The Day I Realized I Was an Ungrateful Wife

The Day I Realized I Was an Ungrateful Wife

I have been an ungrateful wife. That’s not an easy thing to say, but there it is. In our house, tensions have been high, and when we sat down to talk through a few things, I placed the blame almost entirely on him.

Did I concede that I had faults of my own? Sort of–with phrases like, “I know I can be snarky, but…” And that “but” would be something that he does that I think is so much worse. At the end of our talk, nothing felt resolved. He said that he was sorry for his part, but i still felt this nagging feeling that neither of us were happy.

couple arguing

As I lay in bed, I remembered something that he said recently, half-jokingly and half not. “You’re an awesome mom, but a bad wife sometimes.” Probably not the most tactful thing, but I laughed at the time. I had been a bad wife. He said it after I had forgotten (for the second day in a row) to have his uniforms ready for work. Why did I forget? Because I was too involved with doing things for the kiddo to notice what my husband needed.

He works 12-hour shifts (and nightshift, at that) so that I’m able to freelance and be home with our son. He works so hard for us, and he asks me to get his uniforms ready because I iron them better than he does. That’s not too much to ask, right?

But even as I laughed, I scolded him for not doing it himself. “Why can’t you just start getting ready earlier so you can iron them, and then I won’t need to do this at all?” Again, I placed the blame on him because I failed to do what I should have.

Couple Having an Argument

And before you think that he’s “one of those men” who want women to do all the housework, he totally isn’t. Despite working long hours at a job where much of the public is unappreciative these days (law enforcement), he still helps a lot at home. He does the grocery shopping 80 percent of the time because it’s my least favorite chore. He helps with the laundry. He helps with the cleaning. And he gets the kiddo out of the house for a few hours when I’m at my wits end trying to finish up with something for work.

I was so ungrateful.

Instead of thanking him for cleaning the kitchen one night, I asked why he didn’t clean the living room instead because that’s where we spend most of our time. Ungrateful. Instead of telling him that I appreciated him washing a load of laundry and putting it in the dryer, I complained that he didn’t put the clothes away, too. Why should I have to finish what he started? Ungrateful.

Couple Arguing

Nothing he did was ever good enough. And rather than making his life a little easier when and where I could, I begrudgingly did the few things that he asked me to do, with a lot of fussing and nagging to boot.

When I realized that–how ungrateful I’ve been… how spoiled and selfish I’ve been… I knew I needed to change. I needed to learn to be appreciative of my good husband.

Is he the perfect husband all the time? Of course not. But he loves me and appreciates my efforts all the time. And he deserves nothing less from me.

Have you ever caught yourself being ungrateful for your spouse? How did you turn that around? I’d love to hear your comments!

UPDATE: I’ve received several emails and un-publishable comments asking how we are doing. This post was written about three years ago, and I have to say that NOW we have a great marriage. It took a lot of work on both of our parts, but we came out of our rough patch better than ever. You can read our tips on How to Make Your Marriage a Priority to find out more.

Don’t miss this post:

Do you find yourself nagging your husband too much? Nagging can take its toll on a relationship. Here are some helpful tips to help you kick the nagging habit.


28 thoughts on “The Day I Realized I Was an Ungrateful Wife”

  1. This post has really struck a cord with me. I too feel at times I am ungrateful and probably a little selfish. My husband works hard for us which means I can stay at home with our 2 children but I often moan at him for not cooking his own tea or not helping me with the washing. In reality these are jobs I should be doing whilst I am home to make both out lives easier!
    This post has made me really think about what I have been doing and made me realise its time I made some changes

    Thanks you

    • Thanks for the sweet comment, Jess. It’s really hard for me to admit when I’m the one in the wrong–even harder to put it out there for everyone to see. So glad it helped, though. Thanks for stopping by!

      • I left my wonderful husband, of 25 years, because I thought he didn’t love me. I did all the blaming and ungrateful behavior (and sooo much more) that you did, but never saw what a spoiled, nasty, selfish woman I had become. I write my X an apology and he has remarried and never spoken to me since I left. I lost the person who loved me the most in my life. What a heartache. So glad you realized what you were doing. I am so happy for you!

        • Thank you so much for your comment. I can still say that the update is true… we are happier, more appreciative of each other, and more in love than we’ve ever been. I’m so sorry to hear of your heartache. I get comments from both husbands and wives regarding this, so I now know how common it is to be unappreciative of one’s spouse and to not see what you have while you have it. I wish you the very best in the future. <3

  2. Here’s something for you to think about, it changed the way I saw my marriage.
    If you are visiting someone or even when they visit your home, you would do your best to make them feel welcome and appreciated. You would offer to do the dishes or help them, but if you live with someone and even if they are the person you love most in the world we tend to forget to treat them the same way that we would treat guests in our home.
    Try treating your husband like a guest for a few days. I found it very difficult in the beginning, but it made a huge difference.

  3. i needed to read this today! Not only does my husband work to allow me to be a stay-at-home mom to our 2 kids, but he also goes above and beyond when he gets home everyday.. He’s in the military – (which is one of the most stressful and underpaid jobs out there.. I’m sure you can relate with a hubby in law enforcement) – so I should really be more grateful & make sure to let him know!

    • I can definitely relate, Chanity. Funny how we want our hubbies to be so sensitive to our needs, and we fail to recognize theirs lots of times, especially after a long, hard day or night at work. Thanks for the comment!

  4. It’s so easy to fall into this trap…or should I say slide…and start becoming one of those “couples”. So long as you catch yourself doing it, which you have, and I have, there is hope! Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a bit of a talking to!

  5. I too have been struggling with this as well. My husband is like yours he works long hours goes in extra and still doesn’t not complain. He helps with the kids, gives them baths 99% of the time, and helps with the housework and still doesn’t complain. I am lucky and I know that I am. I really need to work on being a better wife.

    Thanks for this post….I needed to read it.

  6. This was something I needed to read. My s/o and I aren’t married (yet), but we’ve both been down the divorce road and hoping to avoid it at all costs. One reason why we’re waiting but in the meantime, I think I could definitely be more mindful of how much he really does. We split housework almost 50/50, he does most of the grocery shopping because I don’t drive, he usually handles bedtime for our youngest so I can focus on my asd daughter. There’s a lot that he does and I don’t think I tell him how much I appreciate it.

    • I’m trying to remember to thank my husband for the little things now, because when I think about it, he does that for me all the time. When I iron his uniforms, he says, “Thanks for getting my uniforms ready.” If I make dinner, no matter if it’s a sandwich or something simple like that, he says “Thank you.”

  7. Hard to admit…but I do this too. My husband is military and can work crazy hours. And if I’m having a rough time, he still helps out with housework. I feel so guilty because I should be doing it…but not guilty enough to do it myself.
    He is also very understanding, and I have a tendency to be snippy and then follow up “I’m so sorry I’m snippy, but….” just like you said.
    One thing I’ve TRIED to do is a good habit (but called by a ridiculous name “Eat the Frog”)…I do the thing I am most dreading that day right away. (aka- Vacuuming and getting the living room baseboards I’ve been procrastinating on). After that, the whole day is downhill. Now, if I could just consistently do it.
    Thanks for the post.
    p.s. I found your post via “Lou Lou Fabulous Party“ (on LouLou Girls).

  8. Haven’t we all been there? I read a powerful book years ago about the power of our words, which is when I realized some of the “little” things I say to my husband can have the largest impact, whether good or bad. We should be building each other up, right? Great advice to us all, thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  9. Those words.. You are a great mom, but a bad wife at times is kinda hitting me hard!! Guess its been a reality with me!! Guilty strikken!!

    That’s a nice eye opener post 🙂

    • That’s a tough one. Honestly, if I were you, I’d try to show HER some appreciation in order to get some in return. I know that’s tough when you feel like your spouse is the one that needs work, but I know that I feel more appreciative when I’m also appreciated. Someone has to be the one to step up first… sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s my husband. We’re definitely happier since we’ve BOTH learned to be grateful and appreciative for each other, though.

  10. I am a man who works a very demanding job and I help out around the house. Unfortunately I work more than 80hours a week.
    Your post describes my wife because I get accused by her of not caring enough about our family because I dont help out as much as she expects me to and that i hide behind my work as an excuse.
    I am a christian man and I try to follow the direction of the bible but this accusation from her hurts me in the deepest place esp cos she feels she is justified.
    I do a bit of charity work to save lives of innocent newborn babies that takes little of my time but she believes I care more about this and helping others than I care about my family.
    I pray that the Lord will help me and show me the way. I have asked her to write down what she wants from me and I have watched her struggle writing pages and tearing them up.
    I am not a perfect man but I know i am not what she is describing.
    Thank you for your article and apologies for my rant.

  11. wow, never would have thought to seen a post such as this, i was looking online to find a way to broach the subject of someone seeming ungrateful and ended up writing this to vent!

    I Work from home (all PC technical work and phone calls about projects/designs) and do quite a bit to help out at home but more and more my other half (a home maker if i could use that term) is doing less and not seeming to care about what a home (or I) needs. The way i think about it is if i have to sit here working 8 to 10 hours a day and that is a resource i put into our life as a family, along with LOTS of house / yard work it should stand to reason that they would feel compelled to… i dont know…. clean up after making the kids breakfast (and its usually never a cooked breakfast) and then ok, they take kids to school but then are free to do what they want and i would figure that an hour or two doing what the house needs, like cleaning and or meal planning, would be a given thing to do but most days they do not come home and i dont know what they do really. i end up not wanting look at the kitchen mess so clean it up when i make a cup of coffee.

    there are times they come home and make me breakfast (usually egg based) and i always appreciate it and always say thank you but it is a bit bitter sweet as i usually clean that up later as well. clothes are also left laying about whether they are dirty or a clean pile after it is machine washed/dried and thrown somewhere. the house we live in we moved to as it consolidated having to travel between different properties and is big enough for our family in the future with moms, brothers, cousins staying and it is their family 99% of the time which i always whole-heartedley supported as well but i am getting a bad taste in mouth as i do feel like i give every ounce of myself but my other half does not seem to be very considerate.

    sometimes my other half makes comments about things that are not done yet or they want done that come out all wrong as well so that on top of my growing animosity is not good! And to be clear i never once made any comments about me being the one that “worked” as when we got together is said specifically that if they are taking care of kids/house then what i make monetarily is the other half of the equation and it is not an issue and not mine, period and i have stuck by that!

    I wish I knew what to say as this is getting toxic! any advice would be great

  12. I’m the husband of a wife who I feel is under-appreciative of what I do for her. The thing I can’t work out is; where does she even get the idea to criticise me for the things I haven’t done. I believe in taking care of my own needs; and am openly thankful when she does things for me. But on the occasions when she doesn’t; that’s fine, I have no expectation that she has to ‘do things for me’. For example; she does most of the cooking for several reasons: 1) I’m out at work all day 2) She wants to have dinner at the time I get home, not after and 3) She’s simply better at cooking, great at it, in fact. But if I got home and there was no dinner prepared, because she’d had a hard day with the kids or whatever, this presents absolutely no issue for me. I would make something. I don’t have expectations of her. And yet, all I get day in, day out, is nag after nag, expectation after expectation. When I do something around the house, I’m watched like a hawk and criticised the moment my process appears to be deviating from the way she would do it. I just don’t know where this attitude comes from. I’ve put up with it for years and suspect I will continue to do so until the kids reach adulthood.

  13. Help please! I’m a perfectly imperfect man who loves and appreciates his wife but I’m drowning. My wife lived with her parents and grandmother until we married……I on the otherhand went out on my own and learned to support myself. I learned to keep up with chores and housework the hard way & understood how living with someone requires a certain level of respect for your rommate’s space. We’ve been married 17yrs and I’ve given up. We live like hoarders in a frathouse. I hate it. Its really bad yall. She’s never (not once) cleaned a bathtub or sink, vacuumed a carpet, scrubbed a base board, taken out the trash, washed a window or even put away an entire load of laundry. Please help me….I’m crying as I write this thinking leaving her is the last option to get her attention. I’ve talked privately with my inlaws & they only empathize with me & tell me she’s always been this way. We’ve gone to counseling but it never sticks…I love her so much but we’re raising children in a pig stye & it must stop. She wants to build a new house but I’ll have to hire professional help to get this one ready to ‘show’. What can i do?

  14. Feminism has sold women on the false ideal that they can “have it all”. No one has it all. When women finally realize they have been sold a bill of goods they become enraged. Instead of accepting responsibility for falling for a ruse and vowing to do better she projects her anger on her husband. Then he is placed under a microscope. He could do 99 things right but she will rake him over the coals for the one mistake he made.

    It’s like that with my wife. Nothing I do, and I do a lot, is enough. She gets to complain about everything under the sun but the second I try to defend myself or lodge my own complaint I am “fighting”. It’s to the point where I will do just about anything to avoid being around her. We have no children so that is not the issue. If everything is not exactly perfect in her life I am the cause if it. I never saw this spoiled brat side of her when we were dating. She was deceptive and hid it well.

    Ladies, try being more empathetic and understanding of your husbands. It will mean more to them than you could imagine.


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