Excerpt from Connect to Love
My husband did not spend enough time with me: 20%
I felt underappreciated: 19%
When I shared my feelings and thoughts, my husband did not understand or address my concerns: 17%
Other aspects of my husband's life were more important to him than our relationship: 11%
My husband often lost his temper and was frequently moody or angry: 7%
We were no longer interested in the same things: 7%
Tom's Story: No Time for My Wife
Looking back, I was a real arrogant SOB. I don't have a good reason for it. I just thought that marriage was like that. I was at the top of my firm, lecturing nationwide, and was just really good at focusing on myself. I was good-looking and so was my wife. When she first got pregnant, I just shot out of there and found every reason to stay away. I had plenty of legitimate excuses to work late, and I enjoyed being a workaholic. But I also went out late to some clubs, strip joints,
whatever I wanted at the moment. I never cheated, at least nothing more than some mindless close drunk dancing and kissing.
I laughed at friends who were henpecked. I had it all. A beautiful wife who respected my job, the money I brought in, the freedom I needed. She even agreed to bring another woman into our sexual play to satisfy my curiosity. She figured better that than have me stray. Then we stopped having sex for a while and I went to Hong Kong on business for about three months. When I returned, everything was different. My wife had seen a therapist, and for a long time I blamed the therapist for turning my wife against me.
I still did nothing, and then she told me she had seen a lawyer and was serving me with papers the next day. I went crazy. I was completely taken aback. I just stood there and began to cry, really cry. How crazy that it wasn't until that moment that I really wanted to save my marriage. My wife didn't get it. She assumed I knew it was coming and had already begun to play financial games to cheat her out of money. I don't know where I was. I just thought this was marriage. We go along until we don't, but I never thought she'd be the reason it stopped. I began to beg for another chance and agreed to go to the counselor, where I learned for the first time how much I had hurt my wife. She really felt like she wasn’t attractive anymore or that I really didn't like her. It took her decision to divorce me to turn my head around and realize what a horrible husband I had been.
As I went through therapy, I made lots of changes and was able to become much more of a husband to her. She was skeptical every step of the way, but I was determined to spend the rest of my life with her, and now I was really spending it with her and not everyone and everything but her.
Obviously a time investment is necessary to start a relationship. What we do with our time once we're in the relationship may change, but nothing happens without spending a proper amount of time. And here is perhaps the biggest difference between men and women as it relates to marital satisfaction. Men seem to be content with less time with their wives. What time means to a loving relationship for a man is miles apart from what it means for a woman. One woman summed it up best when she wrote to me, "When my husband spends time with me, that tells me he finds me attractive and lovable."
Women seek time with their husbands to connect with them and to feel they are an important part of their husbands' lives, whereas men do not even look at time with their wives; it's not really on their radar. Men are also looking for a way to connect with the women they love, but they factor time into that only as a practical tool. For example, for a man, sex is connecting, as is an appreciative comment, a hug, a thoughtful gesture—but time doesn't weigh into that. If the dinner, sex and appreciative comment are all completed in 35 minutes total, he's good to go.