T.S. asks from Angleton, TX on October 02, 2009
How Did You Do It? - Angleton,TX
Ok, some background...My husband and I have been together for 8 1/2 years and married for about 3 1/2. We have a wonderful almost 5 year old son and 5 month old boy/girl twins. Bottom line is, husband says that our marriage has lost it's spark and when he thinks of the future he's not sure that he sees us together. The spark I have to take some credit for because for the first 5 or six years of our relationship I had a tendency to push away from intimacy due to alot of things in my past. We went through this about 2 years ago and I finally went to counseling to deal with my skeletons and he and I also went to work on us. Everything got much better and has been great for the last few years and we decided to add to our family and got the surprise of having twins. Ok, so here we are and he's saying that everything's perfect other than the fact that he doesn't feel that spark and he's not real sure that he ever has. I am absolutely crushed!! He says that he's not ready to go anywhere, but he's treating me more like a roommate than a wife and I am at a loss. He has agreed to go to counselling to deal with problems that he's had in his past, as well as to talk to someone other than himself about how he feels about me. He has a major tendency to have a problem and completely overthink it and make it bigger than it should be, and he will admit this.
So, here's the big question... I am a stay at home mom with 3 small children and I also go to school part time and I am ready to apply to nursing schools at the end of this semester. I already have a BS in Psychology, but there's not much that I can do with it to make much money, especially with no work experience. We have the kids, a mortgage, 2 car payments, and the utilities and several credit card bills; we are already living paycheck to paycheck with very very little left over. It is hard to fathom the idea of us being able to make it separately financially, not to mention emotionally for me. To help with costs I am trying to breastfeed as much as possible so the kids would have to go with me if this does happen. I don't really even want to think about a divorce, and we haven't gone as far as to say the words, but I feel at this point it's gonna happen sometime in the future. I have heard that kids of parents who divorce without ever fighting are as worse off as kids whose parents fought all the time. I need to hear from moms who have done it and how did you pick up the pieces on your own? We have lots of family, but no one has enough room for me to bring in a 5 year old and 2 babies. He has a tendency to have these feelings (or at least air them) after big events in our lives or when he is unhappy about things at work. Last time it was in our first year of actually being married and his mom and stepdad moved out (he was waiting for a liver transplant is why they were here), and his job was shaky and they were refusing to pay him what he was worth. And this time we've recently had the birth of the babies and money is even tighter, and I don't think he's happy with his current job because he does the job or 5 people but never got a raise after transitioning from the contract company. I don't know...I'm trying to be very optimistic and pray that things will work out, but if they don't I'm just not sure how I can handle everything. So, I need to hear from some moms who have done it and get some words of wisdom. I love him so much and I want it to work so bad, but at the same time I'm not sure I can take this every few years.
Ok, I've gotten some really great responses and advice, but how do I convey all of this to him without sounding desperate and needy? I don't want divorce to be our first course of action, but we both came from divorced families (his mom is on her 5th marriage), and I don't want to take that out.
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G.J. answers from San Antonio on October 03, 2009
If he will go to counseling, you need to do it NOW. I had an almost 3 year old when my husband decided he had to "get his head together", and left. Then about 6 months later he remarried.
Your hubby sounds as if he tends to take out his disappointments on you and he knows how to push your buttons - fear of abandonment. There are several things that I know from experience and those are: Loving someone does not always solve all problems; you can't make it work if the other party doesn't want to; YOU CAN HANDLE ANYTHING! The one thing that you HAVE TO DO is to talk to him and let him know that "sparks" have to be nurtured; that you have produced 3 children together and that HE needs to grow up. You need to tell him that he must go to counseling and get over his issues. His unhappiness is HIS unhappiness and his problems at his job are his problems and that these are not your fault. Ask him what HE really wants. Just being on the outside looking in, it seems as if he really talks AT you instead of TO you.
YOU DON'T DESERVE TO BE PLACED ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER any time he has a whim. What I do know is that this is debilitating for YOU and you have to be strong for those kids. Too many people today forget that marriage is more than just a contract. When you all finally decided to marry - you made a commitment. It sounds as if you are working on that commitment and he is mourning his lost youth and things that didn't come true....YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS HAPPINESS & YOU CANNOT MAKE HIM HAPPY IF HE IS NOT WILLING TO WORK AT IT.
Do you have any family? Does he help you with the kids - or they just your responsibility? He needs to plug into their life & NOW. Pray & plan. Don't be caught in this trap. He is also not responsible for YOUR happiness - only you can do that and you need to take charge of the situation. Let him know that you love him, but you are NOT going to let him place you on an emotional rollercoaster and destroy the peace and tranquility of his children and yours. Make some ultimatims. HE is the problem - you are not.
Good marriages don't just happen - it takes BOTH parties working at it, each & every day. Just as in every other part of life, garbage in garbage out - you get out of marriage what you are willing to put in. Sparks can only be rekindled if someone wants it resparked - but there are all sorts of things you can do. You 2 need to go back to counseling and BOTH of you need to decide what your children are worth to YOU.
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J.H. answers from San Antonio on October 03, 2009
The three biggest issues people get divorced over are: finances, sex, and child-raising differences. You and your husband have been through some stressful times and that can be hard on a relationship. I agree that counseling may help. I would also recommend getting on the same page as far as your financial goals are concerned. Look into DaveRamsey.com. He has a great program for getting your finances together and helping married couples work as a team. You can also check out his book at the library or buy it on Amazon.com: The Total Money Makeover. I think once you and your spouse can get on a budget and know where your money it is going to help a lot. Dave helps you get started in paying off your debt and saving money.
That may be the first place to start. As far as a "spark" is concerned that waxes and wanes in a relationship. REAL love and commitment do not wax and wane. I'm sure the two of you could use a date-night every Friday or Saturday night where you have the opportunity to remember the exciting things that made you fall in love with each another.
I hope this helps and you can work it out. Divorce is a very difficult and life-changing thing for all involved. God bless you and your family!
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S.T. answers from Houston on October 03, 2009
Well goodness, we had no 'spark' the first 6 or so years of our marriage! I'm so glad that hubby didn't walk out based on that.
I do not agree that relationships where no one is fighting is bad for the kids. I have known all groups of adults (those whose parents divorced when they were young, those who were abusive to each other before divorcing when the children were older, those who fought all the time but never divorced, and those who were emotionally distant/roomates and never divorced.
This is what I've found- those whose parents were 'roomates' and did not divorce had a strong commitment to their partners when they grew up. Not only were they insistent on making things work, but they desired to have a close relationship with their spouse 'unlike mom and dad.'
Those whose parents divorced when they were young have no idea what a real relationship looks like and expect a fairy tale with their prince charming. When it doesn't happen they get a divorce from someone who really didn't want a divorce and didn't understand what they were doing wrong other then a lack of perfection and fairy tale romanticism.
Those whose parents were abusive to each other went on to have abusive relationships as adults because they thought that this was 'normal.'
Someone else probably suggested this, but try getting the "Love Dare" book and see if that helps put a spark in.
I do think pursuing more of an education/career would be advantageous for you, and if you have family that can help watch the twins while you go to school that would be great, or if you can take some online courses. Normally I don't agree with leaving little ones, especially while breastfeeding, but I'm concerned that your husband is looking into 'someday' no long being married to you.
Feel free to PM.
S., age 30, wife to Paul for 7 1/2 years (he's one of the men I know who grew up in a committed but 'no sparks' home.)He also has been very sick since October and is now undergoing chemotherapy. I am so thankful that our relationship is not based on sex or sparks but on friendship, commitment, and a deeper love then I could ask for.
mom to 4 girls on Earth and many treasures in Heaven
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K.N. answers from Austin on October 04, 2009
I disagree with the responses that say you shouldn't finish school and pursue your nursing degree. **I totally disagree with that perspective.** Yes, school and studying requires a huge amount of time. But financial security is super important, especially since you have 3 small children and your marriage is going through a rough patch. Hey, we're not living in 1965 anymore!! Women can (and should!) be able to financially empower themselves. You go girl! Get that education and career so you can provide better opportunities for your family and yourself. Don't let anything sidetrack you.
Ok, my take on your husband's comments... Since you asked, here are my 2 cents: The first 3 years after a baby is born are hard. Super demanding. And its even more difficult because you have 2 infants simultaneously. You and your husband are in the trenches, doing the dirty work right now, dealing with sleep deprivation and trying to keep a smile plastered on your face. As much as everyone ooohs and aaaws over babies, they demand a huge amount of energy and attention--And any remaining attention then goes to your 5 year old. So, adult attention and couple time is probably pretty darn scarce in your household.
It doesn't surprise me that he feels distance from you romantically. Or that he feels the relationship is more platonic. (After all, it probably is!) I think this is pretty normal for couples to go on auto-pilot during the first year to 18 months after a baby is born. Your marriage is in an adjustment phase. He's vocalizing frustration and recognizing that he feels his emotions being effected by this transition period. (And again, it doesn't help matters that you both are sleep deprived!)
Honestly, all of us have contemplated 'hey, I could divorce him!' when there is a child under the age of 5 in the household. I read an article once that said mothers of children under 5, especially moms with infants, have fleeting thoughts about leaving their husband at least once every month... And then the other weeks during the month, things aren't so bad... 'hey, I kinda still like having him around'... And then, boom! Something is said or something not done and that thought comes back: 'I could divorce him!'
My reaction to my own thoughts was to promise myself that I would not seriously consider divorce until our child is 5 years old. Because I recognize that the stress from a young child can blind us to our actual emotional attachment. I know 5 years sounds like a long time to wait it out. So, instead maybe you and him could agree that you will give yourselves until after the twins turn 1 to re-evaluate where things are between you. Then give yourselves another 6 months, see if things are getting better...
(Keep in mind: Divorce is DAMN expensive. If you individually don't have $25,000 for a divorce attorney, then you need to keep that idea away for as long as possible!)
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M.T. answers from Houston on October 03, 2009
I would start off by defining your marriage commitment to each other. Are you each getting what you need from the relationship? The "spark" comes and goes, especially when you're dealing with babies and responsibilities. I think for the sake of your little family, counseling would be a good place to start.
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N.H. answers from Houston on October 03, 2009
Well, why CAN'T you do something w/your degree? If you really want to do something w/it, ck & see what's required to be a licensed pyschologist or a counselor. If it requires add'l classes or training, surely you could do that at home now w/all the at home classes available online. Secondly, sounds like you two need a vacation together or even something nice & simple like a picnic for a day. Is there a spot just the two of you like? If not then perhaps you can find a nice cozy spot for the day for just the two of you. Is there someone who can watch the kids while you take time off for yourselves & marriage? Sometimes that's all that's needed to put the spark back in. What I'd do is just sit down w/your husband & just agree w/him that the spark does seem to have faded some (even if it hasn't for you, sometimes some men need to feel that ego stroke) & just say "hey, what do you say that we just go & spend the day together just the two of us" & suggest the picnic or something else you two might like. If he says 'no' then ask why. If he says why then you can go from there. If he won't say why then just explain that you're just trying to think of ways to get the spark back or to just try & do something special for the two of you. If it comes to absolutely getting a divorce then sometimes things just end up that way. As far as the bills are concerned, how many credit cards do you have? Ask yourself, Do you really need all of them? How much do you lack in paying them off? The reason why I'm asking is if you can get your credit cards paid off then there's one less payment (or several) that you don't hafta worry about. What I'd do is start w/one, the least amt. owed, & pay that off then do the same w/the others. What I do is pay more on the one I'm trying to pay off first then pay either min. pmt or just above minimum pmt on the others til the one is pd off then repeat w/the next one. If you really really need a credit card to make purchases...needed purchases like gas, food, etc...then use the one w/the least credit amt. That way you don't have a whole lot to repay & save the higher limit ones or the other ones for special needs like emergencies, should anything arise. That will save a lot as far as having to watch spending is concerned. If you were able to have your own practice for counseling or psychology then that will help w/the bills too. Some even wk out of their own homes (have a separate office). It's always something to think about anyway. Hope these suggestions help. Good luck!
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J.B. answers from Houston on October 03, 2009
First off I am so sorry for what you are going through. It sounds like you truly love your husband and are really hurting. I think the fact that he is willing to go to counseling is great. Have you every heard of the books Captivating and Wild at Heart? They are written by John and Stasi Eldredge. Captivating is for women and Wild at Heart for men. They are phenomenal, dealing with all the junk that accumulates in our souls and makes us believe things about ourselves that just aren't true. When you said in your post that you felt crushed, I thought Captivating would be a great book for you to get some encouragement and healing from. Wild at Heart would be great for your guy if he is open to it, but I wouldn't push it. These things must be personal choices, but you could get it for him as a gift and just see what happens:) I really pray you guys can work things out. The things he has said are hurtful and I think you are doing great to stick in there and work through it. Remember when people throw really hurtful and painful things our way it is usually a reflection on how they feel about themselves and not about us at all. So just keep hanging on and pray for him to come through his stuff so he is free to be the husband and dad you know is in there. As far as your stuff with school, I don't know how you do it! I was about to apply for nursing school before I got married but it was too intense for me in my first year of marriage, I can't imagine doing it with baby twins. I think I would hold off on the what ifs if you can. You are still married and you do have a degree. That degree can open lots of doors for you if you ever needed it to even if you were not working directly in your field you would gross a higher income because you are a degreed woman. But I really think if he is willing to work on his stuff through counseling you have a real chance. You can't make him change, but the fact he is going to get some help is very encouraging. I wish you all the best and really hope it all works out:)
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J.T. answers from Victoria on October 03, 2009
dont throw in that towel yet. there are both things you can do if your both willing. fall in love again. there must have been something there if you got married. its a really positive thing that he will actually go to councelling.
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