A woman’s response to “Beautiful advice from a divorced man after 16 years of marriage”

This article has been moved to http://jamesrussell.org/blog/blog/a-woman-s-response-to-beautiful-advice-from-a-divorced-man-after-16-years-of-marriage

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  1. #1 by she on May 25, 2014 - 5:33 pm

    Reblogged this on gemmied13 and commented:
    some good comments here, Take an interest in what your spouse likes. I can not stress this enough. It doesn’t matter how stupid you think it is. For one thing, if you take an interest, you might just be surprised to find you like it too, in the end, and then you have one more thing to share. Even if you don’t, if you married the person, you owe it to them to be interested in their lives, even if it’s the most boring thing in the world to you, because you really need to be interested in THEM. Don’t casually ask how their day went, mean it. (For that matter, I’d give that advice to every parent I know too, no matter how little your child is. Be interested in what they care about.) Few things in the world say “I love you” as eloquently as really listening to and engaging with someone in something they love. And share with them what you love, expecting them to take an interest in you. They married YOU, too, believe it or not, they probably like you enough to be interested in knowing about what interests you.
    One of the things that bothered me most- he was not interested. In his world, he ‘didn’t have to be.’

  2. #2 by Therapist Girl on April 8, 2014 - 12:04 am

    Never have sex if you don’t want to… enough said. As a graduate student studying therapy and family dynamics I have to say that this can potentially make things worse depending on how you associate it… If you feel violated and raped this could cause serious psychological harm. If you feel annoyed or irritated it could cause resentment… Subconsciously the act of faking physical closeness could bring you to feel close to someone, yes… but that depends on the existing foundation of that relationship and the many facets that compose that relationship. Having sex often or whenever your husband wants to have sex will not save your marriage. Its that old saying that you’ll eventually all have to face… COMMUNICATION IS KEY! You can be the most “wrong” couple in the world, just plain not right for each other, but if you have good positive healthy communication coupled with understanding (granted this won’t be always, it should be a “mostly”) you will survive the storm or logically choose to uncouple– depending on your values of course… However, ultimately, no amount of sandwiches, sex, contribution to narcissism could ever save your marriage or make it better. A relationship isn’t about 50/50, its about 100/100—two people giving it their all always. Although the effort may wax and wane, when it comes down to crunch time– It should always be 100/100.

    Be Open
    Be Honest
    & In my case– Always thank God when someone comes along and is crazy enough to promise you he will love you forever, because you know deep down you’re a hot mess and you’re so lucky to find someone who will love you no matter what, even when it hurts & even when it’s hard.

    • #3 by jrl on April 8, 2014 - 9:20 am

      Thank you!

    • #4 by Beth on April 9, 2014 - 7:48 am

      Best answer I have seen yet:) all these answers basically saying bend over backwards to make sure he is happy or even have him bend over backwards to make you happy.. Sooo wrong… You BOTH need to be happy and BOTH need to work on that goal… Huge part of that is communication :) another part is compromise from BOTH , one should never have to compromise more than the other because that one will start to resent it… Also don’t EVER say things in anger that you would be ashamed to say while things are fine because you can’t unsay it later… If there is something to say say it when you are NOT hot under the collar , and say it with love not hate and anger…

    • #5 by Geraldine Trott on July 11, 2014 - 12:47 am

      From a nearly 60 year old woman who has be married to 2 men who are so opposite to each other, I totally agree with this advice.

  3. #6 by sw on April 7, 2014 - 11:29 am

    technically, this is a response from women, not a woman, so there are different sometimes conflicting voices in the list. some are valid but diluted in the confusion. “never talk about other men”, really??? we exist in a world of billions of people, to pretend the man you marry is the only man in the world is unrealistic. Make him know he is special, sure, but other men are surely part of your life, just as other women are part of his.

  4. #7 by Anonymous on April 3, 2014 - 9:25 pm

    Wow…look at all these comments….this is a great article…after reading these responses, I no longer wonder why we have such a high divorce rate in society now.

    • #8 by Anonymous on April 13, 2014 - 9:00 am

      Took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you.

  5. #9 by Elizabeth Fowler on April 2, 2014 - 12:14 pm

    Some wonderful responses here.

    In response to some of Caroline’s suggestions; make him a sandwich? Sure. And when you are stuck on the phone with your mother first thing in the morning, you should be able to ask for a cup of coffee and get it.

    Dress up for him? Sure, even at twenty-three weeks pregnant, I can put on a sexy nightgown. (Just not a skin-tight one.) And he should be able to ditch the sweat pants and take you somewhere nicer than Denny’s for your birthday.

    Make yourself pretty for him? Sure. But when he comes home to find you covered in mud because your toddler was happily playing outside all day, he should be able to see the beauty in that – and you – as well. Give a lot, all the time, and ask when you need a little leeway.

    It’s all about reciprocity. It’s not a “I’ll do this for you and you do this for me thing”; when you do something, it should be honest, unselfish, and about making him happy. But you should get the same. The things you do for each other, out of love, should even out in the end, and BOTH people should be willing to do those things. Sometimes, one of you is going to need a little more. That’s all right, as long as you can also give a little more when the time comes.

    Expect that sometimes, a reasonable request is going to get a no, and sometimes, that no may not be reasonable. That’s also all right, with moderation. You aren’t there for the others service or pleasure, and “no” is always an option. But try not to say no if you don’t have to.

    Sometimes, you just can’t act solely out of love, if only because you are too exhausted to feel anything but, well, tired. But ALWAYS start by giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt. You married that person, it’s not too much to ask that you begin by assuming that your spouse loves you and wants the best for you, the marriage, and the family. Sometimes, your spouse doesn’t, and if that’s the case, GET OUT!! But that should be the last assumption, based on proof, not the first, based on silence. Unfortunately, there are a lot of good examples above of proof that a spouse doesn’t want the best for the marriage. But I also think a fair number of marriages fail because people assume the worst about the one person they should be thinking the best of. A lot of times, it’s not malice, they just aren’t seeing something the same as you.

    Take an interest in what your spouse likes. I can not stress this enough. It doesn’t matter how stupid you think it is. For one thing, if you take an interest, you might just be surprised to find you like it too, in the end, and then you have one more thing to share. Even if you don’t, if you married the person, you owe it to them to be interested in their lives, even if it’s the most boring thing in the world to you, because you really need to be interested in THEM. Don’t casually ask how their day went, mean it. (For that matter, I’d give that advice to every parent I know too, no matter how little your child is. Be interested in what they care about.) Few things in the world say “I love you” as eloquently as really listening to and engaging with someone in something they love. And share with them what you love, expecting them to take an interest in you. They married YOU, too, believe it or not, they probably like you enough to be interested in knowing about what interests you.

    Never assume the worst about your spouse. Ever. Get out when it’s unhealthy, abusive or destructive, but by then, you have proof of who they really are. For everyone else? ALWAYS assume the best. Always.

  6. #10 by Ezra on March 31, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    you know something. I grew up with an attitude from my mom that was whats mine is mine and whats yours is mine also. I have been so blessed to have a wife that has been my partner. No one has to do more or less, Just be a friend when a friend is needed. the ability to just hold each other (non sexually) touch each other and feel good is as important as having sex. Just sitting beside each other (not talking) but being together and being happy because we are together is important. Having a best friend, lover, companion seems to makeup what everyone is talking about here. we all have to work together to make a marriage work. Its not the mans job or the women’s job to do anything extra special. Talk be friends first. Friends forgive other friends for stuff that goes wrong. I don’t know why married couples can’t do the same.

    • #11 by Beth on April 1, 2014 - 8:12 am

      That is exactly it.. Sometimes one needs to do more sometimes the other does but it should be a JOINT effort of keeping the relationship healthy… No one should hold power in it.. No one should feel if they can’t make things perfect for the other it is all their fault if the marriage doesn’t work… A marriage takes TWO, both of whom need to are just as important in making or breaking it and if you can’t be friends first then what is there in the later part of the marriage if it is all based on sex or looks , sex can cool off and looks don’t last forever … If you are friends and love to be with each other even in the quiet times then your marriage will stand a much better chance at lasting and being a happy one :)

  7. #12 by Anonymous on March 29, 2014 - 8:41 pm

    This is possibly one of the most sexist things I have ever read. Sorry ladies, but if your husband is a real partner, you DONT have to get naked, fuck him, please him, act more feminine, make a “goddamnsandwich” or any of that other bullshit to make him appreciate you. If he is a real husband he is your best friend, and if you have a physical relationship beyond that then it is an expression of your love NOT a requirement to get love. Fuckin hell.

    • #13 by Joe on March 29, 2014 - 11:57 pm

      Anonymous:
      “Sorry ladies, but if your husband is a real partner, you DONT have to get naked, fuck him, please him, act more feminine, make a “goddamnsandwich” or any of that other bullshit to make him appreciate you.”

      Hmm…. the aim of marriage is The Friend Zone?!? Uh, no.

      Anonymous is right that women don’t have to. It’s just that if you don’t, odds are that he will lose whatever appreciation he had. On the flip side, if you do, you will deserve a husband who is your best friend *and much more*.

      So, it’s your life. Choose.

      There is a short core list for men, too, which like all core lists will be modified at the periphery by who you’re with. It’s a different list, but the consequences if it’s treated as optional are, likewise, not good.

    • #14 by Tara Miller (@writemeariver) on April 2, 2014 - 10:21 pm

      HERE HERE!!!!! I recoiled that in the 21st century we will still say “have sex even when you don’t want to”. What? How dare anyone say that to a woman. Ever.

  8. #15 by Jodi McDuffie McMannis on March 28, 2014 - 12:31 pm

    These are all great pointers and I have learned that marriage is hard work. It is never easy. It’s wonderful and special and comfortable but never easy. It is the hardest job you will ever have and if you think of it like that and really work at it, it is the most wonderful experience you will ever have.

    I have one more suggestion: Spend time actually talking to one another. Then ask your spouse, “what did i mean?”

    My husband and I did this exercise for several days in a row, when we were having difficulty. We found that neither of us were really understanding what the other was saying.

    Women tend to use vocal tone and body language to convey their point and men, simply do not have the capacity to think in such a manner. The only say what they mean, They don’t insinuate it. Men on the other hand tend to shut down and not talk about a problem. Forcing us to guess what’s wrong. We, naturally think it’s about us and an ugly cycle of arguments and fights start occurring. Because you think your husband is “shutting you out.”

    After spending time, understanding how the other person was really thinking and meaning, we moved onto a very special place and were married for almost 25 years before his passing several years ago.

  9. #16 by Sophie Winters on March 27, 2014 - 10:37 pm

    WONDERFUL! So much wise relationship advice from so many wise women. We are sisters, and we need to share this kind of wisdom with each other more often. (Sharing this with my readers and fans.)

  10. #17 by tony on March 27, 2014 - 7:24 pm

    Anytime you and your spouse argue or have intense conversations leave the house and have them somewhere nuetral to both of you. Home is our safe place and when you argue there it becomes unsafe for one or both of you. If you have a safe place to return to for both of you it goes a long way to difusing hard feelings and high stress levels.

  11. #18 by Marilyn on March 27, 2014 - 6:19 pm

    Would love to meet this guy….he gets IT and I “got” it after my divorce from a 23 year marriage partner who loved me in the beginning and hates me 12 years later. Oh to be given a second chance to try again with someone new.

  12. #19 by Barbara on March 27, 2014 - 7:09 am

    Don’t forget to have a slow dance now & then, even when there isn’t any music.

  13. #20 by Anonymous on March 19, 2014 - 8:56 am

    The goal should be to win the heart not the war meanng marital conflict shuld never so low as to belittle your beloved

  14. #21 by prepandbloom on March 8, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    Reblogged this on PREP & BLOOM       WEDDINGS.

  15. #22 by Angela Griffiths on February 17, 2014 - 7:36 am

    I also enjoyed this reponse (and comments) as much, if not more, than the original article. Another to add: Always respect your husband. ALWAYS. When/if you lose respect for him, it is damn near impossible to find it again. It goes without saying that this holds true until/unless your spouse does something so deep and hurtful that the respect is gone…forever. But you have to understand that once you choose to let it be gone…IT IS GONE!

    I’m speaking as a woman who lived through (and survived) an 8-year emotionally (and eventually physically) abusive marriage who is now thriving in a 16+ year beautiful marriage. However, those 8-years left a biochemical scar in my body that I am still struggling to heal from. Love like you have never loved before (in all of its forms and in all of the beautiful points made). But if you are being destroyed, seek first loving guidance and counsel, but when that counsel cannot rebuild the healthy environment that you both deserve, LEAVE until you can be safe! Love yourself also.

    • #23 by jrl on February 17, 2014 - 10:48 am

      Wow. Thank you for your words, Angela -JRL

  16. #24 by Mervat Muaddi on January 31, 2014 - 9:37 am

    I’ve been married since your 97 th for three years in the house was just fine soon as my second child arrived mine is one down the hell my child 2.second child my mother in law was the reason of us sorry to break apart.16 years later I start to beg him to fix the house month after month month after month he refuses.you start to show me disrespect and I did the same thing it’s only fair separate beds in soon as my second child with being a separate did desi dayhave to feel today.

  17. #25 by JO on January 27, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    This should be the advice for every human relationship, between us and the rest of beings.

  18. #26 by Jennifer on January 23, 2014 - 9:42 am

    Never assume he knows what you need. If there’s something you need from him, ask him for it. He’s not a mind reader and hints don’t always get through.

  19. #27 by Carla Thompson on December 18, 2013 - 7:38 pm

    I got some to add ~ never go to bed angry. always end arguments with “i love you” AND MEAN THAT WHEN YOU SAY IT, never stop focusing on yourself* because a better you means a better him too! People only put effort forth if their partner is. GIVE AND TAKE – MAKE SENSE?!

    A lot of responses here are selfish sounding. “He did this, he did that”. How about focus on what you contributed to the problem, FIX YOU* and move forward. All of this whining is you being stuck on the past.

    You missed all of the sarcasm/jokes that are written AND VERY OBVIOUS because you’re being selfish!

    Selfishness KILLS RELATIONSHIPS!

    Even I can admit what I did wrong back then, but now it is TODAY*** I have found someone WONDERFUL who I want to be better for. I want to be challenged and make it work.

    FIND THAT PERSON AND WORK YOUR ASS OFF!

    • #28 by Alanamous on December 18, 2013 - 9:02 pm

      Try not to be so judgmental. Perhaps learning humility and understanding towards others and applying it universally will help you with patience in your relationships.

  20. #29 by Zack Watkins on December 12, 2013 - 4:07 pm

    THID IS ALL WELL AND GOOD.
    Perfection is something that each spouse should strive to achieve.
    FIRST we should understand that we are NOT perfect.
    SECONDLY we should understand that no matter how perfectly each of us strive to be to the other we can NEVER be sure the relationship will last or that the changes you make to improve your relationship will be perceived as good changes.
    THIRD…each of us need to understand that we need to understand that any power we have is granted to us by a Higher Authority on LOVE. We can only rely on that power to be revealed and truly understood in our time of need.
    FOURTH… learn how to learn.

  21. #30 by helenr on December 8, 2013 - 10:48 pm

    I feel like I seem to do everything to make everything go smoothly and as soon as I ask for something to be done it turns into an argument. How fair is that. Ive been married 32 years. I am very domesticated, handywomen, work full time but enough is enough, Children are grown now and i would like to take it easier.

    • #31 by Alanamous on December 9, 2013 - 4:37 pm

      I know how you feel. My husband used to pretend that he didn’t know where things belonged, that he didn’t know how to do something, or he would purposely do things poorly so that I would take over and do them for him initially to show him how to do them, but he never accepted his responsibilities and always seemed to have an excuse for why he couldn’t or wouldn’t do the very few responsibilities he did retain. My Aunt told me about a book recently her ex-husband read and remarked that he felt it has helped him to recognize many of his short-comings as far as helping out and accepting tasks from his significant others. The book is called “The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to do More Parenting and Housework” by Joshua Coleman. Best wishes!

  22. #32 by roni on December 2, 2013 - 11:45 pm

    Never over compliment other men.

  23. #33 by Shelley on November 24, 2013 - 3:22 pm

    Be honest no matter what. If a man feels or senses that you are not and I “emphasize” this, he will shut down and most likely it will destroy all trust and faith he has for you.

  24. #34 by Lori on November 20, 2013 - 6:40 pm

    Some of these suggestions sound like they’re right out of the 1950′s “Good Wife’s Guide” !

    • #35 by Samantha on December 21, 2013 - 11:08 am

      I completely agree, Lori! Make yourself look pretty (the more feminine you are, the more you’ll make him feel like a man), have sex with him constantly even if you don’t feel like it, make that man a damn sandwich! What in the world?! I completely understand about compromise and making your spouse feel good, but to me these suggestions come across as basically saying “be a good little wife, don’t nag him, keep your legs open, your mouth closed, and then get in the kitchen.” No thanks!

      • #36 by Anonymous on December 24, 2013 - 12:42 pm

        I beg you to remove Caroline’s advice. I am a man and I can tell you nothing is more annoying to anyone than thinking you know that person more than they know themselves. If the joke isn’t funny don’t laugh. Don’t lie like that to your spouse. All her advice goes against the most important part: honesty and transparency. Men don’t “get brain freeze” they need space just like women do so they can find themselves again. In the original article he said to give women space and men need that for the same exact reasons, not because “we get brain freeze”.
        Her comments are juvenile and offensive and really just poor and assumptive advice in general. She sounds like she treats men like children and belittling your significant other in that way is a horrible thing to do.

      • #37 by CallMeChaz on December 24, 2013 - 2:29 pm

        You missed the entire point. Marriage is NOT about compromise. It’s about unselfishly giving your spouse what pleases them without expecting anything in return.

        I needed to be reminded of this, so thanks to the OP’s.

      • #38 by Shelley on December 25, 2013 - 5:32 pm

        Here’s what I’d like to add to this comment… I want a partner that enhances my qualities from within me, not one that takes… So one who is giving of themselves and having no expectations of your partner IS a “selfless” act.

      • #39 by Anonymous on January 11, 2014 - 3:21 pm

        Yup I agree

    • #40 by Geraldine Trott on July 11, 2014 - 1:10 am

      I agree that Caroline’s advice be removed, a woman isn’t & shouldn’t be a slave to a man & neither should a men be a slave to a woman, it should be 100% equal give & take all the way. Caroline sounds like she is fake in her feeling & her advice is saying to be fake to your husband.

  25. #41 by John - Online Consultant on October 30, 2013 - 5:54 am

    Wow… this is a wonderful post, nice to visit here. Loving someone is wonderful, but it will hurt when broken, so enjoy your life. Online Consultant

  26. #42 by ZachVgs on October 25, 2013 - 2:52 am

    Hi, (I AM DESPERATE FOR HELP!! PLEASE!!) I have more of a question than a comment. If I could? Thought I might get the best response, since it has Alot todo with these to articles! Me and my girlfriend have been dating for around 8 months. We have a very long distant relationship, cause she lives in Ukraine and me in the USA. So most of our communication is via Skype, Text, or Email. But, the problem I seem I can’t get passed is how much time I give to her vs her to me. Let me explain, 1, when she is down, I’m her rock! I get involved by asking questions to let her get out what ever she needs to vent about! I always try to switch her bad views to ones that she’s not seeing I.e she is a very smart beautiful woman that has the heart of an angel, (as her mom tries to knock her down or as a friend was cause they were envious of her!). ((But to me I expressed I was down. As she replied, ‘you don’t need to be down, you have no time for that! And that was it!)). 2, as we were getting to know each other I was very involved to know everything about her, cause she is sooo perfect for me in so many ways, we have a lot in common! I have never found a woman that wants to go find Atlantis!! Just for one! But, I got to know her quirks, her likes, dislikes, birthday, how she wants to be loved, how she wants to feel loved, just everything! So, that turned into something kinda bad! I realized that I was the only one doing this and really wanting to know about her day, how I just want to hold her etc.. She now gets sad that I don’t just open up and tell her about everything she’s thinking, yes I did say she wanted me to read her mind! Lol ((But I have expressed to her numerous times, that it’s very hard for me to open up. I told her I want someone to get involved with what I say, or to really want to know about my life and ask questions to make me feel wanted and needed! But I seem to always get the simple how was your day? How are you? You know the polite responses you say as you see a friend, but it’s the way you ask those questions, that you can tell if they really care and want to know or just a path to say bye! I am guilty on using a trick to see if they care or don’t! By after they ask How are you? I respond with, so how did your time drinking coffee with your friend go? If they respond to my question but immediately try and switch back to me, then they care and truly want to know about me! BUT if they continue with the coffee then they spent time in the mall, then this and that, to me they don’t care! Simple!)) 3, we seem to have a lot of those simple issues that I made the huge mistake of picking a fight about, how she never seems to truly want to know me, to understand me, to be my rock when I’m down, to get her involved with what i say, or involved in a lil side biz I do cause she sells the same stuff in ukraine, to be there for me emotionally, and mentally!! The physical part is Not an issue!! But, how? I fell in Love with her! But, unfortunately I’m second guessing why I fell in Love! Because, I see her treat her friends, family and even strangers, the way I am dying to get from her. I have told her I’m envious of her friends, but doesn’t affect her . All that fighting did was get me a repetition of always wanting to fight! I’ve only spent a week with her and the rest developed over the phone. She always tells me, that I will be the happiest man when I am with her. As she goes on telling me she doesn’t know how to do any of this emotional and mentally stuff over the phone, as I accomplish it everyday! I don’t understand this at all! Cause we have talked about kids, marriage, grandkids, everything. I am so worried that I will be just getting what I get now for the rest of my life if I stay in this relationship!?!?? One of her many responses to my questions to her why I don’t get the same from her is: she’s not my wife yet that she’s Not responsible to give that to me yet!! Please, Please, I would LOVE some HELP, what do I do?? I’m so lost, I Love Her! Everyday, I’m drained emotionally and mentally, I am EMPTY, it’s destroying everything I touch, cause I am a caring, loving guy, that sees more in giving than receiving but Never getting anything back even from my possible future wife, I won’t last!! HELP! Thank You, so Very much for reading and maybe commenting!?

    • #43 by Anonymous on October 25, 2013 - 11:24 am

      8 months is not a long time for a relationship. Especially since it is long distance between you. I know you probably want to hear something different than what I am going to say. However, I think that you need to cut your losses and move on. Find someone you can spend quality time with.

      I’m guessing you are fairly young. Don’t weigh your self down with someone who doesn’t seem to want to give you the same consideration as You have given to her. Just from what you have said seems like she is very Type A personality and the world revolves around her and only her.
      Take this advice from someone who was married to a man like this. By the way I am a woman and mom. I would tell my three boys the same thing. If I had girls I would tell them too!

      Good luck!

    • #44 by Daniel on October 25, 2013 - 12:43 pm

      I am going to put this in the most simple terms possible. Get out. It is a toxic relationship. You are an accessory to her. An asprin that she keeps in her medicine cabinet for whenever she needs it. I’ve seen her type many times. The truth hurts. Break it off and get on with your life. There is no such thing as ‘the perfect one’. That’s a Hollywood lie. It sells movies, books and screenplays, and the more we’re exposed to it, the more we tend to believe it. Every life-long relationship is work, and the infatuation you now feel is little more than a chemical process happening in your body. It’s biological. It’s there to jump-start us into the process. Without it, we would walk away before even trying because we would immediately notice how hard relationships really are. We need these rose-colored glasses in order to procreate as a race. But true love is something else entirely. It’s the choice you make after all the work has been put in, the sacrifices made, the personal changes endured, and this is all facilitated by you’re actually BEING together. You have not come remotely close to that phase. You are being victimized, incarcerated, by your own biology. Yes, there is such a thing as true love. What you’re experiencing is not that. And whatever she’s experiencing is CERTAINLY not that either! You can drag this on and be hurt more, or you can break it off and find actual HOPE in another chance with someone whom you actually CAN build a life with. You’ll never shake your biological mechanisms, but you can certainly redirect them to something that actually has promise for you. Something that actually CAN make you happy. I encourage you to do so. Now.

    • #45 by Beth on October 25, 2013 - 10:54 pm

      So, hate to say this hon and you will hate hearing it but, I truly believe she is stringing you along. You could do so much better for yourself. You sound like a very nice guy with a lot to give someone. Give it to someone who will appreciate it and reciprocate. I mean aside from the fact that relationships can be hard at the best of times, you are trying to have a long distance one with someone who it seems could care less about you… You deserve better than that and I sincerely hope you don’t settle for this… Best of luck with it hon:)

    • #46 by tee on October 27, 2013 - 12:20 pm

      you sound like an honest caring guy. and you deserve to have someone who is as interested in getting to know you as you are with them. I’m sure you have thoughts that tell you that she’s not the one. Listen to that voice. You are not receiving the same amount of love that you are putting out – that won’t get better, i believe. We must learn to listen to our inner voice and BELIEVE it. I’m sure others here are going to give you similar advice. Wait and be patient for the ONE that’s for you. They may not be wrapped in the package you expect, but you will know. You’re smart to observe her behaviors with respect to her concern for you and your well being. I think you know the answer, you just want confirmation. :-) good luck. In the meantime, be kind and loving to YOURSELF and wait for the mate that is deserving of your GIVING. Believe me, when two givers get together — WOW. It’s a beautiful thing. I am fortunate enough to have that kind of relationship. We all deserve it. I waited a LONG time…. a LONG time!

    • #47 by Anonymous on November 12, 2013 - 1:11 pm

      Sorry, but it Sounds to me like she’s trying to get a ticket to the US.

    • #48 by Alanamous on November 12, 2013 - 3:52 pm

      Many of the women you meet on the Ukrainian/Russian dating sights are paid to write letters and keep men interested in them. You are typically paying to be a member of the host site and perhaps you have paid to send her gifts through the site as well as placed phone calls to her. And when you visit, chances are you went through the agency which introduced you to your girlfriend in order to find accommodations and choose places to take your girlfriend out while you were visiting. The agency made money off of every single connection you made with your girlfriend. Typically the women are dating several men at once and sometimes are upfront about it, but not always. If you insist on dating somebody in a different country, I would strongly advise that you at least talk with other American men on the Ukrainian Woman dating forums so they can share their experiences with you.

      Most often we know the truth inside ourselves, but we are not yet ready to admit it to ourselves so we continue pretending and living a lie. You realize that she is not emotionally connecting with you on some level. This is not supposed to be a power struggle though. She has a right not to connect and your duty is to move on. When you are playing “tricks” on somebody else whom you proclaim to love, that is not what love is truly about. That is you being more focused on yourself and not allowing for another person to have interests outside of you. This is an environment for your jealousy, possessiveness and other strong emotions to blow out of control. If you are going to love then love. Everybody is different and just because you think a certain way does not mean that there are not other ways to think or that you think of everything which your mate would have you think of. Once you start to pick apart a relationship or make judgements, you may not ever like what you see. That is why they say that love is blind. I truly wish you blindness, just not foolhardiness.

    • #49 by Anonymous on December 1, 2013 - 7:32 am

      My husband is Russian of Ukrainian descent. We have been together for 11y and I can tell you the issue is probably that she wants a man (ie, stoic, not expressing hurt, struggle or weakness) even as an American, I kind of expect this. It sounds like you are not a match in this department. I would break up or get over it. Good luck

    • #50 by Cadillac on January 4, 2014 - 9:34 am

      Zach, PLEASE get OUT !!! It’s an emotional ‘trap’…all she needs is your $$$$ and a ‘tourist’ visa to U S ! Your age vs her age ( I bet you can be EASY her father )…..you’re american, she’s russian ( there’s NEVER love here )…take a cold shower and have dinner with that single AMERICAN lady neighbor.

    • #51 by Geraldine Trott on July 11, 2014 - 1:21 am

      Agree with the other replies, get out, if she is not as interested in you, as you are in her, from the first moment you started to chat, then your not going to be able to grow this relationship. A good relationship is a two way deal & communication both ways is very important.

  27. #52 by JuneJuneJunieJuneJune on October 24, 2013 - 1:55 am

    About having sex often and even when you don’t feel like it…you ladies are missing something here. The point of love is to give, and it’s not about holding out because you want to be right or you need to feel more powerful than your man. I’ve been with my love for three years now, and when we first got together, we had crazy wild sex all the time. We were sexually inexperienced and it brought us so close together, and I still never let that die. There is always passion between us. There’s nothing more powerful and loving than sharing yourself with the person you love and if you get into the mindset and enjoy it, it makes him feel wonderful that you find him attractive, that you want him and that you receive pleasure from him.

    MOST IMPORTANT THING LADIES!!!! Sex creates a chemical bond. Remember that. It’s your best friend because of oxytocin. This hormone creates strong attachments and keeps people faithful. If you want a happy man, be giving, and enjoy it because it can be fun.

    • #53 by Samantha on December 21, 2013 - 11:15 am

      Not wanting to have sex does not have to be about “holding out because you want to be right.” That’s a very childish and passive-aggressive tactic that some people use, but it is certainly not the only reason for not wanting sex. Sometimes a person just does not feel like having sex. Doesn’t a woman have the right to be exhausted, not feel well, or simply not be in the mood for sex from time to time? You seem very young, so I’m not going to go on a rant here, but a woman should not have to be open for service 24/7 in order to have a loving connection with her husband. I can’t believe that in the year 2013 some people still think this way! Love is about giving, but it’s also about respect. And a husband should respect his wife enough to understand that she may not always want to have sex.

      • #54 by Elizabeth Fowler on April 2, 2014 - 10:07 am

        I found in my ten year marriage that there’s a balance between being available at times even when you are not in the mood because he needs it, and him having the respect to love you (and try again later!) even when you need to say “no”. It isn’t a bad idea at all to say no once in a long while (and certainly you should early on in the relationship) just to make sure he’s the kind to respect a no. That said, being available as much as possible really does show him that you care enough to make an effort, and believe me; a good husband will appreciate that.

        Of course, I also think you really know the role of your sex life when/if the woman gets pregnant (or has some other physical issue that makes sex complicated or slightly unappealing). When both people in a couple are caught between wanting sex but not really finding it all that appealing (there is nothing that will spoil the mood faster than having an honest round of morning sickness just as you start), suddenly you start to understand whether sex is a way to be close to each other, or whether there was an imbalance that made someone feel obligated to provide when the other called, or if someone was using sex as part of a power game.

        As a woman, pay attention to what he does when you really are sick, or laid up for some reason. Does he ask for sex, or deal with the refusal, either from you of because of the situation, gracefully? If he does, than perhaps you should think carefully about the reasons you are saying no when everything is fine. Sometimes, you are just too tired, but a lot of the time, you need to meet him halfway… and yes, you should give him the respect of expecting him to meet you halfway, too. I think we underestimate the power of expecting your partner to be a reasonable, loving human being who really does want the best for you, the marriage, and the family.

  28. #55 by CallMeBitter on October 23, 2013 - 3:32 am

    #2 “Make love a lot, especially when you don’t feel like it” – I am sorry but long term there is nothing more emotionally damaging and soul destroying. And no self respecting man should want you to do this either.

    • #56 by Anonymous on October 23, 2013 - 9:49 pm

      I’m with you on this one. It makes me feel cheap and weak. Like he owns me. And I hate that.

    • #57 by Angel on November 26, 2013 - 11:30 am

      Having sex even when i didn’t feel like it is one of the things that destroyed my marriage. It began to feel like date rape and eventually i HATED thise moments with him, even when i was turned on. Yes, have sex often, be passionate, but know your limits and do not go past them. I am not a cold person but it was every other day like clockwork and if i insisted on not doing it we had major blow out fights so i started giving in and it literally felt like rape after awhile. This is obviously not healthy for a relationship and i resented him for it. Know your limits.

    • #58 by CallMeChaz on December 24, 2013 - 2:44 pm

      I wouldn’t think of denying my wife sex, or anything else that is not immoral or illegal “because [pleasing her] makes me feel cheap and powerless”. If that’s what’s going on in your marriages, sex is the least of your problems.

    • #59 by Elizabeth Fowler on April 2, 2014 - 11:33 am

      I’ve been on both sides, so I do understand, but the way I thought of it when it became an issue in my marriage was: instead of needing a good reason to say yes (ie it’s his birthday), I needed a good reason to say no (ie I have gastroenteritis). Seriously, if you don’t WANT to have sex with your spouse on a reasonably regular basis, something is wrong anyway.

      That said, “reasonably regular” can be very different for different people, so TALK ABOUT IT! And if there’s something going on that makes sex undesirable, talk about that too. Your spouse can’t know why you are saying no – OR yes – if you don’t tell them. Give them the option of trying to work with you, rather than just acceding or denying.

  29. #60 by inesselavie on October 15, 2013 - 12:09 am

    Never Know Wat U Have Till Its Gone

  30. #61 by scott on October 12, 2013 - 11:06 pm

    Reply from Jennifer’s response on letting a man love you in his ways and not the ways of your own ideas. I’ve been married for 17 years and my wife is divorcing me because she said I never loved her the way I should have. I’ve loved her with every thing I got and still do but its not enough. I’m deeply saddened. she said she wanted someone to love her in other ways. that she just wanted a man who didn’t think about sex and to just love her and just wanted to be with her. I still love her but that’s not enough.

    • #62 by Alanamous on October 13, 2013 - 5:45 pm

      Scott,

      There are so many people, men and women alike, who go through marriage thinking that it should be some ideal where if one partner has certain likes, dislikes, desires, wants and needs, then the other partner should have the same and with the same intensity. And if their partner is somehow lacking on one of the ideals then they can become so fixated on it that it becomes like a drug that they cannot live without or an evil which they must eliminate from their lives depending on their viewpoint. But the truth is that all couples pledge the same vows, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part… yet they do not really think about what those vows mean.

      So many things can happen to us throughout the course of our lives. We can suffer great hardships such as losing a job or developing a critical illness and experience wonderful rewards such as welcoming a child into the world or earning a significant promotion. There can be consequences attached to these which affect the marriage, such as an injury preventing a spouse from being able to have sex for an extended period of time or the promotion involving moving to a different state and moving away from family.

      The intent of the marriage vows everybody recited, whether they wrote their own or recited traditional ones is that regardless of what the consequences, a couple are binding themselves as one to face and conquer life as well as reap the benefits. So if one of the consequences/issues/difficulties is that one partner wants sex when the other doesn’t, then that is something for the couple to work though, and learn to respect and understand each others desires/needs not something for one partner to find fault with.

      Either she is worn out from therapy and now the things she says are more from exasperation than the heart-felt truth or she is trying to push some feelings of guilt she might have for some reason onto you. My ex-husband made comments to me that I didn’t love him during our entire marriage while we were going through our divorce. But the truth was that despite him torturing me for several years, I loved him until the day he abandoned me; all 19 1/2 years we were together. Try not to let the things she says get to you I didn’t sink to his level during the divorce; I maintained calm. But afterwords, I was so emotionally damaged, I don’t know when I will be able to let go of all of the anger and if I will able to fall in love again. I used to be a positive, happy person who smiled all of the time. I am so drained and lost now. Do your best to hang on to the parts of you that make you yourself. Don’t be ashamed to see a counselor all by yourself to help you through this difficult time.

  31. #63 by Cindy on October 9, 2013 - 11:22 am

    After 20+ years of marriage, I found that if your man seems to do things (abuses, infidelities, etc.) in waves, he is actually trying to push you away. He may say “I love you”, but listen with your heart not your ears. He just wants you to be the one to make the split, so that he can ‘possibly’ play the victim. After pushing him for “truth”, mine finally said it, “No b—h, I never did…!” ……God gave me the avenue to push down, and set myself free.

  32. #64 by Toes Insand on October 7, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    Lots of good stuff here to ponder and apply but I do agree with commenters that sometimes you have to respect yourself and know when it is time to leave. I pushed past that for way too long and suffered greatly for it. I was married for 15 years to a selfish, emotionally abusive “Christian” man who finally gave me scriptural grounds for divorce, then kept begging me to forgive him and take him back because he “loved me”. He did this almost to the day he remarried #2 of so far 3 women, all of whom he left in worse shape than he found. I am so glad I didn’t take him back though I did forgive him because I realized how bent/broken he is (now possibly working on wife #4).

    It took me a good 15 years to recover myself but I am now in a loving relationship with a wonderful man with whom I really can live as the kind of woman who strives to apply counsel such as above to the best of her ability. He is an appreciative man who reciprocates though I do have to recognize that often his ways are different than mine. I also have to be careful because he has fairly recently come out of what I recognize as an emotionally abusive relationship of 25 or so years. He is showing signs of recovery and I am seeing the him I remember from high school (yes, we were friends and admirers 40 years ago but only dated a couple of times) and the him that peeks out of his fearfulness more and more often now. Yea!

    One thing I want to interject is that some of the women who have commented above might possibly be married to men who actually have serious issues such as bi-polar disorder or even Asperger syndrome (often considered a high functioning form of autism. It can lead to difficulty interacting socially… http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002516/). Sometimes getting a diagnosis, if the mate is agreeable to getting evaluated, can lead to a better understanding of what you are really dealing with and then progress can be made.

  33. #65 by Daniel on October 7, 2013 - 9:24 am

    I can’t imagine a man in the world who deserves a woman who actually practices these values, or even truly believes them. It’s tempting to react to this with a sigh of “wow, I wish MY wife would do these things…” But upon reflection, perhaps instead of wishing, maybe it would be better to take matters into my own hands… maybe I can’t change her, but I can change me. If I want the best out of her, I must give her the best out of me. I will follow the husband-equivalent of this list, which I imagine isn’t terribly different. Ie. where it says “have sex often” for a man it would translate to “be romantic often.” In a world full of women (and men) who enter relationships harboring so many hidden ‘entitlements’, it sure is surprising to see a list like this. And inspiring.

  34. #66 by Terri on October 3, 2013 - 9:02 am

    I did all of these and would tell my husband constantly how much I appreciated him and how hard he works to support me and the kids so I could stay home with them and I would have his dinner ready for him when he got home, would get up and make him his lunch…. He still cheated on me with two women at the same time and during counseling he started up with another and he wants to know why I don’t want to be with him anymore and that I should get past it and just go back to how things were. TWO marriage counselors have said he is totaly at fault for the marriage breakdown. I praised him I cherished him. I loved him with every fiber of my being and this is what I got in return.

    • #67 by Cindy on October 9, 2013 - 12:06 pm

      I can empathize. My husband of 21 years set me out because I was “withholding desire” and other positive emotions. But from the day we married, he would either abuse me physically or verbally in even some small way, and, looking back, I figured out he was cheating on me about every two years (almost on cue, every two years). He continued to say “I love you” to me to the end, and had everyone who knew us believing he did (through telling them and things he would do in front of them, or buy/give me), but his “show” of love was just that ….an act to make others think he was good/kind and caring all the time. Behind the scenes he would give his body (sexaholic like any man) but NEVER gave his mind, heart, or soul.
      When he set me out, without a dime and into a house we owned that is practically falling down, it was because I had finally just shut down (his fault totally). I was a good, faithful, loving wife in the first years. I forgave, almost instantly, every transgression against our vows. But over time, the waters that beat along the shore wear away at the strongest stone. So levees are built by those living behind them, to protect their very lives. And I had built a wall so high and sturdy, even I couldn’t pull a stone to peep around and see if it was safe to let my guard down for a time more. …..When he put me out, I feel God told me there was only one last chance. I was to text him, and remind him, of every incident where he had caused me harm. Then I was to tell him, “I have thrown each stone, plainly marked with your sins against me. Now take up your own, and mark them with what you see me as being guilty of, and cast them on me. I want neg your forgiveness, though you never ask mine but once. I want to ask forgiveness from you and God. That, because if I ever hurt you, I never EVER meant to. …..He never sent a word in return. All he would say was, “Just stop what you’re doing to me.” God told me all I was doing was forcing him to read about the things he’d done. And that he hated me for it, because he had managed to block out God’s whispers of the truth, and His knock at the door for salvation. Even managing to pass through my human voice and cries over the years. But on writing, it was impossible to block, hide, make excuses, deny to himself, manipulate the words to his design. ….He set me out August 26th. I still pray that he find God, and the man I loved enough when dating that I wanted to be his wife. But as time passes, and I see him fighting his demons, my hope slips further away each day.

  35. #68 by Donna Tyson on September 25, 2013 - 2:07 pm

    This is so true.i can see some flaws of my own by reading this.

  36. #69 by Elaine on September 24, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    Men need to be needed. They have a hard time trying to figure out how to fit into this world of strong women. You may be able to do something yourself, but sometimes you just need to say”I need you, or I need you to do this for me”. When I was dating my husband, I came home one morning and found my cat had been killed. I called him at work, crying. He immediately left work, came to my house, buried her in the back yard, and stayed with me the rest of the day. That day, there was a shift in the relationship. Looking back, that was the day that I knew he loved me.

    • #70 by My Pink Blog! on October 4, 2013 - 6:29 pm

      Aww I love this.

    • #71 by Elizabeth Fowler on April 2, 2014 - 11:43 am

      I learned this myself just six months ago, after ten years of marriage, when our son was stillborn. My husband always told me how much he admired strong women, and my being a strong woman was one of the things he loved and valued most in me, which I always thought meant that he was glad I’ve always been a rather private person and not inclined to share my feelings when I’m vulnerable. It wasn’t until we lost our son, and he was there with me through the entire labor and in the subsequent weeks when I couldn’t do it alone that I realized that he really meant that, while he loves that I’ll speak my mind, disagree with him, have my own interests, whatever, he REALLY needed me to need him once in a while. He values that I don’t expect him to “make me happy”… but it was incredibly good for our marriage for me to learn that it didn’t mean he didn’t want me to need him now and again. I know now to the bottom of my soul that he would die for me or the kids. It never occurred to me until then that he now knows that I love him enough to do the same, because I am willing to trust and lean on him, and he knows I don’t do that lightly.

  37. #72 by Sabrina on September 20, 2013 - 11:43 am

    Love unconditionally with all your being. Be his best friend and your own. Be everyone and everything he has ever dreamed of or fantasized about. Be his wife, mistress, secret lover, mother aspect (mother him when he needs it), best friend, always stand beside him as his equal. You share the weight of the burden he feels he carries. Let him know and show him you are there to carry it with him. He is not alone.

    I married my best friend. We became friends before anything else happened. Since the day we met we have both changed a lot. Yet, we both strive to keep the others wants and needs within our focus. Stop looking at yourselves as individuals.

    When I made the decision to make a life with my Husband I gave myself fully too this endeavor. I do not hold any part of myself back. Not even the smallest amount. In my mind I am no longer an individual person. He is no longer an individual person. In my mind we are now one entity. We are now one person, one individual, with one goal. Our goal is to love each other unconditionally no matter what comes our way. We strive forward with single purpose of mind together. No we don’t always agree what way is best. Yet we discuss and work our way through it. No one gets the final say. It is always a joint effort and decision.

    Ladies…whisper your dreams and fantasies into his ear as you lean over his shoulder. Tell him what you want to do to him and have him do to you. Be naughty, sexy, lusty. There is nothing shameful in this. He is the one these things should be shared with. The thought that comes to mind here is this… Be a lady on his arm when out on the street. Behind closed doors be a freak in his sheets. Simple, yet so very true. We are now in our 14th year. Be all that he wants and more ladies. He will then do the same for you.

  38. #73 by Beth on September 19, 2013 - 10:33 pm

    Laugh often, never go to bed mad, tell him you love him often because you never know what the day will bring, don’t just touch him, cherish him. Make time to be together, if you have to decide on a date time, so you can keep the love alive… If you are with him it’s because anything you might have thought were his faults you decided didn’t bother you enough to leave him while he was courting you, remember that he too probably had to look past things, so if they were okay then, don’t build them up after into being bigger than they are. Every now and again when you kiss keep your eyes open and you will see the love:)

  39. #74 by Melissa on September 19, 2013 - 1:07 am

    Never ever belittle him. It will decrease his confidence. If you don’t build him up, someone else will.

  40. #75 by Anonymous on September 18, 2013 - 10:16 am

    Number 18 is really ironic

    • #76 by Anonymous on September 20, 2013 - 12:18 pm

      I was thinking the same thing.
      But this and the other blog are true.
      Most things mentioned is what makes for a good marriage.

    • #77 by Anonymous on September 30, 2013 - 9:38 pm

      It is important, though, to remind people that YMMV (your mileage may vary): certain people aren’t particularly fond of certain things even if done with a good heart (for example laughing at something unfunny). Some people like reassurance. Some others prefer honesty.

    • #78 by Anonymous on October 17, 2013 - 10:46 pm

      I pretty sure Caroline is a dude. :)

  41. #79 by Suzanne on September 14, 2013 - 11:55 pm

    I was married to the love if my life for 15 years and out of the blue he filed for divorce and left me. I found out when I came home from work and he moved out! I connect with everything women and men have said. Do not take your spouse for granted. When you have children still make your spouse number one. If I had done that I would still be happily married.

  42. #80 by Dana on September 12, 2013 - 10:11 pm

    Both letters were amazing. I think it touched my heart because its true! I believe that’s the true key to a marriage having faith in a higher power and in each other. Never putting ur relationship on front street, what’s going on between u stays between u! Of course talking to an elder person that is married and has been married for years, well they must have some secret to life and love worth hearing! Thank u for the letters they were wonderful!
    Sincerely
    Dana

  43. #81 by Anonymous on September 11, 2013 - 2:55 pm

    I agree with Wendy (#40 above,) Sometimes, love is simply a decision, at a moment when there is not a shred of feeling attached. You just do it!
    Never draw a “line in the sand” (sorry,) and choose to only give your 50%…we need to be prepared to give whatever is needed in any given situation. It’s not a 50-50 proposition, it’s more like 110-110.

  44. #82 by Michelle S. on September 11, 2013 - 5:13 am

    After 25 years of marriage here are a few things I have learned : Never take any aspect of your relationship for granted. Neither of you is perfect, get over it. If you don’t grow together you WILL grow apart.

  45. #83 by Barbara~ on September 10, 2013 - 10:38 pm

    Remember why you fell in love with him. Remember how your heart would skip a beat every time you saw him. Appreciate him and all he does for you and…Love him, love him, love him with actions not just words.

    • #84 by Anonymous on September 15, 2013 - 6:50 pm

      Thanks Barbara for the warning/reminder! I needed to hear it.

    • #85 by Anonymous on December 11, 2013 - 1:28 pm

      Amen to that. I 100 percent agree with you.

  46. #86 by Joseph Pee on September 9, 2013 - 11:18 am

    Reblogged this on Greatjoe, The official Blog!.

    • #87 by Anonymous on September 15, 2013 - 6:54 pm

      Thank you Joseph! It seems to me that long-term love relationships are kind of like riding the surf. You just gotta stay on the board and ride it on through thte highs and the lows. I’ve had moments when I despised my spouse and moments when I fell in love with him all over again. I just hold on through the tough times and know that with a lot of effort, I will experience the falling in love again. Like you wrote, I just try to remember those moments when my heart skipped a beat every time I saw him. Thanks for reminding me as I ride through another ebb in the wave of life.

      • #88 by Cindy on October 9, 2013 - 12:28 pm

        You must never have had good reason for the “despise” to be felt. Some things just can’t let you hold on long enough for “falling in love again.” Some things tell you the love in you is JUST in you, and then it’s time to either go or go on living a lie.

  47. #89 by allenspence on September 6, 2013 - 10:51 am

    understanding must be compulsary in any relationship.if two person understand to each other then no chance for any type of conflict.

  48. #90 by Hopeless on September 6, 2013 - 8:34 am

    Women- don’t talk about your guy friends all the time, especially on the first date! Men don’t want to hear about how wonderful someone else is…just like you wouldn’t want to hear how wonderful the girl in the office is.

  49. #91 by Anonymous on September 5, 2013 - 7:53 pm

    Above all else you MUST love yourself first. Catering and giving into someone else to keep a marriage together is unhealthy.

    • #92 by Anonymous on October 11, 2013 - 12:14 am

      Amen. That is not true love. True love does not wear a blindfold. True love is honest and it is an ongoing commitment. One you renew everyday. And when the times are tough, that is when you reflect on why you loved them in the first place. Where you place your focus is key. But you cannot focus with your eyes shut!

    • #93 by Anonymous on November 27, 2013 - 1:50 pm

      As long as the someone else is a man, huh. Since there is no relationship of any kind without at least one person giving in, ideally both, that just sounds feminist to me.

  50. #94 by Anonymous on September 5, 2013 - 9:47 am

    Hindsight-Don’t Divorce-make it work after 52yrs of marriage my favorite saying is “I didn’t get married to get divorced”.

  51. #95 by Kelly on September 5, 2013 - 1:46 am

    Simply loving someone is NOT enough. Just like anything else in life, you have to work hard and know there are going to be ups and downs along the way.

    I have been married to my husband for almost 17 years now and we started out young. Thinking back, I had absolutely no idea what love was! I think that I have more of an idea at this point. : )

  52. #96 by Jacquelyn MacPhail on September 4, 2013 - 3:59 am

    Well,I was married for 18 yrs and four great children were gifts from God out of the marriage. Advice…. Don’t forget who came first,the spouse or the kids?Make time for each other no matter how many children you have…
    Having good communication is very important… Everybody gets to speak without interruption until their issue is voiced.
    We are put together with our spouses because we fell in love . Our soul purpose of this marriage is to do whatever it takes to make their lives the best there ever could be…. And therefor they will reciprocate the same for us…. “Do unto others as you would have done to you .” Love can only grow when well nourished.
    None of this “if I do for you what will you do for me????”
    Thanks for listening! Gary Chapman is a wonderful Christian writer, and has written many including “Love Is A Verb”
    All wonderful reads!

  53. #97 by Anonymous on September 3, 2013 - 11:28 am

    I have read all the comments on both sides so far. One of the hardest things I have to deal with is that my husband travels for work. When he leaves he is gone for long periods of time.

    This is very hard on a marriage. Most of the time he works nights when he is gone. So we rarely get a chance to talk. When we do its just a few minutes here and there. Most of the time we communicate through text or email. Especially when he has to share a room with his co workers.

    We have to almost learn all over again how to talk when he does get to come home. At the same time he is a man of few words so communicating sometimes is difficult no matter how we are doing it. Other times he talks a lot.

    One of our big issues is sex. I feel that it’s very important in a marriage/ relationship. He feels the opposite. Says its not important or a priority for him. When we are intimate it’s great, but its few and far between. Even when he is home. Doesn’t make me feel very desirable as a woman or wife.

    Most of the time I also have to be the one to initiate any action. It would be great if he would do that more than maybe one out of every 10 times. There again though you have to be initiate more than 3-4 times a year.

    Before anyone thinks or says he is having an affair he is not. He has always been this way. Even in his 20′s he said.

    I have done most of the things listed on both sides. He has done some of them as well. We have talked about this issue many times. Seems like it gets better for a while then it goes right back to the way it was. Not for lack of me dressing sexy for him, flirting with him to name a couple.
    Example of this would be the time we went out for dinner and he wanted to take me dancing. I took time to get ready so I would look good for him. We went to dinner and then to a nightclub. He wouldn’t dance with me at all. He just sat there like a bump on a log. We tried to be intimate that night but no go

    I asked him why a few days later. I was told that I take to long to get ready and by the time we leave he is out of the mood and tired. He also said that I try to hard and to picky about how I look and to hard on myself. He wants me to pick an outfit and go with it. He doesn’t realize that if I’m not comfortable in something then I feel like I’m not making him proud to be with me.

    I could keep going but this is already rather long. Thanks for listening.

    • #98 by Sabrina on September 20, 2013 - 12:05 pm

      At times these same scenarios happen in my life as well. The difference for me is that I have taken up the gauntlet in a matter of speaking. In 14 years I have figure out what makes my husband’s body tick. If he isn’t in the mood then get him there. Touch him. caress him, fondle him until he can’t say no any more. Sometimes they want to be pursued and others they want to pursue. Seriously though… I once asked my husband if he would mind if I found someone else to satisfy me since he wasn’t able to anymore. Saying that I still loved him but I have needs. Lets just say it opened a doorway for a lot of conversations and he is now taking a more active roll in our seductions.

      • #99 by Anonymous on September 21, 2013 - 10:33 am

        Thanks Sabrina . We have had many talk about the subject. Even had the same conversation about being with others. He is the one who brought that up. Even went as far as trying to meet people in that lifestyle. Didn’t work to well. I have tried to do all of getting what works to turn him on. If he isn’t in the mood then nothing works. He even told me I can find someone to fill in so to speak if I wanted too. Just as long as I tell him first and don’t go behind his back.

        In fact I tried to talk to him the other day about our lack of a sex life. I received one or two word answers. He told me again that sex is not a priority for him or an important part of our marriage. It hurts to the point that I feel unattractive and undesirable. When he is in the mood then it happens.

        This is going to sound like bragging but I’m not that way. I work with men in my job. Most of the people who come to my job are men. Truck drivers, construction crews, individuals etc. I have been there for almost 7 years and know a lot of them. If I wanted to I could ask a few certain ones to be that fill in person. They would do it too. That is not a guess either. A couple have flat out told me if I wasn’t married they would ……. Well you get the picture. I won’t do that though. Although sometimes it’s very tempting. I won’t sit here and say that it’s not.

        One of my coworkers asked me the other day how can I stand it with him being gone. I said I’m used to it even though it sucks. He said that is no kind of marriage to have and asked why I was even married. I said because I love him and want to be. Of course I don’t talk to them about other things. That isn’t their business.

        Thanks again!

    • #100 by Anonymous on September 22, 2013 - 3:00 am

      Seems he likes spontenaity have you ever just decided to take off, drive in any direction, find a spot, and reconnect? Or since he likes quick getaways to fun, have a couple outfits picked out and put together, as soon as he says he wants to go dancing or something the next time, quickly pick the one that best suits, throw on some fresh lipgloss,fluff up your hair, grab his hand and go…:) he seems to love you natural so take his cue and run with it:) good luck with it:)

      • #101 by Anonymous on September 23, 2013 - 10:53 am

        Just taking off is not always easy. Since we have kids. He rarely gets in those moods to do that. Especially since he is gone so much. For me to just grab something throw it on doesn’t work for me. I can’t just fluff my hair and put gloss on. I don’t leave the house with out my makeup on and hair done. I know that sounds vain and I’m not. I just feel better when I look my best. I take my time to get ready so he is proud to have me by his side. So he can think to himself hey guys look at my wife she is smoking hot and you can’t have her! Lol! It doesn’t always take me a long time to get ready either. Just on particular times when we get to actually go and do something like out to a club. Which has only happened maybe 5 times in 11 years.

        I’m a very social person. He isn’t and really doesn’t like going to places like that. It’s also difficult to make any plans. When he is gone he never really knows when he will get to come home. He will be told that he gets to go when they are done with the job. Then will be told the next day well we need you to here , here and here. It’s frustrating to both of us.

        Thanks for your input. I do appreciate it!

    • #102 by Cindy on October 9, 2013 - 12:53 pm

      I know this “trick”, it’s called Catch-22. My husband of 20+ years did it all the time. Start taking notes on the times similar to your dressing up and then get told that you’re being denied intimacy is your fault (for whatever reason). …….I finally woke up to the fact that the Catch-22s were my ex’s way of pushing/pushing/pushing at me. To make me always feel ANYTHING that was wrong between us was my fault. ……What my husband wanted, almost from day one, was for me to leave but for me (and others) to BELIEVE it was my fault the marriage failed. That way he could feel ‘good’ about himself. He could hold his head up to our friends and say “she knows she messed up!” …..Some of his last words to me were “You did this to yourself!”, as if he was some sought after coin I’d thrown back into the wishing well; or he was going to punish me (which, if they allow my previous comments, you will find he is). It’s just a sadist in him, that he had hidden when were we dating. He got some sick joy out of hurting me. …..I woke up tho. I hope you do.

      • #103 by Anonymous on October 11, 2013 - 7:20 pm

        Cindy,
        It’s not that he tells me he isn’t going to be because of …. It is the fact he doesn’t enjoy it like I do. Like I said before it’s not important or a priority to him. Why I don’t know. He doesn’t even know. Just has always been that way for him. When he wants to we do. When I want to sometimes he does and other times he doesn’t. More to the does not side.
        Yes I screwed up and didn’t tell him. It wasn’t done purposely. I only met the guy. Didn’t do anything but talk. It was a couple of years ago.

        I’m sorry for what you went through with your ex. No one deserves to be treated that way. I hope if you haven’t found love again yet you will find it soon!
        Thanks for your input .

    • #104 by Anonymous on October 17, 2013 - 11:59 am

      Sounds like he suffers from low testosterone. It would definitely be worth having checked out as it can seriously affect his health as well as he gets older.
      It has been a hard adjustment for me when my husband’s dropped dramatically, coupled with adrenal fatigue, after several serious surgeries. It has taken several years to get his health mostly back on track.

      • #105 by Anonymous on October 17, 2013 - 12:26 pm

        Him having low T was an issue but that has been resolved since. Even though that has been taken care of it is still the same.

        He is actually home for the time being. Has been for a while now and still nothing. Even though he said he would try once he came home. I know he was overly tired for the first few days and needed to catch up on sleep. Going on a few weeks though since he has been home though.

        I get tired of being the aggressor. I want to be the one being chased so to speak. I shouldn’t have to be the one who initiates all the time. I shouldn’t have to say or ask constantly either.

        Thanks for your input. Appreciate it!

    • #106 by InCanada on October 17, 2013 - 8:29 pm

      I hope this reply will be met with an open mind. Many issues can hold a man back sexually with his wife and one area is more common than you think, but is so incredibly hard to admit to or come to terms with. From an experience of a very close friend, your situation is very similar. For years and years, she tried to get her husband interested in sex, he was withdrawn and made excuses or had no answer to why he was the way he was. Long story short, he finally admitted to being gay, but the combination of growing up in a religious family, the community they lived in, his work, not wanting to admit it to himself and the shame of hiding something so deep, kept this secret well hidden for decades. It is far more common than people think in regards to being gay and living “straight” for their entire lives. Though I cannot see it being a very fulfilling or joyful life to harbor that secret and push down who you really are. Simply food for thought. My best wishes to you and your husband.

      • #107 by Anonymous on October 18, 2013 - 11:09 pm

        Thanks for your input. No he isn’t gay I know that for sure. Yes I am being open minded. I do wonder though sometimes about him being asexual. He has some of the things an asexual person does. However, not all of them. If you don’t know what that is you can find info on the internet about it. Basically they aren’t attracted to men or women. When they are though it’s usually one or the other. Sometimes they want sex a lot and other times not at all. He tends to fall within that category of going through phases of several times in a row to nothing for long periods of time

        My birthday is coming up in a couple of days. I hope that is one of my presents! Lol! I would be happy if that was my only one. I told a friend that I should ask for it as a present, but at the same time I am tired of asking. It should happen without asking. I won’t give up but it’s frustrating to beg so to speak. Begging while being intimate is a whole different story though! :).

        I appreciate the good luck wishes! I wish you luck in all you do as well. Also good luck to your friend.

  54. #108 by Anonymous on September 2, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    I’ve been married 25 years…its been a journey,its difficult, its overwhelming, its a struggle ,its disappointment, its days of thunder, also…beautiful, joyful, powerful, its romantic, its warm and sunnny, its about sharing the good and bad of a job you have promised each other for life…….its never equal , dont expect it, one of you will take on more than the other in different areas.. Bty , I was married the first time for 5 years…He broke a promise he couldn’t keep, and i didnt love him enough to forgive…..

  55. #109 by Greg Klaus on September 2, 2013 - 2:25 am

    Never forget to appreciate what he does, just as he should never forget to appreciate you. When someone does something out if love for another, we should not expect appreciation, but everyone craves it. Feed the beast!

    Do not point out his shortcomings, especially on a daily basis. This is an attempt to change him. Pointing out faults is pointing him to the door. And he should treat you in the same manner.

    Never compare him to your partner from a past relationship! And don’t start spilling the beans about things that brought you so much joy from the past with another man, especially anything of a sexual nature. If he is jealous, this will feed the dire drastically. If he is distant, the road will grow longer. It tells a man that he is not ‘the one’ because he doesn’t measure up to ‘the other guy’.

    Just some of my experiences after 19 years if marriage and now becoming a fulltime single parent.

  56. #110 by Patricia Webb on September 1, 2013 - 8:29 pm

    don’t forget to flirt with your spouse. it really is important.

  57. #111 by Aaron on September 1, 2013 - 4:56 pm

    Be fiercely loyal to your husband or wife. When he shows his vulnerabilities by sharing his private struggles, thoughts, discussions, disagreements in your opinions, and asks you to keep these discussions between you and him; don’t betray his loyalty by sharing with your parents. Support him in his passions just as equally as he supports you in yours. When he works three jobs to provide for the family don’t take it for granted. Work just as hard as your husband either at your job or at home to make your lives easier. As he lives to make yours less financially and physically exhausting so should you make his life less overwhelming with chores or finances to stress about when he finally gets to come home to see you and play with the kids.

  58. #112 by tee on September 1, 2013 - 2:12 pm

    I’ve enjoyed this response as much as I did the original from the male perspective. So many of the comments on his page stated that it’s a two-way street. That goes without saying – One thing I’ve learned is that LISTENING is essential. Understanding how your mate communicates is key. I am an active listener – I’ve done it for a living as a meeting facilitator, so words mean a lot to mean and I choose them carefully …. him…. not so much…. he has about 3 phrases he uses to capture about 50 different things…. it’s hard, and I’ve told him I’ve NEVER had as difficult a time communicating with anyone as I do with him… but i love him and am committed to understanding the meaning behind his generalities, and how I interpret his tone because there’s not enough words to know for sure what he’s saying. One thing is for sure, i know he’s on my team and he wants to be understood … (he’s a football loving guy) so if he says something that makes me feel bad, most of the time, it’s ME hearing it wrong, so I clarify with him. We spend a LOT of time talking about TALKING… but it helps because we never ASSUME meaning. So I don’t know how to sum that up but it goes miles as far as ensuring that you don’t interpret things wrong.

    • #113 by Anonymous on September 19, 2013 - 9:23 pm

      Sooo true…

  59. #114 by stacy on August 29, 2013 - 8:01 pm

    Remember that love is a choice. It isn’t an uncontrollable emotion. You choose to either love your husband or not. Am I gentle? I’m not antagonistic. If he’s upset, I don’t get in his face and tell him he’s being a jerk. I also try not to be all defensive, explaining how his emotions are misplaced. Instead, I listen and, if his words hurt, I imagine myself as his friend listening to him complain about his wife, then I’m more objective and able to see the underlying emotion that made him upset. Then it is easier for me to be empathetic, objectively able to understand what it was in my action, or lack thereof, that upset him. There’s only one person in this whole world that you can change, and that person is you. You cannot change anyone else. It is futile to try. You will drive yourself mad. Instead, you change you. You change how you interact, perceive, respond. Adjust accordingly. Deceit is a burden. Life is so much better without it. Don’t be jealous, hounding him all the time about where he has been, checking up on him. Never, not once, has that ever prevented an affair, but being mistrustful, suspicious, and nagging can drive a faithful man into another woman’s arms. Instead, be the best wife he could ever hope for and he won’t even consider the possibility of messing it up. Put all your eggs in one basket. Give him your whole heart. Don’t entertain thoughts about how much he could hurt you if he left. That will only make you hold back. Don’t hold back. If you look at your man like he is superman, then superman he will be. If you look at your man like he is a lazy bum, then a lazy bum he will be. My man is superman.

    • #115 by Thanda on August 30, 2013 - 9:31 am

      Loved this, Perfect!

    • #116 by NicoleKessler on September 1, 2013 - 4:07 am

      Wow Stacy, you couldn’t have said it better!

    • #117 by Mary Meagher Martin on September 15, 2013 - 7:07 pm

      Stacey, I’ve read all of the responses and yours really hit home with me. I’ve been with my husband for 30 years now. Boy, do I have a lot to learn about relationships! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and for being vulnerable with the rest of us about this topic. I just hope and pray I can put your advice into action in my own life. God bless!

  60. #118 by Topu Masum on August 28, 2013 - 11:43 am

    To be honest the main factors are understanding between the two partners…if understanding is there-love and care will automatically fill in the gaps.

    • #119 by Jennifer Coken on August 28, 2013 - 1:13 pm

      I learned this fundamental lesson from my own divorce. Allow your husband to love you his way instead of comparing his expression of love to your own ideals. If you keep comparing, you may miss the most beautiful moments of tenderness.

  61. #120 by Jane on August 25, 2013 - 10:59 am

    What do you know when your husband is passive aggressive… how do you forgive a man who leers at other women and then turns to you and tells you how much better x, y or z part of your body was when you were younger? How can you save a marriage when you feel deep down your husband does not appreciate you and denies he was trying to hurt you… that he was joking..?

    • #121 by stacy on August 29, 2013 - 8:25 pm

      This behavior didn’t start yesterday. Sure, his behavior is rotten, but why is he doing it? I’m no therapist, so take this or leave it…When was the last time you asked him for his advice? How often do you roll your eyes when he speaks? Have you ever told him, directly, the exact words “I don’t feel like you appreciate me?” What are the things that he could do that would make you feel appreciated? Stop with the insults, sure, that’s a given. Men are very logical. Don’t appeal to his emotion, he won’t get it. He really isn’t trying to hurt you. He probably thinks he is complimenting you in some weird man logic. He really does not understand why your feelings are hurt, so he says he was joking. That’s what men fall back on when they say something that hurts a woman’s feelings and they don’t know why. He can say something like that to his buddy and his buddy doesn’t run off crying into the next room. The next time he tells you how much better x, y or z part of your body was when you were younger, agree with him. Say, “yeah, I sure was hot back then…” then turn it on him without being mean “…and YOU, oh baby, when you had all your hair, you sure did turn heads!” If he gets mad, use it as a case in point why it upsets you when he is ‘joking’. If he doesn’t get mad, great, but I bet you he will never say anything like that ever again. My 2 cents.

      • #122 by Jane on August 30, 2013 - 8:31 am

        Hi Stacy, Thanks for replying. You’re right that it didn’t start yesterday. When we first started sleeping with each other some 7 years ago, before we were married, he put his hands under my breasts and lifted them up and said “why aren’t they higher up like a you see on other women, like French women?”. I’ve had a few intimate relationships before him and no man has ever complained about my body before, or questioned anything about it. Everyone complimented me. I am a 32 E and I think my breasts are great, I never paid much attention to them until these comments… ok, I’m not 21 anymore, I’m 33, but I haven’t changed really very much. But then he will rant and rave about how much he loves me, loves my body, every single inch of it… and then an odd comment is thrown in.. as per below..

        He has also made random comments about me getting fat, starting to look like my mother and I has “better watch out!!!”, having batwing arms, he’s pointed out the tiny broken veins on my feet,… and the comments always seem to be out of the blue and we’re not discussing bodies or issues with our bodies. We could be sitting watching the news or eating dinner. By the way, I am a runner, swimmer, I have horses, I look and feel like I AM still 21…..

        One day he said something odd specifically about my breasts again (after we had got married). He had literally broken his neck out on a walk to check out a young girl and the minute we walked through the door he pointed at my breasts and then placing his fingers onto my chest, said “you used to have more breast up there as a student”. He once stopped in the street and turned to follow someone attractive up it and when he came back he said, wow, she was good looking. I just can’t imagine doing or saying anything like that to him.

        I HAVE challenged him on his comments and he always says he is “joking”, that I am too sensitive and I need to just forget what he says and if he is being cheeky then I should slap him. But it’s got to the point where other stuff he has said about the relationship is upsetting. That “my standards are too high, I expect too much and I will never find what I am looking for”, that “I should think myself lucky that someone loves me at MY age”, that “he can do or say ANYTHING he likes and I will always love him and I will never leave him”.

        I feel as if I am being subtly manipulated and it’s destroying my feelings for him. I read somewhere that before speaking you should ask yourself, is is useful, is it truthful, is it kind? I would never follow a young guy up the street and then turn to him and praise someone else’s virtues or tell him his penis used to get so much harder.

        A few weeks back I miscarried, I was 9 weeks pregnant and am still getting over it. It was physically and emotionally traumatic. He was staying at his Dad’s place when it happened. He said “I don’t feel well either”.. !!!!!!!!!!! His subsequent lack of empathy or support, telling me many women have miscarriages and it’s just a heavy period is making me question the whole marriage and whether I am being taken for granted and actually abused.

        I should also point out he has not held down a job since 2004 and I pay for practically everything.

      • #123 by Janine on September 15, 2013 - 8:50 am

        You are not his savior, therapist or a martyr (unless you want to be). Life is short, stop holding on to what you want him to be and work on finding yourself. Dump the bum and learn how to be happy without the pain in your life.

      • #124 by Mary Meagher Martin on September 15, 2013 - 7:20 pm

        Ok, now I REALLY mean it. You NEED to move on from this marriage! He IS being manipulative and verbally abusive to you and he is NOT “just kidding~” He is ABUSING you verbally ABUSIVE! You not his personal verbal punching bag!

        I say all of this because I was in the exact same situation in 1983 with my FIRST husband. He, too, never held down a full-time job. I supported him with a full-time job, and a part-time job while attending a community college! He would do all of the same things to me and I was in terrific shape. I can only imagine how he would be treating me now that I weigh 50 pounds more with varicose veins, a pot-belly, and sagging breasts! We all need to be loved and accepted for ourselves no matter how our bodies change over time.

        Thank God I smartened up and left that loser! He was beyond help from me! I finally realized that “love does NOT conquer all!” Now, I’m happily married to a lovely man who loves me with my wrinkles, varicose veins, sagging breasts, and pot-belly. He is always supportive and loving even when I’m being an evil b****h to him or menopausal or whatever. I’ve grown so much and learned to see and love myself through his loving eyes.

        Here’s praying that you move on and find someone like him for yourself. You deserve so much better!

    • #125 by Danielle on September 1, 2013 - 1:21 pm

      To Jane,

      I’m completely torn by all you’ve written. On the one hand, I agree that he sounds completely manipulative, is cruel, insensitive and a real ass (and apparently has been from the start). On the other hand I think, “he can’t love her, because he hates himself!” (and ( I repeat ) apparently he has from the start).

      You said:

      “I should also point out he has not held down a job since 2004 and I pay for practically everything.”

      So, I must ask.. how often do you point that out to HIM?

      I’m not pushing the blame back to you, I’m suggesting that he lacks confidence and if you are pointing out his lack of employment on a regular basis (in any form) you are encouraging his lack of self-worth. Men take their ability to provide for their wives and family, very seriously. I get a strong impression that he does the things he does to you, and says the things he does to you, because he is trying to make himself appear “better than you” by making you look and feel “bad” about yourself.

      I would suggest sitting him down and telling him that you need to have an honest, open and serious conversation. Start by showing him this entire thread, including the article by Gerald, all of your comments and what I’ve written above. And then ask him the question “Do you love yourself?”

      If I’m on to something here, you need to tell him you want to work together to rebuild his confidence and sense of self-worth, so that the two of you can have a healthy and happy relationship where you both feel loved and valued and where you are kind to one another.

      Like the others, I am no marriage counsellor. This is just my take on your situation.

      I wish you nothing but the best.

      Danielle

      • #126 by Anonymous on September 2, 2013 - 12:22 am

        This is manipulation. whether its because he doesn’t love himself or not, its not your problem to put up with it. Its not your job to make him love himself. Sadly if he cant even love himself he certainly can’t love you either. I would get out of this relationship as soon as possible, but do it calmly and maturely. But when you do decide to do it, don’t fight about it, just do it and NEVER second guess yourself. YOU deserve better, and you will find out, but sometimes you cant open one door till you closed another.

        Best of luck.
        But no matter what also remember to love yourself.

    • #127 by Pema on September 1, 2013 - 9:18 pm

      What you see/perceive is what you will experience. What you allow/accept is what you will receive. True love’s messenger doesn’t bring hurt.

      • #128 by Anonymous on September 11, 2013 - 3:34 am

        Obviously you haven’t yet heard of verbally abusive lying narcissists and the spouses that were fooled into loving them with all their hearts. After many years of marriage giving everything she had, my good friend has broken away, only to suffer from a corrupt court system that accepts paid off “experts” as witnesses and has been left with few parental rights. Sorry, but your statement is sadly not true.

    • #129 by Judy on September 3, 2013 - 6:44 pm

      Jane,
      Unfortunately your husband feels the need to put you down in order to feel better about himself. I wouldn’t attempt to advise or suggest that you leave him. I will however say this, I watched a loved one go through the same type of emotional and mental abuse and it broke my heart. She was miserable and although i tried to get her to leave him she just couldn’t. So….You need to love yourself and do what YOU need to do to be happy. I wish you all the best.

    • #130 by Sue K on September 12, 2013 - 10:47 am

      Jane, these articles are a lovely ideal, but people cannot be “fixed” -especially when they don’t want to be. Do not accept being abused, and to me your relationship sounds like emotional abuse. If you are determined to make it work, seek counseling for both of you- he needs to understand that his behavior IS IN FACT ABUSIVE, and you need to work through the reasons you have accepted and allowed such treatment. If he won’t go with you, go yourself. As some have said here, you need to love yourself before you can accept love- GOOD LOVE. As much as he may need to learn this, so do you. And let me be the first to say that if he doesn’t value the relationship enough to do the necessary work on himself, you need decide at what point you have done all that you can do and allow yourself to leave so that you can finish healing . If you don’t heal yourself, you may find yourself unable to receive that good love when you find a man who does know how to give it, as I am now finding myself.

    • #131 by Janet heuvel on September 14, 2013 - 4:46 am

      Jane
      I am a Social Worker and have been married for over 32 years. My advice is get out of this relationship. You deserve so much more.. Soon you will start to believe what he is saying.
      I am not saying these words lightly – I have seen many relationships that work and dont work. a relationship that is not built on respect and caring does not have the foundation to withstand storms and longevity.

      go find the love you deserver -you sound awesome..
      J

    • #132 by Alanamous on September 15, 2013 - 12:26 pm

      My husband treated me like that and worse for six years after I became chronically ill and had to leave my career on disability. He would say he was “just joking” and I would let his snide comments roll off my back. I knew he was depressed and angry that I was ill and I was doing my best to try to help him smile, laugh and drag him out of the dumps and to continue to connect with him and show how much I cared about him. We had already been together for fourteen years and I had been ill for a couple of years before he began acting controlling and hostile towards me. Eventually it got so bad that he had effectively locked me away in our house and taken away my car, prevented anybody from coming to see me, and would tell me that everybody said mean and horrible things about me.

      I tried to get him to talk to a counselor as I was very worried at the very least for his depression. I also felt he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and was becoming an alcoholic and anorexic. He felt that I was the only one who needed counseling though and charmed the therapist into believing there was nothing wrong with him. But his outbursts became more violent and he began hitting me and kicking me in his sleep and when he flipped over in bed, he did it so wildly that his limbs came crashing down as if he were performing karate kicks and punches. I had a talk with him that he needed to become more conscious of his behavior and at least his nighttime assaults ceased. But the remainder of the time I was fair game. I continued to pack his lunches and leave him notes telling him why I cared for him. I continued to encourage him to spend time with his friends so he wouldn’t feel cooped up at home with me. He continued to be abrasive and arrogant to say the least.

      I later found out that he had been trying to get me to leave him because he actually felt a little guilt about leaving “the sick girl”. But, he met another girl and finally left me. However, his torturing of me didn’t end there, it got worse. He emptied our shared bank accounts and left me with $300, he bugged my computer and had me followed by a private investigator trying to prove that I was not disabled and/or find anything he might use against me in our divorce. He disabled my email account to try to manipulate me. He killed our cat to mess with my emotions. He and his new girlfriend, whom he married five days after our divorce was finalized, harassed me continuously. He prevented me from being able to obtain Medicare for my health insurance for ten months. And he continuously threatened me with lawsuits and tried to toss me out on the street with nowhere to live since he was the one with all of the money and hence the legal muscle. I ended up so sick and weak that I was unable to take care of myself and my family was about to put me in a convalescence home. I am not even forty years old yet.

      Sometimes, it’s not about what you do as far as saving a marriage. I did everything I felt I could to maintain my marriage. And even during our divorce when I chose to stay on the high road and not play the games he played or drag him into court where he would be ridiculed for his lying, cheating, stealing and his previous felony conviction which is very embarrassing to him, he continued to show his true colors which I had refused to believe were there. I really thought we had made a commitment and that neither one of us believed in divorce. I finally realized that some things cannot be salvaged and as many times as I had sworn I would always love him, he was adamant about driving me away. He had decided years ago that he didn’t want to be with me, but he was too much of a coward to tell me. I would have let him go because all I ever wanted was for him to be happy. I never would have wanted for his life to be torture, before he tortured me. Now, I’m not so sure.

      After he left, I came to re-learn all of the wonderful things about myself which he had been trying to squelch for so long. He didn’t tell me I was smart, funny, kind, beautiful, charming, or any encouraging or wonderful things similar to the things I had been telling him for twenty years. But I knew I was/ am and if he couldn’t handle being with me because he felt threatened by those qualities rather than appreciative in being able to share in them, then that is yet another reason I am glad to be free of him. I wanted to help him feel better because he was so upset that I was sick and in pain. Yet not once did he allow me to be the one to feel hurt or overwhelmed or think anything at all of my own illness and pain because he was too busy feeling sorry for himself. And all I want to do now is live, happily.

      • #133 by Mary Meagher Martin on September 15, 2013 - 7:30 pm

        Wow! What a beautiful, thoughtful and articulate response Alanamous! I wish I’d read yours BEFORE posting mine!! You are such an inspiring and wonderful writer… I hope you are able to continue doing it while on disability. I will be following your posts. Thank you so much for your time in writing this response. I feel privileged to have benefited from your writing and wisdom. God bless and I’ll be following your posts.

        Thanks again!

    • #134 by Mary Meagher Martin on September 15, 2013 - 7:09 pm

      He has to pull his own weight in the marriage partnership. It sounds to me like he’s not trying to do that. Time for you to move on and stop putting up with the passive-agressive abuse! Sorry, but that’s how it is sometimes. Praying that you find love with a man who is able/willing to pull his own weight with you.

    • #135 by Sabrina on September 20, 2013 - 12:17 pm

      Jane if what you are saying is true then maybe you need to re-evaluate your relationship. May I suggest reading a book called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. It has really been helpful in recognizing what is healthy for me and what is not.

  62. #136 by Marie on August 24, 2013 - 10:17 pm

    Don’t ever, ever, ever put your spouse down in public!!! He has to have someone that he knows will have his back. If you need to discuss something he did or said, do it in private. No one wants corrected in front of others. Once discussed and fixed, let it go!

  63. #137 by Catze on August 24, 2013 - 5:41 am

  64. #138 by lovetothenines on August 23, 2013 - 11:45 am

    Reblogged this on lovetothenines.

  65. #139 by joelando dinglasan on August 23, 2013 - 12:54 am

    do not forget to equate GOD in the husband-wife relationship; without GOD we can do nothing on our own

    • #140 by Anonymous on August 26, 2013 - 1:01 pm

      the concept of GOD is open to interpretation and yes you can do a great many things without relying on this concept. God would have you take responsibility for yourself and make your own decisions in life without you attesting your shortcomings to her.

  66. #141 by Liz King Bradley on August 22, 2013 - 8:33 pm

    My husband and I have gone to the brink of divorce twice. I heartily agree with a lot of what has been said. All of these ideas are great, but the true key is forgive, forgive, forgive, and when you think your pain is worse than theirs, apologize and forgive some more. Have each other’s back, don’t make a case in your heart and mind against your spouse. So many people get married half divorced these days because we all hear the statistics and see the horrors of what people who once committed at least to life together do when things get hard. So many times the reason we cannot connect or reconnect is that we have created a version of them in our mind and hearts that justifies our own weakness. As long as we see them as the caricature we’ve created we cannot connect to them, because that caricature is not them. Own your feelings, own your results, meet your own needs, turn to a higher power for what you lack, and allow your higher power to make up for what pain your spouse will cause. Even the best human among us will cause another pain, it’s part of being human. The more upset you are about another persons behavior, the more need you have to examine your own. If you can’t see the divine in your spouse, you are not seeing them, you are seeing your own excuses. Happiness is not about the people and the circumstances that surround us, it’s about the truth that is in us. There is always a way to chose happiness, turning to your higher power will reveal it. The key is not in finding the right person, it’s in being the right person…and you can only do that by getting it from God. Happy marriages are built with two holes trusting in God, not two halves trusting in each other. Each person gets what they need from God, accepts Gods’ compensation and love to fill in the gaps. When we take care of ourselves and turn to God for the rest, we have space to love our spouse because we no longer believe our happiness depends on their choices. Gratitude, Accountability, Forgiveness, Kindness, Love.

    • #142 by LaRita on August 25, 2013 - 11:21 am

      Very, very well said!!!

      • #143 by Anonymous on August 26, 2013 - 12:09 am

        Thank you so much for this! So wise, so true, so wonderful!

    • #144 by Shindwe! on August 26, 2013 - 9:26 am

      I love this! So posting it on my FB!!!

    • #145 by Soham on September 3, 2013 - 3:14 am

      I agree and understand what Liz has conveyed here. I also agree and try to practice my faith in God, rather than try ‘change him’ the mistake I made during the initial years of our married life. We’ve been married for 17 yrs now. Having taken responsibility for my own self and my feelings have given me strength to forgive and move on and hence the relationship has lasted so long. He has maintained a distance from me both at physical and emotional level. I wont say it’s been deliberate; it’s just how he is. But at the same time, he has never ever tried to work on this aspect of himself. I made peace with this aspect of his over the years.

      However, his mood tantrums are affecting the environment at home quite often. I have learnt to switch off from him during these long periods so that the kids moods are not effected completely. but children do get affected, especially when he is unreasonably angry with them during these periods. My husband has this hard shell around himself from which he neither comes out nor lets anyone else enter. So, any amount of discussions, talking has no effect on him. In some of our discussions, we seem to reach an agreement on certain things and then he goes around doing exactly contradictory. My approach is to either convince or get convinced. But what to do with a person who neither tries to convince you nor allows to get convinced(although he seems to agree when we talk). His approach has always been, ‘if I do, I’ll do my way or you do it yourself’. It’s not that I’m always trying to get him to agree to my point of view. I just convey my point of view and give ears to his. Then some things are universal truths and I try remind him of the same. I don’t fret when it comes to household things (for example, when he messes up in the kitchen on obvious things) but when it comes to our kids, I find it difficult to digest. For example, he’ll scold them randomly when not in mood, even on trivial stuff; he’ll speak harshly to them in the presence of outsiders. But at other times, when he is in fine mood, he’ll grant them even unjustified things. I feel all this is confusing the kids on what is expected of them and what are their limits. I have spoken to him many a times but he just goes about his mood and neither takes responsibility nor allows me to implement a code of conduct at home. Sometimes he is so mad with anger that he looses self-control. For example, he was driving like crazy the other day, with all of us in the car. I was praying to God till the time I reached home. In fact, I felt I will ask him to stop and get down from the car with kids but that was sure to infuriate him all the more. There was no trigger, we almost had a silent dinner at a hotel (as his non-talking spell was continuing since some days) and were on the way back.

      He does not like being pointed or reminded and this is one of the triggers to send him back to one of his long brooding spells. The environment at home becomes lousy and finally it’s me who will reconcile, sometimes out of affection for him, sometimes because of kids and sometimes just to continue with our lives. He does not make an effort to get back to normal and has never ever said sorry even if it started with him shouting unreasonably at kids or myself.

      Having gone through this cycle over and over again, I have finally decided to take a stand and stick to the status quo till the time he does not make an effort to talk it over. I know this is expecting him ‘to change’ and I least expect it from him. But probably he has started presuming that the onus of reconciling is always on me and has been taking things for granted. I am committed to save my kids from the effects of this environment at home and have considered living separately. I have loved him but as someone pointed out, love is not a feeling, it’s a choice and I am making a choice not to love him as that gives him the power to hurt us again and again.

      Any suggestions??

      • #146 by Mary Meagher Martin on September 15, 2013 - 7:49 pm

        Soham, please read related posts above to and from Alanamous. Your situation sounds abusive/neglectful too! It is NOT in your own (or your kids’) best interest to continue in this marriage. He is making your home into an unsafe place. Your kids need to know that dad and mom are SAFE people to be around. If one is NOT safe, then they need to be somewhere else away from that person. You can lay down the law (we will be attending marriage counseling together or separately or you will be moving out by Friday, etc…) You can also start attending counseling alone like Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics do.

        In any case, just ignoring it and continuing in the same vein is NOT healthy for you or your kids. Please make changes to create a healthy family life away from this abusive man. You and the kids deserve better. Your spouse sounds like he’s emotionally unsound. Maybe manic-depressive (or whatever the latest medical term is these days!) Whatever… you need to escape this unhealthy environment ASAP. Find a shelter for families of abuse, move across the country, change the locks, move out and don’t leave a forwarding address, do whatever you need to do to make a new home that’s safe for yourself and the kids. Take this advice seriously before he does something really violent to your family. He’s displaying some serious symptoms from the sounds of it. Take care. You’ll be in my prayers.

    • #147 by Amy Banks on September 5, 2013 - 10:29 am

      …”the key is not finding the right person, it’s in being the right person….each person gets what they need from God and love fills in the gaps.”

      simple yet profound.

    • #148 by Anonymous on September 30, 2013 - 12:46 pm

      It is obvious where your road to understanding started, and I only wish that everyone could have it.

      I believe, from my own experience, that your wisdom is the Truth and the best way to live. I do acknowledge that most people need a big shock to learn it, and internalize it. Some can never find the spiritual life. I have traveled what I can only guess is the same road, and I know it takes tremendous work to maintain the amazing spiritual condition you have.

      #1 on my list is: Be of service to God, to your spouse, to your children, to your business partners. As long as you are concentrating on yourself, you are in the “bondage of self.” Being of service opens the cell door….

  67. #149 by wendykwombleswitterings on August 22, 2013 - 5:45 pm

    Be clear in your communications with each other to avoid misunderstandings. Patiently listen to your man when he tries to express his feelings. Most men don’t find that easy. Tell each other every day I love you. Love is a decision not a feeling.

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