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My wife is very fond of yelling.



She once yelled at me in the therapist's office. I asked her to stop yelling. She said she wasn't. Therapist said she was. Her response?



"Oh."



After some digging, she realized that she came from a family that yelled all the time, and because she was a woman and I was 'a big strong man,' she felt free to yell at me.



It wasn't that yelling bothered me especially, it was that she gave herself freedom to yell at me. Of course, I could not yell at her, and she didn't yell at anyone else in her life except for me in general.



So it was literally that she let the rules be different for me because she knew I could take it and probably wouldn't leave. That's not such a great approach to relationships.



She still yells occasionally. The difference is that she now acknowledges she's doing it instead of claiming she didn't. And it doesn't happen so often any more. I'm good with that.


It sounds like your wife and I are very similar. I am Christian as well and like my man to be a certain way. It’s like reverse sexism, I think he should be the man of the house and therefore “better” or a certain way of that makes sense.
 

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Thank you everyone for the feedback. Marduk, my wife has a literal, fundamentalist view of the Bible. She likes our current church and will not consider changing churches, as most of them are wrong in her eyes. I don't think she has doubts. She is of the following mindset: "If the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it for me."

I will keep trying to make the best of our marriage. I told her she is wonderful and that I love her. I planned a date for this weekend. It is like my wife has an "on/off switch" when it comes to her treatment of me. When she is happy with me, all feels right with the world. When she can't stand me, I question what am I doing with my life.
DIGB, the "on/off switch" is not a good thing for the long-term health of the relationship. I may be projecting my own situation onto yours, but take this concept for a spin and see if it fits:

The "on/off switch" actually is consequence of conditional love. Your wife loves you when you do the things she wants: go to church, take care of the kids, etc. But when you step out of her view of what is acceptable, she turns the switch off and your are unloved, made the feel diminished and perhaps even given the silent treatment. Does this sound familiar at all?

If so, you have a long road ahead for yourself. The only path ahead for your marriage rests in a relationship where equillibrium is only established when you give 95% and she gives 5%. You will know what it takes to keep the marriage going and generally maintain peace in the family. But the cost will be a loss of a sense of self. You will gradually lose touch with understanding the things that make you happy and will instead find yourself gravitating to selecting life activities / options most likely to "make her happy."

I am now in the empty nest stage but am still feeling the after-effects of almost two decades of peace-making in order to maintain a "happy" home. I did not really develop my own interests well during the heavy engagement kid years. Rather, I poured myself into "wife approved" activities (i.e. coaching little league, active in Boy Scouts etc.) that got me out of the house in ways deemed "acceptable" by wife. Much good came of this, of course. Plenty of engagement with my kids, most importantly. So I don't regret the time spend in that regard.

But, in many ways, I lost my own sense of self. What do I like to do? What is fulfilling to me? In a way, I outsourced the job to answering that question to my wife. When we would go out on dates, it would always be to the opera or symphony or something of that ilk that she liked. I thought she deserved to do what she liked most because she was in a stay-at-home role and had few outlets for "adult" activities. I didn't even really recognize how much I was just slogging through most of these "dates" until one unusual time when we went to see Seinfeld doing a stand-up routine. It was a revelation to go out on a date where I actually enjoyed what we were doing. It was fun, but it also made me realize how much I was sacrificing day-by-day, week-by-week just in order to keep the peace.

I could go on with more detail. But I'd be interested to hear if you see any parallels in your own situation. When presented with choices on what to do or how to act, how loudly does the question "How will my wife react" reverberate in your head? Is it a faint consideration in the background, or is it the first thing that pops into your mind? Of course, we always must keep the needs and feelings of our partners in mind when making our choices. But when paired with partners who must have it "their way" in order to be happy, you can wind up making choices to satisfy them while snuffing out your own shot at fulfillment. I hope this is not happening to you, but - if it is - it is important to recognize and deal with this situation sooner rather than later.
 

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This is good, but let's take it one step further. Is there any other church that appeals to you and your newfound spiritual position.

I wonder what it would be like for her if you still went to a church even if it wasn't your old one. Would that make a difference to her?

I'm trying to get the situation to be a little less binary here.
Marduk, your suggestion makes sense in a world where you are partnered with someone who is willing to compromise. If my reading of DIGB's situation is correct, he doesn't have that option. He must fit himself into his wife's worldview in order to earn her love. Normal people will compromise. DIGB must toe the line or feel the sting of retribution for countering her preferred approach / outcome. He is not in a relationship where he is loved unconditionally by his partner. He must "earn" the love in the relationship everyday by adhering as closely as possible to delivering on the behavior that wife finds to be '"acceptable."
 

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I separated myself from Catholicism after high school. I grew up in a very Catholic environment (schools, college, boyfriends.) But my change was before meeting my husband.

I understand what you said about religion because that's how I felt at that time.

My husband grew up with no religion, I call him my white canvas guy because he doesn't know anything about any religion and that's one of the reasons why I fell in love with him.

If my husband changed his views about religion, it would be a very difficult thing for me to deal with. But I understand that people change, and marriage is about compromising, as long as it doesn't make both partners unhappy.

Maybe you can find a faith based counselor. One that can be flexible with your beliefs and your wife's beliefs. Maybe this person can help you both finding a middle ground (compromise) in terms of religious views. A counselor can help you both with other issues as well; communication, intimacy, boundaries, etc.

I'm recommending a faith based counselor because I'm guessing that's what your wife would prefer.

There's no perfect marriage. And marriage is between two different people. Sometimes it is between two different cultures, languages, races, etc. But what makes a marriage successful is the way both communicate and the way both spouses learn to accept their differences. It's hard and sometimes it doesn't work.

You have to decide what to do.

I wish you the best. Good luck!
 

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She might be scared. She was all-in for the marriage with someone she thought held the same goals and beliefs, has three kids, homeschooling them, and I assume she's a stay at home mom. If DIGB decides to leave, he can be with someone more like-minded fairly quickly and easily, while DIGB's wife will be with three kids, no job and no more husband. She might just be clinging to the old way of life to assuage her fear.

As a Christian, you can't control anyone else's walk. When you die, it's just you up there not anyone else. She can't force to you have faith or go to church. It seems like she thinks that she can control that, but it's not right, and it's not healthy. I hope she learns to give you space and let you go on your own walk. But she might be too afraid to let you go in case you don't come back.
 

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DIGB, the "on/off switch" is not a good thing for the long-term health of the relationship. I may be projecting my own situation onto yours, but take this concept for a spin and see if it fits:

The "on/off switch" actually is consequence of conditional love. Your wife loves you when you do the things she wants: go to church, take care of the kids, etc. But when you step out of her view of what is acceptable, she turns the switch off and your are unloved, made the feel diminished and perhaps even given the silent treatment. Does this sound familiar at all?

If so, you have a long road ahead for yourself. The only path ahead for your marriage rests in a relationship where equillibrium is only established when you give 95% and she gives 5%. You will know what it takes to keep the marriage going and generally maintain peace in the family. But the cost will be a loss of a sense of self. You will gradually lose touch with understanding the things that make you happy and will instead find yourself gravitating to selecting life activities / options most likely to "make her happy."
I wanted to quote this part because I think its brilliant insight. I feel based on reading OP's posts that this is EXACTLY their marriage dynamic.
 

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Marduk, your suggestion makes sense in a world where you are partnered with someone who is willing to compromise. If my reading of DIGB's situation is correct, he doesn't have that option. He must fit himself into his wife's worldview in order to earn her love. Normal people will compromise. DIGB must toe the line or feel the sting of retribution for countering her preferred approach / outcome. He is not in a relationship where he is loved unconditionally by his partner. He must "earn" the love in the relationship everyday by adhering as closely as possible to delivering on the behavior that wife finds to be '"acceptable."
That is not a path that I believe anyone can succeed on - the husband or the wife.

Life is change. It seems as if she still loves him, so change may yet be possible, within certain limited constraints.

Conditional love is reasonable when the boundaries are reasonable. For example, if my wife were to embrace polyamory, I would stop loving her. I think this is reasonable.

If my wife must conform to some rigid ideal in order for me to love her, then I wouldn't call it love. People have to grow. Who she was in her mid 20's is not who I expect (or want) her to be now.

You can't police someone into being who you want them to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #108
This is good, but let's take it one step further. Is there any other church that appeals to you and your newfound spiritual position.

I wonder what it would be like for her if you still went to a church even if it wasn't your old one. Would that make a difference to her?

I'm trying to get the situation to be a little less binary here.
I guess I'm agnostic - so I don't really think you can know about the afterlife (if any) for sure. As such, church does not appeal to me. To be with and support my family, to teach them good morals, I join them on Sunday mornings. Since my wife would not attend a different church, I do not push for a change there.
 

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Discussion Starter #109
DIGB, the "on/off switch" is not a good thing for the long-term health of the relationship. I may be projecting my own situation onto yours, but take this concept for a spin and see if it fits:

The "on/off switch" actually is consequence of conditional love. Your wife loves you when you do the things she wants: go to church, take care of the kids, etc. But when you step out of her view of what is acceptable, she turns the switch off and your are unloved, made the feel diminished and perhaps even given the silent treatment. Does this sound familiar at all?

If so, you have a long road ahead for yourself. The only path ahead for your marriage rests in a relationship where equillibrium is only established when you give 95% and she gives 5%. You will know what it takes to keep the marriage going and generally maintain peace in the family. But the cost will be a loss of a sense of self. You will gradually lose touch with understanding the things that make you happy and will instead find yourself gravitating to selecting life activities / options most likely to "make her happy."

I am now in the empty nest stage but am still feeling the after-effects of almost two decades of peace-making in order to maintain a "happy" home. I did not really develop my own interests well during the heavy engagement kid years. Rather, I poured myself into "wife approved" activities (i.e. coaching little league, active in Boy Scouts etc.) that got me out of the house in ways deemed "acceptable" by wife. Much good came of this, of course. Plenty of engagement with my kids, most importantly. So I don't regret the time spend in that regard.

But, in many ways, I lost my own sense of self. What do I like to do? What is fulfilling to me? In a way, I outsourced the job to answering that question to my wife. When we would go out on dates, it would always be to the opera or symphony or something of that ilk that she liked. I thought she deserved to do what she liked most because she was in a stay-at-home role and had few outlets for "adult" activities. I didn't even really recognize how much I was just slogging through most of these "dates" until one unusual time when we went to see Seinfeld doing a stand-up routine. It was a revelation to go out on a date where I actually enjoyed what we were doing. It was fun, but it also made me realize how much I was sacrificing day-by-day, week-by-week just in order to keep the peace.

I could go on with more detail. But I'd be interested to hear if you see any parallels in your own situation. When presented with choices on what to do or how to act, how loudly does the question "How will my wife react" reverberate in your head? Is it a faint consideration in the background, or is it the first thing that pops into your mind? Of course, we always must keep the needs and feelings of our partners in mind when making our choices. But when paired with partners who must have it "their way" in order to be happy, you can wind up making choices to satisfy them while snuffing out your own shot at fulfillment. I hope this is not happening to you, but - if it is - it is important to recognize and deal with this situation sooner rather than later.
Oh my gosh - you are saying things that I have been experiencing but unable to see or articulate. I too feel that I have been compromising much more than her. I absolutely ask myself all the time, "well, what would my wife want in this situation." Then I decide based on whatever she wants. You are right - I am just trying to keep her happy so I don't face any negativity from her. I haven't thought of my own wants in... I can't even think of one. I bought an xbox last year, so maybe that was it. And now she plays it, and I don't! LOL
 

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I guess I'm agnostic - so I don't really think you can know about the afterlife (if any) for sure. As such, church does not appeal to me. To be with and support my family, to teach them good morals, I join them on Sunday mornings. Since my wife would not attend a different church, I do not push for a change there.
OK, I'm out of ideas. You two appear to be on two totally different ends of the spectrum here.

Someone's gotta break the stalemate somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter #111
Marduk, your suggestion makes sense in a world where you are partnered with someone who is willing to compromise. If my reading of DIGB's situation is correct, he doesn't have that option. He must fit himself into his wife's worldview in order to earn her love. Normal people will compromise. DIGB must toe the line or feel the sting of retribution for countering her preferred approach / outcome. He is not in a relationship where he is loved unconditionally by his partner. He must "earn" the love in the relationship everyday by adhering as closely as possible to delivering on the behavior that wife finds to be '"acceptable."
I think you nailed it - conditional love. I feel loved by her if I act and think in ways that please her and despised/rejected by her if I fail to meet her expectations. MarriedTex, did you ever get your wife to love you unconditionally? What did it take to do so? Did you ever find happiness in marriage? How do you cope?
 

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Personally I think unconditional love is overrated. All that does is set you up to be abused and taken advantage of. EVERYONE should have limits and boundaries.
 

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Discussion Starter #113
MarriedTex - More thoughts are coming to me to your point of conditional love and how I have been trying to earn her acceptance and love (or at least escape her blame/shame/angst/displeasure)...
1) I bought her a newer vehicle to keep her happy, as I normally drive older ones.
2) I go to church to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.
3) I went to a men's group weekly for years to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.
4) I told her family of my moral failings (lust) to keep her happy per her instruction, that I would never have done, which has tainted the relationship.
5) I backed off looking into her credit card spending to help keep her happy.
6) I watch only shows on TV or movies that she will not shame me for watching.
7) I only spend my limited free time doing things that she approves of - yard care, care car, fix house, watch/play with kids.
8) I'm not sure here but I might have given my friends up or not made new ones because I knew she would not approve of them or approve of me spending time away from the family (selfish).
 

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Personally I think unconditional love is overrated. All that does is set you up to be abused and taken advantage of. EVERYONE should have limits and boundaries.
I actually don't think it exists at all in romantic relationships. Maybe a parent for their children. But in romantic relationships, it's a total fantasy at best or at worst a terrible form of codependency.
 

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MarriedTex - More thoughts are coming to me to your point of conditional love and how I have been trying to earn her acceptance and love (or at least escape her blame/shame/angst/displeasure)...
1) I bought her a newer vehicle to keep her happy, as I normally drive older ones.
2) I go to church to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.
3) I went to a men's group weekly for years to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.
4) I told her family of my moral failings (lust) to keep her happy per her instruction, that I would never have done, which has tainted the relationship.
5) I backed off looking into her credit card spending to help keep her happy.
6) I watch only shows on TV or movies that she will not shame me for watching.
7) I only spend my limited free time doing things that she approves of - yard care, care car, fix house, watch/play with kids.
8) I'm not sure here but I might have given my friends up or not made new ones because I knew she would not approve of them or approve of me spending time away from the family (selfish).
Uh, that's emotional abuse, my dude.

Someone that's being abused doesn't find ways to make to make their abuser happy so they stop abusing them.

They stand up, demand that it stops, and leave if it doesn't. Or in your case now, I'm saying just leave. Run like the freaking wind.

This is no longer a religious issue. This is straight up abuse.

And I hope the irony is not lost on you regarding someone abusing you while proclaiming to be a good Christian.
 

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MarriedTex - More thoughts are coming to me to your point of conditional love and how I have been trying to earn her acceptance and love (or at least escape her blame/shame/angst/displeasure)...

1) I bought her a newer vehicle to keep her happy, as I normally drive older ones.

2) I go to church to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.

3) I went to a men's group weekly for years to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.

4) I told her family of my moral failings (lust) to keep her happy per her instruction, that I would never have done, which has tainted the relationship.

5) I backed off looking into her credit card spending to help keep her happy.

6) I watch only shows on TV or movies that she will not shame me for watching.

7) I only spend my limited free time doing things that she approves of - yard care, care car, fix house, watch/play with kids.

8) I'm not sure here but I might have given my friends up or not made new ones because I knew she would not approve of them or approve of me spending time away from the family (selfish).


Why?
 

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DIGB, the "on/off switch" is not a good thing for the long-term health of the relationship. I may be projecting my own situation onto yours, but take this concept for a spin and see if it fits:
Yep, I really think actually are projecting. I didn't read your whole post, so I don't know if you said anything that applies to his situation after I stopped reading. I stopped because I didn't think it did to that point. (Please see below)

She might be scared. She was all-in for the marriage with someone she thought held the same goals and beliefs, has three kids, homeschooling them, and I assume she's a stay at home mom. If DIGB decides to leave, he can be with someone more like-minded fairly quickly and easily, while DIGB's wife will be with three kids, no job and no more husband. She might just be clinging to the old way of life to assuage her fear.

As a Christian, you can't control anyone else's walk. When you die, it's just you up there not anyone else. She can't force to you have faith or go to church. It seems like she thinks that she can control that, but it's not right, and it's not healthy. I hope she learns to give you space and let you go on your own walk. But she might be too afraid to let you go in case you don't come back.
I'm not sure where he said or indicated any of those things.

He stated:
• I used to profess a certain theology during dating and early marriage that my wife still currently professes, but I no longer claim to follow that religion anymore.

• Because I no longer hold to my old religious beliefs that my wife still believes, my wife holds this against me, blames me, accuses me of lying, falsely representing myself while dating.

• We both admitted last year that if we could do it over again, we would not have married each other, given our differing theology and value system and that we argue so much. However, we are still trying to make it work, especially because of the kids.

o I am not being a spiritual leader in our house.
o I am not taking our kids to a weekly spiritual event and teaching there.

o I don’t think that holidays are special, sacred days and decorate and get into the holiday spirit.[/QUOTE]

And the part about "my wife holds this against me, blames me, accuses me of lying, falsely representing myself while dating" is crucial. She has every right to feel he baited and switched on her because she chose him based on those qualities. She wanted her marriage to be evenly yoked as indicated in the Bible that she believes in. She wanted a man who would father her children and assist her in raising them in their SHARED religion and convictions. So, she chose a man who shared those religious convictions. Of course she became disappointed, if not angry, when he turned into someone other than the person she selected. It has nothing to do with her trying to dictate his beliefs or force him to be religious like her or control him and his religious beliefs or switching on/off.

And who the heck wants a grinch around at Christmas time?

Most of her other complaints I could tell were rooted in and result of his condition. Not many people know or understand the full extent and spectrum of the indications of ADD. Not everyone who has an idea or knows someone with ADD has to live with that person, much less be married to them. And even if they do, they still cannot know what it's like for everyone else because the symptoms and indications can range from mild to severe. When the characteristics of the condition express themselves (which may or may not be often, it just depends), they can make a person feel mildly annoyed to utterly infuriated and any level of irritation in between. It's ongoing and unrelenting when you live with that person.

It also doesn't appear that she, herself, understands the indications, which is the reason I let him know she needs to be educated. She needs to know what and when to attribute the things he does and says to the condition, and she needs to know how and when to adjust her communication, her reactions, and her expectations. But also, he has confessed to not taking any medication, so he also has to take care of himself in order for their marriage to have a chance to work out better. Otherwise, his condition will keep on expressing itself exactly the way it's supposed to do, and she will continue to respond with disappointment and criticism.

The bottom line, guys, if someone complains that their knee hurts and then tells you they need knee replacement due to loss of cartilage and such, you don't keep on trying to tell them your opinion of why their knee hurts and projecting your experience as if they didn't already say. If they don't say, then that's invitation to offer your perspective and your experience. This woman who just might wish she could pull her hair out at almost any given moment of the day - not to mention has told him she hated her life and wishes she could die - didn't deserve to be vilified like a controlling bipolar witch.
 

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MarriedTex - More thoughts are coming to me to your point of conditional love and how I have been trying to earn her acceptance and love (or at least escape her blame/shame/angst/displeasure)...
1) I bought her a newer vehicle to keep her happy, as I normally drive older ones.
2) I go to church to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.
3) I went to a men's group weekly for years to keep her happy, as I normally would not go.
4) I told her family of my moral failings (lust) to keep her happy per her instruction, that I would never have done, which has tainted the relationship.
5) I backed off looking into her credit card spending to help keep her happy.
6) I watch only shows on TV or movies that she will not shame me for watching.
7) I only spend my limited free time doing things that she approves of - yard care, care car, fix house, watch/play with kids.
8) I'm not sure here but I might have given my friends up or not made new ones because I knew she would not approve of them or approve of me spending time away from the family (selfish).
You don't have to bend over backward like this, you know.
 
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