Can we talk for a minute about my marriage? It’s not something I ever thought I would talk about, because it’s not as pretty as I’d like. Until now I just wore my happy face and pretended nothing was wrong. But something changed last week, something hit me, something made me realize if I faked it any longer it wouldn’t just be myself that I would be hurting.
Once again I was sitting up in bed, watching TV, by myself on a Friday night, both kids were asleep and my husband was snoozing next to me. While normally I love alone time, it had recently become an empty feeling. I felt invisible. I loved the man next to me, but we were constantly at each other. We were both standing on the edge of that cliff, both felt like walking, but neither had taken the plunge. I realized, I had given up and had let doubt, anger and contempt cloud my view of my once Prince Charming. I had let what could have been take the driver’s seat to what is. Causing me to second guess every decision, the second guessing. I was catching myself making small jokes about his appearance, and laughing at his short comings, and while what I felt at the time was harmless bantering turned into my altered perception of the man I had fallen in love with.
I loved this man, we had been married 6 years, why now can I not stand to even be in the same room? We agreed when we got married that the word “divorce” was never to be put on the table. No matter how mean and ugly the fights got we would never twist the knife with that word. But I know both of us thought it. We had lost “us”. Every time I felt this way, the all too familiar feeling of sinking, I resented him more. I would argue paint off a wall to prove a point, but I knew his heart wasn’t in a place of forgiveness and willingness yet. My only option was to look at my actions, and how I could fix things that were unintentionally sabotaging my marriage.
You may be in the same place as me or hopefully somewhere else completely but I hope that the “warning signs” in my marriage might help you too. Here are the things I noticed that were impacting us:
My 11 Marriage Mistakes
- I stopped caring about me. I recently became a stay at home mom. It’s a love hate relationship, but once I had to stop getting ready for a job and get out of the house, I stopped trying all together. Mom underwear became the norm, along with Sweatpants, a very messy bun, and over sized t-shirt. I looked sloppy, which made me feel sloppy, which made me not want affection because I felt bad about myself. Even though my sweet patient husband was still attracted me I didn’t understand it because I felt like I wasn’t up to par. It was at this point that I realized the way I felt about myself was directly related to how I treated my husband’s actions towards me. Even though he would still kiss me as soon as he got home, I would offer my forehead instead of my lips because I was ashamed that I hadn’t even bothered to put a bra on.
- I was taking my frustration about the kids out on him. Again being at home all the time with the kids was a love, hate kind of thing. We had great days and we had very bad, no good, horrible days. When the kids acted up my fuse was shorter than normal (and that’s to be expected), except that my fuse was also short with him. If he even turned the TV up too loud I yelled out of frustration. I pitted us on opposing teams instead of remembering we are on the same team. I need to lean on him, instead of treat him like another one of my children.
- Being on my phone in bed.This is usually how I wind down at night. I check various social media sites, read articles, and look at pictures. I use it as an alarm clock, we don’t have a land line I could give you excuse after excuse why I need my phone in bed, but in reality, I am sharing my bed with my phone and not my husband. Instead of winding down discussing the day and laughing together, we were pitted against each other on our phones.
- I used my words to tear down his character instead of buildup his esteem. Am I saying his whole self-worth and image rises and falls with me? No. But my words do matter. Am I saying you can’t joke? Absolutely not. I am saying be careful how you choose your words. I chose to tear down his esteem which ultimately caused ME to have a negative view of him because I started believing what I was saying.
- I felt resentment.There are days I missed work. Being home with the kids all day, there were days I missed talking to adults. Days that I felt like wiping faces, cleaning up messes, and dishes was my only future and I resented him for getting to work and leaving me at home. Fair? In no way was that fair. But I want people to understand, being a stay at home mom isn’t always glorious. In fact more often than not, staying home was harder than working for me. But to resent him for letting me stay home, a decision we made together, Something I WANTED wasn’t fair. Sometimes I had to Treat Myself, and refocus that I get to pour my love and energy into raising my children, something a lot of Mom’s never get the opportunity to do.
- I felt entitled to time and was forgetting about his time too.He would come home, I would drop the kids on him and I would bail. “Here are the kids, here’s dinner, I need out!” I think we all feel like this to some degree. Being cooped up in a house with tiny Tasmanian devils made for some long days and I was ready for a break when he got home. And for some reason I thought that I was I entitled to my time first, always. He was always willing to give me the time I needed but having the entitlement mindset set me up for failure because I was forgetting about him and his need for a break too.
- I wasn’t verbalizing my frustrations.If something hurt my feelings, I would pout instead of communicate. If something made me mad, I yelled. Instead of trying to find solutions I was fueling fires.
- I talked over him.Again with the yelling, my yelling, it wasn’t helping anything. Just because you talk louder or more doesn’t mean you are being heard.
- Once fights started, I couldn’t be wrong.Both my spouse and I have very dominant personalities. Why did I feel I had something to prove? I could argue the paint off of a wall… but in the end it didn’t resolve anything. Sometimes taking a loss, is taking the long term win. I’m still learning to say those 3, really hard words: I was wrong.
- I put the kids first.Before someone thinks I am saying neglect the kids, let me say true “needs” are always met. I am talking about running around, and bending over backwards, giving 100% attention to the kids instead of slowing down and acknowledging my husband is even in the room. Something we implemented to help, and to teach our kids that Mommy and Daddy do take precedence sometimes, was committing to sitting down before bed, on the couch, while the kids were still awake, deliberately in front of them and“GASP” talking, civilly. About anything. During this time, the kids play quietly on their own or together and they know this time is not about them. My attention is elsewhere, in my conversation with my spouse. This was something we both felt was good for us, and a good thing for our children to see growing up.
- I wouldn’t let go and let him parent too. This article here pretty much sums it up. He was there, he was halfway responsible for them, why all of sudden did I not trust him to parent too?
Now that you have read all these, I am sure you are thinking… yikes what a raving witch right? All of these things happened over time, and compounded. Since they weren’t dealt with correctly they snowballed into a major personality change. I changed into someone I didn’t even want to be around.
This hasn’t been an overnight fix all. Marriage is a constant evolving door of trust and commitment. People change, circumstances change, and we can’t always control what is going on around us. I can control how I act and react to situations, something that I am still working on to this day. But my once vision of a Knight in shiny Armor wasn’t fair. I love my Knight in Rusty Armor because he is real and we are weathering the storms together.
MORE RESOURCES FOR YOUR MARRIAGE:
CREATED TO BE HIS HELP MEET — BY DEBI PEARL (affiliate link)
I can not say enough good things about this book. A great resource that shows the balance of respecting your husband without getting steam rolled in the process. I truly believe it’s possible to follow your dreams and also have a beautiful marriage relationship.