Two Reasons For Disengaging

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to head to Denver to see our kiddos, grandkiddos, and celebrate the first birthday of our youngest grandson. I L-O-V-E this grandparent gig. My two little dudes are da bomb. And when I go there, it is constant activity until they go down for their naps or head to bed for the night. 

My oldest grandson, who is 2, asked me multiple times, “Gampa, go with me to pway room to do puzzle?” And off we’d go to do his 24-piece Pete the Cat puzzle or 24-piece something-involving-a-furry-caterpillar-and-a-big-moon puzzle. Why do I know the exact number of pieces? Because we did each of them at least 10 times (exaggeration effects not in use).

One thing I notice with kids that age is their limited attention span. My grandson is two and has about 6 minutes and 22 seconds of doing one thing in a semi-concentrated manner. Then it is off to the next puzzle, tackling me, or seeing the next shiny object. And I have no issues with that at two years old. 

Why do we have small attention spans with our wives?

But I feel as if we guys have a similar mindset that we have taken into our marriages…and I do have a big problem with that. 

We do it with our wives. Guys, do you remember the very day you got married? I do. There were 400+ people at our wedding and I recall only one radiant woman coming down the aisle. Do you remember your honeymoon and having this stunning realization of waking up the next morning with that same woman in your bed next to you? Oh heck yeah. I do.

But then over time, something can happen that you were not really even fully aware of. 

The bright and shiny no longer seemed so bright and shiny. Time went on and the marriage just…settled. Sure, you say you still love your wife, but the crosshairs that you used to have on her seem a bit fuzzy now or off center. Almost like taking a road that you have driven hundreds of times, you just don’t notice the scenery as much anymore. Same beauty but just overlooked.

And like that oft-driven road, you start to miss the inner and outer beauty of your wife. She becomes part of the scenery and you are off to the next “bright and shiny.” Like my grandson with the puzzle, it is tempting to just move on to the next thing or interesting activity because things seem a bit…boring.

Guys, is your marriage like that, or would your wife tell you your marriage is like that? Why does this happen? Because it has happened in my marriage and it took some shaking up in my life by God to allow me to see the reality of what I was doing to my wife. 

There are two reasons I see this happening far too often.

Reason 1: we have quit understanding our wives.

An interesting command is issued in I Peter 3:7:

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way…

It means to live wisely with them. To study them. There are many reasons why we are commanded to do this, but an argument could be made that it is because our wives change. And we fail to pay attention to their heart and we listen through experiences that were true 15 years ago but may not be true today.

If you have ever watched the movie Fireproof, there is an interesting dialogue between firemen Michael Simmons and Caleb Holt. Holt, who is the inattentive husband in the movie (or what we guys would call a “jackwagon,”) is told by his workmate, Michael, 

When a man is trying to win the heart of a woman, he studies her. He learns her likes, dislikes, habits, and hobbies. But after he wins her heart and marries her, he often stops learning about her. If the amount he studied her before marriage was equal to a high school degree, he should continue to learn about her until he gains a college degree, a master’s degree, and ultimately a doctorate degree. It is a lifelong journey that draws his heart ever close to hers.

Granted, some sappy moments in the movie, BUT I do like what this statement aims at with us guys.

We tend to drift in studying our wives. We hear their words but do not hear their heart. We see their actions but improperly interpret their motives. Why? Because we fail to keep our marriages fresh. We live with them and things just start to feel…boring.

And like a hobby that has quit providing the rush it used to, we try to “upgrade” the wrong areas and end up pursuing other thrills online or just disengaging altogether.

Wake up, men. The issue is yours. I have met too many guys who want to numb their pain by throwing the blame at their wife, and I have lived there. So get ready because God is going to kick your butt. And because of our own laziness, we get discouraged that the “tools of yesteryear” are no longer working 10 years later.

Watch her closely. Hear her heart.

Reason 2: we have quit pursuing our wives.

And my guess is the reason you have quit pursuing is that either 1) “I tried and it didn’t work.” or 2) it takes too much work in your estimation.

The verse I equate with pursuit is Paul’s admonition to us guys in Ephesians 5:25:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

And that form of love is love that serves in spite of whatever it receives in return. If you asked your wife, would she say you are serving her? Take it from me, guys. God has really kickstarted my life in this area and HE has generated affections within me to serve my wife. And I am having so much fun with it. “I don’t know what to do.” you might say.

Then PAY ATTENTION. Listen to her. Read her. And then do for her. And it really does not mean having to spend large quantities of money. Here is an example. My wife was out late one night volunteering at a local camp. She was on her feet all day and I knew she was exhausted.

So God gave me an idea. I went to our market, grabbed a few things and told her I would do dinner that night. Now please understand I am no chef. I have about three items I can do for dinner, and one of those includes cereal. Get’em Frosted Flakes!

I love to grill, so I made some patties and got to work. Had some awesome buns toasting on the grill, heated up some baked beans, grabbed some chips, and voila! Dinner.

And she was amazingly appreciative, far more than I thought a burger was worth. She has told that story to more than one person. I am not telling you this story for any accolades; I am telling you this story because it was not a huge effort but it communicated in big words, “I love you and I want to do for you.”

If you are not sure if you are pursuing your wife, just ask her. If she pauses for a nano-second, you probably know your answer. Don’t get discouraged! Ask her what she deems “pursuit” looking like. It really is not rocket science.

There are other reasons to add to the “why guys get bored with their wives” category, but these two are certainly in my top five.

Hear me, please – if you are a believer in the gospel of Jesus, you have a responsibility (and joy) to keep things hoppin’ in the marriage arena. Ignorance is not an excuse and neither is it being too hard. You first need to confess, enjoy the gift of repentance, and then ask God to ramp up your affections for your wife.

Then strap on the seatbelt, because He may just choose to do way above and beyond. Are you ready?





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  1. excellent article! and this also applies to wives studying and appreciating their husbands. the two-way street just multiplies everything!

    • Thanks so much for reading and for the comment, Christine. It definitely is a two-way street, but these two characteristics seem to appear more with men in how brokenness is exhibited. I appreciate the comments!