Never Say “Honey, I Think You Have a Problem”

Do NOT say that your husband.  Never. Ever.  I guarantee it’s not going to go over very well.  Trust me.  I’ve tried it.  Epic fail!

But as we have shared info on low testosterone in first responders (see this video below), the most asked question by fire wives in our Fire Wife Sisterhood private membership group as well as on our public Facebook Page (you ladies are brave and possibly desperate for saying that in public!) is this:

I think my husband may be struggling with low testosterone.  How do I approach him?

Of course this is going to entirely depend on your communication style as individuals and together as a couple and the trust levels in your marriage currently.   Here’s a little of what this journey has looked like for us and some tips.

First of all, I think we’ve (I say we because although it’s a physical issue for my husband, it has impacted our entire family) been dealing with this for way longer than we knew what to call it or what to do about it.   My initial thoughts when he was tired and grumpy and depressed were “What’s wrong with me?” and “How can I be a better wife so he is happier?”    Over time, instead of always saying “I’m sorry” when he snapped at me, I found a way to gently but with courage say “Did I do something to upset you?”.   This had an effect.  I changed a pattern in our communication.  (This works in many marital situations by the way.)  He did not get mad at me but eventually started coming out and saying “It’s not you.  I’m just really exhausted from ________.”

As he saw my compassion as opposed to frustration with his moodiness and lack of drive, we grew to a point he was able to be more vocal with his own frustrations and share that he did not like that he felt that way.  And wished he knew how to change it.  He wanted to work out more but just can’t make himself.   This allowed us a few special quiet moments to together where I could say “I’ll love you through anything.  I don’t want you to feel this way.  How can I help you?  Do we need to get some outside help?”   Sometimes this wasn’t always in person but in a text message when I knew he was having a rough day.

Just to give you perspective, these moments were fleeting and far apart.  I’m talking weeks or months apart.   It takes a lot of patience and willpower and faith to not get frustrated and blow up through those times when your own love tank is not getting filled.   Someone who is struggling with any kind of depression is just as much frustrated with themselves and simply unable to give the love their partner may need.   These can be very low times in a marriage.   We clung to the good days and the moments where there was enough sleep and sunshine and energy and answered prayers to bring extra smiles and intimate moments.

One big thing I always do for my husband, especially when I feel like there isn’t anything more I can say to him, is to pray for someone to come alongside him in his life and speak into his heart of these topics.  Do not underestimate the power of this in your marriage.  If you don’t “pray”, I don’t care what you call it.  Send good vibes, whatever.  All I know is that it works.  Over and over again.

While I continued to suggest counseling or even anti-depressant medications (which he is not a big fan of), he one day mentioned some guys he knew who were taking testosterone injections and this new place in town giving a special offer to first responders.   I sensed there was a window of opportunity here.  Someone who’s opinion he valued had spoken into his life.  Over the next few months, I was able to add that to the mix of gentle suggestions and say “Have you called that Low T Center?  Maybe this will help your energy levels and make you feel better.”

Finally, things got so very low.  I mean ugly low.  Too ugly to share.  It was simply beyond both of our comfort levels and completely out of context for his personality and our marriage.  I did not even recognize this man as my husband.  This valley pushed him to make that call and set up that appointment.  The rest is history.  His energy is back.  He’s working out like a mad man and looking hotter than ever (there are now shirts he wears that I tease him and say he’s not allowed to wear them in public unless I’m on his arm 😉  )

We are not perfect.  We still have marriage challenges.  That’s life.  It’s not perfect.  Troubles and differences in opinions over money and parenting teens and overloading schedules and division of chores around the house.  I don’t think that ever goes away and sometimes I hear lies whispered in my ear questioning how I can be the one speaking out to fire wives when I face such challenges in my own marriage.   But all of it is used for good.  All of it.  And we are in a much better place to discuss with both of us feeling healthy and strong.

So that’s our story.  Let’s wrap this with a few bullet points of things you could say to approach your husband:

  • Have you heard about this trend with Low Testosterone in First Responders?  Some of the fire wives have been seeing remarkable health improvements in their husbands who are being treated.
  • How do you feel when you work out?  Are your energy levels where you like them to be?
  • You know I’ll love you through anything but I notice that you are not as happy as you used to be.  Is everything ok?  How are you feeling?
  • Do you know anything about low testosterone?  Is this something we should be concerned about?

Notice I didn’t bring up anything about sex.  If you are really open and communicative in this area it’s also an opportunity to bring this up.  However telling a man you are not satisfied with your sex life….. well, that’s walking on some very thin male ego there.   He probably already knows it.  And to point it out is rubbing salt in that wound.  Only you know if it’s safe to go there or not in this discussion.

Or…..just forward this blog post or print the article and leave it somewhere for him to find.   So many wives have forwarded our blog posts to their husbands with no response.  And then, they find them printed out on his nightstand for reading.   Mmmm hmmm.  I know this site might feel a little girly for him to shout to the world that he’s reading it.  It’s ok guys.  I won’t share to the world what google analytics tells me about how many men are reading our articles 🙂   Whatever it takes to the get the message out and make someone’s marriage and life a little better.

Oh and if you are the researching type, just go to LowTCenter.com and research to your hearts content.   I just don’t recommend shoving a bunch of that data in your husband’s face as it may come across as a little controlling and push him farther away.  One big secret in all relationships is to gently influence them to the point that they are ready to move under their own power.  Not feel forced into it.

Hope this is helpful.  Thanks once again for asking those tough questions and letting us bare our souls and the ugliness of life to help others in need.

Big thanks to Low T Center for being a sponsor of this year’s Flame Fest.  Registration is closing middle of June so time to get registered ASAP!!

lowtslides for video

For some more reading

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Firefighter Wife on a mission to save fire marriages, nurture and encourage other fire wives and love on Jesus, my firefighter and our 4 kids. Blessed to be leading this amazing community of Fire Wives.

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