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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A while back I had a thread about the emotional issues in my marriage. My husband wasn't putting effort into meeting my needs, even though I was meeting his. He promised that things would change.

And they did...sort of. The quantity of what he did increased. I got little things each week, but it didn't feel as if he was genuinely trying to work at it. He'd come home, we'd either eat and wait for yoga to start, or we'd go to the gym and then eat when we got home. We'd watch t.v. and then go to bed. This was our cycle for quite some time.

Well, I got really tired of giving without getting true effort in return, so I decided to stop. Massages are things he really likes, and I was giving him one about three times a week. Once I stopped, I had to remind him to do the weekly thing for me, or else it wouldn't get done.

Recently we talked. It was actually a great talk. I was terrified of bringing some things up, not because I thought he'd be mad, but because I was worried about how he would feel. Three nights in a row I'd had dreams about being with three different men that I know, a different man each dream. In these dreams I was happy and fulfilled, two things I don't get consistently in my marriage.

My husband isn't abusive or mean, just...distant. He had a terrible example of what marriage should be in his parents. My parents were always openly affectionate with each other. His parents were openly argumentative, and his father had a tendency to be downright mean to my husband's mother. Not abusive, just mean. There were good times between them as well, but they weren't openly affectionate or romantic so my husband saw the negative much more than the positive. He did learn that a good husband works hard to provide for his family, and also spends quality time with them making memories.

My family was vastly different. My mom and dad worked hard too, and we made memories through doing things together too, but they were also affectionate to each and other and to my brother and I. My dad was not emotionally distant. He was emotionally invested in our lives, and when I was 16 took me out on my first date to show me how a guy should treat me.

So it's not surprising that I am the more romantic of the two of us, and my husband is the hard worker who just isn't outwardly emotionally invested in our relationship.

In our talk we discussed that, and I outright asked him if he wanted to be with me, or if he thought he would be happier with someone else. I told him about the dreams I had had, and he admitted to having thought that he might be happier with someone else, and that he thought I might be happier with someone else as well. I told him that, even though I had dreams of myself in relationships with three men I knew, I did not feel attraction or a desire to be with any of them, which is true. I also told him that I really don't want to seek out a new relationship. The newness of another relationship is appealing, but is also stressful to think about. We considered the pros and cons of divorcing and trying to find new people to date, and we agreed that even though our initial reaction is excitement, when we think of starting over in a new relationship, we just think it would be stressful.

I told him I did not want to be with anyone else. Even though we have a big issue we need to sort through, this really is our only issue. Sexually we're very compatible, spiritually we're very compatible, morally we're very compatible, we share the same political beliefs...most importantly, I really do love him. And I believe he loves me. We've just had very different family experiences, and he's turning out to be a lot like his father.

So, I asked him what he needed from me to feel happy and fulfilled as a husband. Sex is a big one, but that hasn't been much of an issue. The frequency has decreased, but it's been gradually increasing as I deal with my personal issues. I tend to be over sensitive when I'm disappointed, and I let things affect me too much. I've been working on that, and it has helped. I know that sex is vital to a marriage, and I know my husband will be more likely to feel loved if I show love. And sex definitely increases the feeling of intimacy between us, which helps to decrease the feeling of distance.

He also said that quality time is big for him. (No surprise.) He wants us to do things outside of the home more often; go bowling, go to the gym, take yoga, etc. I told him that I just need to be pursued; I need to feel desirable. Getting flowers makes me feel special; I also love books, and getting books from him helps me to feel like he's investing in things that matter to me. I really could care less about jewelry or chocolates. Going on dates makes me feel desirable; like even though we're married, he still wants to make me happy, and he still wants to know me even more intimately. More than anything, it shows his interest in the success of the relationship. Physical affection is probably one of the biggest things, followed by verbal affirmation.

Romance for now is more on hold. Although these things effect the romantic atmosphere in a positive way, they're not so much "romantic" in my opinion. But I'd rather feel desirable and feel pursued right now.

We agreed that these things were understandable and reasonable, and we each agreed to put the other first. Tonight, he's asked me on a date. We're going bowling. He's been much more physically affectionate with me in the last few days, and last night he bought me some beautiful glass plates and a new teapot for my Christmas tea party tomorrow. I didn't ask him to do this. He'd heard me talking about needing some plates, and just bought them at the store while we were shopping. That meant a lot. :) I'm hoping that this really is a change. We both got to open up and admit to our true feelings, but we also saw that we really don't want to leave each other. I know that things won't change entirely overnight. Baby steps forward are better than no steps at all, or going backward.

Anyway, just thought I'd give an update.
 

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Always refreshing to hear positives or people moving in a good direction, gives us others hope. Haven't read any of your back story, did you do this on your own, or was MC involved?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. :) We did it on our own, but if problems get worse we'll definitely do MC.
 

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I really enjoyed reading your post. :)

Some of answers/insights you both gave about your needs sounded like they were straight from the pages of His needs/Her needs.

Have either of you read that book?
 

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I'm sure you've given it much though, but let me ask, is it wise for you two to have a child right now?

I'm certainly routing for you but I really hope you've got things sorted out amongst yourselves first. Or at least fairly well. I didn't necessarily get that feeling in this post, but only you can tell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really enjoyed reading your post. :)

Some of answers/insights you both gave about your needs sounded like they were straight from the pages of His needs/Her needs.

Have either of you read that book?
No, we haven't. We...well, we tried two marriage help books like that in the first year or two of our marriage and...I was the only one who actually tried to apply the principles. One of the books we read, "Cracking the Communication Code" was definitely not a best seller with us. It focused far too much on the things wives "do wrong", and basically said that so long as a wife provides her husband what he needs, he will provide what she needs as well. I didn't agree with that, as it wasn't my experience at all.

The other book we tried was The Five Love Languages. It definitely helped us identify what our love languages are, but I was the only one who tried to apply the principles. My husband just sort of did the basics and expected that to fulfill me. Sorry, but a few kisses throughout the day aren't enough to make me feel loved...And he only put 100% effort into showing me physical affection when he wanted sex. And as far as verbal affirmation...he thought "I love you" and "you're beautiful" were all I needed to hear.

I've been hesitant to get another marital help book. But I have heard a lot of good things about that book, so maybe it's time to buck up and get it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm sure you've given it much though, but let me ask, is it wise for you two to have a child right now?

I'm certainly routing for you but I really hope you've got things sorted out amongst yourselves first. Or at least fairly well. I didn't necessarily get that feeling in this post, but only you can tell.
Honestly, no. It sucks to have to say it, and we talked about that in our talk too. I thought that if we tried to have a kid, he might feel more urgency in doing his part, but things got worse. I intentionally avoided sex during the time when I was ovulating for that very reason. Which sucks more than anything, because I so very badly want to have a baby. But I don't want to bring a kid into a relationship with this kind of an issue. And it angers me a bit that I have to forgo on such a big desire just because my husband has such an issue meeting his wife's needs.
 
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Wow, you are wise beyond your years. But your youth also means you have time.

Do get His Needs/Her Needs, IIRC there are couples exercises you can do without him reading it.
 

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C2W you are beginning to sound quite frustrated with your relationship issues.

You have pointed out your needs and he seems to be doing the bare minimum to get by and it's just not working for you as they say.

If you intentionally avoided sex during ovulation then you are unsure of the safety/security of this marriage for children. If your needs are not getting met now it's almost a sure bet that when children are born you will completely ignore his needs. I wonder if he knows that ( ? )

You will of course have someone in the world who needs you more than anything. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, you are wise beyond your years. But your youth also means you have time.
Thanks. It's not fun in these situations but...necessary.

CharlieParker said:
No get His Needs/Her Needs, IIRC there are couples exercises you can do without him reading it.
Okay. That sounds good...and it's not expensive. I looked it up online and it's barely eight bucks, so that's another great incentive. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
C2W you are beginning to sound quite frustrated with your relationship issues.
It is frustrating to go back and forth between the same issue. But, we've both made mistakes and it's lead to us being where we're at today.

CanadianGuy said:
]You have pointed out your needs and he seems to be doing the bare minimum to get by and it's just not working for you as they say.

If you intentionally avoided sex during ovulation then you are unsure of the safety/security of this marriage for children. If your needs are not getting met now it's almost a sure bet that when children are born you will completely ignore his needs. I wonder if he knows that ( ? )
He does. I outright told him that if he can't/won't meet my needs now, when life is less busy and there's not a baby to take up the majority of our free time, then he definitely won't try at all when we have a kid.

You will of course have someone in the world who needs you more than anything. :)
Yeah...and I definitely want that, but my husband would still be number one in my life and I want him to need me too. Which he does, but he's just terrible at expressing it. Like I said, his father was a p*iss poor example of a good husband.
 

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I'm sad to read this C2W, because I remember your post about having a baby and how excited you were.

I'm also sad because I just don't get a good feeling about your marriage from what you wrote. It's worrying that you don't feel your needs are being met in what is (forgive me if I'm wrong here) quite a young marriage.

And I feel for your husband too, because I think your expectations are very high. My love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation too, and a few kisses/touches throughout the day plus hearing 'I love you' and 'you're beautiful' are absolutely enough.

If you need more than that to feel loved now, having a baby is a terrible idea. I have two children who are getting older and less needy now, but my husband and I can still only snatch time here and there and regular yoga together plus dates are just out of the question.

Have you been to marriage counselling? If you're discussing divorce and if relationships with other people are appealing to both of you it sounds like your marriage is in real trouble. I can honestly say, even in the very worst times with my husband, times when I didn't even feel like I loved him anymore, I never thought about being in a relationship with anyone else. It was him or no-one for me.

Wishing you all the best.
 

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Oh, and I wouldn't be tracing all this back to his father necessarily. My husband didn't see his father at all really, his mother was divorced twice and he had terrible examples of relationships. It doesn't stop him showing me he loves me though, probably because we have the same top love language (physical touch).

Your husband could very well be fine with someone with compatible love languages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm sad to read this C2W, because I remember your post about having a baby and how excited you were.

I'm also sad because I just don't get a good feeling about your marriage from what you wrote. It's worrying that you don't feel your needs are being met in what is (forgive me if I'm wrong here) quite a young marriage.
It is a young marriage. We've been married for three years and four months.

And I feel for your husband too, because I think your expectations are very high. My love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation too, and a few kisses/touches throughout the day plus hearing 'I love you' and 'you're beautiful' are absolutely enough.
Well, I'm not you. It's great that that would be enough for you, but I was raised in an incredibly affectionate family. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for what I get considering his mother gets much, much less from his father. He has made big strides from where he used to be. And I have acknowledged that in our discussions. But no, it isn't enough for me to feel fulfilled.

And as I said before, my husband has known my expectations for a long time...since our dating relationship. My expectations haven't changed since then, and he chose to stay with me. Moreover, her chose to propose so it's not like I rose my standards after we married.

If you need more than that to feel loved now, having a baby is a terrible idea. I have two children who are getting older and less needy now, but my husband and I can still only snatch time here and there and regular yoga together plus dates are just out of the question.
Hence, why I said it wasn't a good decision.

Have you been to marriage counselling? If you're discussing divorce and if relationships with other people are appealing to both of you it sounds like your marriage is in real trouble. I can honestly say, even in the very worst times with my husband, times when I didn't even feel like I loved him anymore, I never thought about being in a relationship with anyone else. It was him or no-one for me.
You obviously did NOT read the entire post. In our discussion we admitted to having temporary and sporadic feelings of maybe wanting out of our relationship, but when we were honest and asked each other if that's what we wanted, neither of us wanted out of this marriage. The grass always seems greener on the other side, but when we sat and thought about what divorce would mean, we realized that being without each other would be far worse than trying to start again with someone new.

Neither one of us truly wants out. But we needed to have the discussion of potential divorce. I needed to hear from him what his exact feelings are, and it actually helped quite a bit. His childhood was difficult, his father had an anger issue, and so he learned to shutdown his negative emotions. So when we have had discussions before, he's always come across of disinterested in the relationship, when in reality, he just doesn't know how to deal with or process negative feelings. He just ignores them and pretends they don't exist. Discussing divorce was necessary to hear his real feelings, for me and for him. And when we sifted through the disappointment we saw that we really do love each other, and don't want to be with anyone else.

Our parents told us that the key to a successful marriage is to never even consider divorce. However, that caused even more problems because it made us both feel trapped when things got bad, and it made not so serious things seem worse than they were. Having this discussion, admitting temporary unhappiness on both sides, giving each other the chance of leaving but choosing to stay, instead of feeling obligated to stay, was cathartic for the both of us. And he actually showed his emotions and cried, and instead of being vocally angry and upset, I controlled myself and refrained from criticism and judgment. So, there's no reason "to be sad" for us. Perhaps our methods wouldn't work for you, but this was necessary for us.

Wishing you all the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, and I wouldn't be tracing all this back to his father necessarily. My husband didn't see his father at all really, his mother was divorced twice and he had terrible examples of relationships. It doesn't stop him showing me he loves me though, probably because we have the same top love language (physical touch).

Your husband could very well be fine with someone with compatible love languages.
Again, we aren't you. Everyone responds to things differently, and looking at how his father behaves and the issues my husband has had, it makes sense that this is our biggest issue.

And a couple does NOT need to have the same love languages to have a successful marriage. The whole purpose of understanding love languages is to learn how to show love to our spouse in a way they will understand it, rather than in the ways we would understand. But thanks for the thoughts anyway.
 

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Okay, clearly you were annoyed by my post. I realise you're not me, but that's kind of the point of posting on boards like this; you get others' perspectives and experiences.

I don't think marriage is hard work if you're basically compatible. It certainly shouldn't be so difficult three years in with no children.

While it's true that your husband chose to propose, knowing your requirements, you also chose to accept, knowing the difficulty he was going to have fulfilling them.

I did feel sad when I read your post because of your happy baby post. Since that also annoyed you, I'll retract it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, clearly you were annoyed by my post. I realise you're not me, but that's kind of the point of posting on boards like this; you get others' perspectives and experiences.
Your post annoyed me, yes. I didn't care for your implication that my husband would be happier if he wasn't with me.

I don't think marriage is hard work if you're basically compatible. It certainly shouldn't be so difficult three years in with no children.
I think that any marriage will always need work, just like anything else in life. Friendships take work. Family relationships take work. Co-worker relationships take work. Marriage, yes, takes work. I believe that any couple can have a successful relationship so long as they truly love each other, and they're willing to be selfless. Sometimes it takes more work than it does at other times, but that doesn't mean the two people are wrong for each other. And I think it's a bit naive to think that compatibility alone will determine whether a marriage will be successful.

While it's true that your husband chose to propose, knowing your requirements, you also chose to accept, knowing the difficulty he was going to have fulfilling them.
I did accept, because I loved him. And I would accept again today, because I still love him. Our marriage is worth the work it's likely going to take, and we both agree.

I did feel sad when I read your post because of your happy baby post. Since that also annoyed you, I'll retract it.
You don't need to retract it. I just don't agree with what you're saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just for clarification, if it was poorly shown in my OP, I feel more positively about the direction our marriage is going in. While the conversation was uncomfortable and difficult to get through, I think because we both had the chance to leave but chose to stay, we're in a much better place. We both want to be in this relationship, and we said that to each other.

And no, I don't think that because a specific issue takes work that it suddenly means we're wrong for each other. I really do think that my father-in-law was a horrible example and is a reason for my husband's difficulty in expressing his emotions. Seeing that now has also lessened my frustration because I know my husband isn't just being lazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
His Needs, Her Needs came yesterday. We went through the first two chapters last night. Hubby said he really, really liked it so far. :D We also know each other's 5 most basic needs, and already today he's been meeting my top one: admiration. He sent me three loving text messages that absolutely made me ecstatic.

And this Friday we're going to see The Hobbit, which will meet his number one need and my fourth.
 

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I think it's really a good thing that you and your husband can be so openly honest with each other the way you have, digging deep into your issues and coming out the other side, realizing THIS is where you want to stay, commit to each other and go forward..the texts, the dates.. putting actions behind the desires.

Created2write said: And I think it's a bit naive to think that compatibility alone will determine whether a marriage will be successful
I'm one of those who speaks a good deal on this Compatibility thing (thread below).... I do feel it allows our marital days to somehow flow smoother, naturally somehow ....when we are in sinc in those things that mean the most to us in this world.....

But .....this in no way means - a marriage can't rise above that.....true...when were different in some areas... a little bonking of the mindsets...it does TAKE WORK....alot more work... grueling work at times, hard talks like you had with your husband will come...... but those who choose to
....put their...
's to the task... hold on for the ride...too stubborn to let go.. will make it through...Like being tested by FIRE, it makes a couple stronger.

People can love so much they give unselfishly against their natures for their spouses... but yet....sometimes it will FEEL like work to them. This part can be difficult... as ....can we accept their words, gifts, time.....knowing they may just be pushing themselves on our behalf... even if they are not overwhelmingly feeling the emotions behind the actions?

Your husbands nature or nurture - his Dad's genes, His dad's example/ upbringing ... likely both play some part here... just as you are alot like your biological parents as well... genes and upbringing ....

I didn't have the type of loving childhood you had Created2Write.... sounds wonderful ~ your parents relationship / family life...an example to behold....but yet I dared dream for that sort of life... with a good attentive man /close knit family, the whole package.....my husband helped me Love myself.. and be a better person... I trust you can have such an influence on your husband as well... I get where you are coming from. :)

It'll take a change in mindset in some ways, a tweaking on both your parts towards each other ...meeting somewhere in the middle ....feeling the Joy from each other so strong, you'll both want to keep revisiting that place... making each other happy... which breeds more "giving".

I wish you both well on this journey Created2Write ! ;)
 
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