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My apologies, but this is going to be long.

I am 24, and my wife is 20. We've been married for 1 year, and have been together for 3 years. Most of our relationship has been amazing. We've always been very happy together, and certain that we were meant for each other. We've had our problems, but nothing that I ever thought would threaten our marriage.

This past April, my parents separated. I was completely blindsided. I never thought, even for a second, that my parents would get divorced. This was very hard on me, and I had a hard time talking about it, even to my wife. I didn't know how I felt, and I even snapped at my wife a few times for bringing it up and pushing me to talk about it. I know she was just trying to help, and I'm pretty sure she didn't take it personally, but this behavior was only the beginning.

Soon after, in May, I was supposed to depart for Army BCT, but a shoulder injury prevented me from leaving. Luckily, I was able to reclass and obtain another job. This was also very hard on me. My wife and I had been planning for months for me to leave, and my in-laws (whom we were living with) were expecting us to be out of the house. Things were very tense in our living situation, and this had a negative impact on an already heated situation. All of this made me feel very guilty. I felt I had disappointed everyone.

Before I was supposed to leave, I sold my car, and we got a dog. This all seemed fine at the time, since it would all work out once I got out of BCT and she could move in with me after I started job training. Obviously this didn't happen, so my wife got a job to support us through the summer. Our in-laws were very unhappy about us bringing a dog into the house, so I tried my best to keep him out of their hair and in our bedroom. I spent months sitting around on my computer and taking care of our dog in our cramped bedroom.

All of this combined put me into a strange state. I don't know how to describe it, but I wasn't me. I wasn't treating my wife like I used to, and she definitely took notice. She came to me with concerns, but I always blew them off. She suggested counseling, but I didn't want to hear it. I was totally self-absorbed, and she had to pay the price, but she worked through it and stood beside me. Unfortunately, things got worse. I was completely blind to my treatment towards her, and she became resentful. A couple weeks ago, we got in a fight because she was acting very hostile towards me, and I didn't believe that I deserved it. Over the next few days, similar fights occurred until we got into our worst yet on her birthday.

The topic of the fight is irrelevant. She was resentful towards me for treating her badly, and I was angry that she was showing signs of being resentful that I didn't believe I deserved. Things escalated until she yelled "I want a divorce!" It hit me like a bus. I never thought in a million years, no matter what, she would ever say that. I lost control, pinned her down on the bed and yelled "WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?!" in her face several times. She, of course, left. I tried to talk to her about it, but she just wanted to get away. She went and stayed at a friends house for several nights.

It took a few days for it to sink in that I needed to radically change to save my marriage. I realized what I had done, and why. I admitted all of my mistakes, apologized many times, and promised to work on changing my arrogance, anger, and self righteousness. I truly want to change these things about myself because I know they are all traits from my father that I do not want. I usually control my temper VERY well, but it seems that burying it down like I have been for years does nothing if I can snap and make a mistake like this.

I love my wife very much, and I'm willing to do anything to save my marriage. I've told her this many times, but I seem to only make things worse. At first, she said she just wanted space, and that we could work things out in a month or so. I wanted no part of this because I'm leaving for BCT in a couple weeks, and I very much need my wife's support. My continued attempts to force the issue have only pushed her away further, as she says that I can't even respect her enough to give her the one thing she wants, that being space.

I've since moved in with my mother to show that I'm willing to give her space if it means saving our marriage, but I keep making mistakes. I've talked about this a lot with her family, and she seems to think that I've turned her family against her, thus making things worse. In reality, I only sought advice and support, but they've drawn their own conclusions and believe she is being unfair, and that she needs to work things out with me because we're married. I completely agree with this, but it doesn't seem to matter because she doesn't want to hear anything anyone has to say that disagrees with her decision. She's blaming me for alienating her, when she's really done it to herself.

At this point she's at least being civil towards me. She came to a counseling session with me, and I believe she's coming to our next one as well. She claims that she still is pretty sure that she wants a divorce, but I feel like she's only trying to be hurtful because she's angry. She very often says things she doesn't mean when she's angry just to be hurtful, but I just can't get a clear reading on her true intentions.

Even after our fight, she said she still cared about me, but now she just says "I don't know." I think she's forgiven me for my behavior over the last few months because she can see that I'm admitting my faults and trying to change, but she seems hung up on the fact that I "put my hands" on her. She thinks everyone is crazy for overlooking that fact. I can very much understand her being mad about it, but myself and everyone I talk to agrees that she's being a bit overly dramatic about it. I never have, and never will intentionally physically injure her. My reaction was not to hurt her, only to try to get through to her. I know it was a huge mistake, and it was wrong of me to do so, but I think divorcing me for it is extremely rash. I wish she could see that I'm young, and I'm going to make mistakes and do things to hurt her, but I can learn from them. She believes that this one event is evidence that I'm going to be an abusive husband.

I just want her to give me a chance to show that I want to be me again, and that I'll never do anything like that to hurt her again. I think she at least owes it to our marriage to try, but she only replies with "I tried for months." I'm sorry, but months in a marriage is nothing. My mom dealt with my dad for 26 years before she decided to leave him. That's dedication, and trying to make things work. A few rough months and a fight, in my opinion, are not justifiable reasons to divorce someone. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what I think.

I'm leaving in less than two weeks, and I'd very much like to at least patch things up until we can get somewhere stable enough in our lives to work on these issues together, but I have no idea how. All my attempts just make things worse. I'm pretty sure she'll come around in time, but the uncertainty is killing me. I don't know what I'll do without her. She's my whole world. Sitting around and hoping she'll forgive me is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I go between completely depressed, to somewhat calm, to angry constantly. I feel completely broken without her, and I just don't know what to do.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Maybe you should try a completely different approach here. It all sounds so heavy. Why not lighten up and get a bit of "fun" energy happening between the two of you again. What's a fun thing you used to do together? See if you can make a time to that again. Maybe it's just a picnic in a park or by the beach, going to a movie (make it a comedy!). Find a way to get the two of you smiling at each other (has it been a while?).
This will break the pattern a bit. You need to lighten things up as a first step.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She won't spend any time with me. I'd love to do something close to what you're suggesting, but I know she won't want to. Whenever I talk to her in person, she claims that my presence makes her extremely uncomfortable and even nauseous. She maintains a cold demeanor, but I can see it in her eyes that she's forcing the behavior. She can't help but smile when looking in my eyes, but she'll quickly look away to suppress it.

Personally, I think she's just acting this way for dramatic effect, but she'll stick with this sort of thing as a defense mechanism. She often says hurtful things to play the "victim" card and to gain sympathy from others. I find it all very immature, but I would normally humor her because she's not really hurting anyone by doing it. She's just being a 20 year old girl. Unfortunately, in this case, it's extremely detrimental to our marriage and I don't know what to do about it.
 

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Oh man that is rough. All I can say is just focus on getting through today. You don't have to make any decisions now. Just get through today.
 

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Hope you the best man. Keep a strong mind. I too am going through some hard times. The future is unclear but without those that hurt us in the picture we will see brighter days.
 

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Be strong and follow your heart. There will be tough times ahead but the sun will shine through eventually. You can expect that one day you will feel what has happened is actually a blessing, even though you probably won't see that right now.
 
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