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Discussion Starter #1
I have been married for 5+ years two beautiful little girls and intentions of having a 3rd. In the recent past things have appeared great. I have a stay at home wife who I love more life itself. I work full time very close to home and have the ability to come home for lunches, see my kids, catch up with my wife and get back to work. After work its pretty standard that my wife is pretty much done for the day and the girls will hang out with me while I make dinner, baths, and get them ready for bed and take care of the dishes. Going on auto pilot it has appeared that I was doing a good job. Quick side note, I have completely stopped drinking as of her birthday 2 years ago. It wasnt a common occorence, but it was a repetitive problem and sobriety was the only fix for that issue.

Very recently my wife has brought to my attention how unhappy she is. How she has to tell me to do something 5 times to get it done, or that she mentions things around the house and I never ask how I can help take some load off her, I never try to give her time and basically I am her 3rd child. After the purchase of a new car with some major issues and her having to go to the dealership for four hours with the kids not napping or eating to get something done that I as the man could have prevented or taken care of, she was filled with negativity, and everything that was getting on her nerves she wasnt expressing came out.

I want to give my wife a lot of credit. I know that being a stay at home wife has to be the most demanding and challenging job a person can have. I know, but I also know I will never really understand it. Being trapped at home with two little banshee's and constant reminders of my let downs have gotten to her. At this point I believe in my heart we can work through it, but in my mind I have no idea. I suffer from general anxiety and depression as the Dr. told me when I was about 13. I take medications to try to calm my stress. My major fear and ultimate loss is the thought that I may not be good enough for her and she will want to leave. Her side of the family is literally all divorced woman with kids. No matter how hard they have it, she sees that its possible. I am the only male left in the family and I would like to keep it that way.

I know I have a dependence on her and I only really feel happy when I see her smile. It is most likely an unhealthy dependence, but I truly love her and I understood when I took my vow's that I was dedicating myself to her life and her hapiness.

During our talk last night and briefly this morning, she is very good and attentive to all of my let downs. She is asking for a man that is a rock, someone who really supports their wife, someone who tries to help them, someone to appreciate her and so on. In the moment I may think I am doing everything to help, but I completely agree with her on my failures. For some reason I am not acting on certain things whether I am completely brain dead and dont think about it or am subconciously lazy.

I am determined to instill her faith in my love. I can say I love you, but I need to really show her. I spent the night cleaning the whole house in a panic not knowing when she would come home. It is true that my auto pilot has caused me to focus on things about me; going surfing during naptime(everyweekend), trying to go to some concert in LA even though she has no interest, playing on the computer instead of engaging with the girls. I dont know the right balance.

Sorry for spilling out so much but I at least had to get this out to admit to myself where I am and where I want to be. I would greatly appreciate any input from a husband or wife that can help get me habits and skills that really show gratitude in her love and make her feel appreciated. I am reading a couple books, gratitude and attitude in love, and another one, 5 languages of love.

I love my wife and am willing to do anything it would take to keep her happy.
 

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Do you make dinner and do the baths for the kids every night? We have a dry erase board on our fridge and we put a 'to do' list on that. Would that helP?
 

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For the last six years I have the breakfast and dinner man. A week ago we came up with the idea that she cooks Sundays, as she is a great cook but doesnt like the burden. She would be fine not eating dinner at all but I would starve.

I think she views meals as just part of my duties but not really helping her.
 

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I'm sorry you are feeling the full burden of your wife's "unhappiness".

Firstly, I hope you are willing to admit to yourself that you are not responsible for keeping her happy every second of the day. She needs to OWN some of this.

You are responsible for YOU. That means aspiring to some goals, thinking about how you want to treat people, what kind of parent you want to be, and not focusing YOUR life on cleaning the house.

Yup, being a SAHM is hard work. And you take over when you get home, and she still isn't happy.

My advice to you would be that both of you consider counselling.
Maybe she needs a part time job or online school or a support system. Adult time with other adults. She certainly doesn't sound "happy" to be cooking and being Suzy Homemaker?

Do you show appreciation for what she does? Do you go out on dates? Why are YOU not allowed to have your own free time \ adult time? Maybe because she feels she doesn't get it.

Don't take this all on yourself. There should be a balance. You have a job, she has a job. Then the two of you need to make time to have a relationship.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I suppose its more of being responsible for all her troubles and stress more than being responsible for her happiness. To her appreciation is not saying, the house looks great honey, thanks for being here for us, its more like proactively initiating things before they become a problem in her head. Date nights are hard as we are pretty tight money-wise, okay very tight, but we do live in a beautiful beach community with Grandma nearby. In anger she said she doesnt and refuses to believe my job is hard or demanding and that when I say I'm tired when I get home is just disrespectful to her. Before marriage she always worked and had an active adult life style, I think she does need more than the weekly play dates and moms group.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One thing that I have wondered about is when she is really sad about something happening in her life outside our marriage, she wont look for comfort in others, she becomes sheltered preventing me from caring for her. I still havent been able to really open at times. Anger is easy, but sadness is hard.
 

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I"m not certain your job is to be responsible for her troubles and sadness, either! Is she maybe depressed? Bored? She sounds overwhelmed with the SAHM job. That can happen. But don't fall into the trap of doing everything... and leaving nothing for yourself.

If she doesn't have friends to talk to, that is another issue. There are things you can do to help her, but doing all the housework maybe isn't it.

You sound a bit like a "rescuerer", I'm one so that's why I'm saying that. At some point, people have to save themselves. They have to allow themselves to be happy, motivate themselves to go after their goals, find their own purpose in life.

Any chance your wife can get a part time job?
 

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I suppose its more of being responsible for all her troubles and stress more than being responsible for her happiness. To her appreciation is not saying, the house looks great honey, thanks for being here for us, its more like proactively initiating things before they become a problem in her head. Date nights are hard as we are pretty tight money-wise, okay very tight, but we do live in a beautiful beach community with Grandma nearby. In anger she said she doesnt and refuses to believe my job is hard or demanding and that when I say I'm tired when I get home is just disrespectful to her. Before marriage she always worked and had an active adult life style, I think she does need more than the weekly play dates and moms group.
She needs to get back to some form of work whatever that may be. Some women love staying home with the kids, some women need a bit of adult stimulation (bad phrasing but you get my drift) and conversations that don't centre around their children. Only saying this because I know it would drive me crazy to be a SAHM

she sounds bored and unstimulated to me and dare I say it, a little resentful that you clearly have interests that aren't focused solely on the family unit
 

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Y'know, it really doesn't sound like this is about you. Sorry. This sounds like it is a lot more about her. Realistically, we're all responsible for our own happiness. And, taking care of 2 children is comparable in difficulty to a full-time job.

From a practical standpoint, there are 168 hours in a week. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you're probably working 60 hours a week, commuting 14, sleeping 63, and eating 14 hours. That leaves 17 hours for wife, friends, family, chores, children, et cetera. Assuming that you divide that time evenly, you're looking at something like 2-3 hours for her - counting the time she spends complaining. She is awake for about 125 hours. Expecting to make a big change in her mood with that tiny allotment of time is unrealistic. (The time split is pretty inexact...but you'd need 20-30 hours to make much impact - and that will probably kill you - or shortchange other parts of your life.)

Next, one option is her changing. That won't work either. Real change is hard.

Finally, she can change her situation. If she's functional while she has a job...that sounds like a good idea - even if she barely outearns the preschool. This becomes more problematic with 2 children...

--Argyle
 
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