When My Husband Stopped Worrying About This, Our Marriage Got So Much Better

All fathers worry. But some worries can stall a marriage. Here, 11 women explain what worry their husband let go that helped their marriage open up.

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In addition to always finding crunched up cereal in the couch cushions and constantly grabbing hands that are always, somehow, just the stickiest, one of the big things that happens when you become a dad is that you worry more. This, of course, makes sense. You have a family and are tasked with helping them grow and learn about the world. This is the responsibility of all responsibility. So you worry about your kids’ well-being and safety, about whether the world will embrace them kindly, about what their lives will be.

These concerns, and those like them, are natural. And, within reason, they’re healthy to think about. But we all tend to worry about other things, too, things that don’t matter as much. What our bosses think of us. That we’re not stacking up with the other fathers we see. That we’re not good enough for our wives. If they become pervasive, these worries can halt a marriage. We spoke to a dozen wives about the big worry their husbands cast aside that unburdened them and helped their marriages grow. From financial worries to work woes, the worries they pinpoint offer a glimpse of what matters and doesn’t in the bigger picture.

1. That He Couldn’t Provide Us With a ‘Nice’ Lifestyle

“My husband used to worry about whether or not he would be able to provide for us like he wanted to. He knew he’d be able to give us what we needed, but was always concerned about being able to afford a ‘nice’ lifestyle where we could have the essentials, but also most of what we wanted. I like nice things, but I’m not materialistic. It put a big strain on him during the early days of our marriage, especially before we had kids. It was just a lot of wondering — that’s what worrying really is. Once things started happening, I think we both realized that we didn’t have time to worry. We just kept moving forward, doing the best that we could. And that was more than enough.” — Hallie, 36, Kansas

2. That He Was Boring

“One time, my husband told me he was worried that I’d get tired of him. I had to laugh. He’s not concerned with it anymore, but I think he was legitimately scared that I’d just, like, bump into ‘somebody better’ out of nowhere. Guys need to know that it doesn’t work like that. If we love you — and I love my husband — then we love you. Not to sound cold, but it’s like an investment. We don’t just want to see you grow, we want to help you grow. Marriage isn’t — or shouldn’t be — a ‘pump and dump’ scheme. We might get tired of things you do, but we’ll never get tired of being with you. Once my husband really started to believe that, he stopped worrying. That gradual confidence was a huge boost to our marriage.” — Ellen, 39, Ohio

3. That Our Finances Were Never in Shape

Money is one of the biggest stressors in any marriage. There’s this finance app called ‘SplitWise’. I’m not sure it’s anything groundbreaking in terms of how it works, but it absolutely helped my husband stop worrying so much about money which, in turn, eased a lot of tension between us. It’s basically a balance sheet that you tally up with expenses at the end of the month, or whenever, then settle up. He used to be so, so, so timid when it came to discussing finances. I can be intimidating like that. [Laughs.] This system was a compromise that took the face-to-face out of it, without sacrificing our attention to the process. He’s still a tightwad, but he’s much, much more relaxed when it comes to budgeting and stuff, which has definitely helped the marriage.” — Cassandra, 40, California

4. What His Boss Thought of Him

“The best thing to ever happen to our marriage was when my husband stopped worrying what his boss thought about him. He worked at this shitty marketing firm with this cretin of a boss. For some reason, my husband just got so wrapped up in the approval of this asshole that it started to affect our marriage. It was a prestigious job, so I get it — he wanted to do his best. But, he was blinded by that ambition and ended up in just a miserable spot because of it. He would come home sad and depressed, which just ate away at our relationship over time. It wasn’t overnight, but eventually my husband just realized that his boss was a douchebag, and that his approval wasn’t worth the damage to his mental health. He continued to do the best he could at work, but he ‘left it all on the field’ when the day was done, and came home completely, rather than just an exhausted, self-loathing shell of himself.” — Dawn, 42, New York

5. His Father-in-Law’s Opinion

“My dad really never liked my husband. I think it’s because I’m his only daughter, and he’s so protective. My husband always tried to win my dad’s approval, but it just wasn’t happening. It got really annoying to me. My husband would always concern himself with, ‘Would your dad like this?’ or ‘How would your dad feel about this?’ instead of concentrating on us. He got so preoccupied with trying to impress my dad that I felt neglected. I told him how I felt. I don’t think he realized how bad it had gotten. But, it was for the best. After that conversation, he sort of let it go. He accepted the fact that my dad wasn’t the type to come around, and stopped wasting energy on it. To be honest, I think it actually won some points with my dad. He commented a few times about my husband acting less needy. So, it was a win-win.” — Monica, 40, Kentucky

6. That He Wasn’t Good at Sex

“Sexual prowess, to put it gently. Guys either tend to underestimate or overestimate their abilities in bed. My husband was the former, and he stressed about it constantly. It killed the mood all the time. There’s a big difference between trying to make your wife orgasm, and seeking her ‘sexual approval.’ One is raw and passionate, the other is basically a performance review. I felt for him, because I used to be very sexually insecure, so I tried to help as much as I could by making things comfortable and relaxed. The more we had fun together, the less he treated sex like a test. It was a different kind of ‘score’ he started going after.” — Lyn, 36, Illinois

7. That He Wasn’t the Perfect Father

“I am not a perfect mother. I know this. I’ve never tried to be. My husband is not a perfect father. But, for a long time, he was obsessed with being one. He read books. He YouTubed experts. He posted on forums. He was trying to amass this, like, arsenal of tips and tricks that would make him the perfect dad. So, any time he screwed up — which we both did, a lot — he took it so hard, and so personally. We’ve got three kids now, and he’s a lot more relaxed. The best part about his mistakes — and mine — is that we’re able to learn from them, together. That type of growth has definitely helped our marriage.” — Alison, 39, New York

8. His Looks

“When I met my husband he was a star athlete in college. He was in fantastic shape, physically. I won’t lie, it was nice. As we’ve grown older, both of our bodies have followed suit and, for the longest time, he was worried that even putting on just a few pounds was the end of the world. He would beat himself up, almost obsessively, if he couldn’t see his six-pack. Luckily it didn’t develop into an eating disorder or anything, but it was really upsetting to see him so concerned with how he looked. We were only a few years into our relationship at the time, so I get it. Change is scary. The great thing about him loosening up about it is that it’s actually inspired us to keep each other healthy. Not chiseled from stone, but as active and fit as possible after kids, health scares, and so on.” — Mae, 42, Connecticut

9. That I Would Get Sick

“My husband was always worried that I’d get sick. It annoyed me so much. He was like a hypochondriac … but with me. If I got even the tiniest hint of an illness, he would freak out and start imagining these catastrophic situations in which you’d assume I’d basically turn into ashes and blow away like the end of Infinity War. Instead of helping me, he would just fret over me getting sicker. He almost couldn’t be in the delivery room because he was hysterical. I had to tell him to get his shit together or leave. I think I actually called him a pussy. That was actually the turning point, I think. The experience was able to shift his focus from creating a world without me to helping build one with both of us — and our son — in it.” — Antoinette, 34, Ohio

10. His Father’s Opinion

“My father-in-law can fix anything. He’s just one of those men who has that type of brain. My husband, his son, does not. But, for some reason, he always thought he should have. Whenever something around our house would break, my husband would try to fix it, and then beat himself up if he wasn’t able to. He was so desperately worried about trying to be his father that he lost sight of himself. He was constantly down on himself for not being able to ‘be a man,’ in that sense. It took a while for him to move past that mindset, but he’s in a much better place now. It just took time, I think. His gifts are his own, and it’s a much more satisfying relationship when he’s at ease being himself, rather than stressed trying to be someone else.” — Maria, 29, Massachusetts

11. That I Was Happy

“My husband, honestly, worried about making me happy so much that it made me miserable. Every single thing he did was done to make me happy. Do you know how much pressure that is? It sounds so ungrateful, I know, but it’s incredibly stressful to know that even a single moment of unhappiness — which is totally natural, by the way — will ruin your husband’s day. I worried about it just as much as he did, I’d say. I had to let him know that, okay, there are going to be days when I’m just bummed out. Or sad. Or angry. And that’s not your fault! It’s nothing to worry about. It’s just called being alive. It’s weird to say, but our relationship actually started to grow when my husband stopped worrying so much about my happiness.” — Angela, 35, Florida

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