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Why Does My Husband Put His Family Before Me?

As a wife, your husband is likely the first person you first turn to when you need advice or have any news to share. And it can be frustrating if you’re not the 1st person he goes to. Many wives have ended up wondering, “why does my husband put his family before me?”

A man puts his family before his wife either when he has an unhealthy or co-dependent relationship with his parents, or he feels a lack of trust or connection with his wife.

A husband’s strong relationship with his parents can nourish and positively impact a marriage to see its longevity.

However, when boundaries are weak, and a man’s wife is consistently put on the back burner, it can prove to be a significant hitch in the marriage.

In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important for you to be each other’s priority. We’ll also talk about why your husband may not be putting you first and what to do about it.

Fighting a little more often than usual?

You might wonder if it’s healthy or normal to have so many arguments. In my recent article, find out why arguing every day might be the best thing for your marriage.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

The young family and mother-in-law in family issues concept

Who comes first in a man’s life, mom or wife?

A man should prioritize his wife above his mother. This doesn’t mean that the parent’s needs and wants don’t matter. But the relationship with a spouse should be the most intimate and important one in a man’s life.

In other words, you should be your husband’s priority.

When your husband puts his mom before you, it can make you feel neglected and unimportant. This is often a big reason that relationships fail.

Of course, he should love his mom, but he also needs to set healthy boundaries. If healthy boundaries aren’t in place, it can make it impossible to form a full attachment to you.

And in order to have a solid foundation for the family that the two of you are making together, there needs to be a complete, unbound attachment to one another.

This means you are your husband’s number one priority.

The two of you should be each other’s trusted confidant, advisor, and best friend. That’s what marriage is, and that’s what you deserve to feel.

How do I handle my mama’s boy husband?

If your husband is a mama’s boy, speak honestly about how his actions make you feel. Don’t be accusatory or critical. But be clear about your needs, expectations, and boundaries.

When a man has an immature relationship with his mother, boundaries are essentially nonexistent. With no boundaries in place, he will oblige to her every request. He’ll run errands with her, take her to the store, or have lunch with her every time, or almost every time, she asks.

It’s natural for a man to care deeply for his mother. 

After all, she is the first woman to ever love him. She’s sacrificed a lot for him and has taught him how to treat women.

But as a boy matures into a man, his relationship with his mother should also mature. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

If you find that your husband has a hard time letting go of his mom, it’s important to speak honestly with your husband about your feelings. If you are feeling neglected or like you aren’t a priority, talk to him about it.

Be honest, but don’t be confrontational.

It could simply be that he is having a hard time showing his loyalty to both you and his family. Assure him that you are not against his family. You don’t want to isolate him; you just want to make sure there are healthy boundaries in place.

Be clear with your expectations. Suggest ways that he can help you feel more appreciated without placing blame.

It’s important to remember that you are a team, too. Don’t put your husband in a situation where he has to choose between you or his mom. And don’t pick fights in front of his family.

Remember that he is still his mom’s child.

It’s only natural to be drawn to allow our parents to take care of us. But when we get married, we shouldn’t rely so heavily and exclusively on our parents for support and comfort.

If you find that things have been strained between you and your husband, you probably have some work to do.

Find out just how to do that in my recent article about rekindling your marriage! In it, I walk you through the exact steps I took in 2013 after my wife left me.

Here we are now, years later, happier than ever.

What is an unhealthy mother-son relationship?

An unhealthy mother-son relationship can be one where a husband relies on his mother to make decisions for him or where his mother is overprotective and hasn’t learned to let go. In either case, she manipulates him, and he allows it out of guilt or codependency.

If your husband has always relied on his mom to make all of his decisions for him, it may be difficult for him to break out of this pattern. An adult son should not need his mother’s input before making decisions.

This is particularly true if it’s a decision that affects your family. 

If his mother is still your husband’s number one priority, that is a big red flag that the relationship isn’t a healthy one.

A close bond between a mother and son is very important. But there is a line between being close and being too close. Some mothers and sons go over that line.

When that bond between mother and son is too strong, the mom may have a hard time letting go. Mothers are fiercely protective of their children, and they should be.  Mothers provide a secure base from which children and explore and develop. 

But if mom can’t let go, especially when it comes to her adult child, then it becomes an unhealthy relationship.

What to do when your husband doesn’t make you a priority

If you feel like your husband doesn’t make you a priority, communicate clearly how his actions make you feel. Avoid nagging, picking fights, or being critical of him. Let him know what you need. Avoid ultimatums, but be clear about what is unacceptable.

How we approach these issues can shape the results. You can either get what you want or more of what you don’t want.

So the first thing to do is to recognize how you’re feeling and why.

And then have a clear, thoughtful discussion about it. Don’t jump into the conversation, starting with a complaint. Communicate in a manner that uses “I” statements. 

For example, “I miss spending time with you” or “I feel lonely when you spend every Saturday with your mom.”

If you’re doubting yourself and feeling insecure about your relationship, it’s okay to seek reassurance about that, too. But again, you have to tell him.

He’s not a mind reader and shouldn’t be expected to just know how you’re feeling.

Simply saying, “I’m feeling less important, and I need reassurance from you that I’m still your number one,” is a genuine way to ask for what you need without whining.

If you’ve tried this, and your insecurities go beyond just not being a priority, then maybe you’re wondering if he loves you at all.

Wondering if your husband loves you can be hurtful and complex.

It’s not just feelings, but it’s actions, too. Oftentimes, it is made up of little things. He’s thoughtful and considerate, he sends you sweet text messages, or he simply asks about your day.

But if you just feel like something is off, it can be difficult to identify exactly what that is.

To read more about how to know if your husband still loves you, read this recent article. Honestly, we men aren’t that complicated. Sometimes we aren’t clear in our communication. But there’s 1 sure-fire way to know.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What to do if your in-laws are ruining your marriage

When in-laws are ruining a marriage, keep a healthy distance between you and them. Do speak to your husband about what you are seeing or hearing but be respectful when they are around and don’t bad mouth them to your husband.

But if he puts them before you, you have a marriage problem, not an in-law problem.

Your priority is your husband and your marriage. If your husband is close to his family, it is crucial to have a civil relationship with them.

It can be normal to be annoyed by your in-laws, just like any other family member. But at a minimum, there should be mutual respect.  Ideally, your in-laws should feel like family.

At a bare minimum, you should respect each other. But sometimes that isn’t always possible. 

You and your husband must display a united front. Have a calm discussion with your husband and discuss how to handle your mother-in-law.

Be willing to compromise, if necessary. 

Try not to disagree with your husband in front of your in-laws. Doing so could provide an opening for them to pick at your relationship.

The bottom line is that you two need to work together.

A husband and wife should be an unbeatable, inseparable duo. If your marriage appears to have even the slightest rift, it could provide fuel for the in-laws to pick apart your marriage.

Is separating from my husband because of my in-laws a good idea?

Separating is rarely a good idea if saving the marriage is the goal, even with overbearing in-laws. Communicate clearly how his and their actions make you feel. Be respectful and seek out marriage counseling before deciding to separate.

Ultimately, a recent study from Ohio University found that a whopping 79% of couples who separate end up divorcing.

So don’t separate if you plan to save the marriage.

Couples do divorce because they can’t get along with their in-laws, especially when they feel a lack of support from their spouse in helping them set boundaries.

One finding of a 26-year longitudinal study of married couples is that marriages last longer when the husband reports feeling close to his in-laws.

Interestingly, and conversely, that same study showed that when women are close to their in-laws, they are more likely to get divorced. (source)

So it could actually be a good thing if you aren’t particularly close to your husband’s parents. 

Luckily, divorcing due to the in-laws are low on the list of reasons for divorce. So, if not getting along with your in-laws is the only reason you’re considering divorce, no, it’s not a good reason.

But I imagine if you are considering divorcing your husband, your reasons go beyond your relationship with your in-laws.

If you’re feeling neglected or like your marriage isn’t a priority, you may start to wonder if your husband wants a divorce. 

While it can be hurtful, it’s important to look at your marriage objectively. If you can do this, you’ll notice that there are some tell-tale signs your husband wants a divorce.

He may noticeably avoid you, stay out with his friends more than usual, or he may be more secretive about his phone, email, and social media accounts. 

But those are just a few signs to look out for. Just read this recent article to learn the signs your husband wants a divorce. But more importantly, I’ll show you how to stop it so you can begin fixing your marriage.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Why does my husband let his family disrespect me?

When a husband allows his family to disrespect his wife, it could be that he just doesn’t realize it’s happening, is too cowardly to get involved, or even that he is afraid of his mom or dad. But it can also be because he also lacks respect for his wife.

Ultimately, it’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship with both you and his parents.

We all want to feel protected by our spouses. We get married to start families of our own, and it’s important to feel united with one another.

Your husband may see the tension between you and his mother, but unless you say something to him, he may think you have it under control.

Or he may not even see it at all. 

He’s likely not going to stand up for you over small things, but if something bigger is going on, he should step in. If you expect him to stand up for you over every little thing, it’s going to cause extra strain on both of you.

It could even cause him to be resentful of you.

So, if you feel like he needs to step in sometimes, have a calm discussion with him about it, away from his family.

It is completely normal for couples to have small disagreements daily in a relationship. But it should never happen in front of people outside of the marriage, especially the in-laws.

To read more about whether it’s normal for a married couple to fight every day, check out this recent article.

The strongest marriages in the world still have conflicts and disagreements. But there’s 1 crucial difference in how they do that compared to couples that end up divorcing.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Final thoughts

You should be your husband’s number one priority. If you are feeling insecure or like you aren’t important, talk to him about it.

Be calm and non-confrontational but let him know exactly what you need from him. Luckily, not getting along with the in-laws is not a typical cause for divorce.

At a minimum, there should be mutual respect for one another. But communication is always key.

Jeff Campbell