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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well here goes (this will be long, but I don't know how to make it any shorter)...

I am 33 and have been married to my wife for 10 years. We first met and began dating in highschool. In fact our first date was Jan. 18, 1991 (17 years ago this Friday). With the exception of a short break up (my first poor choice) in 1992, we have been together ever since. After highschool I decided to attend the same college she was attending. We married shortly after college graduation. She began teaching elementary children and I went to law school. After law school we moved back near our home town. I was able to get a very good job and she was teaching in a school she very much liked. In 2002 we had our first child. An amazing baby boy (now 5 yrs old). In 2005 we built a new home and moved back to our home town to be closer to church and family. Our second child, the most beautiful baby girl in the world, was born in 2006 (now 1 yr old).

Next is the part that I have trouble putting together. I have always adored her. I can't recall a time that I did not kiss her good bye in the morning and hugged her as soon as I got home. I tell her I love her many times a day. She is and has been the only love of my life.

I have an addictive personality. Not with drugs or alcohol (I have never tried any drugs and do not drink). I did drink socially and party some in college, but realized a few years ago I did not enjoy those things anymore. But, I get stuck on hobbies and want to do them all the time. First it was fly fishing. Followed by golf, ATVs, guns, etc. These come and go but I am always looking for something new. Along the way I never made marriage and communication one of my addictions.

I can look back and recall a few times when my wife has told me that she and our family were taking a back seat to my hobbies and work. Usually I would cut back on the hobby, but when I felt things were going better, a new one would come along. I mistakenly never felt her concerns were justified because I have always loved her and the children. She does know that I have a deep love for my family.

While our life was speeding forward, my wife has battled depression. She would have some hard times, I was willing to talk to her and try to help, and then things would seem better. A few times she told me that she didn't feel like she was a priority to me, but would resolve that I was a good husband and father. I would mistakenly believe that I was being a good husband and father and continue on with life how I knew it.

In December, she and I left the kids with family and took an overnight getaway with another couple (our best friends). The night went well and we played games and had a good time until about 1am. As night was winding down, my best friend (male) and my wife went to the hotel lobby to get a few bottles of water. I went to bed thinking she would be back in a few minutes and we could have the rest of the night to make love and just be together. Hours passed and she never came to our room. I went in the hall to find her, worried that something may have happened. She and my friend were just in the stairwell talking. (I know how this may sound, but I am truly convinced there is nothing going on between them). She finally came to bed about 5am. The next day she was understandably tired and was not in much of a mood to have a good day. This really bothered me for a few reasons. First, she sacraficed our next day together to stay up all night talking to my best friend and the martial troubles he and his wife are having. Second, it became clear that she could not talk to me.

I was able to tell my wife how this all made me feel. For the first time I truly understood how she has felt for the past 15 years (that she was not a priority to me). For the first time I realized that my past behavior has been so hurtful to her that she may no longer want our marriage to work. For the first time I have become addicted to making her happy.

In my job I fix problems. What I have found is that it is easiest to fix a problem if the parties want it to be fixed. I have come to terms with how I have behaved. I have realized what is most important to me, my marriage and family. I don't know if she wants our problems to be fixed.

Over the past several weeks, I have done everything in my power to put my wife and family first. I am trying very had to look at what I am doing objectively. I believe I have made very good progress in changing.

My wife still tells me she loves me. She has never been overly affectionate, but I have always believed she loved me. I don't expect her just to accept that I have changed for good, because of how I have acted the past many years. But, what concerns me the most is that my wife tells me she doesn't know whether or not she wants our marriage to work. Other than to tell me this, she doesn't seem willing to talk. I want so badly to speak with her, but I don't know what to say. I feel our relationship is so very fragile. The best I can describe it is having something in your hands that is so fragile it could collapse under its own weight. I feel like any little thing could cause it to crush itself and that even without a movement it may fail on its own.

Last Saturday I cried and prayed almost all day. Sunday I took a walk trying to get some perspective on what may happen in my life. I know it hurts my wife to see me this way. My heart hurts all the time. I am feeling sorry for myself.

She went to a therapist yesterday. I want to go also and will be making and appointment soon. I have an overwhelming feeling of doom. I don't believe in suicide and don't have any fear of every feeling otherwise. But, if the good Lord were to call me home, I don't think I would argue with him.

I don't know how to be any more honest. I want more than anything for this to work out. I want her to want this to work out but I now know she has dealt with this so long that she has lost herself. Being the opposite of me she has put me and the children first for so long she no longer knows what she likes to do or what she wants.

Obviously I am looking for advice. Also, I need a place to talk. When she is ready, I will talk to my wife. Each night I come home excited that she might be ready to sit down and get this all out on the table. Each night I get more discouraged when she doesn't feel the same. I speak to my best friend, but he is having marital problems too and my wife has already confided in him. I don't think it fair to put him in the middle.

I don't know if anyone will read this far, but just typing this seems to have helped. If that is all I get from this forum, its more than I had when I signed up.

Thanks for reading and I welcome comments.
 

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Hi Blind,

I hear you and feel for you mate.

My first thoughts, after reading your post, was "hang in there!"

Given that you genuinely want your marriage to work, and that you have openly expressed this to your wife, then I think you just need to wait patiently for the right moment to talk to your her about the situation and more importantly what you and your wife want.

Give her some time. Don't rush her but I suggest you continue to let her know that you want to talk about the situation.

I think after 10 years of marriage she will be keen to work things out especially for the kids. But the challenge will be to find out what is causing her grief and what she expects of you.

I wish you the best and please let us know how you are doing.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the encouragement. More than ever I understand that patience is a virtue. Patience is something I lack but will need to learn. When I get addicted to something, I can't seem to let it go. Right now I am addicted to fixing my marriage. It is all I want to work on or think about. It makes it hard to be patient and wait for the right moment. I don't know if it is fortunate or unfortunate, but I MUST be patient with my wife and our situation.
 

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Please do not give up! You can not undo what has been done over night. I trully feel as a wife who has felt much the same as yours, that she may be afraid this is a temporary change. Just keep up the good work and perhaps over time she see your true to your word and true to her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
kajira - I expect you are right about her feeling this may just be a temporary change. I hope and pray it is permanent and that our marriage is also.

I have a therapy session scheduled for in the morning. I just hope I can keep it together until then. I've never had therapy, but I welcome it. The days take forever right now. I just want to be with my wife. But, as soon as I see her, my heart breaks all over again. She can be right next to me but yet seem so out of reach. I can't imagine how she must have felt all those years.
 

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every bad thing you do takes 1000 good things to fix.

Hang in there, but I think you need a different way to communicate with her.

If you are still sexually active try pillow talk it is one time when the two of you think only of each other.

When the kids are off to bed try the comment what are you thinking right now? This often catches people off guard in such a way that anything buried comes blurting out.

Don't be above thanking her for everything she does. Let her know how much it all means to you.

I have so much more to add but so short on time.

I will be on later tonight with more.

I pray the best for you.

draconis
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree I need a different way to communicate with her. I will be giving this much thought. I don't really know if we are sexually active or not. We had sex last week, but she was very distant. I think she wanted to get into it, but she just wasn't able to. On this note, while speaking to my mother today, she asked me how our sex life was. Isn't that awkward! I think our sex life has been very good at times. But, the last few times haven't been the same.

I'll keep trying to hang in there. I do appreciate the comments. I really need perspective from those that don't just tell me what I want to hear. I also think it is nice to hear from each of you because you don't know me. This way friendship doesn't color the responses I get.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here is a little update on our situation. I spoke to my wife on the phone for about 15 minutes. I know talking on the phone might not be the best way to communicate, but atleast she felt comfortable. Although this is a short period of time, it is longer than we usually get to talk all at once.

Here is what she told me. For 17 years she has put herself aside and tried to make sure I got to do the things I wanted. When she did get to do the things she desired, she felt is was a burden on me to watch the children, or change my plans before we had children. She sees I am trying to change, but is apprehensive that a person can change after 17 years. I can understand her apprehension. Finally, because she was always trying to make sure I was happy, she wasn't able to be herself around me. When she is around her friends from work and even my friend that she was able to talk to, she is able to be herself.

Obviously this is all hard to hear. But, I needed to hear it from her. I think it will just motivate me to try even harder. Also, I have been able to see how she acts with her friends and I like who she really is.

I didn't say all that much during our conversation. I just wanted to be a good listener. I thanked her for not just packing up and leaving. She said she could have done that but it wasn't fair. I didn't ask, but I feel she meant it would not be fair to our children.

I pray I get the opportunity to get to know my wife again. If she wants it, she derserves a chance for this to work. My children definitely deserve a chance for this to work. I don't deserve another chance, but I hope I get one.
 

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I agree I need a different way to communicate with her. I will be giving this much thought. I don't really know if we are sexually active or not. We had sex last week, but she was very distant. I think she wanted to get into it, but she just wasn't able to. On this note, while speaking to my mother today, she asked me how our sex life was. Isn't that awkward! I think our sex life has been very good at times. But, the last few times haven't been the same.

I'll keep trying to hang in there. I do appreciate the comments. I really need perspective from those that don't just tell me what I want to hear. I also think it is nice to hear from each of you because you don't know me. This way friendship doesn't color the responses I get.

Thanks.
The next time you are going to have sex instead make it a senual not sexual experience. Back rubs, lots of touching and teasing, etc leading up to the physical connection making a sexual tension/resolution.

draconis
 

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Well the first thing I'd do is tell your wife you fell in love with the person she really is and was. That you miss that person and are thankful for all she has done for you, and now you want to spend the rest of your life making it up to her helping her as she has helped you.

draconis
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We had a pretty good evening last night. We took the kids to dinner. Afterwards I took our son to Wal-Mart to pick up some dog food. It was nice to have a little time with him. At 5 yrs old I know he suspects something is amiss, but I'm sure he doesn't understand. My wife has started working out in the mornings before work. I think this is a great way for her to have a little time for herself. She has been wanting an Ipod, so I picked up one for her. Not trying to buy her love, but I knew she wanted one. Then I took care of the kids the rest of the evening and took care of putting them to bed. This gave her some more time to play with the Ipod, download some songs, and get it ready for her next workout. Giving her this time made me feel good too.

This morning I told her almost exactly what draconis suggested, that I know who she really is and that I really liked and missed that person. She gave me a hug and I believe she did it because she wanted to.

My wife's birthday is next month. Tell me what you think of this idea. I am going to put together a package with 12 "My days". I want her to use 1 each month for the next year. For instance, she likes to work in the flower beds at our home. I plan to get a gift certificate to a nursery so she can pick out what ever plants/flowers she wants. I'll take care of the kids and give her time to go to the nursery and work in the flower beds for the day. Another one will be a session at a day spa. Again, I'll take care of the kids and everything else so that she can enjoy a nice massage, etc. I have ideas for the others days as well. I would like for her to use one each month, when ever she likes. Fortunately I am in a financial situation where I can go ahead and take care of the expenses of each of the days. This way, she doesn't have to worry about a thing. I want to do one for each month for the next year to show her I am committed to giving her the time she needs for herself. Certainly she will need more than one day each month. I will make it clear I am not trying to limit her to one "My day" per month. I just thought if I give her one for each month it shows I am committed to making permanent changes. Does this sound like a good idea?

Thanks for the comments and I welcome any more thoughts you have.
 

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I think the birthday idea is awesome be careful how you word it to her though. I might be inclined to say, "Now, I want to give you the time you have given me. Each of these special days are on top of your days and time."

I am glad that every thing is starting to work out for you.

Best of luck.

draconis
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is an update on my situation.

Friday night was pretty good. My wife and I live about 25 miles from the town I work in. She met me in town Friday evening and we did some shopping for our daughter, had a quick dinner and then I took our daughter home. She and my son went to a book store for a bit and then came home about an 1 1/2 hours later. She comes in, doesn't even say high and basically ignores me. I didn't want to fight or break down and cry anymore, so I quietly went into my office and played guitar for a while. After an hour or so, she asks if I am coming to bed. I didn't know if she wanted me to, or if she could hear me playing and it was keeping her up. So I asked. She wanted me to come to bed. We had some of the best sex we have had in a long time. So, I'm thinking, hey this is looking up.

Saturday was alright. I spent a lot of time with the kids, and she downloaded a bunch of songs for the Ipod. I did some grocery shopping while the kids were napping. Some friends came over for a while Saturday night. A fairly uneventful day.

Sunday morning seemed fine. We went to church in the morning. My brother bought our family tickets to a concert and we went with my parents and siblings. It was alright. Later, I told her I would still like to talk more about how we are each feeling, etc. Reluctantly she agreed to talk.

After the evening church services we talked some more. In the end, she says if she had to make up her mind right now, she would probably choose a divorce. She is uncertain what she wants. I asked if she thought it best for our children for us to be happy together. She said she didn't know and couldn't answer that question right now. These are the things that hurt the most. She truly doesn't know if she wants us to work out, even if we could both be happy. This makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

This morning I decided I am not going to let this get me down any more. I still want my marriage to work and I still love my wife. But, I have been in a downward spiral for the past month which is not healthy for me or our marriage. I have come to the realization that if my wife wants our marriage to work, then it will. If she doesn't want it to work, then it won't. If she can't make up her mind, well then it probably won't work either. I don't mind giving this some time, but I can't wait on her forever.

Strangely, coming to this realization was liberating. I can't change the past. Whether or not our marriage works out is not really up to me. I know that if she wants it to work out then it will. But, I can't make up her mind for her. For some strange reason, this gave me some comfort. I am having a great day. I told her about the realization I have come to. I also told her that I hope she doesn't ultimately come to the conclusion that she wants our marriage to work after it is too late. I don't think she understood why I am in such a good mood, and frankly, I don't understand it either. Actually, I think it bothered her that I was in a good mood. I spoke to her on the phone after I left for work about something she wanted me to put in the mail for her. For the first time in a long time, she said I love you before I did. This confuses me even more, but I remained in a good mood.

I don't have a clue what any of this means. Any thoughts? Is this good, bad, ugly????? Thanks.
 

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Yes your wife with all the turmoil feels good because she is in control. Now you are taking control of your life and happiness. Off guard she is re-evaluating everything.

Look at most of the how to get a girl/guy books. What attracts the opposite the most. Not the whinny I'll hang on your every word, hope, whim but rather the "if you don't great, if you do that is okay too." Attitude. Why? Strength in character. When you are weak how are you to help someone feeling weak?

Even if it doesn't help her to get back to you. You will not be wasted by a divorce like others might be. You will carry on, and recover much quicker.

I am happy you have found some inner strength.

draconis
 

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I think the realization is a good thing and a healthy thing. It's important for each person to understand that it takes both to make a marriage work.

I read all of your posts from the beginning. Sometimes, we do have epiphanies to late to make a huge difference in how things work out for us, but the important thing is that we learned. All you can do is love your wife and hope that she will return the love freely. Being understanding and sensative to her needs is wonderful, but not at the expense of you. There has to be a balance and granted it sounds like that balance was out of whack for a long time. We all enjoy time to ourselves, but also cherish the family time. She maybe seeing the change in you and feeling guilty about it because she feels that it's her fault you are no longer enjoying things you used to do.

No form of communication is bad - whether it's email, phone, writing a letter. Whatever it takes to communicate how you feel is a good thing. I have written letters to my husband because I didn't feel like I could physically say what I needed to say. It is so hard sometimes to just get the right words to come out of my mouth, but they seem to flow out of fingers very well.

Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks again for all the input. I guess at this point I am just taking things day by day. I am certainly not ready to throw in the towel. However, this waiting game certainly is painful. I don't know what else to do but continue to try and be loving and supportive towards my wife. I still love her dearly. I know in the end I'll be a better person. I just hope I am a better person that has a loving and working marriage with my wife.

We are going skiing next week in Colorado. We have agreed to have marriage counseling (together) when we return. Atleast that tells me that she is willing to try, even if she is uncertain of what she wants the result to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is an update.

My wife went to see her therapist again yesterday. I don't know whose idea it was, but she is wanting to see her therapist atleast one more time before we have counseling together. I don't really know what to think of that. Part of me feels like she is just trying to get strong enough to leave. Another part of me thinks she needs to get stronger before trying to work on us. Certainly it could something else all together.

She did tell me last night that she just doesn't feel like she can be herself around me. She said she doesn't know why. I have tried to objectively look back and see if I have been so overbearing and controlling that she did not feel comfortable being herself around me. I really don't think that is the issue. I just feel like for years she has put herself aside to make me and the kids happy. She did this so long she failed to be herself and lost her identity at home. Until she finds out if she can be herself at home and regain her identity, I don't think she can make an honest evaluation of whether she wants the marriage to work. I believe she has come to the conclusion that if she can't regain her identity and be herself around me that we should get a divorce.

I must make a very careful effort to give her time. I also must stop inquiring of what her wishes are with regard to us and whether she wants the marriage to work. But, I am seriously concerned about how long I can live this way. I sometimes have feelings of being helpless. What a roller coaster of emotions this has become. One day I am fine and the next I hurt badly.

If things don't work out I know it will be very hard for me. I understand it is hard for most couples that split up. I expect we would end up with some sort of joint custody arrangement, but that the children would spend a majority of the time with my wife. All of our mutual friends (my closest friends) are from church. Our children love the church we attend and the other children there. I would never want to take this church from my children and don't feel that my wife and I would still be able to both attend after having a divorce. I would expect she and the children would continue to attend that church. I just can't get over thinking that if our marriage fails, she will wind up with the children, our church and our closest friends. I have so much to lose and she has so little to lose.

I continue to pray daily that things will work out and that we can be truly happy together. I believe if this works out it will only be through the grace of God. I pray God will give her the strength to forgive me and let us start with a clean slate where she can be herself and be comfortable with me. I pray God gives me the strength to stand beside her through this with patience and love and give her the time and appreciation she deserves.
 

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Blind,

I have read all of your posts and I want to begin by thanking you for admitting that you have done things in the past and for putting your all into trying to make it up to your wife. Being a wife that is currently having all of the mixed emotions that you and your wife have felt, I can relate to the both of you.

Your wife has put her emotions, needs, desires on the back for your happiness and your success. I can imagine that going to law school consumed a lot of your time for studying and things of that nature that in turn left her in charge of being the person that held the family together in more ways than a lot of women are willing to do for a long period of time. In that, she has become accustomed to fulfilling her own needs to a certain extent to keep her satisfied or at least comfortable enough to deal with it. I am almost sure that there were times that she needed certain things from you emotionally or spiritually that she felt she couldn't ask of you because she didn't want to cause any stress or distract you from your studies and/or work. That's not to say you ever gave her the impression that she couldn't talk to you, but as women, we sometimes imply things that aren't necessarily so. Therefore, we supress things and as time goes on it begans to build. Just like weightloss, your doctor will tell you that your body has to break down toxins and waste that have built up over time before you began to lose unwanted fat. And that applies to your relationship as well. She has years of emotions, needs, desires that have been unattended and will take time to break down and resolve just like it took time to build.

I am glad that you have found strength within to consult with the Lord about your issues and that you aren't depressed because you have children that depend on both of you. But also think about this...I know that you don't want to wait a lifetime but she has lost herself in those years that she was deprived of having "full access" to her husband. Since she has lost herself in her journey with you, can you begin a new journey to help her find who she is? I think that she would appreciate hearing that you understand that she doesn't know who she is and you want to travel that road with her. You are not the man you were 3 years ago...we all change with time in one way or another and it's great when we can adapt together with our spouse but maybe she just needs to know that you are willing to allow her to find herself and ask her if she is willing to let you do this with her.

I think that both of you need to think about what a lifetime is. We don't know when our time on Earth expires and instead of spending the time that God grants us to be here dwelling on what could have been, concentrate on what it can be.

I believe that you guys can repair your relationship but you guys have to believe that.

I wish you the best and I hope you'll keep us posted....

Sorry this is so long but I really feel both you and your wife's pain...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
wishful thinking - Thanks for your comments. I think your assesment is pretty accurate. Your comment "I believe that you guys can repair your relationship but you guys have to believe that" is something I agree with and that is causing me the most grief. I do believe that our relationship can be repaired. What hurts right now is not knowing whether she believes it can be repaired. If I could just hear her say that she believes there is a chance or that repairing the relationship is her desire, I would be greatly comforted and motivated to work that much harder. I am working to change and have resolved to do so. But, as I believe we can all agree, it becomes difficult to give your all to repairing a relationship when the other party doesn't have the same desires. I know, this is where I need patience. Okay, I am getting circular now and will end this post.

Thanks again for the comments.
 

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Hi Blind,

I just joined this site. I could have written your post. I too am facing losing my only love. I'm an addictive person myself, not with drugs or anything like that, but with my hobbies. I can't do anything small, and while I love my husband, I've hurt him and my family so bad with my addiction to my hobby. He left. And now I'm in the same situation, addicted to making this work with him. Patience at a time like this is near impossible, I know! My husband says he loves me and wants to make it work, but he is in another country and cannot return for 3 months. Goodness, I know exactly how you feel!! I too am trying to give him the space and patience he gave me, but its a constant internal battle. I go through the same rollercoaster of emotions. From I'll wait and be fine either way, to I can't live like this, to someone please turn off the addiction, please! Then hope and finally despair again. Good luck to you! Right there in the same shoes.
 
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