Over the years, we had slowly become pretty unhappy with each other even though we had been nothing but happy at the beginning. You know, before things got real. For me, it wasn’t a matter of loving him less after those years, but I had let things change how I looked at him and they had had an effect. But I’d made a very real promise to be and stay married to him – and I meant it. He must have too, because we were still married after thirteen years even though we could have easily split before then.
At that point, in 2011, we’d shared the joy of having three sweet and healthy children together, as well as the pain of three miscarriages. We had shared amazing and romantic evenings together, and nights where we didn’t want to touch each other at all. We’d had constructive disagreements, and angry arguments. And we’d had times of having open lines of communication, as well as times where we’d been completely closed-off from each other.
For me, it was a matter of:
- Resentment for all the work I was doing that he never could seem to match up to. It felt like I did it ALL, and it sometimes infuriated me that he didn’t contribute the way that I thought he should.
- Lack of respect for him. I wanted to be in charge. Plain and simple. Hand over the controls.
- Loss of sexual interest. Because I had negative thoughts and emotions about him/life, I had little interest in sex.
- My overall unhappiness/lack of contentment (see above problems).
I also “wanted” things. I wanted to be having babies when I wanted them, but we kept losing them! This wasn’t his fault, of course, but I somehow let it become a problem between us. I also wanted to be living in the kind of home that we simply couldn’t afford. I blamed him for this instead of appreciating how blessed we already were.
He was hard-working, loving, and loyal…and I was miserable. It was painful for him to see me that way. To know that he wasn’t making me happy made him back away. He wasn’t respected or appreciated, and on top of that, he felt rejected because I wasn’t giving him much physical attention.
I just didn’t know how to change. I didn’t know HOW to be happy in my marriage. Everywhere I looked, couples were getting divorced. Friends of mine were saying similarly negative things about their husbands, which just made it that much harder for me to “fix.” I didn’t know if it was me, or him, or both of us who needed to change – I just knew I wasn’t happy. And because of that, neither was he.
A few months after our third child was born (Sept 2011), I started thinking more about it. I was starting to think along the lines of even if it’s not me, maybe I can make changes that will help. Maybe I can read some books and find out what we’re doing wrong, and fix things. I was still very much in the mindset of it being a “marriage” problem, and not a ME problem.
I went to the library one day, and I browsed the non-fiction section. I found the books on marriage. I flipped through several of them but nothing really stood out to me. I then saw that there was another, smaller section below those books, and they were focused on women. Wives, to be exact. Not “marriage” books, but “wife” books. I picked up one about sex, but I was not interested in improving our sex life at the moment, so back on the shelf it went.
But then I found it. I didn’t know I had found it at the time, but I certainly had found it!
What had I found?
The book that would ultimately change everything I knew about marriage and being a wife, and being HAPPY as a married woman. It’s called The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and was written by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The title made me cringe because I didn’t want to care or serve him anything! But once I started reading it, I completely forgot about the title.
In the follow-up to this post, I will share with you how the book helped me and yet, how I had to “fake it” at the beginning. It took a willing heart. I wanted to make things better, and I was no longer looking to blame him.