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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need an outside opinion…

My husband and I have been married 4 years, no kids yet. We enjoy each others company, like many of the same activities and he is a very good loving and trustworthy man. However, our political and spiritual beliefs differ greatly and we also generally disagree on any given topic… which is fine if you can agree to disagree or commit to compromising.

During any discussion where we disagree about something he feels strongly about (which is many things), he says “This is what I think, this is who I am, I don’t compromise my beliefs to make you happy, if you don’t like it you can leave.”

The fact that I disagree with him because of my own beliefs does not seem to matter… its OK if I compromise or cave because he always sees himself as right. So far, this only happens during theoretical discussions on a topic. When faced with a problem in real life he does consider my feelings and tries to compromise with me. BUT we haven’t had any major life problems yet where we have had opposing views.

I am hesitant to start a family with him, knowing that with children come many conflicts and decisions to be made. Will he completely disregard how I want to raise our kids if it conflicts with his “right view” of how to raise kids? I am afraid so.

I am hurt that he tells me straight out that my feelings will be low on his priories and that he will refuse to compromise on certain things. I am alarmed that he is so stubborn about his beliefs that he would let me walk away over theoretical discussions of things that may never come to pass.

As an example of a stupid theoretical argument: Our future Christian daughter wants to marry a Muslim man, my husband says he will not permit it or he will disown her, he believes Christians should marry Christians and that is it. I almost married into a Muslim family myself and see no problem with mixing religions as long as the relationship has love, respect and compromise. My husband says “I would disown her, those are my beliefs, if you don’t like it you can leave.”

Another example: he was pondering (not seriously I don’t think?) about running for Mayor of our city because he would “do what’s right and clean things up”. I work in government/politics and I see how things work (especially in our city) and think that would be a terrible idea for a number of reasons, which I expressed to him. His reply was “If I decide to do it, it doesn’t matter what you think because my priorities are: God, Country, Family in that order and we need to strengthen our local political system so that comes before what you want. I don’t believe in Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

Is he insane?! Or am I insane for not walking away the first time he said something so callous to me? He is so caring and loving in real life, but it’s these theoretical discussions we have where he says basically that I don’t matter. Its like Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, but I don’t know which man is the man I am building a future with: the man that loves and cares for me or the man that basically says I can bleep-off if I disagree?

I don’t want it to be 10 years down the road when we have three kids that he actually does something with complete disregard for me and says “I told you 10 years ago, this is how I am and if you didn’t like it you could have left”.

He has declined my suggestions for counseling because he insists he will not change who he is. Am I blowing things out of proportion or should I have already been out the door? We have a great relationship otherwise...
 

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Your husband should not be disrespecting you by saying that it is his way or the highway when you have disagreements. My husband and I often have political discussions where we disagree, but it is very important that these remain civil and do not become personal.

I look at these discussions as learning opportunities, but when they become too heated, we drop them because we do not want to destroy our love for each other. I would calmly tell him that you are his wife, and how would he feel if you told him that he can leave if he doesn't like your opinion?

Healthy arguments are good for intellectual growth, but they should never become personal insults. Tell him how you feel, and that his attitude is affecting your love for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I look at these discussions as learning opportunities, but when they become too heated, we drop them because we do not want to destroy our love for each other. I would calmly tell him that you are his wife, and how would he feel if you told him that he can leave if he doesn't like your opinion?
Thank you for the advice. We also usually just drop the discussion when it gets too heated. I'm just afraid that when the time comes that we disagree on an actual decision that needs made in our life he will have the same attitude of "This is how its going to be." He certainly has trouble seeing things from my point of view, but he has agreed to discuss it tonight. So maybe I'll get somewhere... Thank you again.
 

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One more comment. We teach people how to treat us, so make sure that he is not running rough shod over your feelings. Marriage involves compromise and agreeing together on important issues. Neither partner should belittle the feelings of the other one.
 

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Just my 2 cents...

Differing on mundane things like sports teams, fairly easy to agree to disagree..

Differing on important things, like politics, can be worked out and the topic can just be avoided..

Differing on spiritual/religious beliefs... cannot and should not be comprimised on any account. I do not belittle or degrade anyone for their spiritual beliefs... I respect everyones right to choose their spiritual path, however in the union of marriage... this is going to difficult and a decision made before children come into the picture. Bringing children into a family with vastly differing beliefs makes for an almost impossible situation unless one concedes to the other about which path the childrens spiritual upbringing is to be determined. This is going to be a difficult path to work through...

good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you RoseRed. I agree with your advice. I should have realized before I got married that we may have some issues. At least we can address them now before we bring kids into it.
 

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imustbenuts, I can empathise with your situation. My wife is virtually unable to compromise on anything, be it great or small.

This has meant that throughout our 22 years together I (not always, but mostly) ended up caving in to her opinion and desires just to keep things going. This included going for a second child when I thought we would be taking a huge step towards killing the marriage by bringing another person to an already unstable union.

Guess what? Our second daughter was born... I love her to bits but the stress pretty much drove the last nail through the marriage coffin.

In the last couple of months my wife has really disconnected... I just know she's got feelings for someone else though she denies it (though she openly states she doesn't love me anymore :(). And though I'm trying to move mountains to see if I can make her love me again, since she's not used to compromise, guess how willing she is to make an effort herself?

Be VERY wary of someone that will not compromise... for your own good. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
candlemelter, I am sorry to hear how your situation has ended up. I appreciate you sharing your story, I do worry I am walking down that same path. It must be difficult and unfair to constantly be giving to the relationship and not receive the same effort, consideration and compromise in return. I'm only 4 years in, but I imagine after 22 there is a lot of anger and resentment.

My husband is much better than he used to be, but I had to fight him tooth and nail for small compromises. I'm just not up for fighting with him for the rest of my life to get him to respect my opinions. The bigger the issue we face the more stubborn he will be.

We spoke yesterday and both agreed that we have to sit down over the coming year (I want a counselor's help, but he doesn't) and really hash out what we can and can't accept in our relationship and what we expect out of eachother if we have kids. Its depressing to acknowledge that we may decide to part ways at the end of it, but at least we care enough about eachother to realize that we both deserve to be happy in the relationship. And if we come to the conclusion that we can't be, at least we tried and it will be a sad, but amiable separation.
 

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By waiting a year and capitulating to his refusal to MC you have not changed and you will continue to get tiny changes from him but never enough. He has no incentive to change. No matter what he does you give in. He does not meet your needs but you continue meeting his! Why should he grow he living the life a a king who can do no wrong.

It is interesting that you know you need a therapist yet you allow your husband to make the decision for both of you not to seek the help. Do you really think a year will make a difference? Based on your history I'd say he will make a small change or two to placate you but by year end, it will not be enough. You will probably go yr to yr with him stringing you along until you realize that you have squandered vital years on a man who had no intention of changing.

Moreover, people change when they are ready not when their partner is ready. You don't know when he will be ready. Start by changing yourself. He will not go to therapy but that does not stop you. You have to find out why you married him of all men and why you have tolerated his dismissal of your feeling. This is important for your success in any relationship in the future.

If you are unhappy, the first one you should look out for is yourself. If you are in this 10 years from now you will only have yourself to blame. So take responsibility. Have a plan and persue it to it's logical conclusion. If you are more important than his fixed ideas then you will know. It is better to force the issue now and get out in a timely manner. Waiting a year will only lull him into complacency and weaken your resolve.
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He's bluffing. He needs you terribly.

Next time he offers the "agree with me or leave" option, actually physically leave him.

The first time the remainered of the day and returning late in the evening.

The next time be gone for 24 hours. The next time for 48 hours. The next for four days. The next for a week. The next for two weeks.

In time he will learn to stop that threat. If he can start communicating and compromising after that, then there's hope. But not otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ah, Catherine602 I hate to hear it but you are probably right. I am caving..again..by not insisting on counseling. I'm a smart girl, why am I being so dumb? That should be MY non-negotiable item. You are right, if he won't go I will.

I guess my thought on waiting the year was that I didn't want to make any immediate decision and regret it later. I wanted both of us to have time to know 100% either way whether we have a chance or not. But it has been 4 years and we still don't know...I heard somewhere "If you still have love for your spouse you should keep trying." And we both love eachother, but also realize we are not the best match.

I am angry at myself that I am such a pushover now, I would have never put up with his attitude when I was single. Now that we are married and his true self has been revealed, I am trying to honor the commitment that I made by putting up with way more than would have been acceptable prior. I know I shouldn't and that I need to stand up for myself and deal with this.

Atholk- I keep saying to myself next time I will leave, but I never do! He swears he won't give me the agree or leave threat again. If he does I really do have to leave permanently, since he won't have changed a bit.

Thank you everyone for the great advice and giving me the kick in the pants I needed. Many people that know us think I am overreacting and I was starting to believe them against my better judgement, but your objective opinions have made me realize that I am actually under-reacting!
 

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People say you are over reacting because their spouse is not telling them what your husband is telling you. Next time someone says that ask them when was the last time there spouse disregarded their wishes and feelings and ask them how over reactionary were they? People place standards on others that they could not possibly meet themselves.

Also if you are talking to a in laws or your parents they have a vested interest in you staying together. Grandchildren etc. They are not living with your husband. I say this because you may be tempted to sacrifice your happiness because the majority of people around you do not support your insistence on personal happiness. You will talk yourself into thinking you are making too big a deal of this. You'll end up desperately unhappy and everyone around estatic.

When you crash and burn after 15 years you will wonder why your happiness was so low down on your list. Your husband is looking after himself, he is not breaking a sweat in this relationship. So who is doing the heavy lifting?

Don't let this thread die out come back and post your progress you need encouragent and a place to vent and to be advised and reassured. It will not be easy for you because you seem to put yourself on the back burner. Change now - you have tried for 4 yrs now it is time for action. You are being treated the way you allow yourself to be treated. You don't think your feelings are important enough to insist on MC and to move up the time table to decide if you two can make it.

You also care so little about yourself that you let him tell you that you do not matter to him yet you rain in the marriage. These are very serious issue. A woman with a healthy respect for herself would have told him to eeefff off and walk put the door. When he begs you to come back and makes changes then go make but not before. You also said he reveal his true self after you married.

That is another area in which he needs to be taken to task - he deceive you. He trapped you in a marriage knowing that you were a good committed woman before he let you see the real him. Let him know that you realize this and he needs to make amends for deception.
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I totally agree with Catherine1602.

Your husband has found the ultimate way to win EVERY argument and fight for the rest of your lives - tell you to deal or leave. It's automatic, like magic. Such easy words for him to say, with such guaranteed results for him!

You are RIGHT to be hurt that he doesn't value your opinions and would invite you to leave him forever over something theoretical. Oh, how mean and manipulative that is! And, even more cruelly, it tells you how very little HE values the relationship. "Go ahead, leave," he invites you. Why put any work in saving a relationship that means so little to the other person?

You are RIGHT to be afraid that these theoretical answers will become all too real someday in the future. You are RIGHT to be afraid that he will totally dismiss how you want the kids to be raised. Trust your feelings.

And, yes, you should believe him, that he really means what he says. So, taking his answers literally, do you want to live with those results? If your daughter marries a Muslim and he disowns her and refuses to ever speak to her again, is that ok with you? If he runs for public office and handles his position contrary to your wishes, is that ok with you?

More importantly, is it okay with you if he never stops the "then leave" threats and you get to have your opinions and feelings quashed over and over for the rest of your life? (It shouldn't be... this is very harmful and will scar you over time.)

When he uses "then leave," he's throwing down a gauntlet he knows you'll never pick up. Because you AREN'T going to leave him over one opinion. That would be silly. And you aren't silly. And he knows it. That's the manipulation here. However, you CAN leave, and maybe SHOULD leave, because of his overall pattern of dismissing your thoughts and opinions, and bullying and manipulating you into silence.

That is the most evil thing here - he has found a method to effectively silence you. And no one should have her voice taken from her.

"If you still have love for your spouse you should keep trying." -- NO NO NO!!!!! Absolutely NOT! There are many times when there is still love but the relationship should be ended!! I can't say yet whether yours is one of them, but do NOT believe that statement.

"I wanted both of us to have time to know 100% either way whether we have a chance or not." You will never know 100%. You can only decide whether this relationship is good enough for you to keep, or harmful enough to have to leave. It's a subjective decision. Just remember, there are lots of good guys out there who will listen to you and respect your feelings...

One final thought. Yours is a VALUES difference with your spouse. I have had a relationship with this problem. Values are a place where compromise is not possible. Values differences destroy trust and faith over time. When you believe (as you no doubt do) that certain things are unacceptably awful and cruel (such as disowning a daughter over interfaith marriage) and he thinks they're fine, you're not going to be able to overlook that forever. Nor should you.

Let him find someone who shares his world view. You need someone who makes you feel safe by reassuring you that (a) he would never do anything so terrible to your family AND (b) that he cares about how you feel JUST BECAUSE you feel it. That is the kind of relationship you deserve - that everyone deserves.
 

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"When he uses "then leave," he's throwing down a gauntlet he knows you'll never pick up. Because you AREN'T going to leave him over one opinion. That would be silly."

This is so on target Hilary - I did not think of it this way. But that is why it is difficult for her to make up her mind about how to handle this because a sensible person would hesitate to pick up and walk out over a "what if".
 

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My parents started off like this before we were born. Then over the years it escalated. It is a power type thing - if its like my dad, he has power issues, probably from his childhood or relationship with his own parents. My mother was scared of him leaving so she just agreed with everything he said. Then we were born and she turned into the most passive person I have ever met. She was depressed all the time, crying all the time. She was outright scared of him (I think). Then eventually he would start putting her down in front of us kids (saying stuff like "dont end up like your mother" all the time). Treating her like she was nothing. Talking to her like she was nothing. And she would tell me "your father thinks I am nothing". I have never seen her with self esteem, ever. He would tell her she was fat and order her to go on a diet and she would, and if she didn't lose much weight fast enough he would say its just because she is too lazy to get off her butt and work for it. She was too scared to even go to the toilet at night in case the flushing sound woke him up and made him angry. Anyways, you get the general idea.

As us kids grew up it got worse. My younger brother was just passive and distant. Didn't tell anything to anyone. Sort of kept under the radar. Me - I was ANGRY. I saw what he did to mum and said to mum and I was an angry child. I was the only one in the family who dared to stand up to him and I did it regularly. I used to stand up for mum every time he put her down as well as stand up for myself and my brother.. He "blessed" me with power issues of my own basically. I would not put up with his crap and for that, he hated me. I received regular emotional abuse because he did not like the fact that I would not just submit to him like my bro and mum. But he made me that way so he only has himself to blame. He ended up kicking me out and telling me I was a worthless piece of garbage and always have been, and I would never amount to anything. So yeah what I am basically saying is if he acts like that when you have kids, the kids will end up the same. Teaching unhealthy ways of thinking to the kids. I ended up with severe mental illness since I was about 11 and I am now 30. It is going to take years of intense therapy to help me. I also have to work on my power issues because they seem to dominate my life a lot. I refuse to have children until I do, because I know that I will just teach them the same bad ways of thinking , then they will teach their kids, etc etc. I refuse to pass this legacy on to future generations.

So yeah. Don't end up like my parents. I would pay through the nose to get into a time machine and go back and get my mum to just dump his arse! Oh and by the way, right now they are both in their 60s. Dad has decided mum is not allowed to drive, not allowed to work, not allowed to leave the house without him and not allowed to have friends. She says all she does all day is sit around the house and serve him coffee, then cook at meal times. Yet when I suggest a way to get her out and about she gets angry at me to dare suggest such a thing. I look at it and it makes me SICK. Don't end up like them!!!
 

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WOW just stumbled on this thread guess its kinda like what I hear
"I am who I am" and the famous "don't let the door hit ya on the way out"Think maybe I would like to move to a deserted island
alone...
 

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I see no reason to compromise your beliefs however to have a successful relationship everyone needs to compromise their behavior. Beliefs are within your head/heart; behavior is interaction with others.

I don't have to believe everything my wife believes but I do have to find middle ground as pertains to action or behavior.
 
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