife side of our relationship and I can see where some of the irritated comments above come from.  However, I get the iMom emails – they are just like the ones my husband receives from All Pro Dad.  They challenge me to be a better wife and mom on a regular basis.  More often than not, they kick my butt.  But, I want to be a better wife and mom…so  I accept the advice and try to make the changes that apply to me.  If the tips don’t apply to you, move on.  If they do, let’s be humble and willing to make the efforts needed to better our family relationships.  

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    H, I appreciate your input…you make a good point. We try to find a picture that illustrates what we are saying but we don’t always get a perfect match.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    Juan, we are all on the journey! I’m always learning myself.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    H, thanks again.  Marriage is all about loving and leading our spouses well. That means that both a husband and wife must constantly be looking for ways to give selflessly and sacrificially to the other. 

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    You got that right, Richard! Thanks again for your thoughts.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    Hey guys, tomorrow you’ll get to read 5 Common Mistakes Women Make in Marriage…stay tuned!

  • Darkhorse2233

    Too true. Marriage is about a union of two individuals, each with corporate and individual needs. If that marriage is to be healthy both people must feel both sets of needs are being met to the best degree possible.

    If we want to help men (as we seem to think males just don’t get this) we have to let them know they must love & respect their wife AND they should expect nothing less in return.

  • Darkhorse2233

    Good input T. But it is not about having one’s butt kicked. Men, and apparently women, are being told “here is what you are doing wrong toward your spouse.” If we want to be better wives & husbands we also need to understand our thoughts, feelings and needs matter as well. Otherwise we grow bitter and angry. It is a narrow two way street that we have to guard against falling into either gutter, the romance novel inspired “it is all about you dear!” or the selfish “it is all about me!” train of thought.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    Theingolds03, appreciate your comments. My goal in writing these blog posts is to serve those who read them. I want to do my very best to convey truth for marriage and parenting so that husbands and wives, moms and dads can be the best they can be.

  • Theingolds03

    If I’m not living out my marriage Scripturally, than I should feel like I’m getting my “butt kicked” – ie: conviction.  I think it’s clear that Mark is attempting to do what he just said, “convey truth for marriage and parenting so we can be the best we can be”.  Sometimes, the written words hit a sensitive spot when we’re not where we should be.  Like I said before, take a humble look, accept what applies, and dismiss what doesn’t.  It’s not easy but it is what’s best.

  • Szebran

    The number one mistake men make is getting married in the first place.

  • Szebran

     Many people will have problems with the “return” part. Modern marriage is seen as being centered around the wife. Yet they cant figure out why dwindling numbers of men want to get married.

  • HHerges

    Darkhorse2233 – thanks for your response.  Well said.  Non-submission to our Father has its roots in the Garden and we’ve been struggling individually ever since.  Trying to find mutual submission between two individuals has been perhaps an even bigger struggle since the Fall.

    Keep the faith brother and keep up the good work you are doing for His Kingdom and glory.

  • http://twitter.com/danishcanadian Leah Christensen

     W H A T ????? I don’t make it a point to “de-ball” my husband, and he doesn’t make a point of dominating me. However, we are side-by-side PARTNERS. I remember our wedding day. We eloped. I remember saying “if s/he says one word about submission or obedience, I’m outta here!” You know what he said to me? “DARN RIGHT! You’ll be my wife, not my pet. I’ll be your husband, not your master. My children have left the nest, and you don’t live with your parents.”

    Not all un-submissive women are de-ballers. Submission may work for some couples, but not for all of them.

    Any spouse who brags about putting the other down, whether he dominates her, or she “de-balls” him, does not understand the meaning of “equal partner.”

  • http://twitter.com/danishcanadian Leah Christensen

    Darkhorse2233 made some interesting points with the aditional list of additional mistakes men make in marriage. #3 made me think.

    3: They do not require their wives to give an equal effort in family finances, children, etc.

    First off, my husband and I contribute everything we have to the household, and if we want something for ourselves, we see if it’s possible AFTER the bills and the family are taken care of.

    That being said, because I’m contributing as much as he is, I sure as heck don’t expect him to be a “provider.” We are all in favour of women contributing just as much IN EVERY AREA as men do, and vice versa.

    I have read in other comments above where some men think that their wives don’t understand SUBMISSION the way they should. If men expect us to carry half of the traditional “male responsibility,” how can they turn around and expect submission?

    I once had a man ask me if I feel this way, what do I do when I need a jar opened, something fixed, or to be protected? I open my own jar, I fix my own appliance, and Lord help anyone who tries to attack me.

    If I’m not interested in traditional roles they ask, why am I married?

    BECAUSE I LOVE HIM AND HE LOVES ME!!!! I’m not yelling, just typing louder so the Lord can read what’s important to me! :) Truth be told, we CAN survive without eachother. Life’s just more amazing, blissful, wonderful, because we are together, and because we have our family. We are best friends, we are sexual partners (I enjoy sex just as much as he does!!!!), we talk every day (he enjoys talking just as much as I do!!!!) I am step-mother to several children since marrying him, and our commitment was made legal by marriage.

  • dawnmga

    Looks like this topic breaks down something that should come easy and does when you are dating but not so much when you are in a marriage especially with kids…..”being a friend”. I think that the comments made about being equal on financial support and bills, etc. are all opinions on how each arranged their own relationship but the points given by the author are very valid in all relationships. You can’t get so caught up in the business of your marriage that you forget to be a friend too.

  • Kim Waters

    What if your husband tells you God is punishing in with being with you and when you say did you really just say that and he say yes he did and the worst part of it you weren’t even fighting or argueing just talking to each other. What do you do then?

  • Dr Richard Norris

    Assume what my wife is thinking or going to say and the motives behind them. More often than not I am SO WRONG!

  • gatorrick

    When love is freely given by the husband and respect is freely given by the wife, things work the way God designed. Just like we don’t earn our salvation–it is a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ—the wife shouldn’t have to earn love nor should the husband have to earn respect. It really is that simple.

  • leahchristensen

    Some husbands (not mine, thank God) make the mistake of thinking they are BOSS. A wife is an equal partner, not a slave

  • Will

    You need to go back to the Bible. Husbands are the head of the family. Woman is a help mate to man. Both have duties and responsibilities.

  • leahchristensen

    The Bible says a lot of things, but that’s no guarantee that humans aren’t going to take advantage of each other. The husband who dominates, the wife who allows it…!

  • Will

    So the Bible does not apply to you? Interesting.

  • leahchristensen

    It’s discussions like this that confirm that the Bible is a book written by HUMANS, and we’re not talking about the kind of humans who have one early parent, and one heavenly one. There was only ONE of those!!! Everyone interprets the Bible differently, and as long as this is the case there will always be conflicts. If God wants to tell me something, He can tell me Himself!! Human interpretation only serves to get in the way, and I certainly don’t appreciate the sarcastic tone of your question.

  • Will78

    You need to spend some time in the word of God. Your attitude is most un-Christian.

  • Will78

    Worry about your relationship with God and follow his commandments.

  • Will78

    Learn to English speak and be writing good.

  • Will78

    Legal, but far from holy.

  • leahchristensen

    As a feminist I agree with equal contribution financially. However, if one wants a traditional marriage where he works and she stays home, this is not possible. Hubby makes twice what I do, yet I manage the finances because we both agree I handle them better, just as there are things he does better than me. We discuss everything. When I get paid, I pay the rent and put the rest away. He gets paid, and I get the bills paid, buy groceries and what the family needs, budget spending money, charity, and put the rest away. Then we start again next month.

  • leahchristensen

    WWJD? Judge not lest ye be judge. I will not be told my opinion is unchristian by someone who feels it his right to judge me because I interpret the bible differently.

  • Alyssa Marie James

    Guys lie cheat abuse physically emotionally and mentally then ask what they did wrong….I thank god I have a man who treats me like a queen I hope you all get treated as one as well cause lord knows we treat these guys as royalty