Marriage Woes

Updated on August 11, 2010
A.S. asks from Charleston, SC
18 answers

Hello, I've been married 11 years and have 2 kids ages 8 & 4. My husband and I are having problems that mainly revolve around the lack of communication that we've had for the past few years. It was compounded while building a house and having our 2nd child. I am a stay at home mom. The miscommunication is equally our faults. I am the type of personality that bottles things up. He is the opposite. He cannot see my side of most things lately - especially when coming to major decisions and also his overbearing mother. I have tried too many times to count to have a decent relationship with her, to no avail. He wonders why I don't want sex. Has anyone been through something like this and see the light of day? I do not want my marriage to fail. He gets over things very quickly and then wants to be affectionate - I would rather drive stakes through my heart than to do anything affectionate when we've had an argument. I am open to counseling and he is as well. Just wanted to hear from someone else that I'm not alone I guess. Thanks so much.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I am in the same boat. I won't read that book "the proper care and feeding of husbands" because I do EVERYTHING... around the house, with the kids, AND I work full time and make more money... so I think HE needs to step it up. I think there needs to be a book called "the proper care of wives" that my husband can read! haha! Maybe if he did more for me, I'd be more receptive.
I think I'm over my marriage though... I just want to be left alone at the end of the day (and the beginning). :) Good luck to you!

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answers from San Antonio on

you are NOT alone. As long as you both are willing to work on the marrage, there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

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answers from Washington DC on

I recommend "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I know some women on this site have a major problem with it (and with her in general), but I feel that is because they were not reading it with an open mind. They went into it expecting to be offended and you usually get what you expect if you know what I mean.

It's a great book for couples to read together. It will really help you to relate to your husband and it will teach you how to open him up to your needs as well.

Anyways, that's just my two cents. Hope things work out for you.

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answers from Anchorage on

Counseling is a great step, it saved my marriage. I would also read "The Proper care and feeding of Husbands". Although some of it seems outdated, it has some great advice and insight. If you are withholding sex altogether, than in his eyes you do not love him because men relate love to closeness. Why would a man want to be with a woman who treats him poorly and never shows him affection? To many of us (I was right where you are now) forget that we are still wives, even after we become mothers. We put our husbands last and just expect them to understand, knowing full well if they did the same to us it would be a deal breaker for sure! I was amazed at how our relationship improved when I stated treating him like he was a priority in my life, I once again became the center of his because he was happy, and then he started doing anything he could to return that favor and make me happy as well. Too often we sit there and wait, thinking they should show the first step, they should understand, they should...........and we wait ourselves right into a divorce.

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answers from Jacksonville on

If you're the one with the heart, quite likely your husband is the abrupt logical one with his way of thinking - and not only that, men don't get it sometimes. That is why we marry opposite to ourselves because we want in the other person what we lack in ourselves and most times we start living with that person and that same thing we liked is what ticks us off. Whatever the issue was try to express in point/bullet form what you NEED from your husband, not how you FEEL. He doesn't understand that logic. If it's not a "project" for him to "fix" he will continue to brush it off. It would seem like it contradicts our being because we expect them to just know and do something, but most of them don't know, so we have to tell them and then in telling them we feel it's not worth it. So if you are hurt over a decision he made, don't focus on the hurt and the emotions surrounding it, focus on why that decision would not work for you and would cause more hurt. Try to release the feelings of resentment by telling him what bugs you so he knows. He can't change or fix what he doesn't know, and I know pouting around doesn't get much sympathy from men more than some hate to see us cry. So good luck on putting your needs up front and let him know .

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answers from Detroit on

I would suggest finding that counselor, but in the mean time, you can work on a few things to help yourself. I was like you for awhile and thought to myself one day, "What's the harm in saying exactly what's on my mind?"

My husband and I tell each other everything. If I'm mad at him, I tell him. If I'm not ready to talk about it, we take a break from each other and then talk about what's bugging us later.

Just keep in mind... 1) Men are simple creatures. 2) Hints NEVER work. 3) You have to say their name to get their attention. 4) You'll never change them. 5) Once something is resolved, don't bring it back up... They won't... They've forgotten about it hours later. 6) You have to explain, in detail, why you're upset and what the cause is, and what you expect to happen from now on. 7) Be honest with yourself... Are you being irrational? (I know I am many times) 8) Recognize the good things he does and comment on them. If you want recognition for what you do, realize he does too. The more you say "Thank you honey for...", the more likely you'll hear the same. 9) Write a list of things you expect from him. Little and big things. Ask him to do the same. Discuss these in a calm manner. Maybe both are thinking the other wants something different. 10) If you have an issue and you find that you want to keep it to yourself, don't. But do write it down... And let your husband read it. You'll be surprised at his reaction and how much better you'll feel.

Above all... Be honest with one another. Talk about things. What's the worst that could happen? You learn about each other?

Also... About his mother... Whatever it is, talk to him bluntly about it. And if you get nowhere with him about it, talk to her bluntly about it.

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answers from Norfolk on

I used to be the same way, I was the type to bottle everything up and my husband was the opposite. I gave in one day and instead of bottling it up, expressed whatever was on my mind like my husband does. If the problem is miscommunication, and that's how it was for my husband and I, he said something that really made me just jump into expressing: "Don't you think there would be little to no miscommunication if we just openly talked to each other, got it all off our chests? I can't read your mind, nor you read mine and I'm always going to be "oblivious" if you don't say something." So, for me, it was an eye opener, I can't expect him to understand me if I don't say anything or quit early before explaining. Counseling helps too, the best council I'd say is God though. Try "giving in" to no not bottling anything up and just letting it out, but don't let it out on your husband, just to don't take it out on him, just express yourself. And when he wants to be affectionate, just "give in" and give it a try. For my husband and I, most of the time, arguments start over a miscommunication and if we talk it out, we can easily find where everything went wrong and fix it or agree to disagree. Plus for me, being a military wife and all and not even that sometimes, I just keep in mind...tomorrow is not promised. Even when we have a full fall-out argument...I still make the effort because I truly feel it and mean it, to say I love you (even though I'm mad at you). At least if tomorrow when I woke up and he couldn't be by my side, I could say I got to say I love you to him.

He does the same thing, he's actually the one who first always says I love you after an argument.

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answers from San Diego on

You are definitely not alone in your situation. My husband and I just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary and we have two kids, ages 9 and 11. Our marriage has been through lots of ups and downs over the years. Over the years, we got great advice from my good friend, Dr. Dana Fillmore, who has recently launched a marriage counseling video course. My husband and I went through it and found it very helpful. The course taught us how important it is to spend quality time together, how to communicate over difficult issues and there were also several videos on sex that got us back on track. If you or anyone else who's reading this would be willing to use it and tell me their story about how it affected your marriage, I can get you a 75% discount off of the course. My Mamapedia name is A. B. Just click on my name above this message and let me know. If you'd like to get a free sample of the course, go to

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answers from Fort Wayne on

You are not alone! Find a counselor that you BOTH can talk freely with. Then that person must find a balance for you that is a safe environment where you can air your frustrations in a more positive way, If you are a "bottler" this could be hard for you at first. Don't be afraid to try a few different counselors before you find that just right fit. Not all counselors are the same, they have different techniques and styles. The one that we settled on is more "in your face, reality checker" kind but we also tried one that was more "hand holding and warm fuzzies".

If you are both aware of the issue then now is the time to get some resolution on your issues before they get buried for later.

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answers from Columbus on

Proper care and feeding of husbands!

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answers from San Francisco on

The counseling could help with the bottling-up---that is unhealthy in terms of compounding your stress.
If you can learn new strategies to deal with your feelings, you may be more able to talk about them.
When you say that he doesn't see your side of things about major decisions, it sounds like you feel powerless.
Counseling sounds good---I would focus on reducing the the bottling-up, and on feeling like a more equal partner in major decisions. If you can work together to improve those two things, the affection may return naturally.
Good luck.

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answers from Charleston on

Read the 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman--together. Its a great book.

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answers from Albuquerque on

My husband and I have the same situation. I use to bottle it up and found that I was the one who was getting upset and resentful. So, after many years marriage therapy we still had issues(MIL and communication) and I have been the one to change the situations. Afterall, the only person you can change is yourself:). So, I had to stop all communication with his mom,now he deals with her. That took a lot of stress out of my life and gave me more time for kids and him. I have also started communicating what is bothering me in a calm collected way at the time it is affecting me instead of later. Sometimes when you "get it off your chest" is makes it easier to breathe again and let it you can reconnect and be affectionate. It takes practice but it can be done. I know its hard but you can do it. I felt like i was reading my own post when i read this.....there is hope that things can change. Good luck.

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answers from New York on

go to counseling but be aware, that your unable to move on from a problem will be a major topic, as well as not addressing your anger, will be a major topic. at the same time, i think what you describe is a common difference between men and women.

outside family involvement was a huge problem for me, and we went to counseling, and it really helped. if she truley is overbearing and it affects your marriage, the counselor should take that seriously and work on explaining what is happening, why, and what needs to be done. your husband may need to hear it from an outside source that his mothers actions, or his actions towards her, are not beneficial to your marriage.

good luck, but from what you wrote, and how your worded it, i think there is much room for hope. good luck

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answers from Portland on

I think that in the time after a fight it is good to remember that you are partners, and cuddling or affection is a GOOD thing.
He won't be around forever, and neither will you. it would be wise to share as many positive memories of each other as possible, so maybe relax a little and reciprocate that hug he gives after a fight. It really does help with the healing process. :)



answers from St. Cloud on

Skip the "Proper Care and Feeding...." book and go to counseling! This is something that you can definitely work out and counseling can help open that communication line.

Please don't buy into the thought that you, as the woman, have to put all the effort into the marriage. Dr. Laura herself said that she didn't write "Proper Care and Feeding of Wives" because men don't need the advice. She only feels that women are the clueless whiners that need to get their "act" together to make a marriage work.

If you and your hubby want to read a great book, in addition to counseling (not instead of!), read "The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women" by Barbara Rosberg and Gary Rosberg.

Good luck to you!



answers from Charleston on

I am the same way, where i bottle things up, but my husband is also, so i am constantly making the effort to open communication up. I dont know your situation with you MIL but my husband was never close with his parents and his mom has always caused havoc in our lives so we recently cut ties with them. if your husband is a mommas boy this may not be the option for you, but i wonder if your husband shows a united front with you, which is a neccessity! If you are at your breaking point i would defianately try the counseling. Hope everything works out for you!

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