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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after 2 weeks of not speaking, my marriage finally hit rock bottom. While I thought we were going to end up calling things off and consult with a divorce attorney we were able to talk over the course of a couple days and decide that we will make an effort to work through this and make things better.

I ended up reading His Needs, Her Needs and realized that we were not meeting each other's needs and had made so many withdrawals to each other's Love Banks we were sitting so far in the red that there didn't seem to be any hope in sight. I asked him to read the book also.

Our first week was great, we spent quality time together, we shared in the household responsibilities (he cooked dinner 3x that week when he hadn't cooked dinner for months). He even agreed to finally move forward with a rental house and get out of our apartment (we were supposed to do this over a year ago but didn't).

Last week he didn't put in near as much effort as the previous week. After trying to talk to him twice in one night and being ignored for a text message and Facebook I shut down. We exchanged words after the 2nd time because I shut down and it frustrated him. I tried to explain to my husband in an email the next day why I had shut down and tried having him look at it from my perspective, he doesn't like it when I am ignoring him because of technology. The email was never mentioned and he proceeded to stay clear of me for most of the week as I was just in one of my "moods". So the more he avoided me the grumpier I got, and the grumpier I got the more he avoided me.

By Saturday morning I was pretty upset, especially since he'd planned a group outing that included males and females, and when I asked if he wanted me to come, I was told no. We tried talking, but only had a few minutes to do so before we both had to be somewhere. I said that I felt while we'd made forward progress the previous week, this weekend took us backwards. I texted him while he was gone with his friends and asked if he would make some time to talk in between the outing and a birthday party we were going to that night. The entire day went by with no response...awhile after he came home he asked me why I sent him the text knowing that he was out with his friends. Because I was angry for his not acknowledging the text, and hurt for his reaction to me sending it, I declined to reopen up dialog from that morning.

On Sunday he tells me that he's not moving forward with the rental house since I feel the relationship is moving in the wrong direction.

I tried to talk to him about it today, and try and explain why I was concerned since the 2 weeks we had been working on the relationship were very different but he's had nothing but angry responses. He said he didn't make any effort last week because I was in a "mood" and he didn't want to be around me. I mentioned that I had noted on my weekly calendar all the time he spent with me the week before and how happy it made me, TRYING TO show that I'd noticed..but his response was maybe he should keep track of the little that I do for him. He says I shouldn't talk about his deposits and withdrawals to my Love Bank because I'm not contributing to his.

I am so frustrated with the up and down roller coaster of my marriage. I don't know how to communicate with my husband. If I try and tell him what I need from him he sees it as an expectation and feels I have no right to expect anything from him and claims he has no expectations of me. He tells me that I'm not there for him, he can't rely on me for any sort of support but I can't tell him the same. I know it has taken both of us to ruin our marriage. I know I've made mistakes. I've admitted to some, but my husband won't admit his. I'm afraid that if he can't admit his mistakes then no matter what I do to better our relationship we'll never continue making forward progress that it will always be 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
 

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There's a lot more going on between you than you can put in a post like this, but what you've written here is enough for you to get feedback that can help you change if you want to see changes.

By changing what you do, your relationship will change. So instead of coming at him all the time, you can start by making him center stage. I know you probably feel that you have tried this, but I'm seeing a number of ways that YOU are introducing unnecessary problems right now.

First, you're being VERY controlling and insensitive with the way you communicate to him. It sounds like in week one, when he stepped up and was doing things for you, he expected you to fill up his love tank. What did you do for him that week? He clearly didn't feel it met his needs, because he backed wayyyy off!

It's natural you'd want to understand why, so you tried to talk to him. But you tried to talk to him when he was busy with other things, at least during the FB time. If I was him, I'd feel disrespected and controlled by this. I'd say you were being demanding and trying to punish me by getting grumpy afterward, and while I probably wouldn't resort to avoidance, I can understand why he would.

The same is true for your texting him about wanting to talk. As he said, he was BUSY! The best way for him to come around and have a great outlook about filling your love tank is to make sure he has plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun in his life. The whole "we need to talk" or anything that implies this AUTOMATICALLY raises a man's blood pressure and makes them feel put on the spot.

John Gottman discusses "harsh startups" in his books and offers some good advice on avoiding them. Instead of taking a direct approach to problems, it may be worthwhile to find a gentle, soft way to approach him - something that doesn't make him feel put on the spot. You might ask him his opinion about something similar going on with your friends, for instance, and let his answers lead into your discussion.

Finally, I think you should prioritize filling his love tank before your own. He says you aren't there for him. What would make him feel that you are? I can guess that he won't use these words, but I think he feels criticized and judged a lot by you, and doesn't feel appreciated. Learn to speak his love language (the 5 Love Languages book by Dr. Chapman is very good at simplifying this and gives you information you can start using immediately) so you can help him feel loved in a way he relates to.

Best wishes.
 

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Wow. Kathy nailed it. I would only add that I was taken aback a little when I read about you wanting him to make you happy. That's not how it works. Your happyness is your responsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There's a lot more going on between you than you can put in a post like this, but what you've written here is enough for you to get feedback that can help you change if you want to see changes.

By changing what you do, your relationship will change. So instead of coming at him all the time, you can start by making him center stage. I know you probably feel that you have tried this, but I'm seeing a number of ways that YOU are introducing unnecessary problems right now.

First, you're being VERY controlling and insensitive with the way you communicate to him. It sounds like in week one, when he stepped up and was doing things for you, he expected you to fill up his love tank. What did you do for him that week? He clearly didn't feel it met his needs, because he backed wayyyy off!

It's natural you'd want to understand why, so you tried to talk to him. But you tried to talk to him when he was busy with other things, at least during the FB time. If I was him, I'd feel disrespected and controlled by this. I'd say you were being demanding and trying to punish me by getting grumpy afterward, and while I probably wouldn't resort to avoidance, I can understand why he would.

The same is true for your texting him about wanting to talk. As he said, he was BUSY! The best way for him to come around and have a great outlook about filling your love tank is to make sure he has plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun in his life. The whole "we need to talk" or anything that implies this AUTOMATICALLY raises a man's blood pressure and makes them feel put on the spot.

John Gottman discusses "harsh startups" in his books and offers some good advice on avoiding them. Instead of taking a direct approach to problems, it may be worthwhile to find a gentle, soft way to approach him - something that doesn't make him feel put on the spot. You might ask him his opinion about something similar going on with your friends, for instance, and let his answers lead into your discussion.

Finally, I think you should prioritize filling his love tank before your own. He says you aren't there for him. What would make him feel that you are? I can guess that he won't use these words, but I think he feels criticized and judged a lot by you, and doesn't feel appreciated. Learn to speak his love language (the 5 Love Languages book by Dr. Chapman is very good at simplifying this and gives you information you can start using immediately) so you can help him feel loved in a way he relates to.

Best wishes.
I know how it all sounds, but yes there is about 7 years of baggage behind that post. Don't get me wrong I know I'm not perfect, I know that I've done things to hurt my husband as has he. And yes it sounds incredibly selfish to want my needs met, but in the 7 years together he only overfilled my tank once, and it was when I had cancer.

This is the best explanation I can muster for where my marriage is..When a married couple's relationship starts on a downward slide, the loss of love units usually gains momentum. Instead of caring for each other, spouses devise increasingly painful strategies to pay each other back for the last thoughtless act. As negative Love Bank balances increase, the feeling of anger and disrespect increases. Because they live together, a couple cannot avoid each other, and withdrawals continue unabated. The end result is often the violence that comes from a deep pervasive hatred. The secret to avoiding this tragedy of course, is to keep Love Bank balances above the romantic love threshold (the Love Bank balance needed to trigger romantic love - finding someone irresistible.). And if they happen to drift below that threshold, couples should make a special effort to avoid losing any more, and start re-depositing."

I have tried to fill his tank, or at least I thought I was until recently. When I had my husband fill out the Emotional Questionaire that goes with His Needs, Her Needs (very similar to Love Languages from what I hear) my husband admitted that while it was nice that I spent hours spending time with him enjoying his hobbies, he would never see me as a companion because I wasn't passionate about those hobbies. It wasn't good enough to make the effort, I needed to live and breathe his hobbies. And since I hadn't been living and breathing them he would prefer to spend his free time with others instead. So now I'm at a loss for how to fill up his tank. Even when I've done one of his "chores" for him to surprise him I'm accused of criticizing him for not doing it.

I sometimes feel my husband doesn't really know what he wants himself. So I have a hard time figuring out what he wants and needs from me. He has been emotional closed off the entire time we were together. I ask him to tell me what he wants and needs but usually he says I don't know. This last time we talked about what we needed to make the marriage work all he said was know that I'm here....I have NO idea what that means.

And yes I know it's not fair to expect someone to pay attention to me if they are busy. This particular instance he wasn't doing anything when I approached him to talk to him, but let texts and FB notifications on his phone distract him from our conversation. And yes I knew he was busy when I texted him the other day, but he will allow others to interrupt our time together so I don't feel guilty on the few occasions I try and get ahold of him when he's out.

I am the 2nd marriage for my husband and I see our marriage following the same path as his first marriage. In hindsight we probably shouldn't have gotten married, but now that we are I'm bound and determined for it to work.

I feel like I'm in a fun house. I feel like once I think I'm on the right track in finding the exit I hit a dead end. After a year of dead ends I'm really hoping to find the exit.

I have sought out a marriage counselor, and even though my husband has no interest in going, I'm hopeful that the counselor will give me strategies to help save my marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow. Kathy nailed it. I would only add that I was taken aback a little when I read about you wanting him to make you happy. That's not how it works. Your happyness is your responsibility.
My comment about happiness was only to express I was happy that we were having a good week, without fighting as we hadn't had a good week in 3 months.
 

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I realize that there's a lot that came before you ever reached this point. After reading your follow-up, I'm sensing that I was on the right track. I get what you're saying about him letting things distract from the convo that were NOT there when you started it. That's frustrating! Common courtesy says don't ignore someone who's talking to you.

I still think you need to focus on his tank in order to get him focused on yours. Do you have an idea of what makes him value certain other people? Like his best friend, or a family member he is close to? If you do, what makes him think of that relationship as an important one?
 
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