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How To Get The Man You Love To Be A Better Husband

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How To Fix A Broken Relationship, Save Your Marriage & Get Him To Be A Better Husband
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Don't worry, it'll be gentle ...

It's deeply painful to feel as though your once loving husband is now ignoring and neglecting you. But if you want to know how to fix a potentially broken relationship or save your marriage, it's critical to start not by criticizing him, but by helping him understand how to be a better husband, one who respects your wants and needs as much as he respects his own.

The first sign you may notice that your husband is neglecting you or taking you for granted is one that's easy to spot — it's how his behavior toward you makes you feel.

Maybe he isn't talking to you as much as he used to. Maybe he's grown preoccupied with work. Maybe he's choosing to spend more time alone and less time joining you for activities you used to do as a couple on a regular basis.

Whatever excuses he gives you for these changes, if you feel neglected within the context of your marriage or long-term relationships, the odds are good that you’re not simply making it up.

RELATED: How To Fall Back In Love With Your Husband In The Aftermath Of Even The Most Devastating Betrayal

Your feelings are the first sign of problems within a marriage, and you should never cast them aside.

When it comes to determining what you need and what you should expect, trust your instincts on the matter. You’re the one who knows yourself, your needs and your relationship best.

Of course, feeling this way is understandably terrifying. It seems to boil down to basically two options: Either confront your husband on the issue or allow his current behavior to continue.

It's a classic case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Confrontation is rarely easy, but you know you can't keep going around pretending like everything's fine when it really isn't — and, frankly you shouldn't have to!

If you're feeling neglected or ignored by the man you love, here are 4 steps to take in order to fix your broken relationship, save your marriage and show him how to be a better husband.

1. Dare to rock the boat by starting a conversation about what's gone wrong.

Take charge of the situation by telling your husband, in gentle but unequivocal terms, how you feel and what it is you need from him.

This can be a scary thing for women to do, as they're aware a man in that situation might feel vulnerable and attempt to counteract your uncharacteristically forceful stance by intimidating you into backing down.

But when a guy reacts this way, keep in mind it's not necessarily because he doesn't care. It's more likely he's seriously uncomfortable and defaults into his operating behind the safe space of his emotional walls, shutting you out completely and causing communication to break down.

Regardless of how daunting this all might seem, it’s a healthy — and necessary — first step.

Tell your husband that this topic is important and must be addressed. Be firm, but kind as you tell him exactly what you feel is currently missing in the relationship, as well as what you need from him in order to fix it.

2. Explain your needs to him in detail.

Many women believe they shouldn't have to tell their husband what they want or need. In their opinion, for example, letting a man know you want him to make romantic gestures like bringing you flowers for no specific reason once in a while detracts from the specialness of him doing so.

This simply isn't true, and it isn't helpful for either of you.

Men aren't always great at expressing their feelings, even when their feelings for you are quite strong. It’s entirely possible he's under the impression that you are fully aware of how deeply he feels for you, regardless of the actions he does or doesn't take or the words he does or doesn't say.

See this as an opportunity to teach him that making time for you and and opening up about his feelings are things you need. And don’t be afraid to tell him what you’d like to see more of.

When you tell him what you need, you make it much easier for him to perform those actions, say those words and show you how important to him you really are.

He might think you want big overtures of love, not realizing that something as simple as going to the store every so often to get you some simple flowers would be more than enough. When you teach him what you need, you make it possible for him to practice “smart generosity” by doing little things for you more frequently, keeping your relationship’s love levels at a premium.

RELATED: 8 Things All Couples Can Do To Fix Their 'Broken' Relationships

So be as specific as possible.

If you want him to cook or pick up dinner a couple of nights a week to give you a break, let him know. If you like flowers or cards or being taken out to the movies, tell him that. Don’t leave him guessing based on vague, or even passive-aggressive, comments or suggestions.

If you’re trying to connect with him and not getting what you need, rather than make a blanket statement like, “I don’t like how you’re treating me right now,” try narrowing it down specifically to something actionable like, “Honey, I want to spend more time with you, and I feel like you’re pushing me away.”

This tells him what the specific problem is and how he can fix it.

The more direction you give him, the easier it will be for him to give you what you need in return.

3. Cherish his efforts to meet your needs as requested.

When you see your husband honestly trying to show you he's listened and prove that he loves you, you must be receptive. It’s easy to be critical, especially when you're still feeling the sting of having been neglected for so long and don't think he’s done much yet.

If you told him what you need and gave clear examples of how he can you show you his affection, and he responded by starting to doing those things, it’s important to encourage him.

Don’t focus on the negative or complain that it’s too little, too late. Making him feel bad about his efforts is the quickest way to kill his desire to ever try again.

When your husband sees your honest appreciation for the steps he’s taking to give you what you need, he’ll naturally want to try harder and do even more.

Your husband loves you. Be kind to him as he learns how to better show you that love. Speak to him gently. Reward his efforts with gratitude and kindness.

You’ll both be better off for it in the long run.

4. Remain emotionally available to him.

When someone feels neglected in a relationship, it’s easy to react like a wounded animal and withdraw or lash out in order to protect yourself. But withdrawing when you feel emotionally hurt doesn't solve problems, it can actually cause further damage.

One of the easiest ways to save your marriage and deepen intimacy between the two of you is by loving and cherishing him even more.

When you approach him affectionately, it rubs off, making him more receptive to the idea of showing you more love in return.

If you feeling neglected, try reaching out to him in small, but meaningful ways. Be affectionate and do small things you know are important to him.

Since men aren't always great communicators and often struggle with discussing their own problems, these caring gestures may be just what he needs to pull him out of whatever hurt or pain he’s carrying and refocus him on you — and your relationship — the way he used to.

Whether he's exhausted or overwhelmed at work, he'll be appreciative of your efforts to make him feel better.

Whatever the case may be, there's no such thing as giving your husband too much love!

You deserve to have your needs met in your relationship and to feel loved by your husband.

No relationship is perfect, but with patience, direct communication, and honesty about your specific wants and needs, you’ll soon be able to put this stage of your marriage behind you and ensure those feelings of being neglected and ignored remain a thing of the past.

When you protect and cherish one another, you don't have to be concerned with any deficiencies in the love you share. And when new problems arise, you'll already have the tools in place for conquering them together.

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Relationship Or Marriage — And Fall More Deeply In Love

Terry Real is an internationally recognized family therapist, speaker, and founder of the Relational Life Institute who empowers couples to see the negative behaviors that prevent their happiness, and guides them on a step-by-step journey to uncover new ways to achieve greater intimacy and fulfillment. He offers a Relationship Inventory Quiz on his website and a free chapter from his book, The New Rules of Marriage: A Breakthrough Program for 21st-Century Relationships.

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