How to Make It Work in a Marriage When I Feel Like I Deserve Better

by Anna Green

When your marital relationship makes you feel as though you are being disrespected, short-changed or treated poorly, the idea of separation or divorce may be appealing. However, If you are committed to you marriage and willing to communicate with your partner honestly, it is possible to make your partnership work.

Assess Your Wants

When you feel like you are not getting what you deserve in your marriage, start by looking carefully at your expectations and wants. Sometimes, what you feel like you deserve and what you can realistically expect from a marriage do not mesh. For example, if you feel as though you deserve to be a stay-at-home wife, but your husband is already at his maximum earning potential, then your expectations may not be realistic.

Communicate With Your Husband

If you determine that your needs are not being met and your expectations are realistic -- for example, to be treated with respect and kindness, then bring up these issues with your husband. Do so without attacking him or accusing him of behaving inappropriately. Instead, state your needs using “I-statements,” suggests Austin Community College. For example, you might say, “I feel hurt when you make jokes about my weight in front of our friends” instead of saying something such as “stop being mean and hateful.”

The Art of Compromise

For issues in which no clear right or wrong answer exists -- for example, issues on whether you deserve to have a ladies’ night out or how to divide chores -- learn to compromise. Although no wife should have to take on more household duties than she can reasonably handle, keep in mind that healthy marriages should be an exchange of give and take. Instead of asking your husband to assume all cooking responsibilities, for instance, suggest alternating days or ask him to pick up your duties on days when you are overly tired or not feeling well.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If you or your husband is unable to reach compromises or if either party is unwilling to change behaviors, then seeking marital counseling may be a good next step. A marriage counselor can help you and your husband articulate your needs is a safe, neutral setting, as well as provide you with advice on how to resolve conflicts that you cannot work out on your own. That said, if your husband is verbally or physically abusive, a marriage counselor may be unwilling to work with the two of you. Moreover, in such abusive relationship situations, separation or help from a domestic abuse shelter may better serve your emotional and physical needs, explains the nonprofit group Help Guide.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

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