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April 26, 2022

How to Like Your Husband

Sometimes it’s a slow realization. Sometimes something happens that hits you over the head and you think, I don’t even like this man. It can be a scary place to be when you finally admit it to yourself.

As I was reading your Instagram comments and DM’s to me this week, I was struck by the struggle some of you are having in your role as a wife.

Here are the highlights of what some women have shared with me this week:

“I think he has lost interest in me.”

“My husband is struggling with his mental health and I feel like I have to do everything to take care of the family and him too.”

“When I try to set boundaries, he gets so angry. What do I do?”

“I don’t even like him anymore. We are just roommates.”

No one should have to live in this constant state of disliking the person with whom you are sharing a life. No one!

Here’s something I realized as I was reading on this subject. God never called us to like our husbands. He didn’t even call us to love our husbands and I’ll admit, I have a hard time with that one. Maybe God knew that sometimes that was too high a calling.

He does call us to respect our husbands.

But I AM asking you to work on liking your husband.

You know why? You might be thinking, “look I respect him. I love him. I’m doing the right things. Why do I have to like him too? That feels like too much effort.”

Here’s why:

Respecting your husband is for him. That’s what we’re called to do. Liking him is for you. And you deserve to like your husband.

Respecting your husband is for him. That's what we're called to do. Liking him is for you. And you deserve to like your husband.Think about it. We light up when we’re around someone we like. We look forward to their presence. We feel good when we are with someone we like. I want that for you. I want you to want that for you. That, my friend is self-care. Yes, liking your husband is a form of self-care.

One caveat- If you’re in an abusive relationship, stop listening immediately, because liking him is not your work to do right now. In fact, it can be a hindrance to gaining health and it can instead breed co-dependency.

In all other cases, listen on, my friend.

I want to normalize this for you, because the reality is that we can all feel this way sometimes about anyone we are in a relationship with. On any given day, this article could be titled how to like your kids again or how to like your best friend again.

At the very least, I’m here today to assure you that you are not alone. And hopefully give you some direction on how to like that man you’re sharing a bed with, again.

So, what can you do, when you find yourself not really liking your life partner?

1. Well, you may not want to hear this, but you have to like yourself, first.

If you already do. Good. Sit tight, I have more. For the others, just know that It’s really hard to like anyone if you don’t like yourself. Have you ever met someone that you really liked and then you met their spouse and didn’t really like them?  I bet you it changed your perception of that person. you may have thought, hmm, what’s wrong with them?

If you don’t like yourself, there will be a little part of your brain that says, if he picked me and keeps staying with me, then there must be something wrong with him.

So, if you struggle with self-love, this may be a journey you need to start on. This article isn’t about how to like yourself it’s about how to like him, but as with many things about my message, you’ll find that you are the common denominator. It always comes back to the work you need to do. Don’t judge yourself. That’s not loving. Just get started on the work.

2.  In your effort to like your husband, take a good look at your lens

Resist entering a critical mode. I have a client who has a significant amount of hurt between herself and her husband, as many women do. I have come to notice that the lens through which she sees him is always negative. No matter what he does, she will spin it so that he has some malicious self-serving negative motive for it.

If he puts gas in her car, he’s probably feeling guilty about something, if he makes her dinner- he doesn’t like her cooking. If he’s getting in shape- who is he trying to impress? Now, I’m not saying this is you, but it is true that when we think negatively about someone, we see all of their behaviors through this lens.

Challenge yourself each time you have a negative feeling about him. Is this really a representation of what a bad person he is or is he just being human? There’s that saying that when you really dislike someone you’re in a relationship with, even the sound of their breathing or chewing can get on your last nerve. If that were your best friend breathing or chewing next to you, would you be as bothered? If the answer is no, you need to shift your lens. It’s a small step but it can make a huge impact on how you see him and experience him in your life.

3. Unless you’re really angry at the moment, use a sweet name when you refer to him. often we end up calling our spouses, “hey” – “hey, can you get that for me?”

Instead, use an enduring word when you address him. For us, it’s babe. My husband calls me babe or he uses another word for me that is a little embarrassing, so I won’t repeat it, mainly because it wouldn’t make sense without the long story behind it. But when he calls me that, we both chuckle a little and it conjures up good feelings because of the history. It might sound like a subtle thing. That’s because it is, but you’re training your brain to remember that you like this guy again. Calling him ‘hey” isn’t going to cut it.

4. Stop comparing and practice acceptance by not comparing.

Your husband may not be super responsible with money like your best friend’s husband or maybe he doesn’t volunteer to coach the team like your father did. When you’re focusing on what he’s not, you’re not honoring the great qualities that he does have that your friend’s husband may not. He’s never going to be anyone other than who he is. You will like him more when you aren’t trying to make him someone else.

He's never going to be anyone other than who he is. You will like him more when you aren't trying to make him someone else. You won’t like anyone if you judge them more than you admire them.  Think about it. When someone judges you more than they admire you, you don’t end up showing up as your best self either, do you? You’re probably avoidant, defensive- not really a likable person when you know they’re going to have bad things to say about you.

Harriet Lerner, author of “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up,” suggests that you limit yourself to one criticism a day, figuring out which one matters most is a good exercise. She says you should “Practice saying that criticism in three sentences or less,” “Do this consistently over time and you’ll see each other in a more positive light and likely rediscover why you fell in love in the first place.”

5. Stop watching him do things wrong and don’t give unsolicited advice.

He doesn’t need to be micromanaged. If he’s making lunch for the kids or making dinner, stop hovering and let him do his thing. For two reasons- you will like him much better for getting the things done if you haven’t watched the process. If you watch him lick his spoon and stick it in the peanut butter or use a butter knife to try to cut up a tomato, your mind will completely negate the wonderful thing he’s doing and focus on what he’s doing wrong and/or disgusting. It’s not your job to correct him. When you micro-manage him, you both lose.

6. Be fake nice to your partner sometimes.

I’m not saying you should be fake, but I’m saying to try overdoing it once and a while. You may be wondering, how is that going to make ME like HIM more?

Well, because you get what you give. Have you ever been walking down the street minding your own business and someone gave you a big smile and says hi- not in a creepy guy kind of way, but in a genuine expression of human connection. What is your usual response? You do the same back and both of you walk away feeling a little lighter.

I’m a little weird because I actually love doing this. If I’m out in public and I see a person with a scowl on their face, I will purposely strike up a conversation or give them a big smile and make a comment. I love the surprised look on their face and the immediate transformation of their countenance. It reminds me of the power I have- we have – as humans to influence each other.

I have never had someone not return a smile. Well, once, in New York City on a subway, but that’s the exception. I also notice that the effect lasts more than just that second. I can watch the person for five minutes afterward and I can see the effect in their body language.

So try doing or saying something uncharacteristically nice and you might be surprised how your partner’s response changes YOU!

7. Schedule weekly date nights.

NO KIDS! Researchers at the University of Virginia have found that couples who spend purposeful, uninterrupted time together at least once a week have better communication, higher sexual satisfaction, and stronger feelings of commitment than couples who don’t. Get out your calendars and schedule weekly couple time for the next month and stick to it like you would any other appt.

8. Spy on him!

Sometimes we forget what our spouse looks like. I mean really! We look right through them or past them. We interact with them in our usual spaces every day and we forget to actually see them.

Esther Perel, in her book, Mating In Captivity, talks about how important it is to see our spouse outside of our normal lens. So, Spy on him in public. Not in private. There is nothing cute about watching someone in private when they don’t know you’re watching them. He may be picking his nose and that can set you back. Watch him in public. When you’re out, go to the restroom and come back and watch him from across the room. Remember why you picked him in the first place.

9. Get some time apart. We have spent so much time together, we need a little space to miss each other.

It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to start connecting with someone again is to develop yourself outside of the relationship. Schedule a girl’s weekend, enroll in a new class, explore a possible hobby. Get outside of the relationship and spend some time apart.

one of the best ways to start connecting with someone again is to develop yourself outside of the relationship.

10. Talk about real things like regular people do.

Ask your husband what he thinks about a current event. BIG caveat. Don’t do this if you two are on opposing sides of anything political having to do with this. That would be a recipe for how to NOT like your husband. But if this isn’t the case, or the thing isn’t a potentially explosive issue in your relationship, ask him. Despite what you may think, you don’t know everything there is to know about him. We often think we do and we stop engaging in these interesting types of conversations with our spouses.

11. Show appreciation, even if you feel like you do more.

Expressing appreciation and being grateful for the small tasks he does around the house or the errands he runs, may seem unimportant to you but everyone likes to know their effort is being seen. It’s human nature to want to be validated and praised for putting time and energy into something. This is especially true if it is something you decided to take on in order to please or make things easier for someone you care about. Imagine what would happen if your husband stopped doing those things. Who would take it over? Most likely, you. Author Laura Doyle encourages wives to express gratitude “even if he’s done it for years…and it’s his job and you do it more than he does, your man wants to feel appreciated.”

When someone feels appreciated, their mood is lifted and they appear to glow. Happy people radiate from within and like a magnet, it pulls us towards them. A good mood is contagious and if we’re honest, it’s much easier to like someone when we feel good around them.


These are all great tips and executing one sporadically will likely not yield any results. Focusing on doing many of them regularly will. These are behaviors and small thought changes, but none of these address the torrid of emotions which are often felt when there is a disconnect and even more, a dislike of your spouse.

I want to let you know that I honor those feelings in you. I get how painful that can feel. I know that applying some of these can make small changes that can lead to bigger ones, but sometimes you have to sit with the disappointment.

You are not alone. God is not confused about your feelings or what’s going on. You are not being overly sensitive or too much. Your expectations are not too high. It’s okay to feel what you feel. I don’t have any clear answers about the big steps you may need to take in your relationship, but these are some small ones that can move the barometer. And when you’ve done all you can, just stand. And remember you have a God who exists. You can lean on your creator when it feels like standing is too much.

Your homework today is to spend a few moments jotting down 5 things you used to like about your husband and five past enjoyable memories you’ve shared. And share it with him. If you are so inclined, and I hope that you are, ask him to share his five and five with you. The exercise will give you an important reminder of why you picked each other in the first place.

You’ve got this!

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