Friday, March 12, 2010

Questions for a Marriage

What happened to me? When did I get so weak? How did I stop caring? When did my voice get so quiet?

I can't put my finger on it, when or why or whose fault it is. Mine? His? A combination of both?

And, what is the solution? Give more? Expect less? Wait till tomorrow? Keep my focus on the long-term?

I sigh. I cry. I yell at myself. I yell at an empty room. I take it out on my kids. I blog about it.

When does a marriage break down? Does a break down mean a break-apart? Can a marriage survive a break-down? But I really want to know, why does it have to get to that point? Is it because I'm stubborn? Or is it because he's stubborn? By giving in, would I be showing myself as a person willing to compromise? Willing to save the marriage? Or would I just be showing myself to be a doormat?

Where is that delicate balance? Where I can give in just enough without losing face? Where can I stand up for myself just enough without being selfish?

Am I missing it? Am I really that egocentric? Is it possible that he's the one who's giving, sacrificing, compromising, and all I can do is say, "What have you done for me lately?"

What am I afraid of? Disappointing him? Or disappointing myself?

When did I let go of the happiness in my marriage?


A Lil Enchanted said...

I am so there... feeling your every question.... every emotion...let's hope we find some answers soon....

A Lil Enchanted,

Bear and Bones Mama said...

I don't have an answer for you, but I know where you're coming from. Last winter we went to therapy, for our marriage. We were fighting, not communicating, not wanting to communciate (on my part), not being name it, we weren't doing it. The kids were acting up (boy, they sure are barometers) and finally in December 2008 we made the call to a marriage therapist. It made a world of difference, even if it just got us talking again. I don't think we were on the verge of leaving the marriage, but we needed a kick in the pants. We went a handful of times and we've been ok since there. Some times are better than others, but we really try to communicate now, no matter what. One thing we started doing is having "couch time" - right after everyone gets home in the evening. Usually I pick up the boys and then immediately start in on dinner, with much whining and crying and yelling (on all of our parts) until husband gets home. He wants to talk, but have mercy how can I talk with dinner to make and 2 kids hanging on my wanting my attention etc. But you know what? If I stop for 5minutes and sit down to catch up on our day together, hubby and I, we get along SO MUCH BETTER the rest of the evening. And the kids are not going to starve. And they get our attention too. And I had to learn to ask for help, too. That, and we got ourselves a cleaner to come in for 3 hours once a week which has made a world of difference. We actually hired her when I was on crutches for 3 months last summer and couldn't clean, and know what? We did a lot less fighting during that time about how much had to be done. So we've made some budget adjustments and asked her to stay on. I LOVE IT. Anyway, long rambling post here so you know you're not alone, it sucks, but try and make that 5 minutes of couch time a priority for mom and dad. It really does help.

McMommy said...

If I find out the answers, I'll be a millionaire. What I can tell you that THAT is one POWERFUL post.

Sugar said...

Hi Gretchen-
My heart goes out to you right now. I don't think any of us can give you the magic answers, but maybe just what works for us occassionally. Pick your battles. Sounds cliche, but do. Clearly, it's important to you that he give you some much needed attention and IT'S OKAY THAT YOU NEED TO BE TOLD YOU'RE LOVED AND BEAUTIFUL. You're okay for needed doesn't make you WEAK. It makes you human. Let him know THAT'S what's important to you. For me, when I feel loved, pretty, needed (blah, blah, blah), I feel like I have MORE to offer my marriage and I'm able to give more. When I'm not feelin' the LUVIN, I can't GIVE the LUVIN.
I don't think you're saying you've checked out right now....I just think you've reached a point that ALL of us have or WILL reach where we need to get back to what made us fall in love in the first place.
Thinking of you----hope you have a better weekend. Hugs, Sugar

Jennifer said...

I've had you on my mind all day for some reason... Hmm, maybe because you needed someone to be thinking about you? Maybe.

Anyway, all marriages go through this. We did and we found a really good marriage counselor. What came out of that is that we both have issues we have always had and those had kind of culminated into a big problem. Therapy helped us so much. That and David hanging on and not letting go.

I think if you are having these recurring issues you need to quit pushing them down in yourself and thinking that it is "just you." If this is a problem for you then it should be a problem for both of you, period. A marriage is a partnership and it requires both of you to participate equally. That doesn't mean the same all the times. Him more sometimes, you more sometimes, but in the end equal. Your needs, even if they are emotional, should be important to him.

Quit discounting yourself. Stand up. Fight for your marriage. And help him to see that this is a fight. Marriage isn't easy. A good marriage is a lot of work for both parties. You need to start sharing this load.

Email me if you need to. I've been through it. I seriously don't mind being a sounding board.

Gigi said...

Oh Gretchen - I could go on and on with this topic. But I'll try to keep it short. After over 19 years of marriage here is what I've learned; kind of like the children go through phases; so does a marriage. (And although currently, I have no room to talk on this subject) communication is key. Right now you have 5 young children. And although the children are wonderful - they are time consuming and tend to take your focus off each other. I've told one of my dear friends who is a newly married with two small babies to not ignore her marriage for the kids - it's a mistake I made and we are struggling to come back from that. You are NOT selfish for wanting to be acknowledged, told you are loved & that you are beautiful - this is something every woman desires and deserves - stand up for that. You are a mom - but you are a woman first. And in order to be the best mom & wife you can be those needs must be addressed. I'm so sorry you are going through all this - feel free to email me if you need an ear. I can commiserate with the best of them.

Frugal Vicki said...

I really wish I had answers for you. But I would be a hypocrite since my husband and I have our own issues to overcome. But I truly do hope that you find answers. I do think it is important for everyone to remember that break up doesn't HAVE to be the answer, that you are not alone, and that this is the "bad" part of the marriage that we vowed to. I think that absolutely everyone I have talked to has at some point separated or contemplated separating. Just because it feels hopeless doesn't necessarily mean that it is.

Tonya said...

Very powerful post - and particularly so for me because I feel this is where we are in our marriage. Sometimes I feel it's just because the kids are young and need so much and that we'll get past it. And other days I feel like I can't wait it out for the kids to get older. Sometimes we talk and it gets better for a while, but then things seem to slip back. And as much as I can get sanctimonious and say it's his fault, I suspect we're both to blame. One book that's been recommended to me is The Seven Habits of Happy Marriages (or something like that) by John Gottman. Haven't read it yet, but I've been told it's really readable and useful.

Foursons said...

I have been walking this road the past 6 months...or more. Pray, and pray hard. But don't pray for God to change your husband, pray for God to change how you view your husband. Pray for understanding. It is amazing what you will learn when you pray for yourself in your own marriage.

Wendy said...

When did we get the idea that marriage is supposed to rock along trouble-free?

Of COURSE there's trouble. We're human beings.

Every time there's trouble, there's opportunity. You grow a little, and your marriage grows...

If you never had any trouble, you'd be the same people forever. So boring.

Ok, so I've been there. It sucks cheese.

Every time we have trouble, we emerge a little happier than we were before.

What do you need for your own (1) sanity, and (2) happiness? Make a list. A happy wife and a happy mom are a gift you give your family. Don't think about it as, "well, I would be happy if HE..." Think of it as "I would be happy if I..."

What do YOU need to do, Gretchen?

Bridgett said...

Oh no. :^( I hate these sorts of feelings. It's so hard to dig out. Been there, or at least in the neighborhood. I'm sorry.


Just a fellow Mommy here. I've been following your blog for several months now but haven't spoken up.

I've been where you are many times. I applaud you for being so vulnerable. My husband and I did seminars, conferences and counseling and we didn't experience a real change until last year when we flew to Florida on a whim (I was DESPERATE) and attended a weekend intensive led by a couple named Joel and Kathy Davisson who have a fabulous marriage and have dedicated their lives to teaching couples how to get there.

They have written two books, host conference calls 6 nights a week and have a forum where you can post your struggles and get feedback anytime you want it. It saved my marriage. And my husband and I are finally tasting what we knew marriage could be like. Check them out at

Karen said...

I don't have all the answers but I know that when our kids were small, it was tough to work on our marriage. There were so many times when I wanted to run away. We were both tired. We stuck with each other and here we are 35 years of marriage with grown children. We are enjoying ourselves now. I hope you can hang in there.

JHS. said...

Been there. Done that. Have the battle scars to prove it. As well as a beautiful new house that I purchased last summer, two handsome young men who live in it with me(my sons), my peace of mind, my solitude, my integrity, my dignity, and my OWN life at last after 24 miserable years. All of which I craved so badly that I left my husband living in MY house (the one in which I grew up and I own "free and clear") and took on a mortgage to get away from it all. I have no answers for you because we all have to walk our own path. All I can say is that I made a HUGE mistake staying for "the sake of the kids." I thought was helping them by sticking it out until the youngest was nearly grown. I can see now where I should have made the move many years earlier and they would have been just fine.

Best wishes to you as you traverse the path to peace, happiness, and contentment.


Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Our poor kids. I take everything out on them. Then I beg them for forgiveness and try to make it up to them.

Right now, I am taking the pain of the memory of the last couple weeks of Brian's life out of them. As if they don't have enough pain from that in their lives anyway!

My poor kids.


Anna See said...

this is so hard, and so normal. i am right there with you.

The Nice One said...

I am so tired of thinking about this very topic. So. So. So...TIRED.