So, you’ve spent so much time building intimacy with him, but after all these years, it’s only that you feel like your husband has ruined you? You are not alone.
It took me seven long years before I started to think – “I can’t do this anymore, my husband destroyed me emotionally, our relationships bring me unavoidable pain that is inherent to intimacy.”
All relationships involve risk, especially romantic ones
All relationships come with risk, but in a romantic relationship we can’t get away from the inevitable pain that shows up in moments of deprivation, loneliness, disappointment, hurt, insecurity, and disconnection.
As a result, we long to merge and be seen and accepted by our partners, while we also fear being rejected, abandoned, engulfed, or judged.
We all want intimacy and fear it
Because we both yearn for intimacy and fear it, we are drawn into a dance of moving toward connection while at times running away in order to protect ourselves.
We all need to learn to observe and face the unavoidable pain of intimacy,
without using relationship-destroying strategies.
Although romantic relationship problems bring up universal human pain, your couple’s unique history and life experience will also shape specific beliefs and negative expectations about what happens in an intimate partnership.
Stop being a victim in your own marriage
That’s why the best thing you can do as a wife is to become a “satisficer” and stop to think that your husband has destroyed you emotionally.
Remember, Satisficer concentrates on the reasons she made the decision she did and practices gratitude, or being grateful for the wisdom of that choice.
Are you really married to a psycho?
Now, if the choice of a husband was wildly stupid – you married a person who is addicted to drugs or an alcoholic, or who has neither character nor elementary decency – this is one thing.
But assuming that’s not the case, focus on why you chose the man you did.
Focus on what he brings to the table and be done with it.
Don’t look for more.
Stop thinking: My husband has destroyed me emotionally
Decide to stay
You can’t switch husbands the way you can switch jobs.
If you do, you will leave behind a trail of misery. Each time people remarry, their chances of failure skyrocket.
That’s not me talking—those are the statistics.
More than 70% of remarriages that involve stepchildren fail.
Again, more than 70% of remarriages involving step-children fail.
Improving existing marriage
You’re just better off staying with the man you chose in the first place, as long as he’s not a psychopath and if there are kids involved.
It is infinitely easier to improve an existing marriage than it is to start over from scratch.
Because give it enough time, and that marriage will have just as many warts as the first.
What will you do then?
Become Elizabeth Taylor?
Divorce is never the answer
Divorce is never the answer.
It may indeed be.
But divorce is never the answer if the purpose for it is to find happiness with someone else.
Perhaps you are your own worst enemy, and the main problem lies within you, and not in your husband.
Here you can find some lessons on staying Married from Couples Who’ve Struggled
Do you feel like he ruined you emotionally?
You may have destroyed your husband emotionally as well
Perhaps you are your own worst enemy, and the main problem lies within you, and not in your husband.
If that is the case, why not take a new approach, a new attitude, toward the problems you’re having?
What if the answer has been there all along and you have yet to take advantage of it?
Isn’t that worth exploring?
When it comes to marital conflict, which every couple on the planet has, the trick is to focus on the problem itself and not wallow in blame. Blaming invariably leads to thoughts about other men or other relationship scenarios that you are convinced would be best for you. This is what is known as Green Grass Syndrome, and it is toxic.
The Green Grass Syndrome
The Green Grass Syndrome, or the tendency to believe that a different choice will be better for you than the one you’ve already made, is debilitating.
And it’s never been more difficult to avoid.
A culture of endless choices and options, as we have today, encourages women to search for something better when they’re dissatisfied.
This will help you easily push your husband out the door if there is the slightest misunderstanding.
So easy to say to yourself – “My husband has destroyed me emotionally’ and “Goodbye” – to your marriage.
I’m not saying women treat marriage lightly or file for divorce the moment there’s a crisis.
I don’t think we do.
But without a belief system in place that differs from the one they’ve absorbed from the culture, we will always land in the same spot.
We are trying to solve problems very often with the only paradigm. – “Leave!”
And that one doesn’t work.
Top marriage problems and solutions
We all want a happy marriage. We are made to love and be loved.
And we so hope that our marriage will be a great opportunity for true love.
We are called to become one so that we can touch each other’s deepest needs:
- The need for security
- The need to know that we are loved
- The need to know that we are valued
So why is marriage so difficult?
The simple answer is – because of the most common marriage issues:
- Personality differences
- Things from your past
Let’s go through a little quiz:
- Do you feel that your husband just doesn’t get you?
- Does he talk, but say absolutely nothing?
- Does your husband seem to look at the opposite sex too much?
- Does it seem like he never wants sex or always wants sex?
- Does it seem like he is overly dramatic or rarely shows emotion?
- Is your husband the life of the party or a wallflower?
- I hope, these questions will help you better understand why you do the things you do and why your husband does things differently.
Relationship problems can often be attributed to differences in our gender traits, our personalities, or how we process information.
While our differences can make us extremely attractive to each other, our differences can also underlie our dissatisfaction.
Knowing some of the basic differences between you and your spouse can be a huge help in overcoming difficulties.
You need to better understand each other’s core ties so you can better manage your marriage.
Once we understand and learn to accept our significant differences, we will stop judging and trying to change each other and even learn to celebrate how we complete each other.
A lot of scientific evidence points to a big difference between men and women:
men want to solve problems and women want to process problems.
The impact of this difference cannot be underestimated as it relates to conflict management.
Understanding the differences between male and female brains in conflict will help as you work through these steps in your relationship.
Lack of communication
At times like these, what you need most is good communication.
But communication difficulties plague relationships between men and women, in part because of inherent gender differences.
Our very different brain configurations will certainly affect how well we communicate.
For a woman, information is integrated with emotion. Her thoughts spring from her head, grab hands with her heart, and pour out through her mouth.
A man’s thoughts spring from his head, but then stop at one of his little compartments. Emotion is sent to a different compartment, while an action or response is generated separately.
Men are often accused of being unemotional, but the truth is, they just don’t show it as readily. His powerful analytical brain responds very differently from a woman’s. While a woman’s brain will settle on a feeling and allow it to sit, a man’s brain is racing to find a way to resolve the feeling and get back to a neutral setting as quickly as possible.
Speak frankly with your spouse
Tell your husband that he has destroyed you emotionally. When you cannot speak freely with your husband, detailing your joys and sorrows in a safe environment, you feel alienated from him.
Trying to build a relationship by opening your heart, you feel left out if he doesn’t spend time with you, if he downplays your feelings, especially your fears, instead of just listening.
What men often don’t realize is that if they just let their wife talk until she thinks he actually heard her,
she will feel much better and the root cause of her unhappiness may seem less important to her.
Of course, over time, you still have to solve the problem, so the husband should not just forget about it or consider it a trifle.
Now we are talking about the importance of listening with loving attention.
Something our mothers and grandmothers understood that we today do not is this:
You can never get everything you want all wrapped up in one man.
No matter who you end up with, there will always be something missing.
Research has shown that every happy, successful couple has approximately 10 areas of ‘incompatibility’ or disagreement that they will never resolve.
If we switch partners, we’ll just get new 10 areas of disagreement,”
It is your attitude that makes the difference.
The way we handle conflict when we assume we’ll be together ‘‘till death does us part” is very different from the way we approach conflict when we assume we can always leave.
Technically, no one is stuck—the freedom to divorce will always be there.
The trick is to pretend it isn’t.
The very option of being allowed to change our minds seems to increase the chances we will change our minds.
Constantly asking yourself whether or not your husband is worthy of you, or whether or not you’d be better off with someone else is disruptive to the marriage.
It’s like trying to have a conversation with another adult when a toddler is in the room.
The constant distraction undermines the goal.
It’s simple, really.
As the relationship “navigator,” you have the power to steer the ship in the direction you want it to go.
The trick is to manage the ship properly.
When it comes to love, women hold all the cards.
Men are a lot less complicated than women.
Not simple as is often portrayed in the media.
Simple in that they have far fewer needs than we do.
What men want most of all is Respect, Companionship, and Sex.
If you supply these basics, your husband will do anything for you—slay the dragons, kill the beast, work three jobs, and so on.
Men will happily do this if, and only if, they are loved well in return.
It is when men are not loved well that problems arise.
That is the nature of the male-female dance.
Now I know what you’re thinking—that I’m putting everything on you.
Money problems in marriage
If you find yourself having the same fight with your husband over and over, it indicates that the real problem may be the “issue below the issue” or the “core issue.” If core issues are not dealt with, surface issues—like finances—will continue to rear their ugly heads.
Money doesn’t just represent money; it represents love, power, control, self-esteem, and freedom. – Olivia Mellan “Money Harmony: Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Life and Relationships”
I would also add “family culture” and “financial personality” to the list of factors that create financial conflict in any relationship.
- Do you have stress in your relationship because of financial irresponsibility?
- Does your financial situation make you feel frightened of the future?
- Are you and your spouse completely honest about all of your financial dealings?
- Do you fight about money?
So let’s look at the most common money issues:
Money as a sign of love
The representation of money as love is obvious. You feel most loved when someone spends money on you, and you feel unloved when you are not being showered with gifts.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, although gold diggers and sugar babies have given the “love as money” formula a truly bad name.
Feeling loved when someone buys you something is very different from flattering somebody in order to get money or have them buy you material things. If you are fighting about money because you don’t feel loved, therein lies the core issue.
Money is family power
Having a lot of money gives you a lot of power. As with love, this is not necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, if your spouse uses having money to lord it over you and get you to do what he wants, then you’re in a power struggle.
Money is family control
Let’s state the obvious: Having money gives you a certain level of control over your life.
Money can make life easier, and give you choices and options in many areas. But life can never be completely controlled.
If you are striving after money because you think it will make life predictable, easy, and trouble-free, you are sadly mistaken. If you are fighting with your mate about money when the truth is that you actually want more control over your lives and want them to be more predictable, then you have just identified the core issue.
Self-esteem and money
Being financially secure is a great way to boost your self-esteem.
If, however, you need money to boost your low self-esteem because you think that it is impressive to have a lot of money, then you are locating your worth outside yourself and in the approval or envy of others. If you are fighting with your spouse about money, ask yourself if self-esteem is actually the core issue.
Money is Freedom
Money definitely gives us freedom. The more money we have, the more freedom we have: the freedom to try new business ventures, to leave a job that is no longer satisfying, or even to retire.
Money gives us the freedom to buy things like a house, a car, an expensive vacation, or a great education for our children.
But money does not give us complete freedom, especially in marriage.
Relationships always require that we consider the needs of others as well as our own.
If you are fighting about how you will spend your money, you may actually be fighting about the constraints that a relationship puts on how you spend your money.
Do you feel like you don’t want to have to answer anybody about how you spend? Then you have just identified the core issue.
Family Culture and finances
How we grew up has a tremendous effect on how we view and deal with money. If you grew up in a financially responsible family, then it’s likely that you will be a financially responsible adult.
If, however, you grew up in a financially irresponsible family or an impoverished household, you may have some bad habits to break, such as not understanding how to handle money or being extremely cautious and rigid when it comes to spending.
In conflicts about money, it is very important to ask the question “Is this familiar?”
Financial Personality of your husband
Some people are spenders and some people are savers.
Spenders often want a great deal of freedom, and savers often want a great deal of control.
It’s not unusual to find a saver married to a spender. We are attracted to those who “complete us.”
Compromising and appreciating the complementary role that your spouse plays in your life is part of the solution.
Chores are top-ten marriage problems
Are you surprised that doing chores is one of the top-ten issues that couples fight about?
You see, if a couple can’t work together to make their household run smoothly, it affects every other aspect of their relationship. A woman with a to-do list ten miles long isn’t going to be focusing much on her husband.
Likewise, the husband who just got yelled at for not doing the things on his “honey do” list probably isn’t interested in giving his mate the time and attention she needs in order to have a fulfilling marriage.
When you’re able to create a reasonable and specific list of household responsibilities and chores and split them equitably, peace can reign in your family.
When one half of a couple feels put-upon, overwhelmed, and unappreciated, this is more than just an issue of time and task management. It is an issue of the heart.
Parenting is clearly a matter that you and your spouse have to approach together, even if he hasn’t been willing to engage with you on other issues you may have.
If you need help broaching the subject, here is a quick script to try:
“Honey, there’s nothing I want more than to have healthy, happy kids and peace in our family.
I really want our marriage to be strong, and I don’t want the kids to get between us.
I’d really like to go over it together and get your input.”
You can have the best intentions in the world, but still not be good parents if you and your spouse cannot get in sync about how to raise your children. You have to evaluate each child as an individual and figure out how to treat them all equally while not necessarily treating them the same.
The parenting plan you create together will definitely grow and change as your child progresses through the seasons of life, but by then, adjusting your parenting plan will likely be something you enjoy doing together, as it gives you an opportunity to relive and celebrate your children’s successes.
Parents should not make the fatal error of allowing the children to be the center of their universe; the two in marriage should take top priority.
Destructiveness of cheating
Cheating is the act of being sexually unfaithful in marriage and, in my opinion, any behavior that takes sexual energy out of the marriage is a form of infidelity.
Whether it’s flirting, pornography, or sharing too much emotional closeness with someone you’re attracted to, emotional infidelity can be as dangerous to your marriage as physical infidelity.
Cheating can also be an expression of addiction. Every addict is hurting and wounded and will use sex as a means of avoiding feelings of pain, a lack of self-worth, or to fill a void left over from childhood, instead of its proper function: connection with another human being.
The saddest part of this “false intimacy” is that it leaves the addict a little emptier than when he started and thus requires an increase in a dose—and so begins the cycle of addiction.
Experience has shown that a common thread runs through the lives of addicts: They are lonely to the core.
The addict has deep, unmet childhood needs that are mistakenly expressed as sexual needs.
Statistically, infidelity is rare in the first four years of marriage.
Our wedding is one of the high points of life. We’re happy and hopeful; the relationship feels new and our Love Banks are full to overflowing.
Then real life happens.
Financial pressures, a demanding job, and however many children later, we find that the honeymoon is definitely over.
What were once euphoric feelings of love and being loved have changed over time. Along with joy, commitment, and completeness, we start to feel bitterness, disappointment, and resentment.
This change in the dynamics of marriage is normal and can deepen the bond between spouses. But under the strain of life, the negatives can start to overtake the positives, and it’s at that point that we become more vulnerable to straying.
In addition to normal stressors, affairs often happen after a major life crisis such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a major injury or illness to a member of the immediate family. A major life crisis not only brings a tremendous amount of stress into one’s life but also causes us to reevaluate our lives and start thinking about ways to be happier. An affair can distract us from the difficult realities that we face and can make us happy, at least temporarily.
Sex issues with your spouse
Have you ever listened to women in long-term relationships joking together about what actually goes through their heads during sex?
If they’re not focused and in the mood, some women make grocery lists, run through their to-do list for when sex is finished, and plan dinner in their heads while their mate is having sex with them. It’s totally true.
I’ve heard people joke that if they could only get away with folding laundry in certain positions, they would try.
While it’s funny, it’s also very sad. It shows that their mates don’t realize they require a certain level of romance and foreplay to get a woman aroused.
Men are like vending machines: Drop in a quarter and get your goodies. Women are like pull-starter lawn mowers: You have to rev her up a bit to get her going.
- Is your sex life all that you dreamed it would be?
- Do you and your husband communicate openly about sex?
- Can you describe what you want from sex in clear detail?
- Do you and your spouse fight about sex?
- Was your first sexual experience wonderful?
Don’t let anyone tell you that sex in a marriage isn’t important—it is.
I’m going to provide you with some tools to improve your sex life with your husband:
For example Not sexually attracted to husband: how to fix it
Our past problems
- Have you or your spouse suffered abuse in the past?
- Have you experienced trauma or a tragic loss?
- Do you find that you sabotage your relationship and wonder why?
Perhaps there are things in your past that aren’t actually in the past, but continue to influence your present.
You need to identify every roadblock that gets in the way of having a happy, committed, connected marriage.
Having great relational skills is often not enough. Sometimes the baggage from our past stops us dead in our tracks.
Your husband is responsible for his own actions.
If he chooses to get repeatedly drunk, for instance, it’s his job to own up to that behavior and put a stop to it.
The same goes for his emotional outbursts if he
- destroys you emotionally,
- not come home when he said he would,
- has an affair,
Men tend to follow women’s lead.
Your husband’s actions are more often than not reactions.
He’s reacting to something you said or did, or to something you didn’t say or didn’t do.
He’s reacting to your moods, your gestures, your inflections, and your tone.
That’s how men are.
Your husband wants you to be happy, and when he sees it isn’t working he thinks he’s failed.
That’s when he acts out.
Choose the right puppet strings for your husband
To put it another way: a wife is in charge of the puppet strings.
If she pulls on the wrong one, she gets a negative response. If she pulls on the right one, she gets a positive response.
Once you know this, or more importantly, once you accept it, you realize that if your relationship isn’t going well, it is YOU who needs to change.
You need to go first.
If you do, the rest will fall into place.
Marriage is like a game of chess
Another way to think about male-female dance is to consider the game of chess.
In chess, the king is the most important piece, but also one of the weakest.
He can only move one square in any direction—up, down, to the sides, and diagonally.
The queen, however, is the most powerful piece. She can move in any one direction—forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally. And how she moves affects how he moves.
Resent it or embrace it
As a woman, you can respond to this dynamic in one of two ways: you can resent it, or you can embrace it.
I used to resent it.
I’d think to myself, How can I possibly make sure my husband isn’t negatively affected by my every mood swing?
I’m a Pisces, for God’s sake!
My moods shift with the wind!
And, why am I responsible for my husband’s reactions?
The whole thing seemed like a whole lot of pressure, not to mention unfair.
Preparing to have a conversation with your husband
Here are three rules for having a general conversation with your husband:
- Choose a time when he’s likely to be the most receptive.
- The bottom line it, or get to the point, right away.
And here are five rules for asking your husband to make a change of some sort:
- Choose a time when he’s likely to be the most receptive.
- Say something genuinely positive first.
- The bottom line it, or get to the point, right away.
- Be clear about what you need.
- Wait patiently. It may take him a day or two to respond.
And don’t forget, please, what Stephanie Mills once said:
I don’t know what it takes to make marriage work, but I’m going to keep trying until I get it right.I haven’t given up on love or marriage.