Talk About Marriage banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As my first post, I bring this story to you with some apprehension. This comes after several years of searching, several counselling sessions together and alone, and many many sleepless nights talking, praying and hoping.

I am a 30 something man in a professional job with a wife whom I love and have had 2 children with her. She is due for our third child together any day now. We're from quite different cultural backgrounds, but both value family highly. She was born overseas and her entire family is half way around the world. (I totally appreciate the obstacle this alone may be). My own nuclear family is about 1,000km from us but have a somewhat strained relationship with us due to religious differences. We have good social and spiritual (Christian) supports in the town we live in and generally enjoy where we live (at least this is my impression of my wife).

As in many other stories I've heard here, this has been a reasonably good relationship for the 7 years we've been married.

Only we've never been able to have a good fight. Never.
My W cannot accept any form of criticism without feeling personally attacked, and as a result builds an emotional wall to 'protect herself' as she says from any further hurt I wish to impose on her.

I never set out to hurt my W, but in my expression of disapproval of some things she may say or do, she takes it as a disapproval of her. I have come to appreciate that her father always approved of her - was the 'yes' person in her life. She envisaged marriage to be as the relationship with her father - always happy and positive with no fights or forms of disapproval.

I am the last to proclaim perfection - I have admitted emotional abuse in the past to my wife and have sought to make myself a better husband with each day. Although I stumble at times, I constantly evaluate myself and get feedback from my W to see how I'm going. No matter what good I could do for her, they make 2c deposits in her love bank whereas any minor disputes we may have make $1000 withdrawals. I cannot seem to redeem the love she said she had when we got married.

In retrospect, this has been going on for some time, mainly centred on my concern over living in the country her family live in (a terribly third-world country), and each visit to her country has reinforced her desire to want to stay with or without me. That was before children, and even after having children together the same sentiment remains.

We are both Christians, but her self-confessed stubbornness refuses to give up my past transgressions against her. She is the life of the party with happy people around her but clams up each time I want to discuss our marriage situation, and gives vague answers that are neither here nor there in the few responses she manages to make. Nevertheless, it has been made quite clear that she 'once loved me' but no longer and 'cannot find it in her heart to love again'. She claims that 'God needs to change her heart' and has not taken responsibility for her own attitudes, which has frustrated me immensely.

I have never been physically abuse, believe I have mended many of my ways emotionally and spend almost all my non-working time at home helping out with the kids. Very rarely do I get appreciation from this, let alone any being genuine. Not that this bothers me all that much. What matters more is our loveless marriage, which grieves me and provides a poor example of love to the children, whom I love as I do my W.

There is obviously more to our marriage but to save tiring you readers out there, I'll end here leaving it open for discussion about what I might, could or should do to help the situation. I'm hopeful for a miracle, but believe that it will take a miracle for this one to come through the fire in one piece. She refuses to make the decision to leave despite her unhappiness, but I don't feel right going on the way we have been.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Sir
I am very sorry to read your story and although I cannot solve your problems I may beable to help. I am in a similar situation, however, I am the wife who feels personally attacked and builds an emotional wall to protect myself. My husband and I are trying very hard with minimal, but visible, progress. Feel free to ask me questions regarding the "wife side of things".

I can tell you that she feels incredibly hurt and even the small things probably make her mind go out of control. For me, whenever I feel "personally attacked" I mentally go in a downward spiral thinking about how my father never spoke to my mother this way and how "I don't deserve this".

I reserve hope in God as a healer and hope in my own hard work for my marriage. If you have any questions please message me. I'd love for my unfortunate situation to be a blessing and help for someone else.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,660 Posts
The BEST response in this situation is incredibly simple and powerful. Before I describe it I want to make an observation that I believe will resonate with you. In every healthy marriage, Ipeople say hurtful things to each other. Sometimes quite hurtful. As long as they are mostly said with good intentions, then they simply get put in the bucket of "stuff you forgive each other for". The idea of - you were mean to me and I simply refuse to forgive you or love you - is foreign to a true christian marriage. At least for verbal errors. SO - best move is this and watch how incredible powerful it is.

Dear wife, despite my attempts for a long time to gain your forgiveness and your own attempts to forgive me, we have both failed. You are unable to let go of past disagreements. So I have decided the best thing for all of us, is to divorce.

AND THEN SHUT UP AND WATCH HER BACKPEDAL AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT. 10 to 1 odds she starts telling you she thinks she can forgive, she just needs more time etc.

And this is where you either climb completely back onto a level playing field or you stay down in the pit of despair where the rest of her servants are. Because you nicely explain that she is out of time, if she cannot look at you and say with a whole heart that she completely forgives you, then you need to divorce. And to show her forgiveness she needs to come back to your bed with a loving heart and have sex with you to prove she really does forgive you, and really truly still does love you and want to be married.

And anything other then a full agreement to that - you just say - I understand why complete forgiveness is hard, I know you have tried hard, but I have waited a long time and now need to agree that you cannot forgive and we need to divorce.

See - she isn't really mad at you. She isn't still hurt by anything you have done. If it was that bad she would have left long ago. She has simply been using these issues to keep you at her feet on an open end basis. Remember you are the bad guy so you have no rights - none at all.

So just agree - in a nice firm polite way - a friendly way.
And if she asks for a week or a month just say "I am sorry - I can't do that" And then if she keeps repeating go get on the computer and start looking for lawyers. BECAUSE the whole purpose of the delay will be to avoid completely letting go of this giant stick she has been beating you with. In a week she will weaken your resolve - you will only get a partial forgiveness/no sex etc. With a promise for her to try to forgive you fully over time. But nothing REAL will have changed. But if you hold your guns, and say today you forgive or i am gone - she will concede the field and you will have a normal rational wife back.

And as part of forgiveness you need to quickly get her to accept that there is no real man who will deal with her like her dad did. And she has to accept that as a wife she can do bad financial harm if she makes poor choices - not true of a young girl. Just saying it was easier for her dad to use kid gloves....
























As my first post, I bring this story to you with some apprehension. This comes after several years of searching, several counselling sessions together and alone, and many many sleepless nights talking, praying and hoping.

I am a 30 something man in a professional job with a wife whom I love and have had 2 children with her. She is due for our third child together any day now. We're from quite different cultural backgrounds, but both value family highly. She was born overseas and her entire family is half way around the world. (I totally appreciate the obstacle this alone may be). My own nuclear family is about 1,000km from us but have a somewhat strained relationship with us due to religious differences. We have good social and spiritual (Christian) supports in the town we live in and generally enjoy where we live (at least this is my impression of my wife).

As in many other stories I've heard here, this has been a reasonably good relationship for the 7 years we've been married.

Only we've never been able to have a good fight. Never.
My W cannot accept any form of criticism without feeling personally attacked, and as a result builds an emotional wall to 'protect herself' as she says from any further hurt I wish to impose on her.

I never set out to hurt my W, but in my expression of disapproval of some things she may say or do, she takes it as a disapproval of her. I have come to appreciate that her father always approved of her - was the 'yes' person in her life. She envisaged marriage to be as the relationship with her father - always happy and positive with no fights or forms of disapproval.

I am the last to proclaim perfection - I have admitted emotional abuse in the past to my wife and have sought to make myself a better husband with each day. Although I stumble at times, I constantly evaluate myself and get feedback from my W to see how I'm going. No matter what good I could do for her, they make 2c deposits in her love bank whereas any minor disputes we may have make $1000 withdrawals. I cannot seem to redeem the love she said she had when we got married.

In retrospect, this has been going on for some time, mainly centred on my concern over living in the country her family live in (a terribly third-world country), and each visit to her country has reinforced her desire to want to stay with or without me. That was before children, and even after having children together the same sentiment remains.

We are both Christians, but her self-confessed stubbornness refuses to give up my past transgressions against her. She is the life of the party with happy people around her but clams up each time I want to discuss our marriage situation, and gives vague answers that are neither here nor there in the few responses she manages to make. Nevertheless, it has been made quite clear that she 'once loved me' but no longer and 'cannot find it in her heart to love again'. She claims that 'God needs to change her heart' and has not taken responsibility for her own attitudes, which has frustrated me immensely.

I have never been physically abuse, believe I have mended many of my ways emotionally and spend almost all my non-working time at home helping out with the kids. Very rarely do I get appreciation from this, let alone any being genuine. Not that this bothers me all that much. What matters more is our loveless marriage, which grieves me and provides a poor example of love to the children, whom I love as I do my W.

There is obviously more to our marriage but to save tiring you readers out there, I'll end here leaving it open for discussion about what I might, could or should do to help the situation. I'm hopeful for a miracle, but believe that it will take a miracle for this one to come through the fire in one piece. She refuses to make the decision to leave despite her unhappiness, but I don't feel right going on the way we have been.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for taking the time to respond MEM.
It is indeed a simple method to deal with the situation, however with an expected result that hasn't held.

See, I hadn't mentioned it in the initial post, but the word divorce has been mentioned more than once, not as a threat but as a definite plan. And it's been asserted quite recently. Each time, without fail, my W did not flinch. No shouting, no backtracking, not even a peep from her.

I don't like ultimatums, but have made them in order to try and get a response from her. Her pride/stubbornness gets in the way more than the desire to reconcile. Recall that it's her personality not to react well to an unfavourable conversation. It's this stubbornness that makes it difficult for me to assess her true motives.

I am keen to salvage the relationship, putting off divorce for the sake of the children and the hope that there may be some change of heart, but it's all wearing quite thin for me at the moment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Further development: W has decided to pick up a book she's not read in a while (Gary Smalley's Making Love Last Forever) and it has helped her see some of the anger she's harboured inside. To this effect, she has opened up even if slightly, and even if momentarily, to allow some relief from past hurts to creep in.

For this small miracle, I am thankful and pray this may be a beginning of hope for the marriage.

Thanks to you both for your responses so far and I also extend thanks to those who have been there and have shared their experiences here. I applaud your courage and strength.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
660 Posts
Hello Weathered, I am encouraged that you seem to be making some headway in your marriage. For anyone out there reading this post, I would encourage you strongly to never even take the "divorce card" out and lay it on the table unless you absolutely intend to use it.

The first marriage counselor I ever saw with my wife opened up the session by asking our thoughts on divorce. I still friggin hate him for it. I answered it wasn't an option, and my wife said she had considered it somewhat. Guess what friends, upon hearing that admission it promptly became an option for me, and ironically I'm the one who's filing.

It was that simple utterance that got me thinking that my wife wasn't in our marriage for the longhaul, and that I needed to practice some "defensive medicine" in our union. Friends, if you're not going forward, you're going backwards in your relationship. Stagnation kills.

I'm not trying to jack your thread W, but the most common and grevous mistake I see on this forum is people who "casually flirt" with the notion of divorce who don't actually want it.

Just one man's opinion. LIL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
My brother-in-law had troubles with his marriage that sound a little like what you're talking about. He and his wife read (googling up a link...) Amazon.com: Bradshaw On: The Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem (9781558744271): John Bradshaw: Books together, and he says it made a big difference. They read it together, apparently, and interrupted each other often with comments and such.

Something else I can suggest: at the instructor training my dojo offered, they made a big deal of how people get stressed and take criticism personally. Since karate lessons are something kids do more than adults, and kids can have fragile self-esteem, you need to be really careful telling them they're doing it wrong. Otherwise they give up and your dojo goes out of business.

So they said you should always follow this pattern: "praise, correct, praise". (The second praise can be optional until later.) So if people are going at the wavemasters (stand-up punching bags), you might say something like "Your punches are really powerful, but I want to hear more keias out of you." Then the kid tries again and it's better, you nod and smile and say "That's it! Okay, keep going."

The best solution is to only praise and reward behavior you like, but if something is bad and you must complain, wrap the complaint in praise. "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down", and all that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,660 Posts
It only works when you aren't bluffing. Meaning you take it out and then you start to execute. Your wife wasn't totally sure you meant it - and she waited to see signs you did mean it.

If she wanted to be divorced she would have divorced you. You will never be happy - high functioning in a marriage with someone who is holding you hostage emotionally.




Thanks for taking the time to respond MEM.
It is indeed a simple method to deal with the situation, however with an expected result that hasn't held.

See, I hadn't mentioned it in the initial post, but the word divorce has been mentioned more than once, not as a threat but as a definite plan. And it's been asserted quite recently. Each time, without fail, my W did not flinch. No shouting, no backtracking, not even a peep from her.

I don't like ultimatums, but have made them in order to try and get a response from her. Her pride/stubbornness gets in the way more than the desire to reconcile. Recall that it's her personality not to react well to an unfavourable conversation. It's this stubbornness that makes it difficult for me to assess her true motives.

I am keen to salvage the relationship, putting off divorce for the sake of the children and the hope that there may be some change of heart, but it's all wearing quite thin for me at the moment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hello Weathered, I am encouraged that you seem to be making some headway in your marriage. For anyone out there reading this post, I would encourage you strongly to never even take the "divorce card" out and lay it on the table unless you absolutely intend to use it.

The first marriage counselor I ever saw with my wife opened up the session by asking our thoughts on divorce. I still friggin hate him for it. I answered it wasn't an option, and my wife said she had considered it somewhat. Guess what friends, upon hearing that admission it promptly became an option for me, and ironically I'm the one who's filing.

It was that simple utterance that got me thinking that my wife wasn't in our marriage for the longhaul, and that I needed to practice some "defensive medicine" in our union. Friends, if you're not going forward, you're going backwards in your relationship. Stagnation kills.

I'm not trying to jack your thread W, but the most common and grevous mistake I see on this forum is people who "casually flirt" with the notion of divorce who don't actually want it.

Just one man's opinion. LIL
Your response along with MEM's is true. There is no point in just threatening divorce. It is just hard to pursue something you really don't want. Nevertheless, as the situation pans out there will be more to say on this.

Thanks to you both.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
My brother-in-law had troubles with his marriage that sound a little like what you're talking about. He and his wife read (googling up a link...) Amazon.com: Bradshaw On: The Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem (9781558744271): John Bradshaw: Books together, and he says it made a big difference. They read it together, apparently, and interrupted each other often with comments and such.

Something else I can suggest: at the instructor training my dojo offered, they made a big deal of how people get stressed and take criticism personally. Since karate lessons are something kids do more than adults, and kids can have fragile self-esteem, you need to be really careful telling them they're doing it wrong. Otherwise they give up and your dojo goes out of business.

So they said you should always follow this pattern: "praise, correct, praise". (The second praise can be optional until later.) So if people are going at the wavemasters (stand-up punching bags), you might say something like "Your punches are really powerful, but I want to hear more keias out of you." Then the kid tries again and it's better, you nod and smile and say "That's it! Okay, keep going."

The best solution is to only praise and reward behavior you like, but if something is bad and you must complain, wrap the complaint in praise. "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down", and all that.
Thanks for that artieb.
I believe I've come a long way in learning effective communication strategies. I learnt from childhood that the only way to get what you want was to demand it. Manners and courtesy were secondary to the issue. I finally appreciated after a few years of marriage that forcing the issue never got on the good side of my W - but I had to learn a new method.

I've learnt through books, which takes a while to beat old habits, but finally seeing what works in my own marriage it's helped. My W admits to going backwards in her communication with me as I've gone forwards. I'm hopeful the acknowledgment of her issue is the first step in reopening communication lines to level 4 and 5 communication.

Thanks for the response.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top