How Do I Get Over Feeling Obsolete in My Marriage?

BY: - 24 Apr '18 | Marriage

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Dr. Buckingham: I believe that I am going through some kind of identity crisis and my marriage is in trouble as a result. My wife and I have been married for over 10 years and I have always had the spotlight on me as a successful businessman. I have made a few million dollars and have appeared on numerous high profile media platforms. In the eyes of many, I would be seen as rich and famous.

However, I retired a few years back after my 50th birthday and started to feel like a second-class citizen in my marriage. My wife is also a successful businesswoman and has garnered a lot of popularity in recent years. She is well known in certain circles and is getting the attention that I used to get. I used to feel important when we were together in public. People would serve me and I enjoyed it. Now, she gets all of the attention and I feel obsolete. Because of how I feel, I do not like to go anywhere with her. How Do I Get Over Feeling Obsolete in my Marriage?


Mr. Obsolete

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Mr. Obsolete,

Before I answer your question I believe that it is important to address your emotional state. I have worked with a few famous individuals and have learned that living in the limelight for years and returning “back to earth” can be mentally challenging. While I cannot relate to being famous, I can relate to what it feels like to be highly respected and admired. As a high-ranking active duty officer who is preparing to retire after serving 20 years of service, I am mentally preparing myself to adjust from being a respected and admired officer to establishing a new identity outside the uniformed service. I share this to say that I can relate on some level emotionally.

As you continue to search for answers, please remain mindful of how you feel. The euphoria associated with living in the limelight and feeling highly admired can be both addictive and destructive in nature. Addictive in that when you feel it, you want more of it; and destructive in that when you do not feel it you go through extreme and unhealthy means to get it. Given this, I highly recommend that you take some time to figure out what you need to do to replace the euphoric feeling of being in the limelight.

In regards to your marriage, I believe that the key to getting over feeling obsolete is to focus on your wife’s character and how she treats you, not the attention that she is getting. I do not recall you mentioning anything about her character being flawed. I assume that she supported you and made it possible for you to enjoy your time in the limelight. If this is the case, I recommend that you do the same. It is her time to shine and you should be there to support her. Don’t let your “rock star grief” ruin your marriage. Also, think about becoming a servant to your wife. In my experience, I have learned that the best high in life comes from serving others. Instead of focusing on being in the limelight, try giving back to others including your wife and see how you feel.

Remember that our feelings are ours and we are responsible for how we manage them. Do not ignore or minimize feeling obsolete, but do not project your feelings onto your wife. Marriage is about sharing, which also includes sharing the limelight. However, if you continue to struggle with feeling obsolete in your marriage, please seek professional help.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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3 Ways to Make Your Spouse Happy

BY: - 26 Apr '18 | Marriage

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We’ve all heard it said that no one can make you happy. Or, in other words, we are responsible for our own happiness. But let’s not front. At least for me, I know I’d be lying if I didn’t expect my relationship with my husband to deliver the kind of happiness that makes me glad that I married him. If my marriage didn’t come with an opportunity for true happiness, I’d have to wonder what’s the point. You know what else? My husband feels the same way. Each of us has a spoken as well as an unspoken expectation that we will actively seek ways to make each other happy.

Of course, happiness looks different to him than it does to me. In some ways, it’s like learning each other’s love language. Once I learned what will bring a smile to his face, I started doing those things. But for our marriage to last, we each have to go a little deeper. That’s what I want to focus on in this article…deep-rooted happiness. So, what are some ways you can make your spouse happy for a long, long time? Here are three things that work for our relationship and I hope they work for yours as well.

Actively instill a sense of self-worth.

When I look in the mirror, I may not always like what I see. When I write an article, I may not like the way it turned out. When I speak to my kids, I may not be the nicest person. But, I’m my worst critic. If you’re anything like me, you are yours.

When my husband tells me I’m beautiful, he chases away my ugly. When he touches my body and embraces my curves, stretch marks, and wrinkles, he keeps me feeling young. When he backs me up on a punishment for the kids, he strengthens my foundation as a mother. When he encourages me to accept a challenge I might think is too tough, he demonstrates his belief in me. All of these let me know he is into me. He is actively engaged in my heart and mind and knows how easily I can devalue myself. So, he flips the script. He makes me feel worthy and my efforts worthwhile. Yes, it makes me happy. Do the same for your spouse and it will make them happy too.

Make them feel at home.

When my husband gets home from work, I’m usually already there to greet him. Now, it might sound corny to you, but no matter where I am, I usually stop what I’m doing when I hear the sound of the door opening. When he enters the house, I’m standing there facing him, giddy like a school girl. I jump up and down and in a sing-song voice express how happy I am that he’s home. I greet him with a hug and a kiss. If you know me, you know that’s how I roll. My man loves it and misses it when it’s not there. The tone of his voice tells me he’s happy to be home. I can almost feel him shaking off the stress of the day.

What makes your spouse happy to come home? What kind of greeting do they get from you when they walk through the door? That greeting is often followed by a nice meal, whether I cooked it or not, and an opportunity to relax for a bit before we talk marriage, and kids, and everything else. Doing this for my husband makes me happy. Figure out what it takes to make your spouse happy to be home and make it happen.

Refuse to keep score.

I enjoy giving to my husband. He enjoys giving to me. Parents enjoy giving to their children. There is joy in giving. In relationships, however, the moment one of you starts to keep score, the thrill is gone. So, give, encourage, and serve your spouse expecting nothing in return. In a healthy relationship, reciprocation may not always come right away, but it comes.

On the flip side, we all have character flaws. Don’t keep score of those either. They take a lifetime to change. But in marriage, that’s what you signed up for…a lifetime. Character change and growth will come and it will bring happiness to you both. So put the scorecards away, and just be happy.

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It’s true. Your spouse isn’t responsible for your happiness. But it sure helps to have them be a part of it. By focusing on these three things, you will be well on your way to the deep-rooted happiness you crave.

BMWK, what are you doing to make your spouse happy?

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 154 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.


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